#TEAMREFLEX

Sarah Connolly

CALGARY, AB

Meet Sarah

My name is Sarah Connolly. I am 26 years old, have a BSc. in Microbiology and a Diploma in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and am now working as a full-time Ultrasound Technician. I am also currently taking my NASM Personal Training course and have an ever-evolving passion for health and fitness!

Bodybuilding has become my chosen ‘sport’ and has truly changed my life. I became a ‘gym rat,’ for lack of a better term, when I began my undergrad, roughly eight years ago. At the time I was struggling with severe body dysmorphia, binge-restrictive eating disorder and a rather tragic lack of self-esteem and confidence. I spent hours in the gym doing cardio, countless sets of plyometric, bodyweight and low-weight high-rep exercises. I worked out because I hated my body and wanted to ‘fix’ my flaws. However, as I began to learn more about the human body, disease processes and the importance of nutrition through school and my own experiences, I began to develop a passion for researching health and fitness. I also started following some very motivational women on social media and I began looking up to more girls at the gym who displayed incredible strength and stamina. My ‘ideal’ body type began to shift from skinny to strong, and weight-lifting became my form of therapy. The gym is my playground, my second home and my happy place, and I hope to share my love for fitness with others.

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Sarah Connolly
Official member of #teamreflex
Sarah Connolly
Sarah Connolly
Sarah Connolly
Sarah Connolly

Favorite way to sweat

Lifting! Particularly training shoulders or glutes 😉
I’m also one of those crazy people who LOVE getting up early and hitting some fasted cardio! Nothing makes me happier and more energized than starting my day off sweaty!

Playlist

NF – Motivated
Lost Frequencies – Are you with me (Konmak Bootleg)
Fabian Mazur & Snavs – Arena
Eminem – Till I Collapse
Runaground – Chase you Down
Loud Luxury – Body
Kygo – Firestone
Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind

Place to visit or travel

The Okanagan – I did my undergrad in Kelowna and it will forever have a piece of my heart!

Extra Motivation

I find motivation in looking back to see how far I have come. The gym helped me grow so much, not only physically but mentally; from a frail, unhealthy, unhappy soul, to a girl who is in absolute awe of what her body is capable of, who loves herself inside and out and knows that absolutely nothing is impossible with the right mindset and amount of determination. So many incredible individuals have inspired me over the course of my fitness journey, and it would mean the world to me to be that person for someone else to aspire to. If I can inspire just one individual and perhaps be the reason one lost soul decides not to give up, every struggle I faced will have been worth it.

FAVORITE SUPPLEMENTS

Aside from my daily ‘essentials’ (multivitamin, multimineral, probiotic and fish oil), I always have creatine in my cupboard! Here are some fun facts about creatine and some of the many reasons it can be a VERY beneficial product to add into your supplement routine:

  • Creatine is formed via the combination of the amino acids methionine, glycine and arginine
  • Creatine is naturally found in our bodies as a product manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys
  • Creatine can also be acquired through consumption of foods such as fish and red meat.

 

So, why take creatine if it is a naturally-occurring substance in your body…?

Your body’s primary energy source is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is essential for almost all cellular functions, repair and synthesis, as well as playing a key role in metabolism. Muscle contraction, for example, is elicited through mechanistic pathways that are fuelled by ATP. The problem lies in the fact that ATP is not stored in reserves like creatine, and it is utilized very quickly during everyday bodily functions. Phosphocreatine (the endogeneous form of creatine stored in our tissues) is used to create ATP via donation of a phosphate group. Thus, creatine acts as a fuel source for your cells. Because creatine is stored over time, your body is able to utilize these stores as needed.

Creatine hydrates cells, enabling ion uptake and thus creating an optimal environment for protein synthesis to occur. More specifically, creatine increases Intracellular hydration. Hydrated cells are happy cells, thus creatine enables your muscles to function at their optimal potential.

Creatine has been shown to elicit a 5-15% increase in both strength and maximal work output. The combination of increased workload and capacity over time (i.e. more weight, more reps = more volume) effectively contributes to muscle hypertrophy.

Sarah Connolly

Now that we’ve covered the why, what about when and how to take it…?

Your body’s creatine stores have a threshold. It used to be hypothesized that maxing out this threshold by undergoing a ‘loading’ phase (essentially, taking a maximal daily dose ~20g/day over a short period of time prior to reducing to a consistent moderate daily dose) would enhance the effects of creatine. More recent studies have shown this is not entirely necessary, and the same benefits can be derived by simply starting and maintaining a dose of 5g/day. Yes, it will take some time for your creatine stores to reach full saturation, but the benefits of doing this over a loading phase include less water retention (especially for female athletes) and for some individuals with sensitive G.I systems, less gastric upset. It matters not when you take it, or whether you prefer to take it on its own with water, mix it in with your favorite shake or add it to a concoction of your other favorite supplements. 5g/day is all you need!

Butternut Squash Protein Muffins

– ½ cup cooked/pureed Butternut Squash
– 1 cup Egg Whites (*or 3 whole eggs or egg-substitute; Liquid Muscle egg whites are DELISH in this recipe)
– ½ cup melted Coconut Oil
– ¼ cup Maple Syrup or Raw Honey (use Sugar-free maple syrup if desired)
-1 tbsp Vanilla Exract
-2 scoops Whey Protein of choice (Hard Magnum Quattro Vanilla Icecream works amazingly well in this recipe)
– ½ cup plus 2 tbsp Organic Coconut Flour
– ½ tsp baking soda
-Cinnamon to taste
– ¼ tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

1) Preheat oven to 350F
2) Combine squash, egg whites, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla with an electric mixer
3) Mix in remaining ingredients
4) Divide mixture into muffin trays or pour entire mixture into a loaf/cake pan
5) Bake 22-25min (muffins) or ~40min (loaf/cake)

Breakfast

Zoats – Oatmeal with shredded zucchini (for ALLLL of the volume), Vanilla Whey Isolate, stevia and cinnamon

Snack

Cucumber with stevia and cinnamon (don’t knock it until you try it!)

Lunch

Sarah-sized Salad with fresh greens, veggies galore, avocado and typically either fish or chicken

Dinner

Salad, Homemade Poke Bowl or Stir-fry with a side of yams/sweet potatoes, broccoli and/or asparagus

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