GGS Spotlight: Sara Sutherland


Name:   Sara Sutherland
Age: 35
Location: Aurora, Nebraska

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
That I can flex and say “Welcome to the Gun Show” any time that I want! Lifting weights fuels my mind and body to know and feel that I am a strong woman. I want to be as strong as I an be for my family, children, friends and clients. It is this strength that I feel is so powerful with this group. Everyone is supportive of one another and truly wants the best for you!

How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?
I first picked up weights in high school. But nothing serious and with really zero coaching. Then as a collegiate athlete, I was handed the football players’ strength and conditioning program. Even though we lifted several times a week as a part of practice, there was little supervision or coaching on form. So honestly, most of the time, I just ducked out! In 2011, just a few months after my wedding, I found a referral for a trainer that offered online training and nutrition.

I decided that I needed something more from myself, and I wanted something more for my body and health.

I travel for my job, and that was the best that I could do at the time. It provided me structure, it held me accountable and most importantly, it got me back into the weight room for the first time in eight years. With the exception of some time that I have taken off around the end of a two pregnancies, I have otherwise had a pretty consistent date with the iron. Also a newfound obsession for learning everything I can about proper form on lifts. It makes all of the difference in the world.

What does your typical workout look like?
Deadlifts, hip thrusts, wide variations of squats, chin ups, bench press, and bent over rows. I’ve grown to be a huge fan of complex movements to get the most out of the little time I have to spend on each workout.

Favorite Lift: Deadlift!

Most memorable PR:
In college, I remember the first time doing all of my sets with 25 pounds on each side of the barbell for bench press. I don’t remember the rep counts, but just remember feeling pretty badass with something on the bar other than 10-pound plates.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
I’m a heavy rock/metal type of gal!

  1. Disturbed “Down with the Sickness”
  2. Mudvayne “Scream with Me”
  3. Shinedown “Sounds of Madness”
  4. All That Remains “Two Weeks”
  5. Drowning Pool “Soldiers”

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:

  • My iPod (I leave my phone in the locker).
  • My Vibrams Five Fingers shoes. I don’t wear anything else.
  • Protein Shake and rice cakes for post workout meal.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Weight room: Alone. I don’t like waste time talking. In the rare occasion that I’m doing cardio, I love being with a group. It helps push me to run faster.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:
My husband, Dane, is amazing. We were just home from the hospital with our second baby, and he looks at me and says, “You are a great mom.” Best… compliment… ever!

Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I love telling my clients that they are lifting more weight and getting stronger! Most of the time they do not notice how much weight I will load onto the bar, but I know and am super proud of them when they push/pull it.

Favorite meal:
Pizza! And also roasted brussel sprouts. Sometimes I’ll have them together, and it is pure joy. I also make a shredded chicken/sweet brown rice/broccoli/grass-fed butter bowl that is pretty amazing, too.

Favorite quote:
“Go big or go home.”

Favorite book:
Davinci Code by Dan Brown

What inspires and motivates you?
Working hard to inspire others. It makes it all worth it.

What do you do?
Online personal trainer and nutrition coach. I spent four years training in a gym and with two little ones at home. I do not want to miss a single moment with them, so have moved all of my business to online to have the best of all worlds.

What else do you do?
I love playing sports! Softball and volleyball mostly anymore. I also love live concerts and we are season tickets holders for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs, so we are out at the stadiums a lot.

Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
Right now, my schedule is all over the board. I have a one-month-old and a two-year-old, so wake up time totally depends on when they each get up! It starts with breakfast, for everyone. It is the most important meal of the day, and too often it is overlooked as people rush out the door.

Lunch: 11am

Kids nap time: 12pm

Mommy time: 12:30pm-2:30pm. I usually spend time this working on my online training business, building out new content, and writing blogs for fitness magazines. This is also the time slot that I’m now going to start working in some workouts. Just 30 minutes a day to start consisting of some pelvic floor restoration exercises and light lifting.

3:30pm - Snack time

5pm - Dinner

6:30pm - Kids bedtime

7pm - Back to work for me! Or just take the evening to spend time with my husband. The days get a little crazy, and we do not get a chance to talk much so this is a good time to catch up. I’d like to start getting in a little more cardio while I’m building back up to heavier weights, so we will start doing POUND in our basement. I’m a certified POUND Pro instructor, and I am totally hooked. I love cardio that doesn’t feel like cardio and goes by super fast! POUND does both for me!

Your next training goal:
Post-baby photo shoots in Toronto in June 2017! I’m excited to celebrate my body after baby, document the journey along the way, and hopefully inspire other moms that it is 100 percent possible to take care of yourself and your family.

What are you most grateful for?
My husband, and my amazing children!

Which three words that best describe you?
Never gives up.

What’s a risk you’ve taken recently, and how did it turn out?
We are renovating a building for our gym and also in the process of purchasing another business. When you are an entrepreneur, there are a lot of times when you make decision that you have no idea how it will turn out. That is what makes the whole process so great. Seeing what works and what doesn’t, and pay attention enough to not make the same choices twice if they do not work out as planned. These are all huge risks, but we believe in what we are doing and the value we will be able to bring to our community, so we are confident that everything will turn out as planned.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
The inspiration it has provided to others.

At first, people ask you “why?” Once they see what you have done, they all want to know “how!”

How has lifting weights changed your life?
In every way possible. I was down the path of a career saleswoman and corporate road warrior. It was a great life, but also not super easy to eat well and work out consistently.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training?
Just do it! Find a good coach to help you with form and proper nutrition, and push yourself to lift more to gain strength. Do not be afraid of lifting heavy. It is impossible to accidentally end up looking like a bodybuilder. The internal strength and pride you get from seeing what your body can accomplish is priceless!

Why do you love Girls Gone Strong?
Girls Gone Strong is a such a strong community of women supporting women to be the best versions of themselves. I am not much of a feminist, I believe that every individual is capable of being as strong as they want to be regardless of gender. However, there are some interesting societal expectations that women feel the brunt of more than men, and our bodies are just different. The quality and honesty of the content that is delivered through Girls Gone Strong is absolutely superior and completely relevant to just about every aspect of being a woman. I absolutely love being a Girl Gone Strong, and I encourage every female, regardless of age, to start the chapter of being strong! It is a life-changing experience!

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GGS is an organization dedicated to empowering women. We do this by creating world-leading resources, and educational materials that help women, and health & fitness professionals who work with women, take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

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