Sarah Sweeney – NPC Oklahoma Athlete of the Month

Date Of Birth: 11/08/84
Hometown: Yukon, OK
Marital Status: Married
Facebook: SarahSweeney58
Instagram: SarahSweeney_IFBB

Almost 7 years ago, I first stepped foot onto the weight room floor because I was physically incapable of many things. I had a major neck surgery and just was unable to use my body in any sort of athletic way as I had previously. Competing initially gave me a goal and I discovered a drive in myself that I did not know was there. I love the pursuit of trying to be better in each show I do. I love the comradery that the category of figure has and the friendships that have developed off stage.

I had a major neck surgery in 2007 and was unable to use my body in any sort of athletic way as I had previously been accustomed. Essentially, I woke up one morning and was paralyzed on my left side due to herniate discs in my neck. After a year of rehab and not being able to do anything with my body in order to allow my spine to heal, my husband urged me to go back into the gym – but under the guidance of a trainer. My first trainer was Sherry Smith, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder. Day one was embarrassing and soul-crushing. I could barely lift the five pound weights she handed me, and that was with her spotting my every motion. Lunges were an unsteady calamity. Slowly plugging away, we were able to regain control of my limbs and strength that I thought would be gone forever. A year later, we decided to enter a figure competition. Competing initially gave me a goal and I discovered a drive in myself that I did not know was there. I love the pursuit of trying to be better in each show I do. I love the comradery that the category of figure has and the friendships that have developed off stage.

In 2012, right after starting prep for NPC Junior Nationals and about two weeks before my husband was set to leave for a year-long deployment, I found out I was pregnant. It was a time of severely mixed emotions. I was excited, despite the poor timing of this surprise, but I also was a bit disappointed because I thought this would ruin the figure competitions I had become so involved in and passionate about. I spent the entire pregnancy alone. There were no cute pre-pregnancy couple’s photos, no gender reveal party, and no husband to hold my hand during the birth. The one thing that kept me wallowing in the situation at hand, was training. I continued training all the way up until two weeks before the birth of my son. At his birth, I had my mother, a doula, and at least my husband was able to see his son via Skype (thank goodness for modern technology). Once we were home, though, the real challenge began. My son had terrible colic, and post-partum depression set in (probably more
from being alone more than anything). I ended up getting to the point where I could not sleep and I was hearing/ seeing things – I finally asked for help (this is so hard for me to do) and got with my OB/GYN about anti-depressants. I returned to the gym as soon as I was able and slowly, regained my body again. My husband returned when our son was almost three months old. Shortly thereafter, I began trying to work my way off of anti-depressants. Again, with his encouragement, I dove back into the world of figure competitions – because it brought me so much joy. At the end of 2013, I was happily back on the stage. By the end of 2014, with a TON of help from a HUGE Oklahoma team, I had achieved the dream of becoming and IFBB Pro Figure competitor.

This year, I look forward to competing in the Phil Heath on March 12, the St Louis Pro on March 20th – potentially the Optimum Classic (Shreveport, LA) on May 28th and the Europa Dallas on June 17th.

Pet Peeve In The Gym: I can play the cello, not as well as I used to, but I played from the age of 6-22.

Special Talent: I can play the cello, not as well as I used to, but I played from the age of 6-22.

Favorite Cheat Meal: Gourmet Burgers

What Inspires You To Excel In Life And The Gym: Knowing that I’ve been at rock bottom (physically and emotionally) pushes me to continue seeking that next plane of accomplishment — always growing and moving forward, never wanting to go backwards.

Best Dieting Tip: Consistency and actually following a written plan. Flying by the seat of your pants does not teach you about what works or doesn’t work for YOUR body.

Fitness Quote You Live By:
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -John Wooden

Most Important Thing / Person In Your Life: My husband and my son. They are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.

2014:
Grand Prix – Figure C, First Place
Nationals – Figure F, 2nd Place, Pro Card Received
2015:
Border States Pro – 16th Place
Arkansas Pro – 16th Place