Moments of Magic: Sarah
Have you always wanted to be a personal trainer?
I just wanted to be in a role where I was helping people. I come from a long line of strong female role models. My mom is a disability care worker, my aunt is a nurse. Before I lost the weight, I would never have thought that I would ever be a personal trainer in my whole entire life. I was leaning towards social work, but then after I lost the weight (50kgs), I put two and two together and I thought, "this is what I want to be doing in my life. I want to make people feel the way that I feel every single day now that I'm living my life to the fullest."
What was your life like when you were at your biggest?
When I was at my biggest I had no self-confidence. I was really depressed, I was in a comfortable relationship, I was working in a McDonald's drive-thru. I remember I just used to always just think that that was what my life was forever going to be. I always felt the life I was living wasn't mine. I've always felt I was meant for so much more, but I was willing to settle for a very long time. Something clicked and I wanted more. I just wanted to start taking care of myself because I wasn't. Then, after that, everything flowed positive.
What was the ‘uh huh’ moment that inspired you to change your life?
I remember walking into the doctors because I kept constantly rolling my ankles and I was always getting sick.The doctor turned around and said I needed to lose weight. He said the reason I was rolling my ankles was because my body couldn’t support its weight, and the reason I was always getting sick is because I wasn’t treating my body with respect. I walked out of that appointment so angry and so mad. Then I remember calming down and thinking to myself, he's right. That's honestly what made me change. I wanted so much more from my life.
You spoke about growing up with strong female role models, did that play a part in wanting you to become a personal trainer and run your own business?
100%. At the time I was working in an optus store and a woman by the name of Hannah Van Mullen came in for a business contract because she was just starting out as a personal trainer. She just said to me “tell me a bit about yourself” and I told her a little bit about the weight I’d lost so far, which was 20kgs at the time, and she offered to take me through a personal training session.
I’d never done one before and by impulse would normally have been to say no, but there was just something about her that made me want to follow through with it and I did. That was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. She made me feel comfortable, she made me feel like I could achieve anything. So now, whenever I sit down with a new client, I always say “tell me about you”, because that’s a rarity and it doesn’t happen very often.
You ended up losing literally half of your body weight, did you have a specific goal or number on the scale you thought you’d be happy reaching?
I’d lost a bit of weight initially, but the way I lost the rest of the weight is because someone convinced me to do a bikini competition. I’d never worn a bikini before, I’d never worn heels, I’d never even had a fake tan. But I thought well why not?
I slowly started getting this newfound confidence and I was really enjoying what I was doing, plus the weight was really coming off. The competition day arrived and I’d gotten down to 55kgs and I thought once I was there I was going to be super happy. But then, I realised I was more miserable than I was when I started because I realise that that I actually needed was to fall in love with myself and take care of my body - not to look good in a bikini.
For me now, the biggest thing I want to teach my clients i that looking good is great, but if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons then that’s the point?
Do you have any client transformations that you're particularly proud of?
I can't pick someone individually because honestly, every single one of my clients is unbelievable. Even teaching group fitness and having the power to know that you’ve just left a room full of people feeling 100 times better than when they first walked in, that's a phenomenal feeling. I don't think there's anything in the world that is better than that feeling. That's the most magical moment for me, is watching someone walk out feeling better than when they first walked in. You can't put a price on that.
Where do you see yourself in five years from today?
What do I want to be doing in five years? The exact same thing. Only because it brings so much joy to my life. Bringing joy and happiness to other people's lives, brings joy into my life. I honestly can say this job makes me so unbelievably happy, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
What is it that makes you love what you do?
Watching someone actually fall in love with themselves is the most magical part of my job. Ultimately, being able to improve someone's quality of life is what I do and it’s what I love, which is why I’ll never stop.
Do you think because of what you’ve been through on your own weight loss journey, it makes you a better trainer?
I would never take back where I’ve been because it makes me so much better at my job. I honestly wouldn’t take back my journey for the world and I don’t even wish that I’d started sooner, because the lessons that I’ve learnt are priceless and have made me so much better at my job because I understand first hand what it feels like.