Friendly Feature time! This week, you’re all going to meet Sara. She’s transformed her life and is now a Crossfit addict, a Beachbody coach and ready to help others achieve their fitness goals! Introducing… Sara!
Tell the readers about yourself
I’m Sara and I just turned 28. I’m a desk jockey by day, facilitating the marketing and programming of global webcasts for pharmaceutical companies, and a Crossfitting enthusiast by night. Fun fact is I travel religiously – In the past 4 years I’ve been to 13 countries and 7 big cities outside of MA.
What does a typical day look like for you from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed?
I’m up by 5:30AM and in the car by quarter of 7 – I live in the city of Boston but work in Burlington, MA, so my commute through the city to the north shore is a complete nightmare. I work a full day, typically on the phone with clients from as close as Cambridge and as far away as India, discussing new products and new pharmaceutical regulations. If you need to know about Obamacare, I’m your girl. I usually head to Crossfit at Crossfit Woburn for the 5PM class, workout for an hour, and depending on my mood, head to Blast Fitness in Medford for a run or brave the 6PM traffic through the clusterfluff that is the O‘Neill tunnel to get home. Once home, I’ll usually whip up something paleo, shower, watch an episode of Love It or List It (whatever, I love HGTV), or scare myself with an episode of Game of Thrones, and I’m dead to the world by 10PM.
Tell us about your transformation story.
I was a cheerleader for… like, my entire life. I never really thought about having to go to the gym because I was always so physically active. When I was 21 my family moved 800 miles away to Raleigh, NC, and because I was still in college, I moved out on my own with my boyfriend at the time. I got really caught up in unhealthy eating – so much of crap food is just so easy to prep and eat, and I was working full time and going to school full time, and I didn’t consider the calories or what I was actually consuming. In the fall of 2011, I was in my sister-in-law’s wedding, and when we got the pictures back, I was just so disgusted with myself. So I started going to a bootcamp class at 5AM 3 days a week. In January of 2012, we started this bootcamp fitness challenge, and I went straight balls to the wall on fitness. I lost a ton of weight and ran my first 5k. I won the challenge that April. That year, I ended up running 14 races, including 4 mud runs, a 10k, and a 10 miler. And I started working out additionally with the trainer who ran the bootcamp classes at his gym, building muscle. By the fall of 2012, I was ready to make a change, so I started going to some Crossfit classes at AE Crossfit in Woburn, and I fell in love with it.
CrossFit is a big part of your life – can you tell the readers how you got into it and what you love about it?
I’d been hearing about Crossfit for a good long time. It was one of those “classes” that I’d been scared of taking, because I was never the type of girl who pictured herself with a barbell. I was scared to pick up dumbbells, because I always thought that heavy weights = bulking up. But then I started. My first WOD (workout of the day) killed me. Like, DESTROYED me. I thought I was in good shape? Yeah, no. I’m a girl who doesn’t want anything to defeat her, and this was the challenge that I had been looking for. There’s a meme that says something like “the day you start lifting is the worst day of your life – because from that day on, you’ll never be as strong as you want to be”. So true for me. Hitting a PR (personal record) in a weight is SO rewarding for me. But hitting that doesn’t stop me – because now I want to go heavier next time.
Have you competed in any CrossFit competitions?
I’ve competed in 2 competitions, both as a partner. Crossfit is broken into 2 sections – RX’s (the prescribed weight) and scaled (a modified weight). My first comp I did with a girlfriend, and we won the scaled division. The second comp I did with a guyfriend, and we came in second to last as RX. Only makes me want to be better so next time, maybe we can be third to last.
What does a typical meal plan look like for you?
I eat 90/10 paleo. Basically I allow myself one cheat meal a week. Paleo is removing all grain, dairy, legumes, sugar, and processed anything from your diet. I eat 6 meals a day. On a regular day, I’ll eat 2 egg whites in the morning, scrambled with water, cooked in coconut oil. When I get to work, I’ll eat half a banana and walnuts or almonds. For lunch, a HUGE spinach and romaine salad with 4 ounces of grilled chicken, tons of veggies, with EVOO and vinegar. Before crossfit, depending on my mood, either a small green apple with a tbsp of almond butter or carrot sticks and guacamole. For dinner, 6 ounces of protein (steak or chicken or shrimp, usually) grilled or steamed veggies, and sometimes roasted sweet potatoes or brussel sprouts. Last meal of the day is usually a scoop of almond butter on a spoon (don’t judge me, lol). I also drink at least half my body weight in ounces in water per day – and sometimes more. Being adequately hydrated can aid in your performance by up to 18%.
How has your journey led you to pursue a personal training certification? What else are you doing that is currently in the health/fitness field?
I’ve been talking about personal training since I started bootcamp. I loved everything about it, and since I was a cheerleader in the past, I think I’m good at encouraging others to keep going. Several times, my bootcamp instructor would go on vacation, and I’d take over his planning and run the 5 and 6AM classes before work, and I loooooved it. Structuring the workouts, planning the music, yelling at people to keep going, was really fun for me. I also just got into being a Beachbody coach, and I’m slowly ramping up into that.
Who/what is your biggest motivator? I’m really my own biggest motivator. I’m a big proponent of being your own cheerleader. No one else is going to make you get off the couch and go run. No one else is going to tell you to get a salad instead of pizza for lunch. No one else is living in your body besides you – YOU have to want to be healthy and make good choices on your own. I refuse to count on someone else to motivate me – because what happens when that person isn’t there? It’s up to you.
What is your advice to those who are struggling to get into a groove of a healthy lifestyle?
As much as we would all love it to be, it’s not an overnight process. There’s no miracle workout or meal plan. There’s no weight loss drug or shake that will make you skinny or fit by tomorrow. And you have to keep reminding yourself of that. It’s OK to fail sometimes – maybe eat 2 cheat meals a week or miss 2 workouts in a row. It’s ok – because failing means that you’re still trying. But you have to persist. A lot of things come up in the way of fitness – injuries, sickness, lots of stuff going on at work, etc. But that doesn’t mean you should stop. An hour workout is 4% of your entire day. A healthy meal takes just as long to prep as heating up the stove and throwing in a pizza. If your shoulder hurts, work on legs. If you feel the sniffles coming on, take a Tylenol Cold and go run outside. Tough work stuff? Sweat out your aggression on that dumb guy in sales – it’ll make you feel way better and less guilty than hammering back a few beers. If you have time to sit down and watch TV or go online, you have time to put on your running shoes and get a workout in. Don’t make excuses.
You can find me reblogging tons of fitness and health stuff and sometimes mentioning my own workouts at: