By Olivia Applegate
Eastvale– Paul Casteneda and Robin Leafblad manage Eastvale Athletics and CrossFit Eastvale located at the corner of Bellegrave Avenue and Hamner Avenue in Eastvale. Their mission for over thirteen years has been to spread health, fitness, and an active lifestyle to Eastvale residents.
This past summer, Paul and Robin traveled to Barcelona, Spain to represent Eastvale Athletics and the United States at the Masters World Weightlifting Championships. Robin placed 1st by lifting 185kg (407lb) with a world record clean and jerk of 105kg (231lb) in the Women’s 40-44 division. Robin was also named the best lifter across all other weight classes. Paul placed 4th in the world by lifting 265kg (583lb) in the Men’s 35-39 division. Both Paul and Robin had the highest totals of any other American in their divisions.
“We are proud to have community partners like Paul and Robin who invest in the health of our residents,” said City Manager, Bryan Jones. “The accomplishment that Robin and Paul achieved in Barcelona this past summer takes grit and true determination. They have certainly represented Eastvale extremely well and we are very proud!”
Their fitness program was a tremendous success from the start and quickly outgrew Paul’s garage. From there, Paul and Robin brought the program to the Jurupa Community Services District and trained at Harada Heritage Park and led specialized aquatics workouts at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Soon after, they moved into a commercial property in Jurupa Valley, where they stayed for nearly eight years. Once the Goodman Commerce Center was built, they were finally able to move back into the city they loved, where they have continued the mission of training Eastvale residents for anything and everything.
“When I left the military, I found safe homes and neighborhoods in Eastvale and decided to make Eastvale home, where I am raising my daughter, Jasmine,” said Paul Casteneda. “I also saw potential in the area for young families to grow into a healthy active community with proper guidance. I have been able to use my knowledge and skills from my previous Naval Special Forces training and apply the concept to residents in general physical preparedness and fitness.”
Together, Paul and Robin oversee the training of over 350 athletes, some as young as 5 years old, and are heavily involved in the Eastvale community and the Eastvale Chamber of Commerce. Some of the community efforts they are involved in are the Eastvale 5K and Roadway Adoption Program.
“In 2016, Robin and I teamed up to combine goals and see our dreams play out in Eastvale,” said Paul Casteneda. “With over 20 years of experience and education training teams in various sports, Robin brought a much-needed missing piece to the team. Together, we program workouts for both adults and kids looking to physically prepare themselves for life, sport, or adventure.”
Eastvale Athletics is the driving force behind the #EastvaleStrong campaign which promotes exercise and outdoor activity as well as community unity. Paul and Robin proudly advocate activity outside the gyms and have been taking their members white water rafting every summer for over ten years. They have recently challenged their members to create and execute their bucket list of goals and experiences over the next year. Some members have mentioned long hikes, skydiving, scuba diving, and even triathlons; all which Paul and Robin have committed to joining them on each of their adventures.
“I’m very proud to say that Eastvale is a very special place for not only training but belonging, personal growth, and community,” said Paul Casteneda.