Welcome to our New contributor, Sarah Parr from Napier.  Some of you may already know Sarah from many years ago when she competed in the Shape class.  Since then she has had 2 children and maintains her interest in health and fitness working at fierce fitness.  You can find out more about Sarah at the bottom of the page.

left: Sarah (middle) in Shape class 2005

Here is Sarah's first article for us!! thanks Sarah. 

To the wonderful women of NZ I ask-Are you in the habit of comparing yourself, only to feel you come off in second-place?
Perhaps it seems like life is just too demanding to contemplate time for ourselves or feels like your 'mojo' was left in the past along with Austin Powers!

Women are natural givers, which makes us fantastic as we instinctually pour our energies into those around us. Never is this statement truer than in the example of a mother. Unfortunately, our naturally giving nature can also cause many mums to put themselves last on the list of priorities.
In any case, we need to come together; Time to put ourselves higher up on that 'to do' list and start encouraging our sisters get more out of life! Instead of nodding when your friend says that skipping her workout just this once won't really matter- take the opportunity to join her and actively encourage her to keep it up.

We all need physical exercise, and not just for the visible parts of the body either. I'm talking benefits for body, mind and spirit ladies! Guts, heart, presence whichever word you use, they have the same meaning- confidence. We need it to enjoy a truly fulfilling life, yet it can be elusive or even seem to come and go like the tide. Ironically but also luckily, confidence can be built in a very similar fashion to physical fitness.

Exercise and the body is amazing because no matter where you start from, with consistency and effort you can be guaranteed you'll experience benefits and an improved quality of life.

Likewise for the mind- it's capacity to strengthen itself is limitless- with correctly applied 'techniques'. Additionally, no matter where you start from, every woman can benefit from an increase in self-esteem I believe.

With a powerfully positive frame of mind in place you may then push yourself to achieve more with your exercise regime, which in turn strengthens a positive mindset- Thus we observe how one feeds the other, and we become accustomed to living life in a positive cycle.

That's why it appears some people have unattainable levels of self discipline. It's actually possible to crave exercise when you feel the connection between physical and mental well-being.

If you've been trying to commit to exercise and fizzling, try committing to something greater- YOU.

We know that exercise and mental health correlate, for example our Doctors frequently prescribe exercise as a treatment for depression.

Recognising that the mind and body function optimally when improved harmoniously, we would then be wise to consider that an attempt to improve one without the other is less effective.

So throw yourself into a life in a positive cycle. Share your aspirations only with people who will support you and reach out to someone who could use yours.

As women we should recognise that indeed we are worth the effort it takes to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit and that we can also do much to help other women achieve the same. 
About Sarah
" While most people know me as a bodybuilder,  my passion for health & fitness extends far beyond this-
I began my sporting career as a sprinter, representing Napier in the 100 & 200m. While I was still competing at sprinting I began working in gyms and lifting weights to gain strength, soon a new passion was found- Bodybuilding.

2 years after I picked up weights I did my first figure comp as a teenager, going on to compete in figure for a few more years until I made the switch to the Shape Class.My most notable achievements being 2x Ms NZ Shape, 2nd place at the NABBA Universe and 1st at the WABBA World Champs.I've trained many other bodybuilders and sportspeople over the years and work as a freelance fitness writer- my areas of specialization are nutrition and positive motivation (and of course writing!)Working as a trainer since I was 16 gives me a wealth of experience and now raising a young family whilst juggling exercise and work commitments is my main challenge!!

I would like to thank Lisa @ GoFigure for welcoming me on board which helps me pursue what I love- helping others! Thanks everyone!

Sarah Parr

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