Name: Sara Mendelsohn
Age: 24 years old
City and State: Reno, Nevada
Profession: Personal Trainer, Online Trainer and Health Coach
Mission Statement: To successfully transform the women’s fitness industry into a positive and supportive environment. Create a place where women can feel comfortable enough to talk openly about their bodies and what we are capable of physically and mentally.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
Sara Mendelsohn has achieved the type of success that many people aim for their entire life. This young fitness enthusiast is not only an NPC Bikini Champion, but she has her own online personal training business, and she is also a fitness model.
She is especially focused on creating training programs for women, since she feels there is more emphasis placed on fitness programs for men.
On top of it all, Sara is a also a certified chef and she loves to prepare healthy meals to keep herself looking fit, and she also prepares healthy meals for her family and for others.
She has nearly 5,000 followers on Instagram and she keeps them motivated to stay fit with the training videos she posts there.
We were thrilled when she accepted to be interviewed here, and we know you will enjoy reading and getting to know Sara much better.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
Tell us briefly about you – your background, where you went to school, your family, your hobbies or interests, anything you want to share with readers.
I was born and raised in Reno, NV. I have lived in Prescott, AZ and Norman OK, but now I reside close to my family in Reno, NV. I love my family, I have three younger brothers. Growing up in a house with all boys has made me tough and easy going. I have a very positive and open relationship with my family and we all live a healthy and fit life. All three of my brothers have told me that I inspire them in the fitness world. The oldest of the three, Nick does cross fit, John plays rugby for UNR, and the youngest, Jack, plays lacrosse. They, too, inspire me to keep striving to be better and pursue my passion of starting my own fitness business. My parents are hands down, the most amazing people in the world. I owe much if not all of my success so far to them; their patience and support are immeasurable, they go above and beyond to help me reach my dreams and I can only hope that one day I can repay them for all their love.
Culinary arts is a passion of mine; I love to bake and cook for others, my family, and myself whenever possible. I can spend hours in the kitchen creating new recipes and trying out different ingredients. This love of being creative in the kitchen naturally also translates to the gym; I feel they both go hand in hand. A great day for me starts out by going into the gym with a clear mind; not having any idea what I am going to do that day, just letting my intuition take over. Ideas flood into my head as I examine the equipment in the room; it is something that comes so naturally and easily for me. I can spend hours in the gym making videos and designing new workouts and movements. I truly love and have passion for what I do and every day I strive to be more creative and efficient; fine tuning my ideas and creations like it’s an art. Other than creating workout videos, training and creating recipes, I love to read, hike, meditate and watch movies; any movie by Wes Anderson has my heart.
My goal as a trainer is to teach people how to take control of their own lives and not be dependent upon a trainer, or anyone for that matter. I highly recommend purchasing my programs and sessions with me; it is worthwhile and the programs contain vital information and amazing workouts to jump start your fitness journey. These workouts can be used over and over again, alternated and switched around to create whole, new workouts customized for you. However, even though independence is something to strive for, people (women in particular), should absolutely subscribe to my site so they can constantly be educating themselves and continue to stay motivated; after all, you should never stop learning. The information I give out is to help people learn how to build their own workouts, cook with confidence and listen their intuition and body. Although anyone can do my programs and find my information useful, it is tailored more specifically for women. I want to develop a community and website where women feel empowered and lift each other up. I believe the fitness world is still somewhat new for women, and a lot of programs are created by men and usually for men. I want women to know that there are programs out there specifically for them, and to be able to come to a community where we can all feel comfortable talking about training, health concerns, and even our menstrual cycles and how we can eat and train with our bodies, and not against them.
I am a NESTA certified personal trainer, TRX instructor, body sculpt instructor, fitness coordinator, and personal chef. I write online programs and am currently building my website for people to subscribe to. I was never into sports in high school; in fact I was sort of an outsider and never really fit in anywhere. After I graduated high school I had a rough time. It took some traumatic life events to make me realize I was headed down the wrong path. But I truly found myself when I started my health and fitness journey, and in a way it was a healing power that overcame me. I went to Culinary School in Reno, NV and fell in love with cooking and eating healthy. I started lifting and going to the gym regularly, and after about a year of consistent training, I decided to become a personal trainer and passed within three months of studying with flying colors. I would spend hours a day looking up workouts and reading about nutrition and training. I was inspired most by Jessie Hilgenberg, Mike Rashid, Jim Stoppanni and Jon Keifer. People started to notice my workouts and the transformation in my body, so I started to compete, and it only got better from there. While living in Oklahoma I became a successful personal trainer, class instructor and fitness coordinator. After winning my first show, I decided to stop going to school for Business, move back home and start my own business.
Fitness has not only given me a nice body, but more importantly it has taught me to love myself, to be patient, disciplined, and thoughtful about my actions. It has made me mentally stronger than I have ever been in my life. This mental strength has translated into so many other areas of my life, making me a better person all around.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
On Instagram you list many fitness activities that you are involved in such as NPC Competitor, Burpee Queen, and Fitness Model. Tell us some more about each of these and why you identify with them so strongly.
I am an NPC Bikini Competitor, I placed 1st in Novice, won the Overall, and placed 3rd in Open in my first Bikini Show last year in 2016 at the UBC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before that, I did Figure in AZ and placed 5th in my first Figure show in 2015. I am currently on track to do three Bikini shows this year, starting in June. Competing tests my discipline and will power; I love it, and I love the process every time. Each time I do a show I become better and I always learn something new; putting myself through the training and diet is mentally and physically rewarding and has made me realize you never stop learning.
I started doing fitness modeling this year (2017) and I work with my LA photographer Nick Uzunyan. I also work with FitnessModels.com, where other photographers who want to hire me can contact me through the site. Modeling is very exciting for me and allows me to constantly test my discipline, requiring me to be photo shoot and show ready year around. I am very open, free -spirited and love to be original when modeling; I think it’s important to always try new things and step out of your comfort zone.
I am the Burpee Queen! I will turn anything into a burpee. The nickname came about by accident when I was training a group of clients and they started calling themselves “Sara’s Burpee Queens” because, you guessed it, I was making them do so many burpees. I love burpees for several reasons. First of all, it works your entire body and especially your core, which is so important when it comes to strength training. Secondly, adding extra movements to burpees such as rows, mountain climbers, shoulder press, etc., challenges you not only physically, but mentally as well. Burpees have given me a toned physique; have made me quicker in my movements, stronger and leaner. Not to mention, they are so fun! I love going into the gym and thinking “What can I do to turn this into a burpee? How can I challenge myself more than I did yesterday?” After all, that’s how you get better.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
You are also a Personal Trainer and Health Coach. Explain to us what you do in each of these roles and what your goals are for your clients.
Being a health coach I try my best to teach my clients and followers that eating and cooking healthy is enjoyable and delicious. There are so many things you can do in the kitchen! I find that eating at home I save more money and I am able to create enticing, colorful, and healthy food. On my website, I discuss things like where to grocery shop, my favorite products, my recipes, talk about food substitutions, macronutrients and micronutrients, and even how women can eat certain foods in align with their hormones for a healthy menstrual cycle.
As a personal and online trainer, I want to teach people how to work out safely but also how to design their own workouts. I want my clients and followers to use my information to better their lives and not have to be dependent upon someone in order to pursue their health and fitness dreams; no matter what it may be. For one woman, it may be to do a competition, but for someone else it may be to lose the baby weight. Everyone has different goals, but all of these goals should turn into lifestyles if you really want to succeed and keep on going. If you can learn how to eat healthy, workout properly, and find motivation and discipline within yourself, you won’t need to continuously purchase programs, always searching for answers. I hope that after someone finishes one of my programs that they are inspired and educated enough to take control of their new lifestyle. I highly recommend subscribing to my site to stay motivated so you can always be learning new information; but also remember to trust your intuition and your body. Nobody knows it better than you. My goal for all my clients is to turn all of this foreign information into a known lifestyle.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
Share with us some of the workout routines you follow every week to stay in shape.
Like I said before, I always do burpees or high intensity movements. I also do a lot of compound heavy movements combined with HIIT activity. I like to keep my reps high, even for as heavy as I go. My cardio will range depending how I feel, but I love the Stair Master and will constantly change it up by adding weight or resistance bands. I usually do cardio for 30 minutes to an hour, but during prep, will do anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
If someone is out of shape and wants to start working out, what advice would you give them?
If someone is out of shape and wants to start working out, it may sound cliché, but just do it. You have to let go of fear and doubt and trust your instincts, and for the first couple of weeks, you almost have to force yourself to do it until it comes naturally. That’s where discipline comes in; practice that discipline. Every time I am “too tired” or I have friends that invite me out for a movie when I should go to the gym, I think to myself, “How bad do I want it?” If you want something bad enough, you will make time for it. Always have your end goal in mind. That piece of cake will be there tomorrow, so say no. That movie can wait until an hour later, but your time NOW will not be there tomorrow and cannot be pushed back another hour. Act now before time passes you by.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
Besides working out at the gym do you practice any sports?
I do not practice any sports! When I go on vacation I love to go running, hiking and workout outside to remain active. I will constantly stay moving, especially outdoors if the weather is nice, but designing workouts is my practice, along with competing.
Do you take supplements – why or why not?
I do take supplements! I take them because they fuel my workouts and provide me with the remainder of the nutrients that I can’t get from my food. As a personal trainer and competitor, I find it vital to aid your workouts and nutrition plans with the appropriate supplements. Because I want to be as healthy and natural as possible, I take Le-Vel supplements. They are organic, non-GMO and gluten free. I am in love with their protein, which is full of pre and pro-biotics, it is the best tasting protein powder I have ever had, and I also bake with it all the time. I personally take the Vanilla Lifestyle Protein twice a day along with their multi-vitamins. I also supplement my workouts with creatine and BCAA’s everyday too, which I find crucial for muscle recovery and energy. You can purchase supplements through me by visiting: smfitness.le-vel.com
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
What are your eating habits and what do you drink to keep your body hydrated?
I do intermittent fasting, which means I don’t eat until 4 pm everyday and I give myself a 6 to 8 hour feeding window. Doing this allows me to enjoy food and drinks with my friends without having to feel guilty or fall off my diet. I break my fast with high fat and high protein and end my fast with high carbohydrates and high protein. Every night I make my own high protein desserts and eat ice cream! You should enjoy your diet and training program; after all, it is a lifestyle. It is totally possible to have the body you desire while enjoying yourself and those around you. Throughout the day, I drink black coffee with coconut oil, green tea and lots of water.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
You also love to travel. Is this for business or pleasure or both? Share with us one of your most memorable trips.
I love to travel and I do it for both pleasure and business. Growing up and being in my early twenties, I have realized you only live once and opportunities come and go, and they go very quickly. I am grabbing every opportunity I can; I never want to live with regret. Having this mindset has allowed me to pursue part of my passions in the fitness industry through traveling; I go for everything I do with 100% effort and I do not look back. I travel to network with other like-minded people and explore new opportunities while creating new ones along the way. By traveling, even if it is just to another state, I broaden my experience, knowledge, and understanding. I also meet so many new people; it is both rewarding personally and professionally. By always keeping an open mind and staying positive, the universe truly does open so many doors for me.
I have had many memorable trips that have touched me personally and I will never forget those moments. However, my most memorable trip for my business thus far was my trip to Los Angeles, California where I worked with photographer Nick Uziyan. We are both pursuing our dreams and are helping each other build each other’s profiles and businesses. We worked long and hard for six days taking different photos in the rain, mountains, the gym, and spent late nights editing and putting together new and exciting ideas. These are the kind of people I love to meet and work with. I feel it is so important to give more than you could ever take in order to be successful. Helping others reach their potential and success sometimes feels more rewarding than reaching your own potential. I was very lucky to have met Nick and will be working with him much more in the future as we both better our professions.
Do you have an online personal training business? What do you think about the boom that this has caused in the last few years?
My website will be up and running by the beginning of summer, if not sooner. Subscribers will have access to countless full length workout videos, fitness information, health and diet tips, grocery lists, NPC prep, women’s health, and so much more. My programs will be offered on there as well, but they can be purchased now by contacting me through email or Instagram. I believe the rise in online training is becoming so popular simply because everyone is always online. It is much more convenient to have an online trainer and information available to you at your finger tips, so no matter where you are, you can work out and eat healthy with the right advice. As a trainer, I want to make this information as readily available as possible and my website will be mobile friendly.
(Photo: Nick Uzunyan)
What is your greatest accomplishment so far, and what are you looking forward to next?
My greatest accomplishment so far is taking the leap of faith to pursue my own business with the intensity that I have so far. It has been scary and it is a lot of work, but it is worth every second of my time. I do one on one and group training in the gym, on the track and I even do house calls to people’s homes. I also am a private chef and meal prep for families and clients. I find that I touch other people’s lives in a positive light by sharing my passion with honest and raw information. So many of my clients and friends have already told me how much I have affected their lives in an affirmative way, and I can’t wait to spread that light further through my growing social media accounts, my website and my programs. I am looking forward to the growth of my business, clients and customers. I can’t say enough how genuinely excited and happy I am to share my ideas, recipes, positivity, and workouts and watch my audience come together and lift each other up with all these confident movements.
Is there anything else that you want to share with us?
“There are no such things as accidents. Each event is called to yourself by yourself in order that you might experience who you really are.” – N.D. Walsch
I love this quote – I probably read it every day. I am a huge believer in positive energy and calling events onto yourself. I feel I am a very fortunate person in this life, and there are bigger and worse things happening to others than things that have happened to me; but I do believe in overcoming hard times with the right mindset. I have learned that every hard or rough time that has occurred in my life, I have unconsciously called upon myself. By pushing through, staying strong and not letting negativity take me over; being positive, consciously aware and thinking forward has always launched me into the right direction; making me a better, more confident, lovable and happier person than I ever thought I could be. This type of thinking is vital to be successful, not just during your health journey, but in every journey you take throughout life, in order to fully become yourself.
What an awesome interview Sara! Thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us. We are certain that your online personal training business will be extremely successful, and you will lead other women to become healthier and looking their fittest ever.