Leah Kitching Wants to Elevate Your Workout Experience
by Rachel Warrick
Leah Kitching, mother of two, has always
had a passion for fitness. The California native took
this passion to new level when she opened her own fitness studio, Studio
Elevate, two years ago in Culver City. In a place like Los Angeles, it can
be difficult for a gym to set themselves apart from the myriad fitness options available—but Kitching’s Studio Elevate has managed to do just that.
“There is nothing better than when
someone comes to class and becomes stronger mentally and physically. I am so
grateful to be able to facilitate that change and see my students change both
inside and out,” Kitching says.
It’s this mentality of building the
foundations for overall fitness and well-being that makes Studio Elevate so
special. With a blend of expertly instructed spin and pilates classes, focused
on strength and awareness of body and mind, you’re in for an addictive
Kitching sits down with Mom.me to
discuss how she manages a family and a business—and still carves out time for
Describe the moment when you were inspired to create
I had been teaching at another studio
for several years and realized one day I wasn't able to provide the
true experience they deserved. The classes were always on display through
windows, which I know makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Plus, the space was
full of fluorescent lighting. I wanted to provide a place that people felt
comfortable in. When you’re working out, you shouldn’t be focused on anything
but yourself and your own improvement and growth.
What was the process of creating your own fitness studio
like? Was there anything particularly challenging or surprising about the
It took over a year to find a space.
That was a challenge because we had been led to believe we were going to sign a
lease with a great spot and has already purchased machines and equipment.
They had basically led us on to leverage us against another fitness studio and
then picked them in the end. It was very frustrating, especially because I was pregnant
with my daughter and had to store the machines and start over on our
What sets Studio Elevate apart from other fitness
We have an
inclusive and transformative space. The teachers, the atmosphere and
experience is all about finding your edge, connecting your body and mind, and
always striving to become stronger in a calm setting. It's the best!
As a mother as well as the owner of Studio Elevate, how
do you make it all work?
I am constantly trying to balance my
work life with my kids. I have help, which is great because it allows me to get
some really productive hours in, work-wise. This way I get to really step away
from it all and spend quality time with my family when I’m not working, rather
than always splitting my time and energy between the two.
When did you first feel successful?
I still don't feel successful.
When I hit a mini goal, I keep assessing what needs to be done to get to
the next step. I don’t think there is ever going to be a time when I feel “done.”
It’s always, “OK, I reached this goal—now on to the next one.” Building a
business is constant work and there are always ways to improve and evolve.
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some ways
that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
I believe in "people power.” I
want to raise my daughter to believe she can be anything she wants and is not
limited by gender. By talking to her about gender inequalities, I feel it
exacerbates an issue that she doesn't even know exists. I really believe
this generation can be unstoppable, no matter the gender—but, as parents, we definitely
have a responsibility to foster an environment where they are able to thrive.
Has there been anything about creating Studio Elevate
that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
I find it interesting that I
don't really "feel" successful. I always thought I would feel proud
of myself at the end of it, but now my goals have become bigger, so I'm still
moving onward and realize I may never get that feeling. I'm OK with that, though,
because this new mindset means that Elevate will just continue to grow more and
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start
their own business?
Starting a business is a lot of work
but can also give you so much flexibility in being able to spend time with your
kids. If I could do it over, I would have done it before I had kids or after
they went to preschool. Having little ones is such a fleeting moment, so to be
able to really enjoy it is so special.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and business owner
to keep everything in balance?
I had to let Elevate coast for a
while. When my son was born, I really just stepped away and enjoyed the first
few months. I am very lucky to have an amazing team at Elevate; they really
helped me out and were so supportive. While I feel lucky to have been able to
check out for a bit, it has also been exciting to get back on track at the
studio and progress it forward!
If you could have lunch with any business
person/mogul/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder living or dead, who would it be and
Tim S. Grover. He’s a trainer and has
taken on a lot of the world’s top athletes—like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan—and made them the legends they are. I just finished his book “Relentless:
From Good to Great to Unstoppable.” He has inspired me to work harder in
every aspect of my life and I owe any future success to him!
Are there any new initiatives or products on the horizon
for Studio Elevate?
We are working on some cool
Elevate-branded apparel, which is so exciting. We are also starting our
first teacher training, which is something that has been in the works for a
while, so it’s great to finally get that in place. It’s going to be amazing!