Who Am I?

who am i

I began  fitness journey in 2001, as a junior at Clemson University. Since then, I’ve become a certified group fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates, Spinning (Star Level 2), and Piloxing. A workout junkie and health nut, I consider working out the highlight of my day, and consider being a group fitness instructor the most rewarding job in the world.

A Journey to Wellness: My Story

Throughout the past decade (and a bit), I’ve become increasingly more involved in the area of fitness. It has become my passion, and the more I’ve learned, the more focused I’ve also become on maintaining good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. I have been fortunate throughout the years to see and feel the transformations take place within my own body, and also to also share my love of fitness with others as a group fitness instructor.

But that wasn’t always the case. People often ask me what sports I played in school. At 31 years old, I am quite possibly in the best shape of my life. But until about 10 years ago, an athlete I certainly was not.

The truth is, I was a drama and glee kid who was more concerned with not messing up my hair in gym class than being in any way involved in sports. I never considered myself to be the athletic type, and I took dance classes three times a week through high school, it’s not like I was sitting on the couch doing nothing.

As a junior at Clemson University, my life as I knew it changed – at least as far as fitness is concerned. One fateful night, my roommate asked me to go running with her, and I surprised myself by running a whole two miles – yes, two miles! – and not dying. So when she asked me to join her again, I figured, why not? Before long, I started to actually kind of enjoy it. And by the next fall I was running five miles a day, almost every day (my favorite route: two miles from my apartment to campus, three miles around campus on Perimeter Road, then a two mile walk back to my apartment. A friend’s boyfriend referred to it as “the Ironman Trail.”)

Once my final semester of college rolled around, I finally worked up the courage to set foot in our campus fitness center (note: this was during the time that our fitness center was closed to undergo major renovations … thus they moved all the equipment into the old bookstore. It was kind of a frightful scene – though I hear Fike was beautiful when it opened back up the next year). I started experimenting with the weights, but truth be told, I had no clue what I was doing.

After May graduation, I went home to mom and dad, and kept up with running, but I felt like something was still missing. In September 2003, I joined my first gym. And it changed my life.

Since then, I’ve tried classes from Pilates, to yoga, to TurboKick, to Spinning, to my newest find, Piloxing. At the encouragement of several instructors throughout the years, I began teaching classes in 2007 (if you’re in the D.C. area, you can catch my Pilates, Cycling and Piloxing classes at XSport Fitness in Alexandria). I worked consistently with a personal trainer from 2008 through 2011, and the wealth of knowledge I gained during that time was only eclipsed by the changes that I saw in my body as I pushed myself harder and learned to work more efficiently.

Perhaps most importantly, during these years, I’ve truly found my passion. When I’m working out, or teaching a class, or generally even just talking about something fitness related, I feel at my best. I get a feeling of confidence that I don’t feel anywhere else (though those who take my classes may not believe it, I’m actually a very shy person).

70 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. Hello! Thanks for visiting my fitness blog (Dragon Gate Fitness) and liking my most recent post. You also have a very nice blog. I’m impressed with your dedication and willingness to spread the word on good health. From one fitness pro to another, “cheers!”

    -Reggie

  2. I hope you know how lucky you are to have found your true passion. Have been checking your blog and I would definitely come to your classes if I lived in the DC area. Lots of nice tips

  3. Hi there I really like what I have read of your blog. So far your sensible approach to fitness and healthy living is exactly what i need to hear right now. I have recently jumped back on the horse to being healthy and fit as I am turning 40 soon and I have 5 wonderful kiddos with a lot of energy that I need to keep up with. I have never been anything less then overweight in my life and I am doing all I can to change that. I also love your post about Saturdays during college football season! My husband turned me on to the beauty that is football and now i LOVE this time of year. I went to a commuter college in NYC so I never got to be a part of the college football atmosphere so but I enjoy it now.

    • Thank you so much! Glad you like what you see! Good for you in taking control and taking the steps to live a healthier life (your children will be glad to have you for many, many years to come!)
      I’m definitely football crazy. When I say that I plan my Saturday around football, I’m really not kidding! There is something about going to a school that is really big on the community aspect of the football season (which Clemson is known for) that makes you a fan for life!

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and like my posts 🙂 I’ve had a bit of a snoop around your blog and I love your dedication and passion about what you do! I’ll definitely be stopping by again. **Followed**

    Ruthy

    • Thanks so much – I absolutely think there is nothing better than being able to share what I love with other people, so I’ll keep them coming. You do the same!

    • Aw, thanks! Don’t be afraid of heavy weights, and lots of variety! You want to make those muscles burn, and hit them from several different angles – it’ll give the muscles a more balanced shape (and, like with any body part, the lower your body fat, the more you’ll see the muscles … cardio, cardio, cardio … and a mostly clean diet).

  5. Thanks for your ‘like’ Sarah. You have found your passion! I was reading Stephen Biddulph’s book ‘Manhood’ this week and he says that adolescence is a time to find out what you have a passion for. Then you need to work out how you can earn a living doing it. Great advice. I wish I had found Yoga then – some of us take a bit longer, but the journey is part of the process. Enjoy your passion in 2013 🙂

    • Same here! I didn’t find fitness until I was in my early 20s … and I didn’t fall in love with it and start to feel like it was my “calling” until I was in my mid-to-late 20s. Now I’m 32 wondering how I can make a living with it – as a full-time thing, not just a handful of classes a week (a.k.a. my sanity from my “real life”) 🙂 Best to you as well!

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  7. Thanks for your encouragement on my blog – and I’m so glad to see you’re local! I may have expand my fitness further by coming to check out some classes. It’s so inspiring to see another person who started as an absolute fitness newbie take charge and become so fit! 🙂

    • Absolutely! Definitely check out a class if you ever get a chance – we have a great time! Fitness is all about becoming a better version of you – it just depends on how much you want to accomplish, and how great you want to be. You’re capable of anything you decide is important to you!

  8. I am thinking of becoming a spin instructor..it has been something I have always wanted to do! Though I am a little confused at how you go about becoming certified and then how to get a job teaching? Do most gyms hire spin instructors regularly or did you reach out to them to see if you could start teaching a class? Any advice and/or input would be awesome! Thanks!!

    • Absolutely, you should go for it! It’s really a pretty easy process. I am certified through Mad Dogg Athletics – the original Spinning program – so that’s the one I know most about. If you go to the Spinning website (www.spinning.com), you can search for workshops in your area (there’s a link on the front page). Sign up for a one-day workshop, complete the online exam following the workshop, and once you’re approved, you’re officially certified 🙂 I feel like there are constantly new instructors at my club – Spin seems to be one of the most popular classes, and I know my gym has at least 20 cycling classes a week. I was already teaching Pilates at my club when I got certified in Spinning, so it was a matter of re-auditioning with another format; I was also taking several classes a week and asking my instructors a lot of questions, building my own playlists, and practicing them on my own (you’ll look like a crazy person talking to yourself on the bike, but I PROMISE it makes it so much easier once you actually get in front of the class and have to cue for real). Get to know your instructors and especially your group fitness manager, and let them know you’re interested, because most clubs are more likely to hire members (people they know) if they don’t have prior experience. At least that’s how I got started! Don’t hesistate to shoot me an email if you have more detailed questions – I’d be glad to answer anything you may be curious about!

  9. Pingback: I’m Just a Happier Person When I Work Out. | Strong-Fit-Beautiful

  10. Thanks for liking my first post! I love fitness and am a coach for Team Beachbody! I’d love to connect with you! I’m definitely following your blog!

    • Thank you! The first one is always the hardest, but I’m sure you have some great posts coming, yourself 🙂 Welcome to the “family” – that’s what the blog world will start to feel like for you before too long!

  11. I love your About Me! I also was not athletic in my younger years. Choir was my thing from middle school through college. I didn’t start seriously running/cycling/exercising until a couple of years ago – and I’m in my mid-30s. I look forward to exploring your blog!

    • I’m with you – I was a choir girl through college, too (I actually still use a lot of those breathing techniques with my classes)! It’s funny how much more fun exercise can be when it’s on our terms, versus high school gym class 🙂

    • I didn’t get into classes until right after I graduated … but my senior year was when they had Fike shut down for major renovations … meaning we had “Fake Fike” in the old bookstore. How things have changed!!

      • “Fake Fike” sounds miserable… I arrived there in 2005 and I guess they had just finished redoing it. It is a very nice gym, I’ve noted since graduating that most gyms are not quite that nice.

      • It was pretty terrible – but I heard it was beautiful when it was finished (I graduated in 2003, so likely 2004 it was complete).It can be tough to find a nice gym – I’m pretty lucky that the ones I work at are really nice, but I’ve also worked out in some that were almost a step up from a basement…

    • Not creepy at all! EVERYONE used to run Perimeter during my day … I used to occasionally run past then-football coach Tommy Bowden going the other way (he always said hi).

  12. So glad I came across your blog!! I live semi close to you in Ashburn, but would love to take one of your classes some day!! It sounds like you are an amazing instructor!!! Way to go!!! 🙂 Keep inspiring people!!

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