This month, to celebrate a “Happy, Healthy New Year!” at Stork Stack, we caught up with fitness extraordinaire Sara Haley of Sara Haley Fitness to ask her for some advice on staying healthy and fit in 2013!
Stork Stack: Did you always know you wanted to be a fitness instructor? What led you to this path? Has fitness always been an interest for you?
Sara Haley: I moved to the east coast after college to pursue a dance career. Waitressing, the go-to support job for most struggling artists, was not a good fit for me. I had taught hip hop aerobics in college, so when a local Jersey gym approached me about teaching, I jumped at the opportunity. Teaching casually turned to more full time when I made the move from New Jersey to New York City (and needed more money).
Landing a contract with Reebok, Int. in 2007 was the real game changer, as it led to opportunities working with Cirque du Soleil, shooting DVDs, training other instructors and trainers, and simply being the face of a brand. More than anything, the decision to take on fitness as a full-time career was made when my husband pointed out to me how happy working in the fitness industry made me. The endorphins were truly contagious – I loved how teaching & training made me feel and more-over how it made those I was working with feel.
Stork Stack: What do you see being the greatest fitness obstacle that seems to stand in an individual’s way of maintaining their health or an active lifestyle? What is your best advice for overcoming it?
Sara Haley: The greatest fitness obstacle I see, in terms of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, is knowing (or shall I say not-knowing?) when it’s time to mix things up. People get bored – mind, body and/or spirit. When one of these things is not feeling fulfilled, the entire plan fails.
My advice is to mix up your workout as soon as you start feeling bored (mind), your body stops seeing results (body), or you just don’t feel good anymore doing it (spirit). In order to stick to a plan you have to be interested in the workout, see results, and feel like you are enhancing your life in some way. I don’t necessarily mean that you have to jump from doing Cross-FIt to Bikram Yoga to Piloxing. I simply mean that if you are working with a trainer, taking a class, or working out on your own and continuing to do the same exercises in the same way, you need to find a way to change it up a little.
Stork Stack: What led you to create your workouts – especially those featured in the January Stork Stack? Do you have a favorite exercise?
Sara Haley: Expecting More® was developed because when I was pregnant I could not find any workouts that met my needs, as a fit, healthy, and pretty versatile and avid exerciser. Prenatal yoga, though great for preparing for labor, did not feel like enough to maintain my fitness level, and the other fitness prenatal fitness DVDs I watched felt like they were focused on beginner exercisers. I created, with Anna Kaiser of AKT InMotion, Expecting More®, which has six different workouts that offer more challenging options for the more fit woman.
Sweat UNLIMITED was created because after my pregnancy because I had two common questions that I got asked: 1) How did you lose your 30-35 pounds of baby weight? 2) What’s been the biggest change since you had the baby? Sweat UNLIMITED explains both. The workouts are authentic to the workouts I did to lose the baby weight (but they are applicatble to anyone looking to lose weight). Also, the biggest change for me as a new mom was that I no longer had the kind of time I used to have to work out, nor did I want to spend a ton of time away from my child (I still feel like that). My workouts had to become shorter and more efficient – sometimes they are only 5 minutes a day, so Sweat UNLIMITED contains 5 different workouts varying from 45 to 5 minutes of work.
PLANK is my all time favorite exercise because you can modify it or advance it to meet your needs, and more importantly, it works so many muscle groups at one time! Done in one!
Stork Stack: What’s your personal fitness schedule like on a weekly basis?
Sara Haley: I try to mix it up as much as possible – so usually at least 2 days of strength training (meaning I’m lifting some legit weights), 2 days of classes or DVDs at home- whether that’s yoga, dance or some sort of cross-training combo of strength & cardio, and 2 days of cardio (which usually cross over with the strength training meaning I’ll lift and do 20 minutes of cardio before or after).
I also try to make sure I’m going anaerobic at some point in my workout 1-2 times a week (meaning breathless – the hardest I can go). Total days working out usually end up about 5 days a week. One weekend day is always off and then usually some other day during the week ends up not working out. When I work out I try to push and work hard since I don’t always know when the next time I work out will be.
Stork Stack: What are the most effective workouts from your DVD?
Sara Haley: ALL of them – that’s the point – mix it up!
Stork Stack: What is your advice when it comes to best using the DVD?
Sara Haley: Try to fit in at least one of the workouts (even if it’s the shortest one) as often as you can because there will be days when you feel like you can’t do anything, don’t want to do anything or don’t have time. Take advantage of the days when you are in rock star mode and push hard!
Stork Stack: We know that working out goes hand-in-hand with a balanced and healthy diet. What are some of your go-to lunches and favorite dinners? Does your diet change during the winter months? How do you work against gaining extra weight?
Sara Haley: I’ve been living in Santa Monica, CA for the past two years so I’m definitely spoiled by food options – lots of healthy choices at most places. My go-to snacks are apples, sugar snap peas, red & yellow bell peppers, almonds, dates, and dried persimmons. I love Isagenix fiber bars.
When I have a carb freakout – I do pita chips/pretzels and hummus. I actually found these 100 calorie chocolate bars at Whole Foods the other day, which are great for a chocolate melt-down. I find that if I keep lots of healthy choices prepared in the fridge I’ll go to them first – so chopped up vegetables & fruites, grilled chicken, etc.
If I don’t I go to whatever is easy, especially when I’m in a hurry. That’s when I find the pounds creeping on. The more “easy” stuff I grab, the more I want it. It’s all about making the cravings disappear and then having the willPower to continue to say no.
Stork Stack: How do you stay inspired? Do you have a fitness playlist or music favorites you can share with us?
Sara Haley: Music is definitely key (as well as my whole spiel about changing up your workout). Though I do love fun high energy workout songs like Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and Pitbull’s new “Don’t Stop the Party,” I find that I really love being inspired by some slower deep meaningful songs, especially when I’m lifting – like Daniel Bedingfield’s acoustic “Gotta Get Thru This” and Idina Menzel’s “Brave.”
Stork Stack: What are some of your personal goals for 2013 you can share?
Sara Haley: Definitely – it always makes them more real to put them in writing! I’d love to get a distribution deal for my DVDs so that you can by them off the shelf, whether that’s Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble or Target. To read one new book a month. To take more dance, yoga and pilates classes (trying to mix it up more). To go to bed before midnight EVERY night (so more sleep!)
Stork Stack: Where would you like to see “Sara Haley” in 5 years? Will you continue to mold your business towards keeping the mommy-on-the-go fit?
Sara Haley: I would like to see “Sara Haley” with more children, continuing to help mommies-on-the-go get and stay fit!