FRIENDS! We are back with another Happy Hour Live with Graham on Instagram! It's been over a month since our last chat so you can only imagine how stoked we are to be back with you this week. Joining our first session back is Rudy Project's Lea Szabo, a great friend and coworker with us here at SportRx so we're over the moon to start this year off with a great one. Tune in below to read more about Lea Szabo.
G: One of the coolest parts about working at SportRx is that everyone is active. This is also true of the employees from the companies we work with. You definitely being one of them, I'm excited to have you on!
L: Well thanks Graham I'm excited to even be on here because you're such a legend and you have such a cool athletic history, and all the guests you have on are super cool. I love watching along.
G: So why don't you dive into your athletic backstory for us. What sports did you do growing up and how did that transition into what you're doing today?
L: So I was very very lucky, my parents got me involved in sports at a very young age. I started dancing at 2, then softball, volleyball, and lots of traveling at the high school age. I was really active really young so by the time I got to college I was a little burnt so I took a break during those years. Then right after college, I was 21 and my girlfriend introduced me to boxing and I immediately got into it. From boxing to Muay Thai, to Olympic lifting, with a coach and I was also doing spartan races. I really got into racing spartan races around the time I got involved with Rudy Project which was about 7 years ago. I got into those races, then Olympic lifting, and that got me into cross-fit and now here we are, 6 years later, my seventh year at Rudy Project and just trying to do whatever I can to stay young and relevant, and of course, fit. It's all-inclusive with the job because I’m constantly working with clients that are into running and cycling. We work all across the board with sports; golf, tennis, shooting, it’s such a wide spectrum that athletic eyewear covers. I kind of felt like it was nice to get into a little bit of everything. So that’s where I am right now. I workout about 6 days a week, 5 days of cross-fit, and on the weekends I usually do one day of hot yoga or ski or mountain-bike with my boyfriend in the mountains that are our backyard here near Salt Lake City.
G: That's awesome that you have the mountains of Salt Lake City in your backyard.
L: Yeah it's really awesome because they make getting active easier during this weird, hard time.
G: Certainly, well because Utah is a bit more open have you been able to compete at all in 2020 and is there anything in 2021 that you're training for?
L: So 2020 I was still getting settled here. We moved out here the weekend of Thanksgiving so I was still heavily traveling with my work schedule. So in the heat of everything I’m usually on the road, one to two weeks out of everything month. I had a Ragnar in the books which was going to be for my 40th birthday. It was with a team I run at least one race with each year, but that got shut down because of Covid. But I did do an in-house competition with the gym I workout at locally here so I was able to participate in that, which was awesome. I actually have a competition tomorrow and I got myself locked into a half marathon in a couple of months so there are things on the horizon.
G: That's awesome! It’s been such a strange year, but that's so cool you have things to work towards. And you're killing it for 40 by the way!
Going back a bit to your earlier years, dancing and boxing, do you want to talk about the correlation between your footwork and balance and how that translates to other sports?
L: It was an insane transition. It made me love boxing and especially Muay Thai because you have that hip range and mobility that you learn growing up as a dancer. So you can strike and have stronger kicks, you just never knew that with contact it could be lethal. With dance, its beautiful but muay thai its gnarly and it hurts because of the hip power. I tend to do that, burn out on something then try something new. I played softball for a long time and then I actually played 2 seasons this past year during quarantine which was great to come back to after all these years away from it. I was rusty, not very good but it's within me because I played for so many years. It's fun to have these little activities in your pocketbook and pull them out whenever you want. With cross-fit that's functional fitness which allows me to pick up other sports quickly. I've only started skiing for instance this past year but I feel like I have the physical advantage because of the skills cross-fit teaches me.
G: That totally makes sense. It's good to change things up so you can progress from the activity once you pick it back up again, and then its extra exciting when you get back into it.
L: I feel like a kid, I feel like I'm aging backward since we moved out here. I don't even know what it's like to be a beginner in sports and now I'm a beginner at a lot of things, so it's really fun. The first time skiing clicked it felt awesome, and same with mountain biking! My boyfriend said to me, "you look like you're a real mountain biker," and I felt really cool. It's fun to keep learning and continue to get better at all these things. There's always something to get better at.
G: Absolutely I totally agree. Playing sports definitely keeps you young.
L: I workout with a lot of kids/adults who are in their twenties but I feel like a kid again working out with them, the only difference is that I've been doing it a little longer. So it is exciting to keep moving.
G: Steph tuned in below here and wants to know what position you played in softball.
L: I played left, I was a bigger bat but I played left-field and that's even where I'm playing now after all those years. Trying to work on getting a big bat back but without having batting cages open during Covid it was hard.
G: Great! Well let's move to a little sunglasses talk. One thing that has been so great about working at SportRx is seeing athletes become aware of prescription eyewear and seeing how that has changed their sport and their lives. Talk a bit about your experience with that at Rudy Project.
L: The end goal is making sure the consumer is happy and if they're walking into an optical purchase from SportRx or Rudy then they're most likely involved in some sort of activity. On the path of least resistance, the less you have to deal with while you're performing the sport you love is the goal. It’s so rewarding to work with people who have really high prescriptions and then they end up being one of the most infamous athletes of the year; Chris Nikic. Being able to follow his journey and see him wearing Rudy Project has been so great to see. I love and admire that so much. Just being able to offer sight to people has been so amazing. We're not just putting a lens on something to help people see we're also helping protect their eyes from, well everything harmful. I love being a part of an eyewear company that’s specific on athletics because it's just a part of me.
G: I think that's so great that you get to be a part of that story for athletes, pro or not. That's a huge deal, helping people see better while doing what they love. That's our thing here at SportRx.
So on this show, as we're wrapping up I always ask what our guest’s favorite sunglasses are, but I'm going to reverse it by showing you the rad Rudy Project frames that someone who's pretty rad sent me! First of all, these cutlines are pretty cool. I've never had clear lenses but they're great to have for morning rides.
L: Well Graham there's a trick to those, they go black.
G: AHHH I wondered if that was the case.
L: They're also super bendable and so that no injuries will happen while wearing those. They're impact resistant and impact RX. You guys are going to start carrying them. We have a variety of lenses that change and coming soon SportRx is going to be carrying all those. Those frames will go from super clear for overcast mornings to black for high sun exposure, they'll be great in all light conditions.
G: That gets me stoked! Lea thank you so much, its so awesome to receive a gift like this.
L: You're welcome Graham of course!
G: Well Lea thank you for coming on, you've been the best guest of 2021 and not just because you're the first guest of the year! I was really stoked to have you on, so thank you so much.
L: Thank you, Graham, keep doing what you guys are doing over there and heal up so you can get back on the bike soon. Take care until the next time I see you.
Be sure to follow all our pages, Facebook, Instagram and listen to our podcasts too. We'll be back every other week with Instagram Lives with Graham, our next guest is a SportRxer too so you won't want to miss their story. Thanks again for tuning in, see you next time.