From Drugs to Dreams

From a rough start to finding out who you really are. Life is a journey and you are the guide. In spite of working two jobs, and challenging circumstances, Sarah has reached for the stars and found out what resources she has inside.

I’m Sarah. My story started 5 years ago when I packed my bags and made the big move from New Zealand to Australia. I made the move because I really needed to change my life; I wanted a clean slate.

As teenagers we don’t always make the right decisions in life. We form bad habits that some of us kick and others don’t. I drank alcohol every weekend, drank jacks and coke all the time, smoked cigarettes and weed, and I also gave up all sports I used to do. I didn’t do any sort of exercise anymore.

This is me leaving New Zealand 5 years ago.
This is me leaving New Zealand 5 years ago.

I quit the dope about 2-3 months before I moved to Australia and decided it was time to make a change in my life.

I was 18 when I moved to Australia on my own. It hasn’t been easy, but with the support of friends and family one can conquer anything and so did I.

In January 2013 I had a wake-up call – something just snapped in me – I finally gave up the cigarettes.

I went to the doctor to get some antibiotic for yet another chest infection. I used to suffer these (and other lung related illness) a lot due to being unhealthy and unfit and being a smoker.

I asked the doctor for some Champax and have never looked back.

After a couple of months of being smoke free I joined the local gym. I went most mornings, I tried to watch what I ate as I wanted to lose weight. It didn’t work satisfactorily as I didn’t have enough knowledge on what to do and I was still indulging in life’s treats – alcohol, sweets and takeaways.

But going to the gym did make me feel a lot better and I could feel my fitness coming back. At first I always took my inhaler but now I don’t even need it. I’ve always envied the girls that have really nice toned bodies and really nice muscle definition and competed in bodybuilding.

I never thought I would have the opportunity to do something like that, I wouldn’t have known how to get into it, who to talk to etc.

I first met Michelle at the hair salon I worked at. In May this year a lot of girls were coming in to get their nails and hair done for comps. I got talking to some of them about how they got into competing. A few of them were training under Michelle. I told a couple I would love to do something like that one day, but didn’t know where to start. I was told to talk to Michelle, so that’s what I did.

Not really happy with my weight...
Not really happy with my weight…

There was another comp coming up in September so together with Michelle we set my goals, diet and training plan. Michelle took me through my diet and explained anything I didn’t know or understand. She guided me through all my training programs and was always there to answer any questions I had.

When I started with Michelle I didn’t have the faintest clue as to what most exercises were called or what muscles they worked. Over time I started to learn, but also know I have still so much more to learn.

My diet was fantastic and very yummy. It is nice that Michelle customises the diet to suit your needs. If there is something you don’t like, she will change it. She also made sure there weren’t any parts of the day that I was going hungry.

The key to making eating healthy and sticking to it was preparation. I do my shopping and any preparation I can do on Sundays. This makes the rest of my week a lot easier. It’s the simple things like bagging my blueberries in smaller bags with exactly the amount I need. I do the same with my chicken, fish, etc. That way I don’t have to waste time arranging the quantities or trying to break up frozen things. Wastage is also kept to a minimum.

I live a very busy life. I train in the morning. Yes, I get up early but it’s a great start to my day and I feel great for the rest of the day. While training for comps I was training up to 2 ½ hours per day – 1 hour of cardio and then a 15-minute break to eat before my weights session. It means I was in the gym at 4.30am so I could be home by 7.00am. This gave me time to get ready for work in time. It was early, but it became a routine – I just went to bed a bit earlier instead of sitting up till late watching TV.

I work two jobs – I work full-time as a hairdresser and spend all day on my feet. Every Monday (on my day off) I work a few hours on a farm, which is also a standing job.

Not once did I fall off track with either my diet or going to the gym. Some mornings were hard as it was winter and it was cold, but once I was up and at the gym I soon forgot about that.

Having all my food prepped helps a lot too. I always looked forward to my cheat meal on a Saturday night for dinner. I found I still ate quite healthy too. Things like take-out did not appeal to me after a while as I thought I’d feel horrible having such a clean diet all the time and then eating something like McDonalds or KFC. I can’t imagine it would go down well.

So I never tried it – and didn’t miss it! I enjoy what I have to eat – it doesn’t make me feel bloated or horrible either.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but knew it was going to be hard work. But it has been more enjoyable than anything else – I found myself setting challenges to do better.

Having a goal also helps. Every time you reach a goal, you need to set a new one. You work harder when you have something to aim towards.

.. and now look!

The whole experience has really changed my life, not only did I get to compete in bikini INBA State Titles on the 6th September (5 years to the exact day since moving here), it has also changed my health and the way I feel. I also have a lot more confidence in myself and believe I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Competition diets are a lot different to an everyday life diet – I’m adjusting now into an everyday life diet and I’m enjoying a little bit more leeway in what I eat. But healthy food and exercise should never be thought of as a chore or something you have to do. It’s a lifestyle and needs to be something you incorporate into your life and it will become something you really enjoy – it makes you feel great!

A lot of people say “I don’t know how you do that every morning – going to the gym so early”. To them I say I do it because I enjoy it – and the same goes with the food.

I have had times during my comps training when I had to miss out on cake and drinks for a friend’s birthday, but my end result was all worth it.

If you’re thinking about competing, then realise that you can still live a normal life. For example if a friend invites me over for dinner, I try to make sure it’s on a Saturday so I can have a cheat meal. Or I simply take my own dinner with me and because everything is prepped, it’s nice and easy.

I highly recommend Michelle’s programs to anyone. The support is outstanding. She’s always there to answer any questions, even if you do think it’s stupid, I think you’re better off asking anyway.

You can do it!


Michelle is always so positive and I think it’s fantastic that she does cater your diet for you as an individual – not everyone is the same and we all have different likes and needs.

I have also made a very good friend out of it and find myself wanting to ask so many questions and learn more and more.

For anyone that has ever thought about competing, don’t sit back and think you could never do it or say you’d never have the discipline to stick to the diet. Stop making excuses and do it!

I used to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, but when you have a goal you’re aiming towards (and believe you can do it), anything is possible!

You can do it!

You’re the only one standing in the way of your own dreams – you can do it. That’s what I did and it lead me to the stage!  My story is far from over though – I’m still training hard and eating well. New goals are set in place and you will all see me back on stage in 2015.



*At Nazafit we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names and images may have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.

For more information about how YOU can make a difference in your life, please contact Michelle here: Contact

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