Sara-Clare travels the world teaching movement, mobility and kettlebell certifications for Agatsu Fitness. She is incredibly strong, smart and an amazing teacher. When she teaches she not only helps her students move better but also makes them curious about movement. She leaves them wanting to explore more and empowers them to take better care of themselves.
Watching Sara move you’d believe that whatever discipline she is doing she has done it her whole life. Whether it’s kettlebells, gymnastics, bjj or surfing she appears to move with ease. It is a reflection on how she trains, how she continues to learn and how she approaches everything as a curious beginner (even if she seems like a pro).
Do yourself a favor and get connected with Sara-Clare!
What do you do?
I am a senior instructor for Agatsu Fitness.
What else do you do?
I also do voiceovers for cartoons, radio and video games.
How do you define the word 'strength'?
Strength is both mental and physical. It is not always about the amount you can lift or what you can mentally endure. Strength can also be about believing/living in the values you have and trusting yourself.
How did you discover your passion?
I couldn't decide what I wanted to go to university for, performance or kinesiology. I grew up doing tap dancing, ballet and music theatre and loved the physical and emotional expressions these disciplines offered.
I figured why not roll the dice on auditioning for my first love and got into the University of Windsor's BFA in acting program. For 4 awesome years I got to study voice, breathing, movement, dance and performance, while still taking some kin classes for my own personal interest. I wanted to understand all types of performance.
In my senior years, I was head of the movement labs as a teacher's assistant and personal training a lot of the other students as a result. After university I traveled for 12 years performing in live shows as well as working on tv, film and voiceovers.
Between contracts I would continue to train clients and spend my free time volunteer training at risk youth in Toronto at the Academy of Lions. This is where I really saw the difference physical fitness can make on ones mental health.
These kids that no one wanted to give a chance to were mentored through a program the gym's director Dhani Oks had developed in partnership with the Eva Phoenix House. The program consisted of 3 days a week physical training to be able to get mental frustrations out, mentorship for job training and pay for helping to maintain the gym. I felt so fortunate to be a part of this transformative group and I knew then I needed to do more.
After that experience my focus broadened from looking at "what the body was capable of achieving" to the transformative effects that a deep physical practice could have on our mind. This is where I was first introduced to Agatsu and Shawn Mozen.
How do you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle?
Well I like to move in new directions all the time. I'm a movement nerd junkie!!
I will try anything at least once.
I often have people invite me to their different classes and where I've heard some people may feel its dumb or whats the point, I feel any movement vs no movement is of value. There's always something you can take away from moving your body in a new direction.
As a daily practice I always love walking my dog. During these walks I feel a sense of mediation and ease. I love feeling the way my feet strike the ground, my breath supporting my movement and the taking in the details of my environment.
What do you recommend for someone starting out?
If someone is looking to be more active, I think the first thing they should do is commit to trying new things. Try everything at least and soon you will start to find things that you are passionate about. As you narrow your focus and find the type of training that speaks to you, start to look for great teachers.
How do you define 'fitness'?
Being fit is training for life. It is more than washboard abs or one arm handstands. It is about training to improve your quality of life. I want to be 90 years old and still able to run around with my grand children.
Where do you see the future of fitness?
I hope we can move away from performing for time, weight and other people, and turn our attention to developing practices that will nourish the body and mind. I've always viewed being in the fitness industry as being of service to others.
Does movement increase your self-confidence? If yes, how?
Absolutely! Any time we move we are evolving. We learn new patterns, skills ...etc and this creates physical competence. Physical competency leads to mental confidence.
I once had a group of office ladies I trained weekly. Many of them walked and carried themselves like they didn't feel like they were 'good enough' or thought of themselves as 'less than'.
I would overhear them say 'I can't do that' or 'I'm not ready yet'. They all thought that they needed to achieve some type of movement status before viewing themselves as badass.
I was bothered by this as it was not what I saw in front of me. I saw strong women, who worked hard all day and deserved to believe in themselves more.
So I stared teaching them basic rolls and falls.
Each week I would sneak a little more into their program under the guise of a workout. In six weeks we went from push ups against a wall to knowing how to catch yourself in a front fall and how to land when you slip on the ice to mitigate injuries.
I saw the posture of these ladies change. I stopped hearing 'I can't' anymore to hearing what's on the menu today coach! Because they were woking physical competency, they were working on mental confidence.
I still remember once of our last workouts where I had them crawling head first down the flight of office stairs where they worked. They were so proud of themselves! High fives and smiles everywhere.
What motivates the crap out of you?
Really anything I see/heard that is an expression words cannot fulfill.
My voice teacher use to tell us that 'music, singing and movement is the soul's way of truly expressing itself when words were not enough'
That has always stuck in my head and answered a lot of questions when I was not sure about a decision I had to make. I will always go and move/sing to clear my head beforehand.
My other favorite quote is from Muhammad Ali. ' If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.'
I think that one speaks for itself lol!
What advice do you wish you could have given your former self?
Be patient with yourself.
Anything else you'd like to share with us?
Try to support each other more and celebrate in another's successes. We have so much more power when we lift each other up together, then when work hard to pass judgement alone.