Sarah’s building an impressive body of work...with a little help from her employers
As a manager in the corporate world, Sarah Davies is well aware of the importance of financial muscle.
But it’s muscle power of a different kind that dominates her free time away from the office.
That’s because the 49-year-old Co Down native also happens to be an award-winning bodybuilder.
And although, in her own words, that often involves standing “on stage in a tiny bikini”, her husband and daughter could not be more proud of her.
It was a personal crossroads four years ago, however, that put Sarah on the road she now travels.
“I’d saved up for Botox but at the last minute I was too scared to go through with it,” said the mum-of-one, who works for local full-fibre broadband provider Fibrus.
“I decided to use my ‘Botox money’ to pay for personal training classes instead.”
The Bangor woman added: “There was a mental aspect to it as well. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years so having this to focus on kept me going, especially during the pandemic.”
In 2019 Sarah competed with the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation (BNBF) and came second in the qualifiers in Belfast, followed by third place in the finals in Perth, Scotland.
Sarah, who’s married to IT engineer Clifford (53), with whom she has a 13-year-old daughter, Evie, adhered to a strict training regime during the Covid lockdown, entered the Belfast qualifiers of the BNBF in June and finished first in her category – Master’s Figure (for women over 40).
She also won the Overall Female for the Day prize and will compete in this weekend’s finals in Leatherhead, Surrey.
Getting competition-ready isn’t cheap, which is why Sarah is grateful that Fibrus, which is bringing hyperfast broadband across rural communities in Northern Ireland, has agreed to sponsor her.
“Fibrus has been amazingly supportive,” said Sarah.
“The flexibility I get working there means I can fit in my training and my family life without feeling compromised or short changed.
“My colleagues at Fibrus also love to support me and have been on this fitness journey with me.”
Daughter Evie is another big supporter and sees her mother as a role model – much to mum’s relief.
“I was worried that Evie would be embarrassed by the whole thing,” she said.
“But she was sitting in the front row at my last show and I could see her face beaming with pride.
“When they announced that I was the Overall Female winner I looked down and she was crying.”
Getting – not to mention staying – in shape for body building is probably as hard as it looks.
At the moment, I’m dropping calories so I can drop body fat to get as lean as possible on the stage,” said Sarah, who works from home.
“I’m still eating five or six times a day, which is quite a lot in comparison to some people.”
She also follows a strict timetable which starts with her getting up at 6am.
“I walk Evie round to the bus stop and then the dog and I go for an hour’s walk,” she said.
“That gets me back home at 8.45am and I’m ready to start my work with Fibrus.”
She trains every evening from 6.30 until 8, leaving “family time” for Saturdays and Sundays.
Her immediate goal is first place in the next competition, so that she can get her pro card and be classified as a professional bodybuilder.
Apart from the physique, strength of character is clearly something Sarah also has in abundance.
And she’ll always be “eternally grateful” to everyone who’s helped her along the way, including Mark O’Kane, who made her three bespoke sets of Fibrus-branded dumbbells for her journey to the finals.