Happy Valentine’s Day! And what better way to celebrate than with an interview of a super fit couple? My friends Sarah and Celester are in love with each other and with fitness, mastering high-intensity Beachbody programs & Bikram yoga. I thought it would be great to share the details of their romance, how they’ve inspired each other to be healthier and when a relationship can be a benefit (and a challenge!) to achieving fitness goals. Enjoy!
1. Tell us about yourselves and how you love birds met!
Celester: I am an Actor/Bartender here in New York City. I am also a US ARMY veteran with four years of active duty service and four years National Guard service. I graduated from the American Musical And Dramatic Academy & I have lived in NYC for eight years. I met Sarah at a birthday celebration of an old coworker of mine. The crazy thing is that this coworker lived one street away from me for two years and I had never seen her until 7AM one morning, when I was just riding my bike around! My co-worker then invited me to her birthday party where she couldn’t wait to play matchmaker to me and Sarah. I thought Sarah and I hit it off and have been in quite an interesting dance for three years now.
Sarah: A mutual friend of ours, a fellow actor, introduced us to each other at her birthday party around 3 years ago. I had recently moved from my hometown of San Antonio, Texas and was on my “independent-woman-in-the-big-city” kick. She was trying to play matchmaker, but having just come out of a bad relationship, it was the last thing on my mind. Long story short, I continued with my wild party days and nights, doing my own thing. Les and I stayed in contact over the years and through all of the good, bad and even super low times in my life, he was there for me and helped me regain a sense of self-worth that I had begun to lose. I had developed a total disregard for my self and my body, which was reflected in the way I had been living my life. About a year ago, we began to spend real quality time with each other. Our times together gave me a renewed a new sense of being and purpose to do bigger and better things with my life rather than just party and make selfish, eventually destructive, decisions. I knew this was a man I needed to keep in my life. Things haven’t always been perfect for us and circumstances pulled us apart for a bit, but I guess you could say we both finally realized that we couldn’t live without each other. So, through lots more work and trial and error, here we are now, stronger than ever and both in crazy stupid love and it’s awesome. Nothing worth having isn’t worth fighting for.
2. Aww! You guys have a great love story! So what inspired each of you to start working out?
Celester: I’d hit a low point this year and was able to, for the first time, see my situation from the outside and knew I needed a change. I wanted something that would challenge me to get over this wall that had been built. I was totally unhappy with how I let myself slip away over the course of six years. I lost two brothers within a 6 day period, and at that time I felt like it was a good reason to not care anymore. So from 2006 to early 2012 I did just that. Put on a happy face for everyone while letting myself rot on the inside. I’d made a couple of attempts to change but none of them stuck, my last attempt being a Bikram Yoga challenge in mid January. In February, I had just gotten tired of what I was becoming. I saw a video infomercial with some maniac jumping all around the screen yelling “Let’s GOOOOOOO” and all of these insanely fit looking people passing out during this workout. That maniac was Shaun T, of the Insanity videos. Something about that clicked with me, I saw it as the challenge I craved. I was all in. I started Insanity in March.
Sarah: I’d always worked out, but in the way most people say they “work out”: Showing up at the gym, walking on the treadmill or doing the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, for three days a week. That was good enough for me. When Les and I became “exclusive” he had told me about Insanity and I just wasn’t into it. But two weeks after he started it, his body started to change. He was getting more confident and just looking better all around, and I definitely took notice. During that time, because of my desire to still “do my own thing”, Les decided we should not be together. So, with a need for vengeance I decided to do what any self-respecting woman would do: MAKE HIM JEALOUS. I had to do Insanity because I needed to look SMOKIN’ HOT next time he crossed my path so he would know exactly what he was missing! So basically, my initial motivation was to spite him. What ultimately developed was me realizing I needed to be in shape and healthy FOR MYSELF. I’d spent the last 3 years of my life drinking and partying my body away and even begun to look and feel a lot older than I actually was. Les took notice of the “new” me and needless to say, we are back together now and working out as a team. It makes all of the difference when you do get healthy for the right reasons.
3. What were your workout goals?
Celester: In the beginning I didn’t even have a specific goal, other than to complete the Insanity program. I felt that completing Insanity was the first step I had to take in the direction of actually taking care of myself.
Sarah: Once I moved beyond my initial vengeful goal of making him jealous, I developed healthier short and long term goals. My short term goals were to lose weight and tone up. Aren’t those everyone’s? But I finally had learned what kind of hard work and dedication it was going to take to achieve something that sounded so simple. Long term, is to be able to maintain a lifestyle of healthy choices (in diet and exercise) in order to be better and stronger every day and for the future.
4. Has being in a relationship with someone who was also works out helped you? Has it ever been challenging?
Celester: To be honest, the fact that we can even work out together is awesome. Sarah’s mental fortitude when it comes to working out is so great that she is game for whatever workout I have planned when we actually do work out together. She’s a monster and very competitive which makes me stay on my “A” game. That part is amazing. Also, we are all adults here, so one of the ultimate benefits of being workout partners is the ridiculous amount of energy we have…I will leave it at that. 😉 For me, the challenges are our schedules and the distance we live apart from each other. But as much as we DO love to work out together, it does take up time and so we have to be mindful to keep working out together from being the only thing we do.
Sarah: IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. It’s the best accountability you can have. I have to wake up every day and choose to make good eating decisions and to get up and workout because it honestly doesn’t really get easy, ever. But it becomes FUN, EXCITING, and at the very least something to look forward to, when you have someone who will get up with you and push you when you don’t feel like pushing. We play off each other really well. We also have different approaches to workouts, he’s great with speed and intensity and I do well with form and endurance, so with our strengths combined, we are a pretty sweet team! It is also helpful when we go out in social circles because we can both sip on some seltzer water and still feel like a part of the party without having to get drunk with everyone else. It’s just nice having someone in your corner with the same drive and desire for a healthy life as you. It makes the hard choices so much easier. The only challenge is challenging each other to do better, and I love that.
6. Celester, there’s a lot of pressure for a woman to “keep herself up” in a relationship. Do you expect Sarah to “keep herself up” for you? In general, do you agree with the idea that a woman should “keep herself up” for her significant other? Do you think men feel this pressure too?
Celester: Good questions. I had never given it much thought. I honestly hope Sarah continues to keep herself up for herself. I totally disagree with the notion of having to “keeping one’s self up” for a mate. If that is someone else’s motivation then fine. I do have a friend that got Insanity because she promised her boyfriend that when he saw her again that she would be in shape, and that was her sole reason for getting it. Hopefully that person will eventually care enough about herself to want to be fit, for herself. When I decided to change my reckless lifestyle, one thought that was nonexistent was “let me get in shape cause Sarah would like it.” I wish more couples did work out together though. I believe it is a huge deal. I have had quite a few friends ask me how could they get their significant other to work out with them, even if it’s something as simple as taking a walk. It is a shame when one mate is involved in physical activities when the other is not. Potentially one partner could become dissatisfied with and resent the other. Working out together can be fun and I firmly believe that all couples should find a way to incorporate fitness into their lives.
7. Sarah, as a woman, there’s a lot of pressure to “keep yourself up” for your significant other. Do you think it’s more important to look good for yourself than for Celester? Equally important?
Sarah: I believe it is 1,000,000 times more important to keep myself up and look good for ME. I can only be my best for him when I am my best for myself first. Worst case scenario, he won’t always be around and I will have no one to answer to other than myself. When I workout and am in shape, I simply feel more confident and beautiful, and I reflect that. People are drawn to that. I do believe he will love me for me, no matter how I look (like he did for those 2.5 years before!) but why would I not want to keep myself right and tight for him? Not only do I deserve it for myself, I want to please my man and show that I care about myself enough to look good! It’s really a reflection of how much you care about yourself.
8. You’re both Beachbody Coaches! Tell us about your individual work as a coach.
Celester: I feel that I have been an “unofficial” Beachbody coach from the moment I started telling any and everyone that would listen how effective Insanity was and how it was not only helping me get fit, but changing how I felt about myself. People would see my progression and results and want to know how to get involved. So the natural progression was to make it official. I am still very new and finding my place in the Beachbody world. I have only been a Beachbody coach for 2 months, but I am finding my own approach in showing people how awesome it is to be able to totally transform themselves and be fit all from the privacy from their own homes, with no expensive, fancy gyms needed. I am obviously a walking billboard for “Hey, This stuff works – – Maybe you should try it”!
Sarah: I have only been a coach just short of 2 months now too, but have truly enjoyed the new challenges it brings. I now have a responsibility to stay in shape and healthy for my clients, not just for myself anymore. That added responsibility is another great motivation I need some days when I am feeling lazy. I decided to take the plunge to turn my new fitness lifestyle into a business because I was seeing how much influence and inspiration my transformation had on so many of my friends, family and even strangers from all over. People kept telling me they want what I have and I love sharing the tools and knowledge I have gained over the past few months. I feel I am successful because I am 100% a product of the product. And it’s a product that can actually positively affect and change someone’s life. This is a great avenue to be able to do something I have become so passionate about.
9. Thank you both so much for sharing your story. Is there anything else either of you would like to add?
** Are you trying to stay fit while being in a relationship? Is your partner supportive? Do you think that it’s reasonable for a significant other to expect a certain level of fitness from you? **