Leanne Bartolo: ‘Worst habit? Stealing chocolates from the cupboard and hiding the wrappers’

World Fitness Federation European Bikini champion Leanne Bartolo tells all in our Q&A

Current World Fitness Federation European Bikini champion Leanne Bartolo is one of Malta’s leading fitness instructors and personal trainers. A schoolteacher on sabbatical, the coronavirus crisis prompted her to launch a series of livestreamed fitness sessions on Instagram to help those in quarantine or self-isolation to work out and keep sane and healthy in these turbulent times.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Have a cup of tea and a warm shower.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My mom once told me that panicking was a waste of energy and that you should not waste time worrying about things you can’t control or change. Instead I’ve learnt to focus my energy on adapting and trying to keep positive when times get rough.

What do you never leave the house without?

I wish I could say keys, but that’s not the case, I’ve been locked out far too many times. I would say my phone or my meals (M&Ms included).

Pick three words that describe yourself

Energetic, empathetic, and kind.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

I actually have four at the top of my list. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, helping fund a school in Sorsa, Ethiopia and being there for the inauguration, winning the European Championship, and of course my lifelong dream of opening the Warehouse fitness studio.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?


What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Everything happens for a reason, we might not see it nor understand it when we’re going through it, but somehow it will all make sense.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

A trip I organised where I took my parents on holiday to spend some good quality time with them.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I believed in myself a little more.

Who’s your inspiration?

My parents and my fiancé would be at the top of the list, followed by a few close friends who constantly motivate me make me feel loved and keep me going.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Adjusting to being away from the classroom and my students.

If you weren’t a fitness instructor what would you be doing?     

Teaching or psychology (I graduated in both).

Do you believe in God?

Yes. I believe in living an honest life and in being fair and respectful.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

A traditional Maltese dinner with my grandparents.

What’s your worst habit?

Stealing chocolates from the cupboard and hiding the wrappers, or emptying the jar of Nutella and putting it back again… hoping that no one will notice!

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Very, very talkative.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Abigail Spencer.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Jealousy and laziness.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Upbeat workout music.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My engagement ring.

What is your earliest memory?

Riding horses in our fields.

When did you last cry, and why?

I got emotional last Tuesday when I closed down my studio and two minutes later everyone started clapping in support of our medical heroes.

Who would you most like to meet?

Thaddaeus Koroma, one of the best motivational speakers out there.

What’s your favourite food?

Pasta al pesto.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Janet Layug.

If you could travel in time, where would
you go?

I would go back to a simpler life, to remember how things used to be when we were not so dependent on technology as are today.

What book are you reading right now?

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics, by Richard Thaler

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To get to places faster, I never seem to factor travelling time into my schedule.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Have a family.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ by Monty Python.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

My thoughts in the shower; while working out it’s motivational music, most times some of my friends bring over USBs with their latest playlists, as I’m hopeless.