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Real Fitness Stories – Sarah Hnath

Getting Ready for my First Bikini Competition

Real Contest Prep Stories by Dr. Sarah R. Hnath

Flashback about decade, I was a green fitness trainer, college student, and interested in hitting the stage to compete for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, I never got around to it between heading off to a rigorous graduate program, later on getting ill and additionally dealing with lingering sports injuries and surgery. Throughout this period of time my view on health, fitness and body image evolved, matured and became much more focused on being healthy (both in and out), overall well-being and having a long-term good quality of life as opposed to doing anything and everything just to look a certain way. With this mindset, after careful consideration and finally being at a point in my life where circumstance and my physical health were not a limiting factor I decided I am interested in hitting the stage to compete but for the RIGHT reasons. I decided competing was something I wanted to do for me. For me it is about being a beautiful, healthy, strong, confident woman, and breaking from the insecurities, unhealthy habits and poor body image issues that would have been my motivating factors 10 years ago.

Great! So I’ve made the decision to compete…now what? Well, like any sport or competitive activity the smart thing to do is hire a coach, right? Time to ask around and do some Google searching. Being a physical therapist and heavily involved in the healthcare and fitness industry I knew going in what qualities I was looking for in a coach. Someone who is first and foremost on the same page in terms of philosophy, someone who will prioritize my health over their Instagram account someone who will be encouraging without just trying to appease me, someone who will be constructive without being destructive and someone who will listen to me and work with me as a team. Simple, right? Wrong.

I searched, I e-mailed, I called. This was going to being harder than I thought. I didn’t think I was asking too much. Just someone to give a crap, not try to screw up my metabolic system and actually listen to and work with me! Instead I would get replies “check out my twitter for my success”, or “you don’t need 5-6 months, you can do this in less time”, (side note: I specifically wanted to give myself 5-6 months to NOT screw up my metabolic system), or I would get responses that were painfully obvious that they never even read my e-mail in the first place. I finally came across Julie Lohre’s webpage and started to read about her, her approach, and overall philosophy. We seemed to be on the same page. I had a good feeling about this one. I sent her an e-mail and within a day I heard back from her and all her responses were spot on! How exciting! Over the next couple days we e-mailed back and forth, spoke on the phone and decided doing an online training/prep program together would be a great fit.

I have now been working with Julie for a little over 4 months and am about 5 weeks out from my first bikini competition and couldn’t be happier! Not to mention I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made and continue to make! Throughout this process Julie has been an encouragement, she has given me constructive feedback and has kept my workouts and nutrition nothing short of exciting! My workouts are intense and varied, my cardio is energizing and efficient instead of spending hours upon hours on the elliptical, my calories have always been in a healthy range, and screw boiled chicken and steamed broccoli (no offense to boiled chicken and steamed broccoli) but I get to try all sorts of fun, yummy recipes!

I’ll be frank, it’s disappointing that Julie Lohre is the exception in an industry where we as a collective are supposed to be more focused on promoting health other than self-promotion. When you find someone like Julie who is dedicated, has a sound philosophy and let’s say it like it is, actually gives a shit about you and not just concerned with how to get more Twitter followers, you MUST connect with and learn from people like that. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Julie Lohre. She will work with you to help you reach your goals in a fun, healthy way and I am very grateful to work with someone as passionate, creative, and caring as her.


Ready to take the next step and to find out more about competing in a healthy, natural way?