Today on Fit Mama Friday, meet Sarah – the lucky mama to three wild, high-energy and gorgeous boys, Ethan, 7, Graham, 5 and Cole, 3. Married to her husband Peter for nearly 9 years, Sarah is a stay-at-home-mom to her sons. Sarah has always been fit, but is definitely in the best shape of her life now! Just about to celebrate her milestone 40th birthday, with three young children, Sarah works hard to stay fit and strong.
Sarah, you were already fit prior to having kids, is that right?
I was fit prior to having kids, but definitely not as fit as I am now. Luckily, I have never struggled with my weight, but I have always led an active and healthy lifestyle. However, at this point in my life, with 3 young kids and turning 40 in a couple weeks, I am more aware of the overall benefits of being fit. My husband thinks I look better in a bikini now, than I did when we started dating 11 years ago!
And tell me about your pregnancies – did you work out while you were pregnant with each of your boys?
I continued being active during all three of my pregnancies. Through each I practiced yoga and continued with light weight training, always with a trainer and with my doctor’s okay. Also, living in New York, walking is a normal part of daily life. I walk miles a day just running errands, so walking was a constant source of cardio while I was pregnant.
Being a New Yorker definitely helps with daily cardio! So, tell us about your workout schedule now. I know you’re a client at my friend Hannah’s company, Gotham Versatile Training. What do you do to stay fit?
My workouts change throughout the year. During the Fall, Winter and Spring, I work out with my trainer James LaFaro, of Gotham VT in New York City three times a week. We mostly concentrate on strength training, incorporating kettlebells, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, etc. We also do speed and agility movements. He does a good job of mixing up the exercises to keep me challenged and motivated.
For cardio, this past year I discovered Soul Cycle, which is a great addition to my cardio routine. Along with my three weekly workouts with James, I go to Soul Cycle one or two days a week. After I drop my kids off at school, I take a leisurely walk to the studio and then spend the next 45 minutes sweating my butt off. Soul Cycle for me is a complete escape– loud music, high intensity full-body workout, inspirational coaching. I wasn’t expecting it, but I found it to be just as good for my mind as it was for my body. I walk out with a clear head.
I’m happy I discovered Soul Cycle for cardio, since I don’t always want to go out for a jog. Being a California girl, I cannot tolerate jogging in the cold. And jogging in traffic is not fun either! So, only on days with perfect weather conditions will you find me jogging on the East River. Otherwise, I’ll hop on the treadmill once a week. Maybe. Or maybe not!
That’s great you found a workout you really enjoy. It’s so important to do something love for exercise, or it’s too easy to skip it! So, that’s during Fall to Spring – what’s your fitness routine in the Summer like?
My exercise routine totally changes in the summer, as we leave the city and head to Montauk. No James, No Soul Cycle. For 11 weeks, I kind of wing it. And I’m not a great self motivator.
I grew up playing tennis and am a very happy person when I get to play! I try to play four or five times a week during the summer, but it depends on the kids’ schedule. I find that the work I do with James in the city really benefits me on the court. The kettlebell work, the squats, and especially the speed and agility work.
I have to admit, I have really loved jogging outdoors this summer, mainly because the weather is pleasant, the scenery is beautiful, there’s no traffic and exhaust, and there are no people to dodge. I’m also fitter thanks to working out with James. I also use the Nike Running app, because I like to track my distance and I’ve found that I am very competitive with myself, which keeps me motivated.
I did TRX this summer for the first time – and hope to continue that when I get back to the city. Just a couple of sessions and I could feel my muscles getting harder!
I’m guessing your boys are all in school now, so that must make it easier to schedule your workouts. A lot of my Fit Mama Friday mamas get their exercise done first thing in the morning – do you do the same?
My schedule is pretty crazy with 3 little boys! But, I have made exercise a priority in my day. I am SO not a morning person, so there’s not a chance of me exercising before the kids are up. I wish I was. But, I’ve fallen into a very nice routine of dropping the kids off at school and heading straight to exercise. I definitely feel guilty when I skip a workout, but if I plan my weeks out properly, I have time to do what I want. I benefit from a routine – once I get started, I want to keep the routine going.
Two to three days are with James, and two to three days of cardio. And between running kids around, doing errands, etc. I walk several miles a day. Usually I don’t exercise on the weekends because that is just 100% family time.
I love that – I try to get the majority of my workouts done during the week as well to keep weekends for family. Tell me about what drives you to stay fit and healthy. Is it for energy, health, aesthetics, or all of that combined?
I work out because I feel better when I do. I feel better physically, mentally, and aesthetically. I am a better mom if I’ve had a great jog or a Soul Cycle session. I also work out to manage my stress levels. And yes, frankly, I want to look good too!
The physical benefits are apparent and great. But more important for me are the mental benefits of working out. I am less stressed after a long run or Soul Cycle ride, or a rough morning with the kids can be turned around by throwing a medicine ball around. Unfortunately, my patience with the kids is often times short, but when I workout it’s a little bit longer!
What about eating habits – does nutrition play a big part in staying healthy for you?
I have always been health conscious. It’s my natural inclination to eat whole, unprocessed foods. That’s not to say I don’t indulge in sweets – I certainly do, and don’t normally turn down desserts while dining in a restaurant. Over the past couple years, my husband and I have transitioned our diets to mostly pescatarian. The only meat I cook at home is fish and our plates are filled mostly with veggies. We definitely will indulge in steaks or hamburgers, but not often. I find a big connection between what I eat and how it makes me feel, for that reason I really enjoy eating clean. I believe that moderation is key.
Also, I incorporate cleanses into my diet every few months. Blueprint juice cleanses are great. I like to do a 3 or 5 day juice cleanse – it floods your system with nutrients and antioxidants, while giving your digestive system a break. Last January, I did the Clean 3-week elimination diet and never felt better.
Is your whole family fit? Has your healthy lifestyle rubbed off on them?
Yes – my husband Peter is an extremely busy commercial real estate broker. He usually isn’t home until about 8pm, so his only time to workout is in the morning. He’s at the gym every morning from 7-8. He now also works out with James a couple times a week and has upped his strength training significantly.
Our three boys are totally into fitness. Push up and pull-up contests and running races are a norm in our house. The two older boys’ after school and weekend schedules are booked with gymnastics, football, tennis and soccer. I also love that my boys will come to gym with me if they happen to have the day off school. They love playing with the different pieces of equipment and James will give them a kid-safe workout!
That’s so awesome! I love that they want to be just like mama! So, what’s next – I know you mentioned you want to incorporate more TRX into your workouts now summer is over. Any other upcoming fitness goals?
Now that summer is ending and I’m heading back to the city, I’m definitely starting to think about my goals for the year. At this point, I have lost muscle mass because of the change in my workout. I’m motivated to get back with James and get my muscles back! I also want to get back into yoga. The few yoga classes I took this summer made me feel amazing and strong, both mentally and physically. I need to incorporate that back into my routine, for sure.
Nutrition-wise, I’m going to commit to not picking at the kids’ food while I’m cooking their dinner, and I am going to start my days with some kind of green juice every morning.
And, James is making me do a Tough Mudder race in mid-October. I know I can physically do it… it’s the mental aspect that worries me. But, what a way to ring in a new decade!
Thanks so much for being on Fit Mama Friday, Sarah! A very happy 40th birthday to you and good luck with the Tough Mudder! I’m sure it will be a ball!