BY BILL PHILLIPS
Like a lot of people, Sarah Schleich always thought about getting into better shape and maybe getting into bodybuilding.
But, like a lot of people, life got in the way. A stay-at-home mom and a work-at-home mom with three kids, her days were full with all the activities that come with having a young family and helping with the family business, Hub City Volkswagen.
“It has been on my bucket list for years,” she says of bodybuilding. “I always had reasons why I couldn’t. Always thought, if I was ever in a position where I could, I was going to do it.”
That all changed about five months ago when she went to the Ignite conference in Prince George, hosted by the Best Life Network.
“I went to Ignite in Prince George and quickly realized that I needed some sort of inspiration, some sort of goal,” she says. “Everyone at the table was talking about ‘this is where I want to go in my job, my life,’ and I don’t have anything. Then I had a huge epiphany, an ah-hah moment. I was going to get into bodybuilding. I had named my chapter for the year #badass. I had decided this was going to be the year I was going to focus on my fears.”
She went home and told her husband Richard that she was joining a bodybuilding competition and when she was still determined to do so the next morning, went out and started looking for a coach.
She found Karley Green of The Gym and Karley Green Coaching and Lifestyle.
“That was five months ago,” she says. “Here I am now, competing in my first bodybuilding competition.”
She will be on the Vanier Hall stage on Saturday competing, for the very first time, in the Iron Ore Classic. She has been training hard and her family fully supports her efforts, adopting a ‘go mom’ attitude.
“The food is a challenge, but nowhere near as hard as the mental aspect, especially in the bikini division,” she says.
At 37 years old, she found that a lot of her fellow competitors were in their early 20s.
“I found that to be really intimidating,” she says. “I found that I questioned whether I had a place in this sport.”
But then she discovered that she could compete in the masters bikini division, and it was full steam ahead.
“I just started this journey so insecure, now I’m total #badass,” she says. “I couldn’t go up to the weights. I was OK working out with a trainer, just losing baby weight, but this was a totally different mind game for me. It was really difficult to get out of my head and into the gym.”
As she got into it, she became more confident and in five months has gone from using five-pound weights to 30-pound weights.
“I truly believe that if you’ve got something to do and your super scared, that’s probably the one thing you should push yourself to do,” she says. “I think you learn the most about yourself. I’m more active in my business and I’m a happier parent.”
She also started a blog to chronicle her journey to better fitness and entering the world of competitive body building. That, she says, has also been very rewarding.
“I’m a very anxious person, a very introverted person, so to go and blog it, be vulnerable to strangers and make it public, has opened up a whole window of just amazing people.”
She says people have responded to her blog telling her that she’s inspired them to start going to the gym, or write, or just challenge themselves.
“Those types of things make opening myself up 100 per cent worth it, I’ve never received any negative feedback,” she says. “It’s always been super supportive, super positive. I found support from people I never knew were out there.”
She might be a little nervous, but she’ll be on the stage at the Brink Iron Ore Classic this Saturday at Vanier Hall.