Just because you did it doesn’t mean you did it. For Dr. Sarah Solomon, success means continuous evolution. This strong fitness personality, a member of Team Bodybuilding.com, a trainer and a dentist are constantly learning from the past and are experimenting to find something that has been working for a long time when she is testing her 40 years.
Initially receiving a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy, Solomon changed her course of study, receiving a doctorate in dentistry in 2005. Solomon has been practicing dentistry in Toronto for 10 years, but she never abandoned her passion for fitness. Even before she graduated from college, Solomon received certification for personal training, and in 2008 she launched DrSaraSolomon.com, offering books and programs based on her own path to a healthy body.
Solomon will be the first to admit that she made every mistake in the book, starved herself and wrote down her cardio hours, focusing on “calories, calories.” She won a professional card in the WBFF fitness model division in 2011 and participated in competitions five times, but in the end her approach to training and nutrition led to a catastrophe. She suffered from a metabolic disorder, gained fat and began to hate her workouts. Exhausted by wounds, plateaus, chronic hunger and heartache, she reached the bottom.
By 2015, Solomon received a message. She made radical changes to her program, but her transition from a “washed fitness model to an athlete,” as she calls it, was just beginning. She moved away from her dental career to focus more on her passion for training and nutrition.
Dr. Solomon continued to refine her approach. Her current exercise program is much more intense and includes various disciplines, such as strongman, pole fitness and StrongFit training principles for which she is a certified trainer. She is also a member of Team Bodybuilding.com and a BSN-sponsored athlete, Ambassador Buddy Lee in jumping rope and NASM fitness nutrition specialist. In addition, she gained impressive online followers with over 70,000 YouTube subscribers.
Intention is all
At 41, intent — the key word for Solomon — is the idea of focusing on what you really need, and training with a purpose — and she preaches such an approach to her clients and followers.
She also recommends an “anti-diet” strategy and practices intermittent fasting, in which she eats at certain hours of the day and starves at other times. She described her approach to the intermittent fasting in “Do not exercise without a diet” and continues to develop her relationship with food.
Today, Solomon helps others avoid restrictive thinking and diet through their training and social networks. “Stop playing sports to burn calories and start exercising to become a bully,” Solomon urges his followers.
When did you start becoming an athlete?
For 20 years of my life, I practiced and followed a diet for aesthetics, no matter what physical and mental losses she caused me. The blow to the bottom was the catalyst that I needed to change my mind. In the spring of 2016, I made the choice to prioritize my well-being over my ego. I wanted to exercise without pain, and I wanted to stop the diet. Never in a million years did I expect to become so strong and mobile.
After you changed perspective, you performed fast, intense workouts with minimal equipment. Today you participate in StrongFit, Strongman and Pole Fitness. Why has your training changed again?
The awkward poses that I took in dental practice led to the development of muscle imbalance. They hurt me, and I continued to get hurt, not harder. The way I practiced actually fed imbalances, not improved them.
So I went back to school to learn how to correct my imbalances. I spent two years training to become a StrongFit trainer, to finally become stronger. And guess what happened? I started to get stronger!
What does “intentional training” mean to you?
Without a deep intention, I end up destroying what I am doing. Intention allows me to get rid of my ego and take the best action, which is not always the action with the greatest instant reward. Rather, it is an action that offers the greatest long-term value.
For example, if I want to overcome chronic pain and become stronger, I need to deal with my muscular imbalance. That's why my workouts are designed to use the right muscles, even if it means that I dedicate my training exercises to non-sexual exercises.
What do you mean by "non-sexual" exercises?
Examples include the basic exercises, Dimmel thrust in a staggered manner (variation using a shorter range of motion), holding the thigh joint at the end of the range and pushing up on a bipolar scale. The opposite would be movements with high skills, such as jerks, pull-ups, bench press and squatting. I do not recommend performing them if you are not balanced. Otherwise, they can aggravate your imbalance.
What are some of the most common imbalances of people?
Major weakness on one or both sides can contribute to back pain, and this will have consequences both upstream and downstream. The weakness of the latissimus of the back, body major, pec major and short biceps can contribute to the dominance of the upper trap, causing pain in the shoulder and neck. You see people shrugging with one or both shoulders when they try to press the barbell or when they try to make a chin.
Weakness in the middle gluteus muscle, the gluteus maximus muscle, the internal part of the hamstring and oblique-concave abdominal muscles can contribute to pain in the back, hip, and knee. You will often see people moving when they crouch or compensate for their backs when they do cravings. I am currently working on correcting all of the above imbalances. This is an odyssey that will take as much time as needed using various exercises.
What are some approaches that can correct these imbalances?
I support Pilates for eliminating imbalances in the lower back and hips. As for the furnaces, theres, lats and short biceps, I am a fan of strength exercises, such as rope traction, as well as one-sided bodybuilding exercises, such as flies, lowering the breadth and rows; main lowerings and rows; and hammer curls. Pec Stick is a 1990s commercial – a great way to get these muscles to shoot.
As for the lower body, I like one-sided bodybuilding exercises with isometric holds at the final distance, traction in sumo, Anderson squats, folding beds, Dimmel staggered trails, bipolar sand squats and deficient squats. I also recommend my favorite strength exercises. Farmer carrying, sandbags and sledding give you the most out of it.
You are doing fitness on poles for the first time in 40 years with such movements as twine. How did you get into this?
In the spring of 2018, fitness for the pylons was assigned to my homework at StrongFit. I would never have tried otherwise, because it is very difficult to learn, I did not want to look stupid, and I knew that I would be judged because of stigma. However, I wanted to go beyond my comfort zone.
How did you approach the study of twine and other advanced movements?
This goes back to the intention. My approach to the study of splitting gives priority to mobility, not flexibility. If your body does not allow you to do splits, handstand, Ayesha (movement with an inverted pole) or heavy squats with a barbell, there is a reason. Trying to force yourself to split because of your ego is a recipe for injury.
Your ability to do the splits will depend on your structure (ability to use the right muscles), your ability to stabilize the spine and pelvis, as well as your mobility. If you have a solid structure and you can stabilize, you can improve your thigh mobility much faster than the one who has no structure and has an imbalance right / left. So this is the case when you set up your current abilities and take the steps necessary to decide what you need to work on.
What was the most difficult for you to learn?
They were all heavy! I would say pirouettes with a palm rest, palm rest with pressure on the handle, and Ayesh were the most difficult. They require structure, stability, strength and mobility. It took me two years of StrongFit to develop these prerequisites, but as soon as I got them, I was able to learn the moves in less than a month.
You keep talking about mobility and flexibility. What is the difference between the two?
Flexibility is your passive range of motion. This is how far your joint can be moved, regardless of muscle control. An example of a passive range of motion can be splits on the ground.
Mobility is your active range of motion. This is how far you can move a joint with muscle control — your range of movement is under stress. Think of it in terms of strength. People who can create torque at the end of the range of their movements are very strong – like circus artists and gymnasts. An example of an exercise that uses an active range of motion is to split a dog down, because it requires an active extension of the hip of the back leg.
When there is a large gap between the passive range of motion and the active range of motion, you can move in a range that you cannot control, increasing the risk of injury.
The key point is that mobility is superior flexibility. The reason why I can do splits without spending 30 minutes on a warm-up with stretch marks is because I am mobile. I spend a couple of minutes doing a few bottle openers, and I'm ready to go. If you are mobile, your free gift is flexibility.
How often do you train at the moment, and what is a typical workout? Or is there a typical session?
I try to move daily. I do not follow the rules. The rules create unnecessary anxiety in my life, and anxiety excludes results. That is why I improvise and try to be casual with my workouts. This is how I learn and make progress. My workouts are very diverse: Pilates, jogging, strength training, jumping rope, bodybuilding, gymnastics and fitness on the pylon.
Let's talk about nutrition. You are called the transient fasting queen. How long have you eaten this way?
Since 2012, I fasted every day.
How are you doing after all this time? What is your intermittent post protocol?
My daily diet is to have a healthy relationship with food, so that I can enjoy it – to the best of it – without anxiety. My approach is very calm. I do not do anything that I know, I can not support. I do not demonize any macronutrients; I do not track my calories and macros. I do not linger and do not fast more than 20 hours a day. I usually fasted 16 hours a day.
I follow only two simple rules that are easy for me to maintain. I break my post at the same time every day, never before. I have been able to do this since 2012 without any concern. I also go shopping with intent. If it is in your house, it is in your stomach. This is how I make food compromises and practice moderation.
I do not allow my diet to control me. Sometimes I will train hungry while taking BCAA, and sometimes I will train in a state of satiety. I like the freedom of choice. Options make it easy to sequence. Everyone must determine what is best for his schedule, goals and nature of nutrition.
You fought for 17 years of the yo-yo diet, before you found a steady approach. Why did it take so long?
It took as much time as needed. I had to make a lot of mistakes in order to understand what should not be done. Trial and error is one of the best ways to learn.
Mistakes are not losers. To succeed, we need to learn more than to win. This means finding value in all results, good and bad. We must try new things, be random and be prepared for mistakes.
Now that you are over 40, what are your learning goals?
My training goals are the same: to improve my physical and mental well-being. I want to move well, I want to be painless and I want to enjoy the whole process. I want to try new things, and I want to inspire others to do the same! Progress cannot be hasty. I am exactly where I should be.
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