Hi everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful week so far. I have a new addition to the blog today, and it's something that I'm so excited about. I have an...I don't want to say obsession, but a strong interest in what has changed people's lives for the better. Why are they happier/more successful/more fulfilled than they were before? So I'd like to introduce More Well Wednesday! I'll be talking to people whose passion inspires me, and I try to get to the core of what has helped them improve their lives.
For the first More Well Wednesday, I have such a treat for you. I talked to my good friend and amazing online personal trainer Sarah, of Sarah Zimmer Fitness. She is someone who has had such an impact on my life- she helped me jumpstart my fitness journey, which piqued my interest in health and wellness...so you can thank her for Lil More Well! Our conversation delved into some dos and don'ts of fitness, finding a support system, keeping your routine fun, and the usefulness of a weightlifting practice in redecorating your home (yes, seriously). Enjoy!
(Lil) Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
(Sarah) I’m so happy to be here! I’m Sarah, I’m 24 years old, and I live in Nashville, TN. I am a personal trainer, both in person and online, and live with my husband, Chris, and our cat, Kurt. I love all things fitness, which is great since I also love to bake, and my latest obsession has been joining the Nashville roller derby team so there has been a lot of roller skating in my life these days!
What made you decide to pursue personal training as a career?
Well, the funny thing is, I was never into working out until a few years ago. I was always horribly uncoordinated, the worst at sports, and following whatever fad diets I could find in an effort to like myself and my body growing up. It wasn’t until college that I really started to focus on loving myself, fixing my nutrition, and lifting weights. I never thought it could be a career, but that was a game changer for me. When I found myself in a terrible desk job after graduation, I knew I wanted more and I committed to spending my life helping others find the confidence and self-love that I had through fitness. That’s when I decided to get certified as a trainer and the rest is history!
What does a day in the life of a personal trainer look like?
Oh boy, no day is the same in this field. As a trainer, you build your schedule around the lives of your clients so that usually means early morning and late nights, but I try to build consistency in my schedule by getting up at the same time each day, taking the time to make a filling breakfast, and heading to work around 5 or 6am. In between clients, I get in my own workout, respond to client emails, and map out programs that are specific to the needs of each client. Then it’s back to client sessions before heading home, cooking dinner with my husband, and reading or meditating before bed around 9.
Do you have a favorite kind of workout?
This changes all the time, but weightlifting was my first love and will always have my heart. There’s something about hitting a new personal record on a bench press or being able to move couches around my apartment by myself (I have a redecorating problem that Chris refuses to take part in) that makes me feel powerful and confident.
What are your suggestions for people who are interested in starting their fitness journey?
I have 2 suggestions for those who are just starting out.
Number one, just do it! There is a lot of information out there that can be overwhelming and conflicting, but deep down we all know the basics—eat better and get moving. Changes don’t have to be drastic, they just have to happen. Going for a walk or skipping soda at lunch will get you closer to your goals so don’t underestimate to power of small changes.
Second, get a buddy. The science is in and if you have someone waiting for you at the gym, you are about 70% more likely to actually stick to your workout. Who doesn’t like those odds? It is less stressful, more fun, and more likely to get you results so try to find a friend who also wants to reach some fitness goals (or look for a trainer if you can’t find one) and I can almost guarantee you will see better results than trying to take on the task by yourself.
What are some of the missteps you see people make when they’re getting started out with fitness (I’ve probably made all of them)?
Ha, I swear no one is as bad as they think when it comes to fitness. The biggest issue I see is burn out. People decide to go all in as a new year’s resolution or to prepare for an event and they go from zero to one hundred at the gym and in nutrition. This leaves them feeling deprived and worn out and that is impossible to sustain. Small changes are much more sustainable and will leave people with better progress and lifestyle changes as opposed to going all out and giving up in a month.
Other than that, I see a lot of people who struggle with proper form. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to step in because I have seen someone doing an exercise in such a way that it could really hurt them. Lifting too heavy and compensating with bad form is a recipe for injury, and I work every day to make sure my clients are informed and feel confident that they aren’t going to risk hurting themselves in the gym.
What’s the most important part of a fitness routine, especially for beginners?
The single most important part of a fitness routine, especially for beginners, is finding something that you will stick to. That sounds simple, but fitness is hard, and I can’t tell you how many clients I have had that have told me they wasted time running or lifting or doing yoga and hating every minute of it so they gave up on having an active lifestyle. You don’t have to run to be fit. You don’t have to do Crossfit to be fit. Try to incorporate some cardio, strength training, and stretching into your life, but how you do that is up to you! Roller skating, line dancing, karate, pilates, the list goes on and on. There are endless opportunities to get moving these days so find one that you like and the rest will follow!
I talk about wellness a lot- I’m always fascinated with what has helped people live better lives, whether it’s food, fitness, spirituality, or really anything at all! What has made you “more well?”
I have struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life so something that has made me more well, especially in recent months, has been a focus on meditation. Being in the moment and being able to separate myself from my emotions and from stressful situations has been crucial for staying healthy in such a busy season of my life.
Any closing thoughts, advice, favorite clients, etc?
Ha, you know you’ll always be one of my favorite clients! I think the one thing I really want people to know is that they aren’t in their fitness journey alone. It can be so hard to go out with friends or to a family dinner and not feel like the odd one out when you are trying to focus on your health, but even when it feels like the world is against you, there is someone out there who wants you to succeed. Find that support system. You deserve to feel your best and you can do this. And if you ever have any questions or just want to vent you can always reach out to me! I’m here to help with your fitness journey whether that’s through a training relationship or just chatting through email. I want you to be the “most well” version of yourself possible and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.
A GIANT thank you to Sarah for taking the time out of her crazy schedule to chat with me! If you have questions about personal training, or if you're interested in signing up with her, you can contact her through her website at www.sarahzimmerfitness.com or on Instagram as @sarahzimmerfitness. Show her some love- she does awesome work!
Until next time!