Sarah Lindsay, three time Olympian and founder of Roar Fitness, shares her long-time love of local life, how positivity was a choice for her and the Molesey salon she would never stray from…
Words | Lucy Donoughue
It’s so nice to chat to people who really love the area too!” Sarah Lindsay says beaming, when we meet to talk about local life. “I always feel like I really gush about it!”
We’re equally delighted to meet someone who is passionate about the local area (we’re known to gush about it ourselves!) and Sarah has been on our interview wish list ever since The Court Circular came to life. She’s a three-time Olympian, a European gold medallist, two-time world silver medallist, ten-times British speed skating champion, the founder of Roar Fitness, a highly acclaimed personal trainer and someone we follow on social media for her positivity, drive and energy.
Even though she’s travelled the world as an Olympian, coach and trainer, Sarah remains a long-time advocate of our local community, having always lived in and around the Court. She was raised in Surbiton, educated in Teddington and spent weekends and school holidays in Bushy Park.
“I was a member of the Horse Rangers from when I was seven to around age thirteen, so Hampton Court was a huge part of my childhood and I love it here so much,” she says. “It’s full of wonderful memories for me.”
Her appreciation of the local area has continued throughout adulthood, living in Hampton Court and very recently moving to Walton. As someone who now regularly commutes into London again for work, Sarah shares that she prioritises spending time near home at the weekends and never fails to be stunned by the beauty and community around us.
“Whenever I go out for a walk, I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am to live where I do. We’re surrounded by the most amazing places and the community in Hampton Court is lovely. During lockdown I saw people working out together, socially distanced in the streets and bringing shopping to neighbours who couldn’t get out. I believe that people here really look out for each other.”
Like so many of us, Sarah had the opportunity to witness more of local life in 2020, as she was unable to head into work every day. The gym industry was one of those hit hardest by restrictions, and Sarah’s company in particular, faced difficulties because of their specialism.
“We’d just opened our third site in Kensington when we got locked down,” Sarah explains. “As Roar Fitness programmes revolve heavily around weight training, they really do have to take place in the gym, because of the equipment, so we didn’t have the option to take them outside or train our clients in a different environment.”
However, Sarah was far from deterred and she began alternative exercise sessions online, so that people could continue to move and build their strength, albeit without the specialised gym equipment.
“I started hosting live workouts on Instagram to give our clients some structure and routine and because they were on that public platform other people could join in too,” she shares.
“The sessions actually ended up being a bit of accountability for me as well. It was a reason to get up, get ready, show up and keep myself fit at the same time. I was helping others who were watching and although they didn’t know it, they were helping me!”
Sarah’s smiling face, motivational words and variety of work outs were just the tonic for lockdown blues. But how did she manage to keep going and spreading positivity when the outlook for her industry was so bleak?
“You can clearly see how your positivity and energy ripples out to everyone else and the more you act that way, the more you start to think that way, naturally.”
“On a day-to-day basis, I believe how you look and think about things is mainly choice and habit,” Sarah explains. “It’s very easy to get into a habit of being negative. I’ve been there in the past as an athlete, and I didn’t even realise, it was something that my sports psychologist pointed out to me. I had to change my behaviour for the good of the team because I was in danger of bringing the mood down.
“Ever since then I’ve thought about how I talk to people, how that’s received,” she adds. “You can clearly see how your positivity and energy ripples out to everyone else, and the more you act that way, the more you start to think that way, naturally.
“Sometimes it is about breaking the habit and deciding to behave in a more positive way, and that positivity grows when you see how other people reflect it back at you.”
Sarah’s decision to actively embrace a more positive point of view is one that I applaud, and I can imagine this is a huge asset when it comes to the motivation and progression of her clients, now she’s back training at Roar. When I suggest this, Sarah points out that she gets as much positivity from personal training as she gives and seeing a client’s self-esteem return and grow is a gift in itself.
“That’s the best and most rewarding bit!” she enthuses. “It’s not just what you see physically happening, it’s the confidence that comes with that. People come to work with us initially because they’re not feeling very good inside, and we get them feeling stronger and loving exercise again. Then that strength crosses over to other areas of their life, the way they hold themselves and think about themselves. It’s amazing!”
Sarah recently took her transformational expertise out of the gym and onto the banks of the River Thames and led the first Saturday wellness session on the terrace at The Mitre, Hampton Court.
“I loved it; it was so much fun!” she says. “After the session, we had brunch, and everyone got to know each other, and they were chatting and swapping phone numbers. “It just reminded me, once again, what a wonderful community we have around the here.”
Sarah is launching Roar Metal at Roar Fitness 3, High Street Kensington, London this summer. Find out more at roar-fitness.com
Follow Sarah on Instagram @roarfitnessgirl
Sarah’s Local Loves….
Beehive Boutique, Walton Road, East Molesey
I’m in London a lot and pass a lot of salons but I never go anywhere else other than the Beehive Boutique. It’s so good. Alanna is amazing. I highly recommend them.
Instagram | @beehive_boutique_
The Mitre, Hampton Court
This place is my absolute favourite and they’re so good to me and friendly. I locked myself out of my house for five hours the other week, and I was in gym kit and was covered in mud as I’d been cycling, and they let me sit there and eat, even though I was probably bringing the tone down!! I go there for Sunday roasts regularly too, and they are fantastic.
Instagram | @mitrehamptoncourt
If I need something to wear for an event, I’m always guaranteed to find something beautiful in Buba. I’ve got so many of their dresses and everybody always compliments them and asks where I got them from. I’ve also bought their bracelets as gifts for lots of friends.
Instagram | @bubalondon
Waterhouse Woodland Gardens, Bushy Park
Even if it’s a gloomy grey day, when you walk in these gardens it feels like you’re heading into Narnia! There are rabbits jumping around, ducks walking along the paths, it’s a bit
like a Disney movie! It’s my favourite place to go.