The wellness way
It’s the last Sunday in May and Sarah McCarthy is on a high – a runner’s high, that is. The personal trainer has just completed a half-marathon, 21.1 kilometres, along the coast.
COVID-19 has changed many industries, including fitness, but Sarah, founder of Wellness with Sarah, has embraced the opportunity to train individuals and groups via Zoom over the past few months – a business adaption she has taken on with irresistible zest and positivity.
Virtual training has been an interesting adaption for Sarah (“Zoom, I actually love it,” she said), but as restrictions begin to slowly lift Sarah has begun easing into small outdoor group training once again, and is back coaching teens in to be their strongest and fittest selves.Passionate, positive, selfless and bright are words friends and training participants use to describe the Lululemon ambassador, while her training sessions lend themselves to tough and challenging (trust me, I’ve done a few) but also fun and rewarding.
“I’ve always had the desire to help others and I’m very much a social person,” Sarah said.
“Working as a personal trainer allows me to tick both those boxes as well as work for myself. I grew up, by definition, poor, so working hard to allow myself the choice to live a better life came intrinsically from my less advantaged upbringing. It’s something I’m really thankful for.”
Sarah is not only a personal trainer but also a volunteer at the Andrew Love Cancer Centre, and holds multiple certificates in fitness, training and even nursing and trains students to reach the peak physical fitness at Geelong College as a strength and conditioning coach.
“I get the chance to build a really genuine rapport with so many of the students throughout their time at the college.
“I like to think I can have a positive impact during some of the most important and formative years of their life plus they keep me feeling young while also sometimes reminding me I’m not,” she says, laughing.
Each student and training participant leaves a session feeling Sarah’s positive impact while experiencing the mental and physical benefits of exercising. Sarah lives to empower people in a genuine and authentic way about the health and fitness industry through her training sessions and online.
“There are so many benefits to training, we all know this, but possibly highlighted now more so than ever are the social and mental benefits from group and personal training.
“The opportunity to socialise, working as a team or alongside each other, improves our mood and self-confidence, and the post-workout endorphin rush can instantly improve your mindset.
“Some of the physical benefits include lowering our risks of metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease while increased lean muscle makes everyday tasks easier, like carrying all the groceries in one trip!”
Her ability to inspire through fitness is felt throughout the region, and with the support of Lululemon she has delivered programs to empower males and females through her Blokes Only Program and Yeah the Girls sessions.
“Men are over-represented in suicide stats,” she said.
“The Blokes Only program I hosted with Jake Hogan, and we’ve now relaunched the program under the name Movemen.
“Jake was a bloke that started training with me and it had such a positive impact on him that we came together with the idea to create something ongoing but with the support of other trainers and health professionals.
“It started in March, so we didn’t get a full month in before restrictions started, but essentially it’s one session a week with a different trainer at a different location, although I’ll take two per month and it’s free.
“The sessions aren’t just about breaking a sweat, they’re also about giving blokes an opportunity to exercise in a safe space, and focus on how they feel. Exercise is great for elevating moods.
“Yeah the Girls was a chance to celebrate and support local women for International Women’s Day. I hosted an event with Lululemon that brought women together allowing them to move through exercise and yoga.
“The Beach House catered our dinner for us, and it gave everyone an opportunity to connect, while learning some important mindfulness techniques and listening to guest speaker Amber Dawn, founder of Non Airbrushed Me.”
Sarah’s personal definition of wellness drives her business; good nutrition to fuel training and recovery, downtime, YIN yoga and meditation to help her find calm and quiet, and catching the sunrise is her favourite way to start the day mindfully.
“Weekends with my important people is everything, though,” she adds.
A quick scroll of her Instagram (@wellness_with_sarah) provides a dose of training drills, fitness, humour and tips for life, which advises for people to “take at their own risk”.
“I always laugh when people ask me what my life philosophy is, because it’s a little grim and it sounds awful but I do live by it, in all its glory: ‘We’re all dying anyway’”.
“This philosophy came to me when I once read an interview with a terminally ill cancer patient.
“The journalist started by asking the patient ‘What’s it like to wake up every day knowing that you’re dying?’ and the patient responded with ‘What’s it like waking up every day and pretending that you’re not?’.”
For more information, head to wellnesswithsarahmccarthy.com