Friday, November 6, 2015

How To Stay Motivated

I get asked quite often how to stay motivated. Before I start this blog, I want to say- you need to be motivated from within. If you are constantly making excuses for yourself, you will NEVER get to where you want to be. If you are TRULY motivated, nothing will ever stand in your way

1. Do Not Crash Diet
Crash dieting may result in quick weight loss at first, but as soon as you stop starving yourself or doing a diet that isn't conducive for the long haul, you will gain all (if not more) of the weight right back. If you are interested, I am fitness nutrition certified and have meal plans available on

2. Never Limit Foods
Limiting foods and telling yourself you CAN'T have something is a sure fire way to make your brain only crave the food that you "can't" have. Instead, have planned treat meals in your plan (talk with me or your coach about this). If you need more information on the importance on treat meals, I have an entire post about those! Limiting food won't result in a lifestyle change. On that note- avoiding foods like dairy and alcohol, in my opinion, should be a lifelong decision.

3. Find Alternatives To Cope With Emotion
A lot of people stress eat. If this is you, you need to keep all of your binge food out of the house. You also need to find a new way to deal with stress. For me, it's lifting. For others, it may be running or listening to music or yoga or meditating. Whatever yours is- find that.

4. Ask For Support
There are fewer things more powerful than accomplishing a goal with a friend or spouse. A support system is definitely needed during a weight loss (or weight gaining) journey! Ask for support, take friends to the gym, involve the ones you care about the most!

5. Make A Fit and Fat Basket
Make 2 baskets and label 1 your fit basket and label 1 your fat basket.
Make a bunch of notecards, color coordinate them. For example:
Blue- meal plan
Purple- water
Green- supplements
Yellow- lifting
Orange- rest
Label notecards with every single positive aspect of your new fitness lifestyle. Make 30 of each color for each day of the month. So you will have 30 meal plan cards, 30 water cards, etc

At the end of each day, place your daily cards into either your fit and fat basket. So if you stayed on your meal plan the whole day, the meal plan card goes into the fit basket. If you didn't drink the water you should, the water card goes in the fat basket, etc. At the end of the month- you will see really quick where your weak points are and you will know what you need to fix

I hope this helps!!! If you need a coach, I would love to help, my rates are on

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Boobs and Barbells

Today on my instagram (@sarah_bowmar), I posted a workout video that included burpees and I made the comment that I don't do the pushup because of my implants. And it sparked a frenzy.

Here's a little background on my implant journey:

When I was 19, 3 days before my second year of college started,  I had my first breast augmentation in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started with very little natural mass- I'm talking like a small A. My surgeon was able to give me 350 CC saline implants and one of the only things she forbade me to do was to lift chest with those implants. When you lift chest, your pec muscles will separate (hence, the chest split I'm sure you all have heard or seen online). This is great if that's the look you are going for- horrible if you have implants under the muscle like me (as your implants will move as your pec moves, therefore, giving you little to no cleavage).

So I obviously listed to Dr. Short. She's a surgeon and I am not. During the next 6 years. I added about 35 pounds of mass to my 5'3 frame. This resulted in my then "huge" implants looking quite average. For me, I was no longer comfortable.

In December of 2014, I decided to have my implants removed and replaced. This time, in Columbus, OH. I had 550 CC silicone implants replace my current saline ones. Again, under the muscle. My surgeon, again, suggested that I avoid isolating my chest muscles in any workouts that I do.

Does this mean that everyone with implants needs to avoid working chest? NO. But for my body, my implants, my placement, and my workouts- it was suggested to me twice by two different surgeons at two different points in my life with two different types of implants to not isolate chest- doctors do know what they are talking about!

If you are concerned at all about your implants, then ask or call your surgeon! That's what they are there for!

Happy Boobs For Life!!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

How To: Meal Prep

Ok! So now you have decided, ENOUGH, I am GOING to change my lifestyle. And I want to start meal prepping!

The pre-step to meal prep is to have a meal plan- either one that you make or one that yours truly (hint hint-me) makes for you! If you are interested in a customized meal plan for me, check out

Pre-Step: Have A Meal Plan

Step 1: Invest in HIGH QUALITY containers. I recommend BPA free ones that way you can put them in the microwave and dishwasher. I also recommend containers that are the same size to make them easier to stack. I have used ISO containers and ISO bags for over 2 years and I would recommend them to anyone! If you need containers or bags, you can order on and use "sarah" for 10% off

Step 2: Write down what you NEED at the store so that you aren't walking around aimlessly and get too much of one thing and not enough of another. I recommend prepping for 3-4 days at a time so plan everything that you need by tallying everything up that you need from your plan!

Step 2.5: Make sure you have a food scale- it's hard to measure meat without a scale, especially if it calls for 4oz!

Step 3: Make sure you have low sodium and calorie free spices on hand. You will be preparing a lot of meat at once so you want to make sure things aren't bland.

Step 4: Time to actually cook your food! I recommend doing ALL of your meat either in the oven or on the grill. Make sure you are cooking according to your meal plan, so if it calls for no oil, then DO NOT USE OIL! Meat on the grill, to me, is the tastiest!

Step 4.5: Cooking veggies. If you are cooking your veggies and not eating them raw, cook all of the veggies on the stovetop at once while your meat is cooking. Get your water boiling before you get the meat on the grill so that meat and veggies can be cooking at the same time! If you are eating veggies raw, it's pretty easy to measure those!

Step 5: Cooking carbs- rice and quiona should be cooked last in my opinion and is needs to be more watched and monitored than veggies on the stove top.

Step 6: Clear your kitchen room table and line all of your containers up next to one another. Measure your meat with your food scale in each container- make sure you zero the scale out to compensate for the weight of the container and measure your meat first. Then measure your veggies and carbs (typically with a measuring cup).

Some notes:

Some items CAN'T be meal prepped- for example, scrambled eggs to me shouldn't be prepped- you should make them fresh or eat your egg whites boiled or drink them.

Unless otherwise noted, you should measure food COOKED (measure what you are actually eating)- again, if something calls for otherwise then do that!

Prepping seems overwhelming at first- but if you dedicated 2-3 hours on a sunday night to practice, you actually will begin to enjoy it! It will save you a ton of time throughout the week and eliminates any excuses to not grab what you have already prepped!

Happy prepping!

Monday, June 1, 2015

From Dairy and Egg Free Vegetarian to Bow Hunter

This has been a blog that has taken me over a year to write because I wanted to do it once and I wanted to do it right. I've have been taking notes for months in my phone about different ideas and different thoughts. 

I fully understand and expect some people to not understand why I made the switch and that is ok, but I needed to write this blog- for me. I also hope to provide some education about hunting and conservation as well. I want to preface that this was my personal experience. I am in no way generalizing vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters, etc. This was MY experience. Thanks for reading.

Ok, here we go...

In early 2012, I made the decision (based on a few months of research), to try out a meat, dairy, and egg free diet for 21 days. The only animal by-product that prevented me from classifying myself as a vegan was honey (darn bees and the wonderful treat they create). Those 21 days changed the way that I look at food, the way that I cooked, the way that I ordered at restaurants, and the way that I felt. The 21 days turned into roughly 2 and a half years of a dairy free/egg free vegetarian lifestyle.

During this time, I was also competing in my first year of NPC shows. That's right, I competed in six shows in 2013 as 100% vegetarian- so it IS possible. I didn't get sick (very likely when you are competing as you push your body past its limits and get very lean). I stopped breaking out. I also saw a decrease in muscle size. I was very tired (combined with a lack of animal protein and competing). I also felt deflated. I had a hard time getting all the nutrients that I was lacking, I'm not saying that it's impossible as a vegetarian to get all of the nutrients needed but for me- I was not absorbing vitamins like I needed to be any longer (notably, iron).

I went into my 2013 "off" season small. And deflated. And tired. And hardly any muscle mass (which was "the look" for bikini 3 years ago- very different today but I no longer compete and that's a different topic). I was wrestling with the idea of adding fish back into my diet because I knew that in order to continue on my fitness journey, I personally couldn't live off of beans and tofu and boca burgers. In January of 2014, I had my first bite of "ethically" raised fish. My first taste of meat in over 500 days. It. Was. Hard. It sat in my kitchen on a plate and I stared at it for over an hour. I cried. I balled. I knew what that fish had went through, I knew it's entire life was meant to feed me. It's entire life was created to be killed. I'm pretty sure I threw up that night after eating 1/3 of it. Slowly but surely, I added fish back in, day by day and bite by bite. It tore me up because of my deep conviction against eating slaughtered animals. I was selfish. Eating an animal for my own personal gains, literally.

For two months I went back and forth between pescatarian and vegetarian. Slowly adding eggs back in as well even though eggs are pretty gross too when you really look at the mass producing egg industry. When I decided to start prepping again in February, I knew I needed a small amount of fish protein on my diet. I did my best to do research on companies, buy local, and buy as organic as possible- because, let's be honest- meat at the big chain grocery stores are pumped with hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and live under extremely stressful living situations (which means you are going to eat their cortisol too).

When I met Josh at the Arnold in 2014, we were sitting at the food court in the convention center and I remember telling him that I don't eat any meat except fish. And I will never forget the look on his face (at this point I did not know he was a hunter). Conversely, I know Josh will never forget the look on my face when he told me that he was a hunter. Mind you- up to this point, I hated hunters. I hated that they took pictures with dead deer with the bloody tongue hanging out, I thought they were all hilly billy red necks who shot up the forest, I thought they left the animals for dead, I thought they were murders. I was ignorant. I was purely uneducated when it came to hunting. I was close minded and I was so turned off by the fact that Josh hunted that I was unsure if I wanted anything to do with him (mind you, he thought the same thing about me not eating meat).

So what did he do? Instead of getting frustrated with me or let his emotions get in the way, he EDUCATED me on conservation. He educated me on what hunters do with the animal after they harvest it. He told me story after story about how being in the woods isn't always about the kill itself, it's about appreciating the beauty of everything that God created.

Here's some pretty mind blowing stats that really slapped me in the face with reality:
Here are the numbers, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and other public sources:
** $746 million — Annual amount of money spent by hunters in the United States on licenses and public land access fees alone. Sportsmen’s licensing revenues account for more than half of all funding for state natural resource agencies
** $300 million — Additional monies contributed to wildlife conservation every year by the more than 10,000 private hunting-advocate organizations, like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
** $4.2 billion — Amount of money sportsmen have contributed to conservation through a 10% federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and gear since the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act established the tax. Millions of acres of public-use land has been purchased, preserved, and maintained with this money.
Not to mention, hunters (through the funds mentioned above) provide more than 500,000 jobs across America. The funding money results in conservation for hunted and non-hunted animals. The funding money provides parks, and trails, and public land preservation. I am not here to bash PETA or any animal rights groups but do you know what they do with their money since they are a non profit? Ads, TV time, etc. Guess how much land they preserve each year? ZERO acres. 
Hunters (not poachers) harvest animals to feed their families. In my mind, I was getting away from eating meat because 1- the animals were living to be killed and 2- they were pumped with more chemicals than a pharmacy counter. But guess what harvesting an animal provides? It gives the hunter the opportunity to fill their freezer with the most organic meat you can find from an animal that lived an amazing life provided. That animal lived its life to the fullest. The ancient native americans believe that eating an animal you harvest will be with you forever because that protein is used to repair your own muscles- making you one with the animal. For me, that was a no brainer when it came to hunting. 
The fact that pushed me over the edge: I am an animal lover. That's right- I LOVE ANIMALS. I volunteer at a humane society, I rescued my cat Tom, I am OBSESSED with animals. What does hunting allow me to do? It allows me to get within yards of many animals, 99% of which I am not hunting- simply observing. But guess what? Without hunters, many animals (such as the whitetail) would become over populated and sick. 
Let's simply use deer for this example. Herds of deer co-exist. However, what happens if a male becomes too dominant? Food is limited and if there are too many deer in that area, guess who could end up killing/hooving fawns? That's right- the mature buck. He will run younger bucks away and into a new location- hence car accidents when deer are trying to cross the road. He will run smaller fawns and does off food sources. He will also breed as many does as possible, in time, this results in in-breeding and yes, it's a problem for animals too. 
Additionally, a herd that is too large will contract diseases much quicker. Common diseases in deer populations include blue tongue and CWD (chronic wasting disease). CWD for example is like alzheimer's for deer. They forget to eat, they forget how to walk, they forget how to defend. Coyotes will literally eat deer alive from the back up and the deer are too weak to get away. Mother nature can be pretty cruel sometimes. 
Speaking of car accidents, there are over 1.5 million deer related car accidents reported annually (on average), resulting in over $1 billion in damages with 200 fatalities. Guess why deer are crossing the road- it's usually to find new food sources because mature deer are over-dominant. 
Hunters not only do their best to harvest the largest and most dominant deer in the area but they also do their part in harvesting large infertile does as well. Venison is extremely lean and fills the freezer for us (family of 2) for 6 months. Additionally, hunters donate over 12 million meals annually (one pound of venison can feed four to five people) ( 

Which brings me to my final point- why do we bow hunt? To me, bow hunting is extremely challenging and provides the most gratitude and sense of accomplish compared to gun hunting (personal opinion, I am not anti-guns). Archery in itself is a beautiful sport and practicing is very rewarding. 

Was harvesting my first animal difficult? Yes. Was harvesting my second animal difficult? Yes. I think you get where I am going with this. To watch an animal die is not something we get off to. When I killed my first turkey last year with my bow, I balled my eyes out because I appreciated the animal so much. My first buck? Oh my gosh was I an absolute train wreck. I cried for at least an hour but if I hadn't harvested that deer, he would have died for nothing- either hit by a car or eaten by buzzards and coyotes. I now get to live forever knowing that that deer has become one with me- and he looks amazing on our wall. I get to relive the memory for the rest of my life and the feeling of taking the deer with my bow is something I will never forget. 

Josh and I now get to travel the country and the world hunting. Exploring new places and meeting the most amazing people in various hunting camps. The stories are endless, the passion can't be measured, and the incredible connections that you obtain with everyone you meet in this industry is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Guess what? In the fitness industry- everyone is out to protect themselves. In the hunting industry, getting to tell a story of your own is just as enjoyable as hearing someone else tell a story of their own and showing you pictures of the animals they have harvested. The support for one another is truly something that I have never seen before. 

This was not meant to be an apology for hunting. I will never apologize for being a hunter. What my full intention for this blog post was to simply educate and provide a background to where I started because I was so ignorant when it come to all things hunting. I truly hope that everyone reading this has a new found view on hunting. For me, making the switch to eating organic meat that I harvested with a bow, practicing conservation, experiencing hours and hours appreciating nature, donating meals, filling my own freezer, and spending time with my husband... Doesn't get much better than that.

PS-Josh and I donated over 3,000 meals in 2014 alone and we plan to beat that this year. 

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Carb Cycling 101

A lot of people ask me if it's possible to gain strength and size while losing body fat and the answer is YES- it's called carb cycling.

Carb cycling is just that- you cycle high and low carb days depending on your goals and activity level (current and desired). The number of each high or low carb days depends on a lot of factors but mainly your starting point, where you want to be, activity level, etc

High carb days allow our metabolism to rev up, while the low carb days help keep your insulin levels low enough to burn fat while maintaining muscle (source:

"Think of the high carb days as adding fuel to your calorie burning fire. And on the low carb days, your body will burn fat instead of the usual carbohydrates. This combination allows for maximum fat burning while maintaining muscle.

Not all carbs are created equal. There are good carbs (complex carbs which cause a slower change in blood glucose levels) and bad carbs (simple carbs which cause spikes in blood glucose levels). Foods such as donuts, candy and french fries are all bad choices and have no place in any diet. You want your carbs to come from vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and whole oats." (
On low carb days, you should replace your carb calories with good fats: almonds, avocados, etc.
If you are interested in a carb cycling meal plan, please email me for rates:

Below please find a really helpful graphic on good v bad carbs

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How To Build A Killer Workout Program

How To Build A Killer Workout Program

The best part about the internet- there are endless free resources for fitness. The bad thing about the internet- there are endless free resources for fitness. There are a lot of amazing pieces on fitness and health and working out and losing weight and what to eat and what not to eat and supplements and water and sleep and rest and gyms and cardio and everything. Guess what- all that stuff is confusing SO I have created the only how-to workout builder guide that you will ever need.

This is a generic plan. If you would rather have me do all the work for you- please checkout for meal and training plans that will take the guess work out of everything

Step 1- Determine Your Fitness Goals
Your goals need to be specific, measurable, and timely. Your goal also needs to have actionable items that you can follow to hit your goal. 

Bad Goal: I want to lose weight by going to the gym. 
Good Goal: I am currently 25% body fat. I want to lose 1% of body fat each week until I am 18% body fat, this should take me 6-10 weeks (taking a plateau into account and a plan adjustment). I will achieve this goal by hiring a meal prep coach to write a customized nutrition plan for me, I will prep all of my meals, I will lift 5 times a week and I will do cardio 3-4 times a week until I hit my goal. Additionally, I will drink at least 1 gallon of water a day and take all of my supplements recommended each day. 

Step 2- Take Measurements

In order to know what works and what doesn’t, you need to measure. You need to measure a lot. And you need to measure two times a month. 
Measurements to take:
Body Fat Percentage
Neck (in inches):
Chest (in inches):
Biceps (in inches):
Waist (in inches):
Hips (in inches):
Thighs (in inches):
Calves (in inches):

Make sure to measure everything RELAXED and RECORD all numbers into an excel spreadsheet for tracking. Create columns for check in 1, 2, 3, etc

Step 2.5- Determine if what you are doing right now is working or not. If it is working- then just keep doing it and make sure you are measuring. If it is not working, keep reading. 

Step 3- Make A Workout Plan

If you know that you want to lift 5 times a week, you know how many days you have to work with for your lifting plan. I highly recommend focusing on muscle groups in groups of 1 or 2 to truly focus on ripping the muscle fibers and then allowing enough rest days in between lifting that same group again for the fibers to repair bigger and stronger. If you have a general goal such as to lose body fat, then follow a program like this:
Day 1- Shoulders
Day 2- Legs
Day 3- Back
Day 4- Chest and Abs
Day 5- Arms and Glutes
Day 6- Rest
Day 7- Rest 
Cardio would need to be done 4 times to hit your goal and that can either be done at the same time as lifting (make sure you do cardio second), do fasted cardio, and/or do cardio on rest days. 

If you want to grow your shoulders, for example, follow a program like this:
Day 1- Shoulders
Day 2- Legs
Day 3- Back and Arms
Day 4- Shoulders
Day 5- Chest and Abs
Day 6- Rest
Day 7- Rest

Step 4- Determine the exercises and the sets/reps
KISS- keep it simple stupid
Yes, I post some kinda crazy workouts on instagram (@sarah_bowmar) that a lot of people have never seen before but I HAVE BEEN LIFTING FOR YEARS AND SO HAS MY HUSBAND, WE HAVE AN ARSENAL OF WORKOUTS. If you are new to lifting, stick to the below:
Quads- Squats, Lunges, Box Jumps
Glutes and Hamstrings- Hip Raises, Deadlifts, Good Mornings, Step Ups
Push (chest, shoulders, and triceps)- overhead press, bench press, dumbbell press on incline, push ups, dips
Pull (back, biceps, and forearms)- chin ups, pull up, inverse body weight rows, dumbbell rows
Core- plans, mountain climbers, hanging leg raises

For sets, I recommend doing 3-5 sets per exercise. Keep your toal workout numbers of sets for all exercises 15-25 set range AKA pick 4-5 exercises of 4 sets = 16 - 20 sets for your whole workout.
For reps, if you are looking to burn fat while building muscle (everyone’s dream), keep your reps per set to the 8-15 range. If you can do more than 15 without much of a challenge, it’s not difficult enough for you. 

Measure every 2 weeks. If you notice things aren’t working- change them. Never try to fix something that isn’t broken. 

You should not be lifting anymore than 45-55 minutes per day (there is another blog post about why this is lower in the my blog- just keep scrolling)

Again, this is a GENERAL PLAN. If you need a full proof plan to take the guess work out of everything- checkout