Name: Sarah Cattan
Location: Louisville, KY
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
I think being a Girl Gone Strong is all-encompassing. It’s not about just being physically strong. I think being physically strong carries over in many different ways: being strong as a mother, a wife, being confident, etc.
It’s about bettering yourself in a positive manner, whether that’s through powerlifting, Crossfit, Strongman, running, etc.
How long have you been training?
I have been in the weight room since early 2013 when I started my weight loss journey from 225 pounds. I started focusing on powerlifting when I had hit the 155-pound mark around August 2014 and decided to enter a push/pull in November 2014. Coming up on my first full year of powerlifting!
How did you get introduced to strength training?
I had weight trained for about six months back in high school, and remembered how empowering it felt. After gaining a ton of weight and being motivated to get it off after having my son, I just walked up to the free weight areas without really having a plan, and if I didn’t know how to use something I would watch other people.
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Here is a sample Leg day, from Meet Prep. I trained squats two times a week usually, on Tuesday for volume and Saturdays for working up to a heavy single. I don’t do much leg accessory work. I usually start by foam rolling for 5 to 8 minutes.
135x10 , 225x5
275x12 pause squats
I am Squatzilla, I love to squat.
Most memorable PR:
Hitting a 405-pound deadlift at my first sanctioned meet in April 2015.
I had someone tell me that it would never happen for me, and I literally did it a few weeks later. That was really empowering.
I tend to channel negative energy into my training, I wish it wasn’t there of course, but I am excited to be able to push myself further with it. I also was really excited when I was able to do a pull up for the first time. That is a huge accomplishment for any female.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Oreos , My Inzer belt, blender bottle
Most embarrassing gym moment:
I sometimes have a habit of wearing underwear that may or may not look like granny panties, but you have to be comfortable. I’ve been called out a time for two for it.
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
My friend Daniel Bell, who has a 914-pound squat, trained with me the other day, and he texted me later, “Your aggression today really even still gives me chills, reminds me of the good ol' days when I was lifting heavy all the time and insanely.” That made me really happy to know that even experienced lifters can really see the passion I have for the sport of powerlifting. I love channeling my energy to the weights rather it be positive or negative energy.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I like to be very encouraging of other female lifters around me. There was a girl at a gym I usually don’t attend. I saw her squatting about 175 pounds. I tend to get curious when I see women moving big weight. I asked her if she powerlifts, and she told me she doesn’t, and I went on to tell her how impressive that was for using no belt, and went on to introduce myself.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I love being surrounded by people in the gym. I tend to hit more weight and love the energy when I have my friends around me. We don’t necessarily have to be training together, but when we are in the gym at the same time it really is empowering. I love to celebrate moving big weights with dancing, too!
This is super easy. I am a huge fan of unique cheeseburgers. My favorite one has an egg, maple syrup aioli, and pork belly, in addition to the burger patty. I love pretzel buns too.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I love to lay in my bathtub with music! I also am a big fan of occasional Old Fashioneds with friends.
“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal, that handled stress exceptionally well.”
I have a hard time picking a favorite book, but I am not going to lie to anyone. The Harry Potter series is my absolute favorite.
What inspires and motivates you?
I have a few key motivators: my son, bettering myself and my life, and I am slightly competitive. I’m also motivated by other women out there pushing themselves to their limit. I cannot wait to meet more female powerlifters. I love encouraging, teaching, and learning from each woman with whom I have the chance to train and/or compete.
What does a typical day look like for you, from waking up to bedtime?
I had to laugh at the “typical day” being a mom, weight training and working. I have a different schedule everyday. I used to train at night, but since my son has started kindergarten, I wanted to make sure I have time to spend with him at night. My heaviest workouts are generally on the weekends, and I try to squeeze in some gym sessions in the morning and at night when he is with his dad. Here is a generalization of what a day might look like:
6:30am- wake up, get Kai ready for school
7:20am- get to the gym, workout
6:00- Get Kai from school
6:30- Cook dinner
7:00- Help Kai with homework, bathe him, read stories etc
8:30- Epsom salt bath, with music, and catching up on social media
11- Hit the hay
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
I think doing actual real life lifting, taking out the trash, helping people move, being generally amazed at what our bodies are capable of. Also, flexing in mirrors is a slight habit now… Can be interesting to watch strangers laugh at you.
Next training goal:
I want to hit 455-470 pounds on squat at 165 at my meet in October, I plan to cut down to 155 to compete at 148 next year.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
I am most grateful to have a family that supports my endeavors and passions.
What life accomplishment are you most proud of thus far?
There are many things I am proud of, but the most meaningful would have to do with my son Kai. I am proud of being able to call myself independent. I am a single mom of a 5-year-old boy who is awesome, so I am absolutely proud to have a home that we can call our own.
Three words that best describe you:
Passionate, Kind, Strong
Tell us about a time when you were scared or doubtful about doing something, but then you did it and you were glad you did.
I tend to walk around very confidently, but confide in a few friends when I am doubtful. I was doubtful about powerlifting in general. Entering a sport where I come from no experience, no real guidance. No knowledge base of any other “powerlifters”, no idea what makes one a “good” powerlifter.
All I knew was my love of lifting heavy things.
I had an older gentleman at my gym encourage me to enter an unsanctioned one in November 2014, and that is how it all began. I am absolutely lucky to have run across other powerlifters and people experienced in the fitness industry, who have really taken me under their wing and have been happy to share their experiences and knowledge to help guide me in my path. I am lucky to have made tons of friends in the industry so far who have been nothing but encouraging.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
It has absolutely changed my life in that before, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I hid behind my eating habits. Lifting weights has allowed me to express myself and passion into something fun, healthy, and filled with lots of new friends.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
You should absolutely not be scared to lift heavy. Most girls who ask me for advice start with “I don’t want to get bulky, I just want to tone.”
Toning starts with a clean diet and HEAVY weights.
Sure, I might be bulkier than the average female, but I am squatting and deadlifting in the mid 400-pound range. In my opinion, I love my muscles and feel like I am still extremely feminine. If you take an average female off the street and encourage her to lift heavy, 135 pounds on the squat per se, that will not make any woman bulky, but you will get much better results with heavy weights and nutrition, than starving yourself and doing endless cardio.
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