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Earning Your Health with Sarhys Page


Earning Your Health with Sarhys Page

Felicity Cohen: Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast today. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Sahrys Page. Sahrys is a leading personal trainer, a fitness expert, and has a reputation for distilling the bullshit, the BS around exercise in a refreshingly comedic and relatable voice. Your high energy, literally just leaps off everything that you do. Sahrys tell me a little bit about where that passion comes from. 

Sarhys Page: Thank you so much. That’s really nice to hear, and I’m glad to hear that it does jump off page. That is the goal. That’s what I’m going for. The passion that I have for fitness and for kind of overall overall health, I guess it’s just because I found exercise at the same time that I was going sober, that I decided to stop drinking. So for me, there was, you know, multiple really big, important things happening there at the same time that completely transformed my life. Like my everyday life, how I feel my health completely. And so I feel like when you feel those benefits, you can’t help but be passionate about it.

So that’s what led me to getting into the industry because I wanted to help other people feel that. And I’m extremely passionate about it, you know, years after being in the industry. I just, I love it.

Felicity Cohen: It’s an incredible story and I love that you actually do make that such a, an open conversation for others to see exactly what your journey’s been like.

There’s no, there’s no barriers to having that conversation. I’d love to dig a little bit into how that started and what led you through that whole big transformation. I think, you know, for you, there was already an issue that you didn’t really know was going on, going back to when you were 14 years of age, can you take us back to how this all started and evolved originally?

Sarhys Page: Sure. So, you know, it was about 14, I grew up in Newcastle, in New South Wales and it was around 14 that me and most of my friends kind of started drinking, which back then I’m 32 now, so that was a little while ago, Felicity. It was pretty standard back then that that’s when everyone started drinking and I think it starts off pretty harmless, you know, on the weekends and you’re partying with friends and then it kind of got to that point where it was like, early twenties, where I feel like my relationship with alcohol went in perhaps a different direction to what it, my friends you know, it did with my friends. So, you know, for a lot of people, they were able to kind of maintain somewhat healthy routines in their lives and they would drink on the weekend. And that was like a balance that they kind of found worked for them. I was unable to have a balance like that, unfortunately. So, you know, from binge drinking in like late teens, I kind of continued drinking in that same way.

So also, I come from a line of quite a few alcoholics, it definitely runs in my family, I think that can be a thing if you grow up around it. But I kind of just got to a point where I realised I was drinking really every day. And that was when I was 25 and I was living alone. I’d been living alone at that point for three years. So. It really wasn’t just when I was going out with friends, it was at home, it was sitting at home, whether I was in a good mood, I’d have a wine or a bottle of wine. If I was feeling a bit, depressed, I would have a wine, a bottle of wine. And so I kind of found that I was. having it every day and I would find a reason to have it. And I was a blackout drinker so often would wake up and have little to no memory of what had happened and that really classic, like anxiety waking up and being like, what have I said, what have I done? Who have I texted? Like what’s happened? Just that real stress. I was getting that a lot and I think it’s difficult because it happened for me a couple of times where I decided I wanted to stop drinking. It didn’t work until the last time. So for me, that’s kind of where I got to a point where I was like, I’m sick of feeling like I’m not, you know, and, and I I’ll never diss any kind of job, but I was in retail and hospitality. Forever. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. I didn’t really have a, something I was passionate about or something I had as a long term goal. I wanted that. I wanted to find that, but it just kind of felt like every day I was just. You know. Okay, cool. I start work at 10:00 AM. Let me finish my shift at 3:00 PM, and then I’ll go to the pub and I’ll find someone to drink with. And then the next morning I’ll probably wake up a bit dusty and then do the same thing again.

It’s almost like I didn’t have control over my life. My life was just happening and I was along for the ride. I ended up getting to a point where there was kind of one incident. That happened, I flew to Sydney from Melbourne to meet up with my old school friends that I hadn’t seen in ages.

It was a birthday party. My friend Tara had hired an Airbnb and she was like, I’m going to provide all the alcohol. Number one, dangerous. Free alcohol, dangerous. And I just, I really didn’t want to drink too much because I wanted to catch up with my friends and I wanted to see how everyone was doing and I just completely overdid it. The next morning I woke up just that classic feeling of ah, oh, I don’t remember last night. And my friends that I hadn’t seen in a really long time were like, oh, how are you feeling this morning? And it’s just not what I wanted to hear. And, and it was a couple weeks after that, I kind of marinated that feeling really sat with me and I just, I didn’t want to be that person anymore.

 The first goal I set was was one month. I’m going to do one month with no alcohol. That felt really doable for me. After a month I felt, I felt pretty good. That was really difficult. I’ll definitely say that. But my Dad at the time was about six years sober. So I had someone really close to me that could, I could talk to every day and kind of back and forth about it.

Then I moved the goalpost to a year. I even said, I was like, if I do this year and nothing in my life changes and I miss it, I will start drinking again. And that’s okay. But six months in and I was like, oh my God, like I found exercise and I just, I had energy and I felt like the, the colour came back to my skin and my, the whites of my eyes were white again, that’s something I noticed before. They were like a bit discoloured, which freaked me out. Six months in. And I was like, I cannot see myself ever going back. It completely changed my life. 

Felicity Cohen: What an incredible memory to think back to those blackout moments where you would wake up with that stress anxiety of no memory must be really frightening to acknowledge, but also the fact that you were living in that cyclical behaviour, where it became habitual. Clearly probably verging on some form of addiction, an addictive behavioural pattern as well, but possibly also a little bit of denial that took an event as something, a trigger point in life, being that one occasion when you are with your friends to have that wake up moment and totally decide, okay, I’m going to change my life.

Sarhys Page: definitely. Yeah, it was. And I think it was a, it was a buildup. It was so many occasions of those similar situations happening again and again and again, and you just, I just, it was realising that I did not have control over it because, and I use sometimes I’ll say that I was an alcoholic and sometimes I won’t, it’s kind of, I go with what I feel like saying at the time, because it’s difficult because in Australia, people paint this picture of what an alcoholic looks like. And, you know, I, I think for a lot of people, they think that if you are able to like go to work and you’re just having drinks at night, that’s fine. That’s like so normal. But in my opinion, it’s like, well, if you feel like you don’t have control over it, and if it’s affecting your life negatively, That to me maybe suggests that you have got an issue with it, whether or not you label it or you don’t.

So coming to that realisation was powerful and I actually found it for me personally, a lot easier to completely get rid of it than I found it to try to drink moderately. I was never able to do that. I think it’s personality type. I just can’t. And I actually found that extremely difficult and cutting it out completely meant that I didn’t have to, I could go out and I’ve already made the decision and it’s done and then I can just I’ll leave at 9:00 PM. I’m going to leave this party at night and that’s fine, I’m going home to my cup of tea. 

Felicity Cohen: when you first decided that you wanted to go and seek some professional counselling and you went to see a psychologist you were met with this lack of validation around what you were dealing with that really, from what I can understand, had a big impact on you. 

How do you think that that particular psychologist was not able to relate to the fact that this was a problem for you, that you were presenting with? 

Sarhys Page: That was really difficult because that was, that would’ve been, I think that was maybe about a six months to a year before I ended up quitting drinking and I was seeing a psych, I really liked her too, and I really trusted her and we had a great relationship. 

I remember when I, when I brought it up to her, then I thought that I had an issue with my drinking and I thought that maybe that was a because I was there because I was feeling, and I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, so I don’t want to use that actual term, but I was very low. I was at a very low point in my life, which is why I started seeing her and being like, well, I do, you know, I’m drinking every day and I told her everything I just told you essentially, which was that I’m drinking every day and I’m blacking out and I’m getting quite a bit of anxiety about that. And she remember her response was she was actually a specialist in drug and alcohol addiction. And she said to me, oh, you know, I actually, there’s my specialty, and I just don’t think that’s you and just feeling really invalidated. And I just feel like that I don’t know what would’ve happened, but I, I think everything would’ve worked would’ve happened maybe a lot smoother and earlier had that had been met even just with curiosity by her, that, oh, okay. Let’s maybe break that down and tell me a little bit more about that and let’s see if we can find what’s there. But I think because I didn’t, I didn’t fit this, picture of what she thought it had to look like, that it was just dismissed. And actually I a hundred percent know that that just had so much to do with where I was at in my life, because my a hundred percent of my focus was just on finishing the day and having a drink every day.

You can’t get much else done when that’s your focus, because it not only takes up the time that you’re drinking, it takes up, as you know, as everyone knows that has drunk, often the next morning and sometimes the whole rest of the next day. So you don’t have a lot of time there left to kind of focus on your goals and your health and anything like that. 

Felicity Cohen: It takes a lot of mental energy. So the term, sober curious has emerged a few years ago to describe people who experiment with sobriety, for health and for lifestyle reasons. There’s been a lot of backlash about calling sobriety a trend, taking the pretty parts of it and making it, you know, a consumerist term rather than describing it as a response to addiction. What’s your take on that?

Sarhys Page: I think that’s really interesting because I even if like sobriety is a trend, that is a great trend. Like in my opinion, that’s amazing. I feel like I would understand there being backlash if people were calling themselves alcoholics and that’s why they’re doing it, even though like, if they’re calling themselves alcoholics, but then maybe are not and they’re just kind of saying that to lead to the sober, curious movement. But if you are just saying, I’m going to toy with the idea of being sober for whether it’s a chunk of time or whether it’s for how many days of the month or whatever it is, that can only be a good thing. And I don’t think that would take away from anyone else’s journey, because I think the term sober can be used by everyone. And I think that’s awesome. I love that it’s becoming more normalised. I love that it’s more cool now. I’ve got a 14 year old sister and even my 19 year old sister and they don’t (and they tell me everything) and they’re not really drinking because it’s not that cool anymore.

I love that. Like, because that’s why you start, it may not be why you continue, but you start because it’s cool. So I am all on board. I think that’s great. Everyone try it. You may not stick with it, but it’s only going to do you good in the long run. 

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. And if it has become a trend, I think I couldn’t agree more. It’s fabulous. I saw on one of your awesome Tik Tok stories that I really love, there was one story where you were talking about how to kind of go out at night with your friends and make yourself a part of the cool group, because you can actually get non-alcoholic drinks and beverages and beers and all sorts of different options so that you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out. You can still socialise in an environment where you can have fun and still connect and be part of the group 

Sarhys Page: Totally. I think for a lot of people, they think that if they are going and lets maybe talk about sober curious people, for example, Where they still want to go out. They still want to have the same kind of social life, but they obviously don’t want to drink and they think they’re going to have to stick to soft drink. There are so many things you can do. Yeah. So that reel actually, my favourite one of those was, and this is one of my favourites is you ask for a wine glass and lime cordial. So like, what’s the brand that do it, like the light green lime, like lime juice cordial and just cold, like chilled water? It looks like a Sauvignon Blanc doll! No one knows. Because I feel like there’s one side of it for me, right? So when I went sober, I told everyone. Part of that was to hold myself accountable. But there are some people that don’t want to. They want to fly under the radar. They’re uncomfortable with people asking them questions about it, or maybe they’re more likely to, you know, get peer pressured to drink.

So most bars now will have alcohol free beer as well, which I’ve recently got on board with every now and then. Delicious. There are so many choices. And there’s anything you order in a short glass generally with a wedge of lime, that looks like you’re having a drink and it’s, and it feels like you’re having a drink because part of it is just that I think we’ve become so accustomed to the action, the physical action of having a sip of your drink, having a chat it’s like having something in your hand. It’s a big part of it. So, whereas I am, to be honest, also perfectly comfortable ordering a pint of Coke Zero, and I have no shame in that. Because I drink very quickly, including soft drink. So, you know, she needs a large one. But yeah, I think it’s good that, yeah, there are so many options now.

Felicity Cohen: Definitely. And I think it is also really valid to say that being accountable and putting it out there and telling people is probably a really good choice because you are less likely then to, to fail or to feel as though you’ve failed once you’ve actually expressed it, put it out there. Accountability is a great thing.

Sahrys, health and fitness is such a crucial part of our holistic wellness. How would you define wellness to you? 

Sarhys Page: Wellness to me, I would. I would describe as a balance. So I think wellness, wellness is different for everyone, for me when I’m feeling my best, and so I guess, you know, my most well, I’ll say is when I have found a really good balance of my exercise, so my workout routine.

So for me, I’ll have like a set amount that I like to do each week. And then a little bit of cardio on top of that. That’s for pure joy, obviously heart health, but I just get so much joy from doing group fitness. I’m eating well most of the time, but I also love burgers and chippies and chocolate. That’s my balance. And I’m having enough, a really important thing for me is having enough, like me time down time. So I feel like when I’ve got a good balance, which for the most part I do, that’s when I’m feeling the best is just like I’m a “most of the time” girl. Mostly eat well, mostly train hard. Because I think there needs to be wiggle room there so that if you get the urge to go out, you know, for a pub meal, you can do it and you still feel great because you’ve mostly been doing all the other things. 

Felicity Cohen: definitely balance and moderation and absolutely everything. It’s a bit of the 80 20 rule. So in some of the work that you do, you’re really kind of right into the HIIT (high intensity interval training) style of working out. What is it that you love about HIIT training? And is this something that is, is it the trend? Is it the best style of exercise? What are your thoughts on HIIT?

Sarhys Page: So I actually, I really only got into HIIT during lockdown because at the time before we locked down in Sydney, I was teaching spin and I was teaching as well as personal training, but I was also teaching a step class, like an old school aerobic step class. And so when the lockdown happened, I’m very much like, instead of just being like, oh, I’m just going to like chill because I can’t do anything I was like, what can I do? What can I do right now? I really was like the only thing I can access is something that doesn’t need any weights and doesn’t need any equipment.

And when it first happened, we were still allowed to exercise outdoors in groups. I have the most wonderful memories of that time because I was, I decided I’m going to do a HIIT class. I’m going to do a rhythm HIIT class because I have a dancing background and I, everything I do in group fitness is based to the beat of the music. So I kind of just created this rhythm HIIT class using traditional HIIT movements and also a bit of aerobics and a bit of dance. I started doing the classes and I was doing like seven classes a week outside and getting all these people and it was so much fun. So I think that’s what kind of led me to it.

I was doing that solidly through lockdown, I continued a little bit after that. But it was kind of more like, that’s not my favourite style of exercise, but at the time that’s what I had access to. And so I was going to really put a hundred percent into making that just so much fun. 

Felicity Cohen: And you’ve done some great workouts, the online, on your living room floor, showing people how they can exercise at home, pretty much with only a dining room chair or something as a prop to do dips and all sorts of other things. And I love that you’ve demonstrated how successfully you can exercise well. You don’t need a gym. You don’t have to have equipment at home to be able to slowly build yourself up in your own surroundings. Especially if you’re someone who is a little bit scared of getting into that environment. You can actually start at home and do that style of exercising by just following what you’re doing online, which I think is something that became a big trend as well throughout that lockdown period. 

Sarhys Page: definitely. You can do an amazing workout at home with like one piece of equipment. Like granted there’ll be some repetition, but for the most part, especially that someone that’s a beginner. And as you mentioned For someone that might be scared to kind of step into the gym straight off the bat, there are so many ways to access exercise at home and eat. Like my lounge room was not that big. And I was doing, you know, the full work out there. You don’t need that much space. I think that can be a really good way for people to kind of ease in who are not particularly comfortable at the gym. And then when you feel maybe a bit more comfortable then head into the gym, just so you have access to a little bit more equipment.

Felicity Cohen: Definitely. So what are some of the things that you like to do on a daily basis? Actually, it’d be great to hear. What does an a normal day look, look like for Sahrys Page? What time do you get up in the morning? And let’s let’s just hear a little bit about how you can walk us through a typical day.

Sarhys Page: okay. A typical day. So I’ll go with my Thursday because that was today. So it’s a little bit different, but normally a Thursday I’m, I’m up at 3:30 AM because my first PT client is at 5:00 AM. It only takes me 15 minutes to get to work and I don’t do like, you know, full hair and makeup. I just always like to have an hour at home. I make my coffee, I have my little morning routine, so I wake up. I go downstairs. I make my green drink, while my coffee is, on the stove top, I use a percolator, drink my green drink have my coffee, very leisurely. So often, I mean, embarrassing to admit, but I’m scrolling on the gram, I’m looking at TikTok… for me that’s just something nice to do for myself on the lounge while I’m drinking my morning coffee. Get ready for work, and then I head there. I’ve only have three clients back to back on a Thursday. So, 5, 6 and 7 AM. I have a little hour break and then I have my PT session. So I have my own trainer, who’s kind of like a mentor to me, Steve. I adore him, Steve Curran. So we do legs together because legs, I need someone to push me and I think it’s actually really important for coaches to have their own coaches. Like I’m always learning and I learn a lot from Steve. Then I have another PT client and then I teach my step class at City Gym, which I love. It’s very old school today with a very tacky playlist. Then I have another two PT clients after that. And then I wrap up normally at around 2:30 PM or 3:30 PM, and then I am done for the day. 

So done for the day for me. Normally, if I don’t have a night class is I come home and I hang out with my dog, Roman who’s at my feet right now and if I have the energy, I’ll take him for another walk, if it’s a nice day. Otherwise I’m normally having a late lunch and we will watch TV and we will watch TV for the rest of the afternoon Felicity and I am so okay with that. 

Felicity Cohen: That’s awesome. What do you love most about being a PT? 

Sarhys Page: I was talking to someone about this today. First of all, I love working with people one on one. I’m very energised by having like really good conversations with people. I’m lucky that I love all of my clients. I’m really lucky in that sense. So we’re friends, I’m friends with everyone now. So it feels like I’m hanging out with a friend for an hour. I really love being able to share knowledge. So showing people, movements, correcting them, perfecting their technique and watching them get really passionate and into it as well. And then helping them lift really heavy weights and then seeing them feel so satisfied with themselves.

It’s long term gratification, but it can also be very instant too. Like when a client hits a new PB, that is so exciting for them and me, I just go into like proud PT mum moment and I love it. And just seeing how, building that strength in the gym, carries over into their everyday life. And I feel like I have seen that with all of my long term clients, just getting, you know, if they get more confident, they start to feel stronger. My favourite thing is when I’m working towards with a client, for example, if their goal is to go to the gym without me, which is something I’m always pushing for them to, to work towards, and when I find out a client went to the gym for the first time without me, and like confidently did their workout, I just love it because it really realistically, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes. I remember being brand new to the gym and I was terrified. I was terrified. And I kind of wish that I had someone like me back then to kind of just like, you know, gently introduce everything to, I got that a little bit later, but I love the connection that I’ve made with all of my clients. And I love seeing them grow and get stronger and feel incredible about themselves. 

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. I love that. And I actually do really respect the relationship that you build with your own personal trainer. There’s someone that, you know, for me, I can’t live without The Fit Ginger. She’s just an addiction for me. She’s awesome. And you know, I love training with her and you know, for me also, it’s about, I get to train with my son and, the children, so the adult children, so that’s fun. 

Yeah. It’s a lot of fun. Sahrys what are some of your goals and dreams for the future?

Sarhys Page: Goals dreams for the future? Well, I’m currently building a new website. So my goal for the next, I want to say six months is to have that up. I’ve got a photo shoot booked in for two weeks time. So I want to have programs for purchase on my website, maybe do some online coaching, but I think I’m working more towards the programs and I want to start having my classes permanently online so you can purchase and do them at home. I’m like ready to build an empire Felicity I’m honing in on this and I’m trying to really just getting in there. 

Felicity Cohen: Love it. And I love your passion and your drive for the, for everything that’s, you know, surrounding fitness and good health. I couldn’t couldn’t love it anymore. 

Sahrys finally, our listeners are all Wellness Warriors. And we know that wellness is worth fighting for, and once you lose your health and you spend the rest of your life fighting to get it back, whether it’s physical or mental or spiritual health and something, that’s always inspiring to learn about how others are going on their wellness journey, is, you know, hearing what they’ve been through themselves.

So my last question for you, is can you share with us a time when you were struggling with your wellness? And what did you do to fight for it or reclaim it? And something quite separate from, you know, your personal journey with, you know, making those drastic changes in life. Was there something else in, in that you can think about that you really had to work on?

Sarhys Page: A big thing for me was, well, it was also food to be honest, and I will say it did happen around the same time. So it’s difficult for me to remove going sober, finding exercise and actually going vegan. So for me, and interestingly, I didn’t go vegan because of the health side of it. It was because of the ethical side of it. But when I became more aware, because you have to become more aware of what you’re eating, I kind of realised how careless I had been with how I was fuelling myself. So what that did for me is it just made me kind of educate myself a little bit more on food. And so for the last six and a half years it’s been, I absolutely love now really focusing on how I can fuel myself better.

Because really before that I was eating essentially whatever I had access to, which is fine, and everyone eats how they want to. Absolutely no shame there, but I just always felt lethargic. And I just, that was part of me just not, I didn’t like how I was feeling every day. So taking that control back and for me, going vegan led to a passion for wanting to find like delicious, healthy food. And it’s, again, that totally has contributed to me just feeling so, so much better and so much more alive now, I guess. 

Felicity Cohen: You’re full of energy and we love watching you on your socials. Sarhys, thank you so much for joining me today on the Wellness Warriors podcast. 

Sarhys Page: Thank you so much for having me Felicity. I really enjoyed that!

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