I am so happy to write this post about our next Hot Mom! She is one of my oldest and dearest friends and original fitness partners. As if the pictures don’t speak for themselves – she is beautiful inside and out – with an amazingly upbeat personality. Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself in describing her… so let’s get on with the interview!
Starting out with a little intro, please tell us about yourself, your family, job(s), and any community activities or organizations you are involved in.
Hi Hot Mom Check IN and my favorite Epworthians Courtney and Kristen Stewart! My name is Sarah Vargo Kellner and I am so grateful to be chosen by my long time besties to be a hot mom! I am from Fenwick Island, Delaware and now live in Maryland. I am a mom of three, Dylan (9), Riley (7…8 in June), CamtheMAN (3…4 in August) with a ton of jobs! I am a nanny, fitness instructor at World Gym Glen Burnie, yoga instructor for Conquest BJJ/MMA of Millersville, a personal trainer for SVK Fitness, a Cinderella and Elsa princess impersonator for children’s birthday parties, AND an adjunct professor for the Community College of Baltimore County reading department. As a family we are involved with baseball, softball, field hockey, basketball, gymnastics, t-ball organizations and just recently started to go to church at I5 Church in Odenton, Md.
I feel like this description of activities really does not give Sarah credit for just HOW BUSY SHE IS! With three small kids, all playing different sports and at different times – wow, thinking about that alone makes me crazy. Plus being an adjunct instructor AND teaching at the gym AND personal training?! Wow. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe her life. If I were her, I would need an IV drop of strong coffee!
When did you start to really get into fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle?
I was always into playing sports as a child and into my teen years, but never really did any extra conditioning other than the required team practices. After I had my first son, breastfeeding literally took away the 45lbs that I gained while pregnant and I still wasn’t too “active.” I had Riley about 18 months after Dylan, and about 6 months after her birth I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is too little thyroid hormone which causes the slowing of body functions. The symptoms include weight gain, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance, puffy skin, hair loss, fatigue, and menstrual irregularity in women. It was about 6 months after I had my daughter that I realized that I felt HORRIBLE! My hair was falling out leaving me with bald spots; my acne was out of control; my body felt slow and tired; and I had only lost about 25 pounds out of the 50 pounds I had gained during my second pregnancy.
I started to feel myself going into a downward spiral with exhaustion taking over my life and my attitude towards my kids and family became hateful because I COULD NOT KEEP UP! I remember one day I woke up and told my husband that I was leaving to go to the Dr.’s and I was not coming back until they told me what the hell was wrong with me. They ran blood work for EVERYTHING under the sun and within a few days called me back into the office asking me to come in for an appointment – but not to drive myself there. This alarmed me; but of course, I drove myself. I sat on the table in the Dr.’s office and he said to me that my numbers were so out of control on so many things that he was scared that at any moment I could fall asleep at the wheel and harm myself. He was shocked that I was able to keep up at all with my children and work full time. The truly concerned look on his face was something I will never forget because it really scared me! I sat up straight and said I feel like you are telling me I am going to die or something. He replied, “No, you are not going to die. But, Sarah, your body is in a horrible state for how young you are and it is alarming me.” He prescribed me a high dose of Synthroid and gave me tips for stress relief and some holistic oils and vitamins. He also recommended some exercise and emphasized to me that I needed to reduce the stress in my life.
This Doctor literally saved my life. He not only helped me medically, but he helped me realize that I needed more help with the kids. He helped me realize that the burden of a family, work, and household duties was not to only fall on me. He simply told me to ASK FOR HELP and be vocal.
I was not used to this at all – this was something that I had not done before. The Doctor literally ended up creating a monster (God bless you Dr Parshad, I am forever grateful to you). So… thus began my first time ever joining a gym or walking on a treadmill. My goal was simple – to not get larger then I was at that time, and go three times a week for an hour and walk, relax, and regroup. I was fine with the way I looked then, especially for just having two kids…150 pounds probably a size 9-10, but knew that I didn’t want to let myself become victim of the hypothyroidism and gain weight. So I figured this would keep everything in check. As time went by my walks turned into running and my body began to change and inches fell off and muscle packed on. Each time I would see myself I couldn’t believe how much “exercise works” IT BLEW MY MIND. But what meant the most to me was the internal change…I wasn’t angry anymore, I wasn’t tired anymore, I was able to lower my medicines and keep up with my families busy schedule. This is what I fed off of; this is what has made me who I am today. My body now is just a PRODUCT OF DOING THINGS THAT I LOVE, AND DOING THINGS THAT FEED MY SOUL.
Do you have any special diet tips or secrets you want to share? Any favorite recipes or meal prep ideas?
My favorite things to eat are sweet potatoes. I try to keep cooked, whole sweet potatoes in the fridge ALL the time. Some days I eat them with every meal. I have a large appetite and try to keep my caloric intake high because I teach and do my own workouts so much. I need to have enough fuel so I can go hard in my workouts – so starving myself is not an option. I eat about 2100-2200 calories a day. This keeps me happy and full….you do not want to be around me when I am HANGRY. I would love to tell you I am sugar free and vegan and never eat Chick-fil-A…but I am not. I love to treat myself and enjoy life. However, I do “try” really hard during the week to eat clean and only eat a small amount of sugar. Not so much for a slim body, but because of my acne condition that I am constantly struggling with.
What are your favorite fitness activities?
Right now… my favorite thing is Yoga, and trying to hold arm balances. It is insanely hard! I love how there is no competition and how it is all about you and your mat and where you are in that moment. It has been really amazing to begin teaching yoga and sharing with people a new way to view themselves and their workouts. I am all about helping people rid themselves of negative self-talk and embrace self-love. It is an amazing thing to see someone grow strong physically; but even more amazing to help someone feel that they are deserving of love and help inspire them to push themselves out of their own comfort zone and watch them thrive! It just makes me happy.
Who does Sarah sound like? Yeah, that’s right – Jillian Michaels! Sarah and I share a common love of Jillian, not only because of her signature hard core workouts – but also how she makes you feel – like you can do anything! Not only does trainer Sarah focus on strength conditioning, she also helps her trainees focus on having a positive self-image. Sounds to me like Sarah could be the next Jillian?
With all the directions you are pulled in (nannying for multiple families, teaching college courses, and getting three kids off to school each day – YIKES) – how do you manage to fit your workouts in?
This is actually not a fair question because my workouts are my job….so when you get paid to workout. YOU SHOW UP. LOL. But, I do actually get up at 5am and get things out of the way. It sounds horrible, but it is the most soothing way to get a work out in.
NO screaming from any child…
NO need to worry about whether or not the babysitter is going to show up…
NO worry about rush hour traffic…
You get the point. It is just you and your workout, everyone else is asleep and “need-free!” Try it!!!!
I am beginning to think that all of our hot moms work out first thing in the morning. It’s the only time of the day that we can be sure we will be able to get it in! I was lucky enough to attend one of Sarah’s classes, and yes, she brings it! Her cycling classes are “fun”. “Fun” meaning I left dripping in sweat, was out of breath half of the time, and had wobbly legs walking out of the gym. And, you guessed it, this class was first thing in the morning! We were all finished before the sun even came up.
What we all really want to know…. How do you manage to stay so hot? That is, are there any tools such as fitness apps, equipment, etc that you absolutely cannot live without?
Hmmmm…. Nike workout leggings make your butt look great and for a gal like me you need a ton of PADDED sports bras!!! HAHAHAH!!! A set of 20 pound dumbbells, a heavy bag, a yoga mat and a strong will to succeed.
Since you have become a mom, what is your proudest fitness accomplishment?
It sounds silly, but anytime I do a “MAN-pushup” I am proud! Literally, anytime. I take joy in the small things. I love getting into crazy, bendy poses; they make me proud. To be honest, I am proud after every workout I complete.
What’s next on your goal list for 2015? Signed up for any races or events?
One of my goals for 2015 is to be able to do a straight leg hollow back while on my head and a lotus leg handstand. I will do a Color Run again with the kids this summer and I would love to do an all-girls mud run, if you and Kristen are up for it!!!!
Another week, another hot mom. Be sure to check out Sarah’s website and blog at http://www.svkfitness.com/blog.html. If you live near Glen Burnie, be sure to stop by her gym and say “hi” – or try out one of her classes! All fitness levels are welcome.
Are you finding these hot moms inspiring? I sure do. There are so many inspirational stories out there! Do you know of a hot mom you would like us to interview? Leave us a comment and let us know!