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Fit For Success


sarah smallName: Sarah Hodgson
Age: 28
Job: Project Coordinator for Carillion – I work about 45 hours a week
Where you live: Limehouse, London
Have you any kids? No
Are you married? No
height and weight? 163cm tall and weigh around 63kg
BMI 23.7
Exercise diary 
The absolute minimum exercise I do is four times per week in one hour sessions – three crossfit sessions and one spin class. A more typical week would also include a class dedicated to Olympic lifting, another spin class, a commercial jazz dance class and I’ve recently started a boxing class. I enjoy exercise that is sociable as you can see!
sarah full body

I took up Crossfit in October, but prior to that I was a regular gym goer for many years and did a mix of resistance and cardio programs – I’d quite often be the only woman in the weights section. I was a big fan of interval training when it came to cardio as I find long bouts of repetitive exercise boring and I HATE running! Sprints are fine but the thought of a long distance run fills me with horror! If I’m exercising in a gym environment these days I will include things like Tabata intervals and compound resistance exercises that work a lot of muscles at the same time.

As a child and young adult I used to dance and I was always more interested in the physicality of movement and how strong dancers have to be, rather than the creative or artistic elements and I think this is now reflected in my love of fitness. I still dance now, just for fun.
Who’s your fitness inspiration?
I admire Jessica Ennis-Hill. She is a similar age to me and it’s encouraging to see someone who isn’t scrawny and stick thin and famous for no real reason. She put hard work and dedication into getting where she is and the fact she is multidisciplines when it comes to sports makes her even more inspiring. She has a fantastic toned body and yes, she has muscley thighs and powerful shoulders but I love that. I think she looks great and is a far better role model than a size zero pop star with an eating disorder. Plus she’s northern like me!
Were you ever overweight?
I allowed myself to put on about eight kilos while I was travelling and working abroad, thanks to bad eating habits and lack of exercise which to me was overweight and I hated it.
What do you credit for getting you healthy?
I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and I felt like crap. I settled in Melbourne, Australia after travelling for nine months and figured it was time to get back into a routine. I was lucky enough to make friends with people who also enjoyed exercise so I always had someone to go to a class or the gym with. My cousin was a big help as she lives over there and knew an awesome boxing class to go to and encouraged me to go with her.
photo 4
Through trial and error I’ve learned that eating the way I do now allows me to function at my best, even though my diet may not appear all that exciting to most people. Eating for health and nutrition is definitely a lifestyle choice that you have to commit to.  My ‘old’ diet contained a lot of starchy carbs, and even though I only ever ate wholegrains I found foods like whole wheat bread and pasta and brown rice still sent my blood sugar all over the place and my energy and moods followed the exact same pattern.

A lot my family are overweight and/or struggle with their weight and my aunt now has type two diabetes. Watching how being overweight affects their lives is enough to stop me wanting to go down the same path

What do you eat then? As I exercise a lot I take into account that I am eating to repair and refuel my body on a daily basis, as well as having to make sure I get through my work day so I eat along the lines of the Paleo diet; lots of seasonal veg, lean meats, fish, eggs and some fruit and nuts. In every meal and snack I try to incorporate a balance of lean protein, good fat and carbs. I avoid wheat, dairy and refined sugar as much as I can but when it’s not possible I stick to wholegrains and dairy products that are as natural as possible, (no ‘low fat’ dairy products – they’re just full of sugar instead.) My colleagues often comment on how much I eat because I try to eat regularly to keep my energy steady, so it appears that I’m eating all the time.

Sometimes when I’m travelling to meetings and I’m faced with a train buffet car to purchase my next meal from, it’s a case of picking the best of a bad lot. I rarely leave the house without some form of snack in my handbag, just in case I get hungry and I can’t find a paleo friendly snack. I used to be seriously addicted to skinny lattes but now I stick to herbal tea throughout the week and maybe treat myself to a latte at the weekend.
I tend to be strict Monday to Friday but I allow myself a couple of cheat meals every week and usually save them for the weekends. That way it doesn’t seem so long until I can eat whatever I want and I don’t go crazy and have an all out junk food binge, although it has been known to happen – I’m human! I’m also partial to a square of dark chocolate after dinner – everyone has a weakness!

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