One of the first things anyone would notice about Dr. Leslie Hayden, 42, is that she’s remarkably fit. “I have always played sports,” she says. “I was a competitive cheerleader in high school and college.”  Until two years ago, she was running 20-30 miles per week.

Her life changed in June 2016, when she ruptured a disc in her lower back. “My injury occurred a couple of months before my 40th birthday, and it really was kind of a wake-up call––my body telling me I can’t always do things the way I used to do them.” In her case, the injury surfaced with no acute event. “I think it was just the result of years of ‘stuff.’”

That injury resulted in emergency surgery to have the disc removed, followed by three months of medical rest. When her rest period was over, her neurosurgeon cautioned her against running. “It was very depressing when he told me he didn’t want me running at all,” she says. “It was hard at first, especially those first three months when I really couldn’t do anything.”

That neurosurgeon suggested Pilates, which led her to find trainer and founder of Core-Collective Broad, Jenna Goode. The two clicked and have been working together weekly since then.

“Everyone who walks into my studio is different,” Jenna says. “When I work with people in an individualized session, I am always looking at past injuries, postural alignment, and deviations. I offer what I think is a good bridge from training to physical therapy. I start slowly and conservatively, find out how people got injured in the first place, and teach them to move better.”

Dr. Hayden agrees. “She taught me a lot about how to avoid over-using my back and how to build my core.”

In time, as her injury healed, she developed the strength and confidence to expand her program into cross training. “I added Cycle Bar and have gone back to running a couple days a week. What really impacted me was developing awareness. I had gotten into a really bad habit of over-using my back.”

Jenna says, “I think it’s important to cross train because it keeps you from getting bored. More importantly, if you are only running, you aren’t doing any lateral movements. True fitness requires moving your body in all planes and taking your joints through the proper range of motions that they were meant to be used.”

Balance is essential to Dr. Hayden’s lifestyle. In addition to a busy medical practice with Adams Patterson, she has a husband and five children (two of her own and three of her husband’s). Her demanding schedule limits her workout time, so she has to be efficient and effective. “I’m down to about three days a week,” she says. “I have to work fitness in with my career and my children’s activities, often on the weekends.”

Dr. Hayden follows a low-carb diet as much as possible but allows some indulgences. She advises her patients to add healthy choices and activity in their lives in realistic, sustainable ways. She notes that adequate sleep and hydration are also important.

Working in the field of gynecology and obstetrics and being a mother herself, Dr. Hayden deeply cares about mothers and their children. “Teaching kids a good healthy balance between nutritious foods and occasional special treats will help set up patterns to be healthy into adulthood.”

She’s developed long-term relationships with some of her patients. “I have delivered their babies and now I’m getting to see them grow.” Living healthy and promoting health for generations is what this doctor is all about.

Leslie T. Hayden, MD is with Adams Patterson Gynecology & Obstetrics. Her office is located at 1727 Kirby Parkway, Memphis, TN 38120. Learn more at or by calling 901.767.3810.

Jenna Goode opened Core Collective Broad last June after teaching Pilates in her East Memphis home since 2006.

The studio offers group classes and private Pilates training that are safe, challenging, and sustainable. Her students are of all ages at all levels of physical condition.

Jenna called the studio “Core Collective” because the core is the center of the body, and she believes that connecting to the core correction is essential to good health. While her classes are grounded in classic Pilate’s principles, they are kept interesting through variety and the creative incorporation of other disciplines. “We try to offer a balanced program,” she says. “We believe in quality over quantity. Form and technique matter more than the number of repetitions.”

“People come to me who have done Pilates before and they say ‘Wow.’ I have never worked as hard or enjoyed it as much!’” That, to her, is the key. “If you have a workout you hate, but continue to do it anyway, you’re missing an important dimension of fitness.”

“Exercise,” she concludes. “Is like brushing your teeth. Doing it regularly, and correctly, is essential.”

Core Collect Broad is Located at 2529 Broad Avenue in Memphis. Contact Jenna and her colleagues at: or by phone: 901.646.0073.


By Caroline Sposto

Photos by Tindall Stephens