It's How You Think


Non-Fiction - Biography
102 Pages
Reviewed on 03/23/2021
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Author Biography

Leon Stensholm started body building in 2001 after suffering a number of injuries that would end his promising soccer career. It quickly transpired that what Leon lacked in muscle, was made up for in spades by the sheer grit and determination he focused on his new sport. Committed to natural body building Leon has now been participating in the sport for the past 18 years with multiple Australian and Australasia titles to his name. During this time he has competed over 65 times, coached hundreds of clients with over 100 first places and multiple pro cards awarded.

Six years ago, following the suicide of his best mate and brother Dean, Leon decided to pursue his dreams and founded Body by leon Coaching and Personal Training. So committed to helping people to totally transform their body and mind Leon has also completed a Diploma in Counselling and written his first book, ‘It`s how you think’.

Leon works with a wide range of clients, from professional athletes, to everyday people looking to achieve their personal health goals. Leon is particularly passionate about working with those who suffer from mental health concerns and gives his time freely to work in the community on suicide prevention, as part of The Alliance for suicide Prevention. Leon is a passionate, energetic speaker whose enthusiasm and love for life is incredibly contagious. He engages and connects easily with all types of people and leaves his audiences energised and motivated.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

It’s How You Think: Uncut is a work of non-fiction in the biography genre. It is suitable for the general non-fiction readership and was written by author Leon Stensholm. The book recalls the author’s difficult journey through his athletic career, beginning with a promising start in soccer ending prematurely due to injuries, through to the author’s start in bodybuilding and the death of his brother. What follows is a grueling journey through some of the most fiercely competitive bodybuilding contests in the world, with no guarantee of victory, and a constant strain on the author’s body and mind throughout.

It’s How You Think: Uncut is a powerful tale of Stensholm’s ability to not only overcome adversity but to thrive from doing so. One of the things that I liked the most about this book was its overall message of hope and the idea that you have the ability to create positive change in your life, regardless of any external factors. Author Leon Stensholm does a magnificent job of telling a deeply personal story in a way that is easy to connect with and relate to regardless of your own experiences. Although this is a biography as opposed to a self-help book, reading about others’ own experiences will still be sure to give hints and courage to help readers improve their own lives. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend this book to those who are facing or have faced adversity in their own lives, or those looking for a true life drama with harrowing and uplifting elements.

Patricia Reding

Leon Stensholm has experienced some dark and difficult times, having suffered various significant injuries and the loss of several family members and friends. In his work, It’s How You Think: Uncut, he tells the story of his journey into competitive body building that took on a new emphasis when his brother took his own life. Stensholm turned to bodybuilding as the means to deal with the emotional fallout of his brother’s death and to avoid the blame game that was tearing his family apart. It gave him purpose, a direction, and a goal on which he could focus. Months later, after winning the Sydney Title, Stensholm started coaching others. Over time, he grew a reputation as being someone of particular help to those who suffer with depression. Although Stensholm’s journey has never been a smooth one, today he is a registered Sports Nutritionist, coach, gym owner, and author, who shares with his readers a variety of valuable life lessons he learned along his way.

The principles that Leon Stensholm discovered over the past years are set out plainly in this discussion of various life events he has experienced. These bits of wisdom stand out from the surrounding text, because the truth of them rings so clearly. For example, Stensholm explains why it is important to choose wisely what you focus on, and he emphasizes the need to progress toward a goal, not to “perfection.” One of the most important lessons Stensholm shares is about how important adversity is in one’s life. He emphasizes the importance of “going through” and of never giving up when faced with the mountainous difficulties that life sometimes presents us. He also stresses the value of practicing gratitude. Anyone looking for meaning following a loss or tragedy, or who seeks tools to help maneuver during difficult times, will find value in It’s How You Think: Uncut.

Asher Syed

It's How You Think: Uncut by Leon Stensholm is the author's memoir as he recounts both the highs and the lows in his life, and the connections that surround them. The book begins with Stensholm diving straight into a moment of monumental achievement as an Australian bodybuilder. No stranger to fortitude, steely determination, and self-discipline, Stensholm seems to excel at any sport he attempts. Sadly, an exterior of success only reveals what is on the surface and the reality was that internally Stensholm was a magnet for codependency. Physically strong but emotionally battered, Stensholm is powerless against the forces of mental health that remove people he loves and his own struggles lead to a heartbreaking scene followed by rehab stints. Ultimately, Stensholm fights to take back his power and, against all odds, he manages to get on the right path.

It's How You Think is a profoundly honest memoir and the courage it takes for authors like Leon Stensholm to put themselves out there is incredible. This is compounded by the fact that Stensholm has been bullied relentlessly, to the point where many would have clammed up. Instead, Stensholm writes a compact but emotional book. The book is a little slow to start but worth the perseverance in order to walk in the shoes of a bodybuilder, trainer, and counselor as the line between caring for a client and being consumed by their disabilities gets blurred. Stensholm is a compassionate person and the part that touched me most is when he speaks of reactive depression and the toll it had taken on him. He writes, “I felt like I was the only person trying to help her, and I had tried everything. I felt alone.” Stensholm's proximity to multiple suicides and the weight on his shoulders was heavier than anything he'd ever lifted in the fitness world. I'm just so glad he's here to tell his story and am certain others who read it will feel the same.

Tommy Wong

It's How You Think: Uncut by Leon Stensholm is about overcoming adversity and saving lives. It is an inspirational book in which Leon Stensholm shares many of his real-life adversities and how he overcame them. In fact, in the prologue, he shares the tragic suicide story of his brother, and how he used bodybuilding to switch his focus. Indeed, suicide is still a problem in our society today. Leon Stensholm advises that any threat by someone to take their own life must be taken seriously. The book is full of good advice such as this. It is also well written and I like the absorbing real-life stories. There are two parts in It's How You Think. In between the two parts, there are beautiful photographs of Leon Stensholm and his family.

In It's How You Think, Leon Stensholm also shares how he used bodybuilding training to help his clients who may be mentally unwell and struggling with life. He explains that the reason why bodybuilding training can help people to get through adversity is that it gives them a goal and sense of purpose. Indeed, in It's How You Think, there are many personal stories written by his clients. These are testimonies that Leon Stensholm has been doing really good work to help them and it is to be lauded. I also like Leon Stensholm’s perspective on adversity. “Every single human goes through adversity at some point in their lives, and it’s how you handle those moments that defines who you are. Each time you survive a struggle in your life, you grow as a person. Essentially, the more challenges you face, the better person you can become.” Yes, a wonderful book and written by a better human – highly recommended!

Irene Valentine

It's How You Think by Leon Stensholm is a compelling read. He was 26 years old when he discovered bodybuilding and gained a new kind of mental grit. He had suffered many debilitating leg injuries as a soccer player since his teens. Natural bodybuilding gave him the forum to work on strengthening those weaknesses. He decided those injuries would not define him or terminate his goals and dreams. Through rehabilitation, nutrition, and health, together with a determined positive mindset, he took an active approach to recovery. But his life really gained purpose when his brother Dean took his own life. Although they had a good relationship, they lived 4 hours apart and saw each other infrequently. Leon suspected his brother battled depression and knew he was in the midst of some serious life issues. But when Dean said to Leon over a beer in August 2012, “I’m going to kill myself”, the option of suicide had never crossed Leon’s mind. As Leon says, most people do not know how to respond to this statement. The adversity of Dean’s death caused Leon to dig deep into himself, finding the strength of mind he didn’t know he had. This turned out to be life-changing. He began helping people, who were very overweight and depressed, train to get into shape and onto the bodybuilding stage.

Leon Stensholm offers much wisdom learned from his life experience. It's How You Think is a combination of memoir, self-help strategies, and inspiring testimonies of clients. He outlines a simple action plan for taking control of your life by building habits that serve you. He illustrates the power of goal setting and focusing on what you can control. Many of his clients had low self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions, and mental health concerns. Bodybuilding training gives them a goal and sense of purpose. In reality, their mental, emotional and spiritual progress saves their lives. Society today leaves people with a deep need to connect. He includes practical advice on how to appropriately respond to someone’s desperate plea, and where to go to get them professional help. He recommends gratitude journaling to keep focused on what's great in our lives. We can transform our fears, confusions, and frustrations into joyfulness and peace by practicing gratitude daily. He shares useful insights on how he addresses his own mental and emotional health, being exposed to others’ trauma. I found It's How You Think to be a valuable read. These are issues we face daily.