WCW - Sarah Smith

Meet Sarah!

She loves chatting gut health and pelvic floors, listening (and dancing) to 90’s hip hop jams and getting strong AF with kettlebells. She’s raising 3 boys, putting out totally do-able at home kettlebell programs, is totally down to earth and looks sexy in a fanny pack. True story.

Get connected with Sarah! 

Website - IG: sarahsmithstrength - Facebook

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What do you do?

I use strength and movement training to help women feel confident, capable and content in their bodies and their lives. I'm a Level 2, Russian Kettlebell Certified Instructor, a postnatal fitness specialist and a pelvic floor and gut health advocate. I love helping real women cultivate movement and lifestyle practices that rehab their body when necessary and address the root cause of physical or mental struggles around body confidence and strength.

What else do you do?

I raise three boys (ages 8, 3 and 5), and English bulldog named Bella, chickens and pigs and play in the dirt. My other career was in agriculture, I have a Masters in Soil Science from NC State.

You weren’t made to fit anyone else’s standards
— Sarah Smith

How do you define the word 'strength'?

Strength is the power to be resilient, courageous and capable in life while also knowing when to take rest and to say no. As much as lifting heavy requires strength and practice, so does asking for help, protecting your energy and checking one's ego. Strength is what you get from practicing doing all the hard things in life like learning to trust yourself to say no or yes to challenges and opportunities, when appropriate.

How did you discover your passion?

I was a high school athletic coach for several years in my early 20's and I LOVED it. After seeing how strength training changed my body and mindset around fitness, I was keen to return to my role as a coach and help coach women to invest in themselves and build their strength! When I was diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor dysfunction in early 2016, I worked to rehabilitate my pelvic floor and re-learned how to move and strength train safely. Now in addition to straight up fitness coaching, I also specialize in educating and helping women online and in-person to use movement and prudently applied resistance training to optimize their pelvic floor health!

 Ladies, shrinking is not your only option in fitness or life.  •• Grow your strength. Grow your confidence. Grow your skill sets. Grow your courage. Grow your faith. Grow your self-awareness. Grow your humility.  Grow your muscles. Grow your body. •• It’s a heck of a lot more fun. •• Learn to lift heavy things with your body and your mind vs. exclusively exercising your body into a teenier version of you.  •• You weren’t made to fit anyone else’s standards for you. •• Stop listening to the lie that to be happy, fit, attractive, content, and loved (by worthwhile people) you have to hide and waste away. •• Grow. Swell. Engage. And embrace your life with your big, strong arms.   #realstrongwomen   #persistenceoverperfection  #kettlebells   #rkc   #rkc2   #momswithmuscles  #fitnessforrealwomen

Ladies, shrinking is not your only option in fitness or life.
••
Grow your strength.
Grow your confidence.
Grow your skill sets.
Grow your courage.
Grow your faith.
Grow your self-awareness.
Grow your humility.
Grow your muscles.
Grow your body.
••
It’s a heck of a lot more fun.
••
Learn to lift heavy things with your body and your mind vs. exclusively exercising your body into a teenier version of you.
••
You weren’t made to fit anyone else’s standards for you.
••
Stop listening to the lie that to be happy, fit, attractive, content, and loved (by worthwhile people) you have to hide and waste away.
••
Grow.
Swell.
Engage.
And embrace your life with your big, strong arms.
#realstrongwomen #persistenceoverperfection#kettlebells #rkc #rkc2 #momswithmuscles#fitnessforrealwomen

How do you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle?

I'm a big believer in inserting movement into the day, even if it means putting yourself in a situation where you are required to move! For me that means, coaching and making training videos for clients, but it also means living on a mini farm where there are farm chores like digging, raking, lugging water, moving heavy equipment, and do inconvenient things like lug laundry outside of hang it. That's what works for me, but I think that no matter where one lives, it's possible to set up your life in a way that movement is just a part of your lifestyle, and not strictly "fitness" or "exercise". I also have three boys that will destroy my house if I don't keep them out in the woods, so my husband and I walk with them daily in the woods, climb trees, balance on logs, all that good stuff. When my kids were younger and I found it difficult to get in "full" workouts, I left dumbbells, bands and kettlebells in the various locations where we would hang out and just do a few rounds of a circuit whenever I could. Not perfect, but dang effective and it kept me moving consistently! 

Where would be a good starting point for someone who is looking to add more movements into their life like what you do?

I'm a huge fan of leisure walking. It's something that many people are physically capable of doing on some scale and is a nice way to clear your head, spend time with family, get out in nature and the fresh air, or catch up with a friend. Committing to walking daily for 20 minutes and then growing that practice, depending on your schedule, seems to work for most of my clients. It also helps them to become much more aware of their body too! They notice what parts of the body are stiff and some more attention, stretching, mobility work, etc. 

Does movement increase your self-confidence? If yes, how?

Absolutely. Feeling capable and confident in my physical ability to climb, lift, carry, push or pull things both inside and outside of the gym, makes me feel like a bad ass, even on days when I'm not thrilled with what I see in the mirror or feel like I could be doing better in some areas of my life. I go and do something physical either outside or in the gym or rearrange all the furniture in my house and then I feel more confident and connected to myself.

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What motivates the crap out of you? 

90's hip hop. Period.

How do you define 'fitness'?

The ability to complete a task. Our culture is preoccupied with the aesthetics of fitness more than the functionality. I think it's totally fine to have aesthetic goals, but being REALLY clear about how you wish to be fit can help you to figure out your course of action. I think it's overwhelming to look at all of the "fit" people in the world and think that you have to look like all of them or do what they all do, all of the time. Fitness is about identifying what you want to be good at (your SPECIFIC goals) and then what path you have to take to get there. 

Where do you see the future of the fitness?

I hope it's moving in a direction where we focus more on the WHOLE body and less on it's respective pieces. I feel like historically the pelvic floor has been hugely neglected is an important part and I want it to be considered more, but NOT in isolation from the rest of the body. We already did that with the core, HA! Everything in the body is connected and needs to move well TOGETHER. The mind, gut, metabolism and hormones are all major players that need more consideration in fitness as well. So less reductionist thinking and more systems-based thinking where we prioritize holistic approaches, addressing the root cause of injuries, pain and dysfunction and sustainable physical and emotional health. 

 A healthy gut, efficient metabolism, managed stress, overhead mobility, pain-free back and a pelvic floor that coordinates well, are all connected to our breath. ## SOOOOO many of us (especially mamas) are in the habit of shallow chest breathing. ## Consequently our rib cages are stuck in an open state so they don’t really expand or contract. Our shoulder mobility is jacked up, our bellies are tense, our guts are pissed and our pelvic floors have no idea what they are doing.  ## We have to be able to take nice full breaths and exhales.  The pelvic floor should gently relax with inhales and contract/lift as we exhale.  The belly should be soft.  The rib cage should expand to the side like an umbrella. ## We use our breath to nourish our organs, relax our bowles, and improve digestion. Elimination struggles improve when an individual begins to practice a deeper more intentional breathing habit. The pelvic floor relaxes and contracts as necessary (also improving elimination) and so we begin to feel less tension in our chest, bellies, bowels and womb.  ## As the ribcage moves more freely, with practice and some training, overhead and thoracic mobility will improve MUCH faster. We will be able to relax more fully and we can become stronger, because our bodies will be better aligned for heavy lifting and movement. ## Mobility work, strength training, pelvic floor pt and all the probiotics in the world will only be able to change so much if you don’t devote some time to mastering your breath.

A healthy gut, efficient metabolism, managed stress, overhead mobility, pain-free back and a pelvic floor that coordinates well, are all connected to our breath.
##
SOOOOO many of us (especially mamas) are in the habit of shallow chest breathing.
##
Consequently our rib cages are stuck in an open state so they don’t really expand or contract.
Our shoulder mobility is jacked up, our bellies are tense, our guts are pissed and our pelvic floors have no idea what they are doing.
##
We have to be able to take nice full breaths and exhales.
The pelvic floor should gently relax with inhales and contract/lift as we exhale.
The belly should be soft.
The rib cage should expand to the side like an umbrella.
##
We use our breath to nourish our organs, relax our bowles, and improve digestion. Elimination struggles improve when an individual begins to practice a deeper more intentional breathing habit. The pelvic floor relaxes and contracts as necessary (also improving elimination) and so we begin to feel less tension in our chest, bellies, bowels and womb.
##
As the ribcage moves more freely, with practice and some training, overhead and thoracic mobility will improve MUCH faster. We will be able to relax more fully and we can become stronger, because our bodies will be better aligned for heavy lifting and movement.
##
Mobility work, strength training, pelvic floor pt and all the probiotics in the world will only be able to change so much if you don’t devote some time to mastering your breath.

What advice do you wish you could have given your former self?

Your ego is a monster, if you feed it, it grows and will take over your life. Have the courage to do hard things, but feel no shame in taking rest, breaks, hiatuses, etc. There's different seasons for different types of growth and accomplishments. 

Anything else you'd like to share with us?

Every woman has a pelvic floor and should be aware of the MANY signs of pelvic floor dysfunction, since the pelvic floor is literally the foundation of your core. Female anatomy is unique from males and therefore the stakes are MUCH higher for women in fitness with respect to the pelvic floor. I have a free download on the pelvic floor on my website go and learn that pregnancy, birth and menopause are NOT the only risk factors for pelvic floor dysfunction and what symptoms and signs can indicate that your pelvic floor needs some attention!