Sara Solomon is not only a Fitness Model but she is also a Dentist, Physiotherapist and Personal Trainer. She not only looks good and has brains but she also is quite the character as you can see in her video blog which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/ssolom9
Get Hench Now! was lucky to get an interview with the oh so busy Sara where we asked her a variety of questions and the thing I found the most interesting and I’m sure you’ll find to is the amazing mindset that Sara has which is no doubt the reason she has managed to achieve so much.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with bodybuilding?
I am a dentist in Toronto, Canada. I was raised by a family of scholars who placed tremendous emphasis on academia: The philosophy was, “work first, play later”. Because I was always studying or practicing the piano, I was unfortunately unable to incorporate sports or fitness into my daily regime.
When I was 18, my parents started gaining weight and decided to hire a personal trainer. I was so captivated by their thrice weekly workouts, that I decided to join them. And this was the decision that forever changed the direction of my life. I decided to pursue my certification in personal training. Shortly thereafter, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from McGill University. My desire to interlace science and artistry resulted in my pursuit of dentistry. After obtaining my DMD from McGill in 2005, I had more free time to devote to exercise. I became so enamored by fitness that I became a certified SPINNING and jump rope instructor, and I enrolled in gymnastics and dance.
I met my personal trainer, Lyzabeth Lopez in 2006. For the following 3 years, she unsuccessfully tried to convince me to enter a fitness competition. I made up every excuse imaginable: “I can’t because I’m a dentist, I can’t because I have cellulite, I can’t because I’m too old…” The true reason was fear of failure.
One day in July 2009, I came to the realization that I was my own worst enemy. I emailed Lyzabeth and said, “let’s do it”. By November, I entered and won my first fitness competition at 32 years of age. Entering into the world of fitness modeling is one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Not only have I met incredible friends, learned multiple new skills, ameliorated my self-confidence, eliminated my cellulite and learned proper nutrition, but I have also learned the importance of tapping into my full potential. Never again will I leave opportunities unrealized.
What motivates you to go to the gym and work hard?
I am fortunate to have been raised by supportive parents who have not only taught me strategies to achieve success, but who have also presented me with every opportunity imaginable. When I was 10 years old, my dad gave me a walkman and Anthony Robbins’ course. I was only 10 at the time, but I still remember this quotation, “never set attainable goals”.
Over the years, I have learned that the greatest reward for achieving is the opportunity to do more. I have also learned that there is no shortcut to success. It took me 8 years of university to become a dentist, 10 years to advance to grade 10 piano, and 2 years to be able to do 10 unassisted chin-ups. To have success, it takes obsessive focus. I do not consider myself to be naturally talented. My success is a result of hours and hours of practicing, studying, training and honing my skills. While the others are sleeping, partying, or watching television, I’m busy working towards my “unattainable” goals.
My motivation is derived from both internal and external sources. I am motivated by watching other people succeed. I am also motivated by fear. I try things which scare me. And no matter how silly I look, I keep trying until I get it right. Confucius said, “he who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right”.
How has bodybuilding had an effect on your life?
Obviously there are numerous health benefits to losing weight and improving fitness. The most unexpected ancillary benefit; however, has been my dramatic increase in self-confidence. After engaging in an invigorating workout, I feel energized both physically and mentally: I am prepared to tackle all of life’s challenges. I have gained a whole new positive outlook and approach to life through fitness and healthy living. My boosted self-confidence has lead to improved professional and interpersonal relations, as well as new exciting opportunities and experiences.
What is your training routine currently like?
My routine consists of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training. I engage in cardiovascular training 6 days a week for 45-60 min. My cardio regime consists of spinning, jump rope, steady-state elliptical training and HIIT on the treadmill. I constantly mix it up to keep my body guessing…and burning fat. I strength train 5-6 days a week with the guidance of my personal trainers.
What is your current diet?
My successful body transformation is mostly a result of proper nutrition. For years I thought I was eating “healthy”, and it eluded me why I never achieved any results despite religious exercising. My areas of expertise include dentistry, medicine, physiotherapy and fitness, but I am the first to admit that having no educational background in nutrition was hindering my ability to achieve my “dream body” and succeed as a fitness model. Not only did I start researching the topic, but I also hired a nutritionist who was able to devise a personalized nutrition plan for me. This was money well spent.
I consume complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats every 2-3 hours for a total of 6 smaller meals a day. This ensures my metabolism burns steadily throughout the day. I minimize carbohydrate consumption after lunch, and finish all my meals at least 3 hours before bedtime. I prevent myself from deviating from my nutrition plan by preparing 5 days worth of meals in advance and carrying them in a cooler to work (with an ice-pack). I always carry a water bottle with me, and never wait until I am thirsty to drink.
If you could go back in time to when you first started training, what would you have done differently?
When I first starting training in the late 1990’s, I thought I had proper nutrition. It was not until I started doing research in 2009 that I realized I was clueless. I assumed I was eating healthy because the processed food I was eating came with labels stating, “low fat, high fiber, and fortified with vitamins”. This is why I never achieved the results I desired with my physique. I cannot change the past. I can only affect the future.
What supplements do you currently use and do you think they are really that important?
I prefer to eat my food rather than swallow a pill. I always recommend researching and critical thinking before engaging in anything new, especially when considering ingesting supplements. Because I engage is such tremendous physical daily activity, I have added the following to my fitness model diet: whey protein, fish oil, flaxseed, a multivitamin, BCAA’s peri-work-out and glutamine post work-out.
Do you think diet or training is more important?
Both diet and training are of equal importance if you want to achieve significant bodybuilding results. Bodybuilding nutrition provides the fuel needed to support your workouts. Without proper nutrition, it will be difficult to hypertrophy your muscles or achieve any significant definition.
What’s the biggest mistake you see new bodybuilders making?
Training requires objective evaluation of progress. Without a training journal (which includes physique photographs as well as documentation of your workouts and diet), you cannot objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your program and make the necessary changes to get you back on track.
Who are the body builders that you admire and look up to?
I admire anyone who has the courage and discipline to participate in the sport of bodybuilding. Lyzabeth Lopez and Emily Stirling have been source of inspiration for me. Lyzabeth introduced me to the sport, and I am truly blessed to have both Lyzabeth and Emily as my mentors and trainers: They have both forever changed my life and attitude for the better. Their wisdom, confidence, professionalism, work ethic and kind hearts have been a tremendous inspiration. The breadth of the skills and lessons they have taught me will be amplified over my lifetime. I look forward to their continued support and would like to acknowledge their help with a deep sense of gratitude.
What’s your proudest bodybuilding accomplishment?
Becoming healthy and fit has completely transformed me inside and out: I’m a brand new Sara. It has improved my self-confidence, expanded my friend circle and has helped me realize that true beauty is something you cannot even see in a mirror. Ameliorating my self-image is my proudest bodybuilding accomplishment.
What’s your proudest non-bodybuilding accomplishment?
My academic and professional achievements are my proudest non-bodybuilding accomplishments. Becoming a dentist required 8 grueling years of study. Nothing has given me greater satisfaction or fulfillment than imparting my knowledge to others and focusing on those most in need of my care.
What are your future bodybuilding goals?
I am currently registered to compete for my PRO card at the WBFF Quebec Championships on April 30, 2011. I am also in the process of honing my photography skills.
What are your future non-bodybuilding goals?
My passion is learning and creatively imparting knowledge about health and fitness to others. You can find my content on facebook, in numerous fitness and dental publications, as well as on my YouTube channel, “Dr. Sara Solomon – Fitness”. Be sure to stay tuned for more of my educational and fun adventures!