Animal: Meet instructor and zebra, Sara Fakih

Animal: Meet instructor and zebra, Sara Fakih

Gymbox instructor Sara Fakih has discovered her inner animal, the zebra. "To me it is an exotic horse with a bit of a crazy and wild edge – a bit like me".

Hi Sara, your chosen animal is a Zebra, what does this creature say about you?

Zebra is part of the horse family, and to me it is an exotic horse with a bit of a crazy and wild edge – a bit like me! I love horses and zebras and I think they are very special and most of all graceful animals, they have a deep understanding compared to many other animals. I see them as being quite spiritual which relates to me, too. When I looked up the symbolism of a zebra, it said: "mastering the powers of illusions and instincts'. I live my life by my instincts, and gut feelings about things. I usually have a strong intuition about situations and people.

Which classes do you teach and what do you love most about them?

Buti Yoga, Pound Fitness, Ragga Dancehall aka MashItUp (MIU) Fitness, Fight Klub & HIIT IT. I'm also trained in and cover in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Bunny Bootcamp and Zumba. The music in all what I teach is so important to me as it really helps to keep people motivated, you know there will be banging tunes in any of my classes!

Buti Yoga – is special to me now that I'm fully trained in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, and because yoga is such a big part of my life. Many people struggle in yoga as they can't calm their mind (they need to try more yoga and mediation) but Buti helps to keep the non-yogis attention as it's more like power yoga. It's fast-moving with a twist of tribal dance movement, and the odd plyometrics and conditioning exercises thrown in!

Pound Fitness – is an amazing concept. I feel like a rock star teaching this! This pilates/conditioning class will have you doing exercises, but just drumming away to the beat of the tunes! The way you can connect with the music in this class is something else!

Ragga Dancehall/MIU fitness – is a huge passion of mine. I love to dance and I feel happiest when I'm dancing! It enables you to just let go completely and express yourself completely.

Fightklub – creating fun punching and kicking combinations on the bag to banging beats set to a higher tempo is awesome. What more could you ask for?

You used to be overweight. Does this drive you to help others with their fitness goals?

100%! I can really empathise with people that struggle with weight loss, and I love being able to help motivate others, this is my passion! We are all made up so differently and for some it's very easy to shred fat, for some it's very hard. The same as it is when it comes to building muscle and keeping their fat% up! But it does all come down to food and most of all a positive outlook and not being too hard on yourself!

Do you have to remain vigilant when it comes to your diet due to this?

Oh I really do! I wish I didn't have to be so vigilant! I keep away as much as I can from wheat and gluten. and keep my protein intake up,. But if I drink alcohol or eat sugary things (even if gluten free) I literally can see it creep up on me! I can gain fat extremely easily – it goes to my tummy, arms and back - I wish it would go to my ass! I've had to build my ass as I don't hold too much fat on my lower body. But like I said – we're built very differently.

Even if one exercises 3-5 times a week, what are the key tips for keeping one's weight in check?

It's so important to be active. Don't work out for weight loss, work out to improve your health, physically and mentally! Being active is not only good for our bodies, it's medicine for our minds especially in London with our hectic lives! I never ever weigh myself. Women tend to get obsessed if we do, and it's not healthy. We all put ourselves under too much pressure. Stress encourages cortisol to be produced which will restrict your fat loss and slows your metabolism down. So don't stress about your weight. Stay positive, have fun and you won't be worried about how you look as you will feel amazing! This is why Gymbox has such a positive impact on many members!

My main tip: don't be hungry, snack on fresh healthy foods when you feel peckish and drink lots of water! My own personal tip is to stay away from bread and cheese, and I also converted from milk to almond milk.

After you qualified as a PT you suffered a back injury from a fall, which meant taking 8 months out. How did you get through this?

I think this happened for a reason! It was a real set back, and I actually thought that was me out of teaching for good! I had to go back into a 9-5 job. It was hard to do and I felt quite low for a while. I gained weight and had negative comments said about my weight. This wasn't healthy, and I wasn't strong enough to deal with it as the weight issue was a sore point for me. After my injury I couldn't do anything for a good few months which was so hard. I was low and I emotionally ate as I couldn't exercise. As my back got better with physio I then had to focus on losing a large portion of weight again (I still didn't weigh myself). I think I needed to go through that journey to build myself back up again. It was a struggle people could see with their own eyes, rather than just seeing the finishing result! It wasn't easy but inspiring others also gave me strength, and I really missed instructing. I knew I had to get back into it.

What have been your biggest learnings from life so far?

To control your thoughts and not be hard on yourself! No matter what is going on in your life, don't let your thoughts consume you. It's the most unhealthy thing to do to yourself! Our thoughts create how we feel. They are so much more powerful than we realise. Being grateful for every day and for everything in your life is also the most powerful thing you can do. Your thoughts vibrate that energy to the universe.

Is women's weight and size too much of an issue in our society?

I think so. There are women that their natural build is slim, athletic and curvy. I believe if you exercise frequently – but push yourself – and you eat well, then you will be healthy. People put too much pressure on the ideal and perfect body. Eat fresh and clean everyday, train frequently, drink lots of water, and most of all – be happy within yourself.

Which motivational quote you would tell people to help them on the path to transforming their lives?

There are a few, and they are all related to your mind set as this is where transformation starts:

"Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen" – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"All Problems are illusions of the mind" – Eckart Tolle

"Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live" – Jim Rohn

"Ego says, 'once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace'. Spirit says, 'Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place'" – Marianne Williamson

"The vibraton of gratitude attracts more postive things into your life" – Cherie Roe Dirksen

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world" – Mahatma Gandhi

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