👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello, my name is Sara Pereira. I was born and raised in Venezuela 23 years ago! I moved to the States when I was 17 due to personal reasons and I’ve been living in Houston, Texas for six years. I currently have an Associate Degree in Mass Communications because I never planned to be a trainer once I moved here!
I was sort of overweight back in my country. Weighing 160-170 lbs at 5’0. No Bueno. I never had a good relationship with my body or food. I was lazy and a quitter. Once in Houston, I had the option to either eat all the fast food that I never had before; OR, I could do something about my weight and self-image.
I decided to do the latter and I’ve never been so happy to take that path. I initially started to train in my home garage because I was really afraid of going into the gym. I did not know where to start so I decided to follow the INSANITY 60 Day Program, which… up until this day, IS CRAZY HARD! I easily lost over 30 lbs in that time frame. And oh, I also repeated the program for another 60 days.
My weight loss was crazy and my determination just kept me going. I was skinny fat due to my training, it was mainly plyometrics and HIIT. After meeting my current boyfriend, KJ, he helped me overcome my fear of going into the gym by encouraging me, but my over motivation caused me to overtraining, which caused some injuries on the way. I learned the hard way at first and slowly did my own research on how to do things.
My biggest accomplishment is my weight loss, being able to change my lifestyle for the better was a great decision. My current PRs are 260 lbs for deadlifts, 135 lbs for bench, and 230 for squats. I was never athletic and the only sports I did during my childhood was PE.
I decided to become a certified trainer by NASM after four years of training and I love helping those that were in my position at one point. I am also a fitness model, did a bikini show two years ago (placed 8th but was the proudest I’ve been!), and I work as a part-time waitress.
The thing that I love the most about fitness is the fact that you can create the body of your dreams if you put in the work, remain patient and consistent. Weights sessions turn into therapy sessions for me too, being in my zone and listening to music is the greatest thing while lifting some heavy weights.
It's all about your mindset. You train your mind and then body.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Train in a way that you’ll enjoy it and mix it up from time to time. Muscles without strength is lame. I like to mix up powerlifting with bodybuilding to sort of get the best of both worlds. Strength and hypertrophy. I usually train anywhere from four to six times out of the week 45-60 mins strength sessions and 30-60 mins cardio.
I love to focus on my legs and glutes, therefore I train glutes three times out of the week. I split my training per two muscle groups, example: Monday = quads and glutes, Tuesday = shoulders and triceps.
I’ve been training by myself ever since I started to workout. I usually just do cardio in the morning (my cardio volume changes depending on my goal) and do weights later or just train early in the morning to get my day started.
So I either eat a protein oatmeal bowl before training or I train fasted because I like to do intermittent fasting. My gym bag has everything. My wallet, lifting belt, straps, chalk, ammonia, gum. Like everything.
I like to keep track of my workouts and my weight on a log, as well I like to use a Fitbit watch to more accurately determine how many calories I burn in a day.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
Motivation is one of those things that come and goes. Persistence is the key to keep pushing forward. Asking yourself why you even decided to get started on this journey. I fell off from my training intensity like everyone else.
Training for six years is hard to maintain but I’ve found in weightlifting a new sort of therapy, making it a reason why I’ve been able to do it for so long.
Best way to improve is to keep track of your progress, learn how to get to that specific goal and never stop until you get it.
Time management is another huge factor when it comes to training. I personally try to get up as early as possible or train super late at night.
Either way, I plan everything I am going to do in a day and make it fit into my schedule. I work as a waitress as well, and my schedule can be really tight sometimes. It takes one to two hours training for me, even if I’m short in time, I try to workout for a minimum of 30 mins. It’s all about planning, being organized and knowing how to prioritize.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training is doing good so far, still looking forward to expanding it. Currently, I am excited about the new bodybuilding division Wellness, so I am looking forward to competing in it!
My goals for the next five years is to expand my business and build new things (which are in the making).
If I could start all over my fitness journey, I would get a trainer. Things would have been so much different If I had the help since the start.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I listen to my body and how it feels, it took me years to realize how important this is. Even when you are determined in your goals, you can get blind in the process and do dumb decisions.
If you are feeling tired and weak for a couple of weeks, maybe try resting for a week and see how that affects your training. Having days off is not a bad thing.
I personally like to have my days off during the week as active days; meaning that I either do low intensity cardio and stretch, or I focus on mobility. Your body needs time to repair in order to grow, so do not neglect your recovery.
I try to sleep five to six hours a day, it might not seem like a lot but it works for me. My preferred recovery methods are: hot baths, stretching, mobility work, foam rolling and cryotherapy. I am also a big user and fan of CBD, which is 100% legal so do not worry.
CBD is a great natural anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce soreness after training. I use it as a sleeping aid and anxiety reducer as well.
Sugar and Kush CBD (DISCOUNT CODE: SARAP15)
Lastly, I had a lot of plateaus during my journey. From the beginning of my weight loss, to my bikini competition, up until today. And that is fine because we are human and we will feel stuck at some point.
It all relies on looking at the things you are currently doing and see what needs to change, maybe your diet or training volume. If you fall the only way is up.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I do not follow any regime, I usually do Intermittent Fasting for gut healing and follow If If Fits Your Macros, which, essentially is just eating whatever you want as long as it fits the macros your body requires according to your goals. Just tracking your food and macros throughout the day.
I am doing a carb cycle right now and I am trying to lose fat. So, I eat anywhere from 1500 to 1250 calories. These calories are based on me, goals and lifestyle!!!
My foods remain the same during bulk and cutting, the quantities change. I have a pretty clean diet but I wont say no to a slice of pizza.
I have a cheat day every day, during these days I eat 1650 calories or so, and my favorite go-to’s are pizza, donuts, and bubble tea.
I use My Fitness Pal as a fitness tracker.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I would say I became my biggest inspiration. I just think back to everything I have accomplished now and it drives me to continue moving forward.
My inspiration and motivation back then was Shaun T, the instructor from INSANITY. He helped me fall in love with the process and I’ll always thank him for it.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Just start doing it, don’t think about it too much. The more you question whether you should do it or not, the less you are going to do it. Get a trainer if you can or do a lot of research on what you should be doing to properly get to your goals.
Do not become that person in the gym trying to lift 100 times more than they actually can and injuring themselves in the process. Be smart about your progress.
I like to combine bodybuilding and powerlifting into my training, and I feel it works best for me. My favorite outside the gym hack is to drink coffee or green tea to help hunger. Also, investing money on a good lifting belt and hand straps is a great thing that will help you for years!
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I take on currently online clients and offer affordable guides. I focus on bodybuilding style mainly but also mix in powerlifting into it. It is a great idea to have a coach or a trainer just for extra support and accountability. I even have my own coach when in comes to competing, so it’s always a good thing to try at least once!
Each trainer is different, but I personally can connect to beginners and feeling lost, because I was there at one point. We all need help and I am willing to offer it if you want.
Eight to 12 weeks is a good time frame to see results, just remember, it all depends if you follow your program or not.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Sara Pereira quotes
Sara shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍