Getting to Know Sarah Gorman
The best way to make a healthy habit stick? Make it joyful.
We’re all for learning from the experts here at Ancient + Brave, especially when it comes to moving our bodies. A key message we hear from trainers we love is to find a type of movement you enjoy and giving your body a variety.
Sarah Gorman is the mind behind The BlendFit Method; created to provide an eclectic approach to training. Sarah intelligently blends boxing techniques with dance, strength training with pilates and barre with HIIT – this results in providing energetic and fun classes to get people strong, fit and healthy.
Read on to find out why this method is so successful and Sarah’s top tips for those of us struggling to get into a regular exercise routine.
How did it all start for you? What led you to the world of fitness?
I started dancing when I was 2 1/2 and didn’t stop until I went to university. At uni I studied acting which had a focus on physical theatre; I loved this angle and followed that path which led me to be an actor (specifically physical theatre) and toured the world (including a stink at sea for 8 months on an ex-Norwegian passenger ferry!) I then went back to Uni and did a second degree in teacher training and from there got a job at the Brit school in London. I loved teaching there and my students definitely got more of a physical education than perhaps they had bargained for! During this time I had also qualified as a level 3 Pilates Instructor, adding on Pilates for Children and pre and post natal training. When I found out I was pregnant with number one I left teaching and just focussed on the Pilates. From here my love of the fitness world grew. Over the next few years, I had two more children, lived in the USA for 5 years and did lots more certifications in fitness disciplines. It worked for me around the children and I loved it. Now my world is intrinsically rooted in wellness through movement.
You seem to have so much energy for fitness and your classes - how do you stay so driven and motivated?
Honestly, I wake up and I’m on! I must be really annoying to live with - my poor kids! I’m usually walking Peggy, my dog, by 6am every morning and then it’s straight into the school run and into my first PT by 7:50am; it’s then non stop to school pick up. My energy is inherent I think - I am lucky, maybe, to have that; I rarely feel like I can’t be bothered. I have quite a lust for life. I stay motivated by continually learning and looking for what’s new, what works, what makes others happy and well. My clients also keep me driven - their loyalty, their constant determination to show up and work on themselves. They are an amazing team of mainly woman, with a couple of men in there too.
You have a wonderful online platform, BlendFit Online, offering a diverse range of classes, how has the world of fitness changed over the past few years (since the pandemic) and how has this affected you and your business?
I was working for someone else when the pandemic hit and left that position literally days before everything kicked off. I immediately went online and began to build a following of people who all did my classes via Zoom. It was quite an incredible time. I was definitely busy over that period and once the idea that things were ‘going back to normal’ started, I wasn’t sure what normal now looked like for me. I was finding that clients were saying please keep doing the online classes, we don’t want to go back to the gym! So...I did. I think more people now have PT’s and lots of people are happy to have the opportunity to fit their exercise around their families and work. I don’t think the world will ever go back to previous times - like it or loathe it the virtual/online worlds’t going anywhere. The short answer to this question is that I have a business because of the pandemic!
Do you think it has changed the way your clients view fitness?
I think that my clients feel that they belong to a community. And that although they are physically working out alone, they are there with everyone else. But for those who were nervous of being seen in a gym/ or studio environment, it’s given them the confidence to join in. Now fitness is non negotiable to them.
We hear all the time about the benefits of exercise - what are the benefits of training for you and your body?
For me personally it’s about feeling strong. I have struggled with accepting my body for years, as many of us do - all the short comings that often only we can see in ourselves. But now I exercise to feel strong and confident. I have energy all the time, if a challenge was put in front of me, I would most probably be able to do it and I feel that this body will see me a long long way into later life. We really need to think about our old person body, not a body for a bikini.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone struggling to get into a regular exercise routine?
You have to find something that you enjoy. If you hate exercise, it’s never going to stick until you find a discipline that you enjoy. Try things out and find the one that makes you at least think, ok, I could get into this. Then schedule it into your diary as a non negotiable. Like you would a dinner date or a meeting.
What key non negotiable health and wellbeing daily rituals do you recommend to your clients?
Drink water, get outside everyday, move your body everyday in however small way you can. Have a moment every single day that you can find something to smile about.
What advice would you give to someone who struggles to put themselves first and has a busy life when it comes to health and wellbeing?
Schedule time for yourself! Be that taking a walk, getting into nature, doing an exercise class or making yourself a delicious healthy meal. We prioritise so much over ourselves, checking our social media, work, family life. And of course these things need to happen. But we are better beings if we also prioritise ourselves and feed and nourish ourselves properly. Get your diary out and block out time for you!
Do you have any great tips to help you stick to a regular practice when life gets busy?
Schedule, schedule, schedule. It won’t happen if you leave it to chance. Become accountable in some way. My accountability is that it’s my job! If it weren’t I would have to make sure that I made time in the diary and schedule where my exercise happened.
We’re so inspired to see so many women lifting weights over on BlendFit online. How important is it for women to use weights?
Hugely important! And it doesn’t have to be massively heavy weights either. We just need to add some weight bearing exercise into our routine. It has such beneficial effects on our bone density, improving bone stronger and joint mobility. Weight bearing exercise can also help improve balance, co-ordination, endurance and overall health. In simple terms you should equate weight bearing exercise to longevity.
There are so many fitness classes to choose from these days! What’s your top 3 ways to work out? Are there any fitness trends we should avoid?
Walking! My number 1. It really is the best thing we can do. Add some form of weight bearing into your schedule - be that body weight or physical lifting. It doesn’t have to start out super heavy, just add some form of weight into your schedule. Pilates/Core strength. Working from the inside out If I were allowed a 4th it would be to dance! I wouldn’t say avoid anything because everyone is different - our bodies, our passions. But just remember that you only have one body and you need to nurture it. If you are ‘beasting’ your body for visual gains (ie, to be thin) then you should perhaps re think your ‘Why’. I am also a huge fan of Collagen for joint and bone health and I take it religiously. I also think that adding mobility into your exercise routine is an essential. It’s the one aspect that most people discount or ignore and yet implementing mobility and flexibility into your week will prevent injury.
You know we’re huge fans of collagen here and we know it plays an important role in our joint + bone health and injury prevention, especially for those who work out regularly and as we age. What do you think is the best way for people to ensure they protect themselves from injury?
I am also a huge fan of Collagen for joint and bone health and I take it religiously. But most importantly adding mobility into your exercise routine is an essential. It’s the one aspect that most people discount or ignore and yet implementing mobility and flexibility into your week will prevent injury. I don’t mean a quick 1 minute stretch after you have worked out. Give this some time and attention. 10 minutes a couple of times per week to really focus on some mobility moves will make a huge difference to your body.
There is a lot more emphasis on being healthy on the inside as well as outside and less about aesthetics (which is great news). What is your one message to people about the importance of prioritising their health and wellbeing?
This is a huge one for me. As you know, I never talk about fitness and exercise in terms of aesthetics. I don’t get my clients to weigh themselves but rather talk about how they feel after implementing a good nutrition and exercise plan into their lives. My message is this: You have one body and it is yours. It is your responsibility. Look after the vessel that takes you through this life and it will look after you.
We’re a big supporter of women in business here at Ancient + Brave with our own female founder heading the ship. As a female trainer, what challenges have you overcome in the journey thus far?
In all honesty, I haven’t come up against any challenges as a female trainer specifically. I PT men and woman and I would feel comfortable training anyone in any environment, even a predominantly male one. The biggest issue I have faced is running a business as well as being a full time mum of three. The juggling act between being mum and business owner is at times impossible. And this is where I think the male/female roles divide. I may well be generalising here, but where a man can just get on with his work life and business growth, a woman needs to continuously prioritise family and then work and then herself. I often feel that I have so many plates spinning that if one drops, I’ve had it! That is the pressure and the challenge that I am still having to overcome. I want to be there for my kids, I want to be at the school gates etc, but I also want to grow and produce a profitable and successful business.
What has been the most important piece of advice you’ve received?
Avoid comparing yourself to anyone else. You are the only version of you and you are enough. We are all so different and if we weren’t, the world would be a very boring place. It was my advice to myself in a moment of reflection!
Do you have a favourite Ancient + Brave product? What’s your top tips for fueling your workouts?
MCT oil, True Collagen, Cacao + Collagen I honestly love them.
I get a bit twitchy when I start to run low on my MCT and collagen! I use these products in my coffee and in my smoothies. The cacao I use as an evening drink or if I’m craving chocolate.
Top tips for feeling workouts. Good fats ie MCT and Protein. Personally I like to have a coffee prior to working out and protein after. I try and have whole foods to get that protein in, rather than powder but I will use a good protein powder post workout as well. Just check the ingredients and make sure there’s not lots of extra rubbish ingredients in there!
Quick fire questions!
I often don’t eat breakfast until 10:30/11am. My fave is Greek Yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, some slightly spiced crushed nuts with a pinch of chilli and salt.
Place to holiday?
I have family that live in the Lot/Dordogne region of France. It is the place I go every year and I one day will live there. We canoe the dordogne river with bubbles and picnic - it’s the best.
Dose of nature?
Deep woodland. I love getting lost in the trees with my dog.
In my garden with a good brave coffee, some Avocado butter, chilli tomato salsa on sourdough. Oh and a poached egg for good measure.
The dordogne river.
If I had to pick only one it would be walking.