Sarah's Competitive Nature Helped Her Get Fit!

Life-threatening surgery left Sarah unable to work out. Once she recovered, a friendly competition at work sparked a newfound love of health and fitness!

For Sarah Craig, staying fit wasn't a huge worry for most of her adult life. She didn't stick to a workout regimen or specific meal plan, but her day-to-day activities kept her reasonably healthy—at least for a while.

"When I had my first child, I was in England and worked pretty much up until the delivery," she recalls. "The running around I did for work alone kept me in decent shape, but that luck didn't last for my second pregnancy."

A more difficult pregnancy led to some weight gain, but Sarah still wasn't worried. She'd lost the weight after her first child was born and didn't think her second pregnancy would be any different. It was.

"When I had my son, it was a C-section, I ended up with a couple of severed arteries," she says. "I was bleeding out faster than they could transfuse more blood into me. I woke up a few days later in the hospital with a tube down my throat."

That was the end of Sarah's plan to effortlessly get back her prebaby shape. Instead, she was left facing a long, painful recovery. It took more than a year for Sarah to get back on her feet, but once she did, she knew it was time to take back control of her health. By harnessing her competitive nature and entering a fitness contest in her workplace, Sarah kicked off her fitness journey and has been running full-speed ahead ever since.

This is Sarah's story.

How did your recovery affect your health?

With a regular C-section, the scar is only a couple inches long. With my surgery, they had to cut across my entire abdomen. It left a huge scar that was extremely painful. For the first few months after the surgery, I was in so much pain that I couldn't even walk.

Six months later, I tried to get back into a healthy routine, but sudden movements would still trigger pain. For about a year after that, I was unable to do anything physical. Movement was still painful.

Before 150 lbs.
After 117 lbs.
Age: 27
Height: 5'0"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Body Fat: 30%
Age: 30
Height: 5'0"
Weight: 117 lbs.
Body Fat: 15%

What stopped you from getting back in shape once you recovered?

It just got difficult to stick with anything. I had two kids, was working from home, and I had no guidance. I didn't have a routine, and I didn't know the first thing about building a meal plan. I had access to all kinds of weight machines, but I didn't know what to do. It wasn't until I started my new job and they started having fitness contests for the employees that I got serious about learning my way around the weight room.

How did you get started lifting weights?

I followed Craig Capurso's 30 Days Out program! Knowing that the plan was only 30 days long gave me a goal I could stick with. From there, it was easy to just repeat it for the 90-day contest.

How did you feel about entering a fitness contest?

I was excited because I knew it was something I needed. I work in a male-dominated office, but my competitive nature runs deep—I loved the idea of beating all the guys. Still, the idea of getting on a scale in front of the whole company was nerve-racking.



What did the contest entail? How did you do?

The first contest was 90 days long, and the person who lost the largest percentage of their body fat won. I didn't do very well—I lost 12 or 13 pounds and came in fourth. By the time the next contest rolled around three months later, I was ready to win. By that time, the company had grown, which meant a bigger pot and even more incentive. During that contest, I ended up losing around 28 pounds!

What do you think made you so successful?

I incorporated a lot of high-intensity cardio in the mornings, which really helped. I also followed a weight-training plan in the evenings, which was essential. Craig Capurso's plan was a great start, because it was only 30 days. Since then, I've also done Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer.

What do your workouts look like now?

Day 1: Chest
1

Reverse-Grip Decline Smith Machine Press (shown with flat bench)

10 sets of 3 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Reverse-Grip Decline Bench Press Reverse-Grip Decline Bench Press

2

Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

6 sets of 5 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

3

Leverage Chest Press

5 sets of 6 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Leverage Chest Press Leverage Chest Press

4

Machine Fly

3 sets of 10 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Machine Fly Machine Fly

5

Svend Press

2 sets of 15 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Svend Press Svend Press

6

Single-Arm Top Cable Fly (shown two-armed)

1 set of 30 ascending reps per arm
Single-Arm Top Cable Fly Single-Arm Top Cable Fly


Day 2: Back
1

Rack Pull

10 sets of 3 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Rack Pull Rack Pull

2

Seated Single-Arm Cable Row

6 sets of 5 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Seated Single-Arm Cable Row Seated Single-Arm Cable Row

3

Lat Pull-Down

5 sets of 6 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Lat Pull-Down Lat Pull-Down

4

Barbell Deadlift

3 sets of 10 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift

5

Dumbbell Incline Lever Pull

2 sets of 15 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Dumbbell Incline Lever Pull Dumbbell Incline Lever Pull

6

Single-Arm Lat Pull-Down

1 set of 30 ascending reps per arm
Single-Arm Lat Pull-Down Single-Arm Lat Pull-Down


Day 3: Arms/Abs/Calves
Triset
1

Skullcrusher

3 sets of 10 reps
Skullcrusher Skullcrusher

Standing Barbell Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Standing Barbell Curl Standing Barbell Curl

Calf Press

3 sets of 10 reps
Calf Press Calf Press

Triset
2

Rope Triceps Push-Down

3 sets of pound per rep
Rope Triceps Push-Down Rope Triceps Push-Down

Rope Hammer Curl

3 sets of pound per rep
Rope Hammer Curl Rope Hammer Curl

Seated Calf Raise

3 1-minute cluster sets
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

Triset
3

Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down

3 sets of pound per rep
Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down

Cable Biceps Curl

3 sets of pound per rep
Cable Biceps Curl Cable Biceps Curl

Donkey Calf Raises

3 1-minute cluster sets
Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises
Tabata Abs
4

Standing Dual Cable Crunch

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Standing Dual Cable Crunch Standing Dual Cable Crunch

Plank

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Plank Plank

Slalom Twist Jump

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Slalom Twist Jump Slalom Twist Jump


Day 4: Legs
1

Leg Press

10 sets of 3 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Leg Press Leg Press

2

Front Squat

6 sets of 5 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Front Squat Front Squat

3

Glute Bridge with Pause

5 sets of 6 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Glute Bridge with Pause Glute Bridge with Pause

4

Dumbbell Lunge

3 sets of 10 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Dumbbell Lunge Dumbbell Lunge

5

Glute Ham Raise

2 sets of 15 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise

6

Leg Extensions

1 set of 30 ascending reps per arm
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions


Day 5: Shoulders
1

Hang Clean and Press (shown from floor)

10 sets of 3 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Hang Clean and Press Hang Clean and Press

2

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

6 sets of 5 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Dumbbell Lateral Raise Dumbbell Lateral Raise

3

Alternating Dumbbell Front Raise

5 sets of 6 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Alternating Dumbbell Front Raise Alternating Dumbbell Front Raise

4

Dumbbell Shrug

3 sets of 10 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug

5

Seated Dumbbell Victory Press

2 sets of 15 reps, 30 seconds rest between sets
Seated Dumbbell Victory Press Seated Dumbbell Victory Press

6

Single-Arm Upright Row

1 set of 30 ascending reps per arm
Single-Arm Upright Row Single-Arm Upright Row


Day 6: Arms/Abs/Calves
Triset
1

Skullcrusher

3 sets of 10 reps
Skullcrusher Skullcrusher

Standing Barbell Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Standing Barbell Curl Standing Barbell Curl

Calf Press

3 sets of 10 reps
Calf Press Calf Press

Triset
2

Rope Triceps Push-Down

3 sets of pound per rep
Rope Triceps Push-Down Rope Triceps Push-Down

Rope Hammer Curl

3 sets of pound per rep
Rope Hammer Curl Rope Hammer Curl

Seated Calf Raise

3 1-minute cluster sets
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

Triset
3

Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down

3 sets of pound per rep
Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down Reverse-Grip Triceps Push-Down

Cable Biceps Curl

3 sets of pound per rep
Cable Biceps Curl Cable Biceps Curl

Donkey Calf Raises

3 1-minute cluster sets
Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises
Tabata Abs
4

Standing Dual Cable Crunch

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Standing Dual Cable Crunch Standing Dual Cable Crunch

Plank

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Plank Plank

Slalom Twist Jump

8 rounds: 20 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Slalom Twist Jump Slalom Twist Jump


Day 7: Rest

What was the most difficult part of your transformation?

Our work provides catered lunch every day, which made it difficult to stay on track with my food. It was so difficult seeing all of those different foods, from pizza to Mediterranean. But I didn't want a meal to stop me from winning. I avoided the room where the catered lunches were held and got in the habit of bringing my own food to work.



How did you create your meal plan?

I went with the guidelines that accompanied the trainer I was following.

What does your meal plan look like now?

Meal 1

Green juice 1 glass


Meal 2

Chicken breast 6 oz.


Asparagus 10 stalks


Sweet potato 1 cup


Meal 3

Milk 1 cup


Meal 4

Turkey chili 1-1/2 cups


Green salad 1 serving


Grapefruit 1



How did you discover Bodybuilding.com, and how did it play a part in your transformation?

I've been on the site for eight or nine years now. I haven't been too active on it until this last year, but I've stopped by to order products, look at transformations, or read articles. Now that I've gotten serious about getting in shape, I spend a lot more time on the site!

What's next for you?

I'm currently working toward getting my certification in personal training. I want to help people get back into shape. There are too many people who fall into bad habits because they work office jobs. I want to show them that being healthy while juggling a family and career can be done.

What made you want to become a certified personal trainer?

I've been working in customer service for more than 10 years now. At my job, I've been able to see the effect the fitness contests have on everyone—getting them to eat healthier, work out, and just make better all-around choices. Sure, we're all competing against each other, but we're all still supportive, because ultimately, we're working to better ourselves.

Sarah's Favorite Gym Tracks

Shinedown
"State of my head"
Mike Posner
"I Took A Pill In Ibiza"
The Wknd
"The Hills"
Zayn
"Pillow Talk"
Shinedown
"State of my head"
Mike Posner
"I Took A Pill In Ibiza"
The Wknd
"The Hills"
Zayn
"Pillow Talk"


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