Canaan, CT – On the outside, fitness trainer Leandro Carvalho had it all.
The Brazilian native was well-known in New York City fitness clubs for his celebrity clientele and signature Brazil Butt Lift classes, which later became a popular video series. But, behind closed doors, Carvalho struggled with drug addiction for years. With help from friends and family, he was able to get the treatment he needed. Today, he teaches fitness and wellness classes at Mountainside treatment center, the same place where his recovery journey started.
“Leandro truly embodies the spirit of Mountainside,” says Andre Basso, Chief Operating Officer at Mountainside. “He understands that recovery is more than not using drugs or drinking, it’s about taking care of the total person – mind, body, and spirit. He’s seen firsthand the role that wellness has played in his recovery and it helps him drive home the message that wellness is key in maintaining long-term sobriety. Leandro is an example of how you can recover, and we are very proud to have him on our team.”
While he now focuses on total wellness, Carvalho first found success through fitness. His routines were groundbreaking at the time for their inclusion of both fitness and dance. For 13 years, he trained celebrities and supermodels, including Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio and actress Blake Lively, to name a few. After working in many of the hottest health clubs in New York City, including Equinox, Carvalho opened his own fitness studio.
Carvalho’s career was in danger of coming to an end, however. After complications from back surgery, he was told that he may not be able to work in fitness again. To cope with this devastating news, he turned to meth, which began a spiral into addiction and resulted in the closing of his gym.
Carvalho is now in recovery, but he hasn’t forgotten what he learned at Mountainside. The Total Mind and Body workshops he created for his students go beyond physical exercise. They include expressive sessions such as art and music therapy, which provide a healthy outlet for people in recovery to release difficult feelings.
“I went through hard times. I used drugs. But today, I’m a better person. I discovered so many things about myself through my struggles. I used to be so focused on fitness, but now I know that there is so much more to me and there are so many ways to give back. Recovery breathed new meaning into my life and I want to help others have this experience, too,” Carvalho says.