The Bear Interview

We thought you might like to know a little more about the team in these blogs, as well as hearing all about the latest health and fitness developments and trends. Let's kick-start with an interview with Owner of and Personal Trainer at BEAR Fitness, Sarah Ryder...


Tell us about your background? We'd love to know a bit more about you before you decided to train and give DOMS to the masses!

I grew up in a military family, so health and fitness was at the forefront of the family ethos, whether that be competing against my siblings or parents. I have been interested in and passionate about health and fitness from before I can remember. I competed in judo for England (under 28kg), played hockey for the West of England, netball for Banes, cross country for Somerset County from where I went on to represent at a national level (with honestly little success - but it's the effort and participation that counts!). When I was at University I played Hockey, Cricket, Squash and Rugby, gaining quite a few bumps and bruises - most notably in Rugby!

Why did you decide personal training was for you?

After doing my fair share of the typical 9-5 jobs, I found myself stuck in a rut and unhappy with my career path. I then had a bit of an epiphany, realising that I wanted to go back to having my day revolve around sports, health and fitness, as it did when I was studying for my degree in Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Exeter. After completing (and excelling in!) the personal training course, I fell in love with the job!

What does it take to be successful in the personal training industry? 

To be successful, in my opinion, a personal trainer needs to have three core qualities: enthusiasm, knowledge and determination. Obviously a little hard work and a love to be the early bird is essential, as people have this crazy idea of training at all hours of the morning and I'm always keen to catch that worm!

What advice would you offer those thinking of becoming a personal trainer?

Do it...because the knowledge you will acquire is priceless. And get in touch! 

What makes you different to all other personal trainer's out there?

I'm not just a personal trainer; I actually enjoy connecting with my clients on a personal level and like to think that they become my friends. I also love explaining why my clients are performing a certain exercise as opposed to just dictating their routine for the end results - seeing someone actually understand their programme is extremely rewarding. Who wouldn't want to know how and why they became the person they are? It's fascinating to watch that process, and be a part of it. I truly have my clients' best interests at heart, and that's why I want them to get to a stage where they no longer need me, and feel that they can hit the gym with no worries!

Why the name BEAR FITNESS?

As a child I was completely obsessed with Goldilocks and the Three Bears and insisted on calling my family by the name 'bear', and now this is what I am known as in our family home. I love the name BEAR Fitness as not only it reminds me of my family but also the roots and what first bought me to the love of fitness.

What does your cheat day look like? If it's anything like The Rock's we will be impressed... 

A trip to Red Dog Saloon to take on The Devastator, a challenge which I'm yet able to complete. But I went with two of my clients who did manage to complete the Hot Wings challenge. They cried...but I'm told it was worth it for the t shirt!

What's your favourite workout move?

The Deadlift is my all time favourite, as it is a fantastic posterior chain move, something that is often neglected by both men and women. Get Deadlifting! (With the right technique of course - get in touch and I'll show you exactly how!)

What's your favourite fitness class in London right now? 

1Rebel - Esmee Gummer is an outstanding PT, she has a great story and does a sterling job of motivating. She also uses fantastic music to keep you going until the end of the workout.

What is your philosophy on being fit and healthy

Heath and fitness varies for every individual and each person has their own needs, and therefore required their own philosophy - hence the massive confusion and diet trends that continue to dominate the health and fitness industry. Mine's a secret, come train with me and you might find out!

Who do you look up to in the fitness industry?

Jillian Michaels - who wouldn't love a woman who climbs on the back of someone twice her size and makes them climb up a ladder on the Biggest Loser?!

Best Jillian Quotes: "Unless you Puke, Faint or Die, Keep Going" or "Why choose failure when success is an option"

Favourite quote?

"Somebody, Somewhere, is practicing and when you meet them in face to face competition, they will win"

What's your go to snack when hunger strikes? 

Well it would ideally be a packet of Reese Cups - but that's just not healthy every single day. So i try to opt for a green tea, and I've also just bought a Nutri Ninja so I go for blueberry, milk, grape and nut cereal, linseed and chia, all mixed together in one delicious smoothie - with the occasional sprinkle of dark chocolate. 

Free Time?

Even though I'm a personal trainer, I do still venture to the pub every now and then; I also encourage my clients to enjoy themselves too in whatever way they see fit, as a healthy, happy mind = a healthy, happy body. However, you have to remember that a hungover mind = a hungover body, and when you're hungover the effectiveness of your workouts dramatically decreases.

Finally, what would you say to those considering investing in personal training?

If not now, when?

So there you have it. We hope this interview has given you a bit of insight into who Sarah actually is, and persuaded you that she is the right trainer for you! As you can see, she's actually pretty normal, so get in touch today at sarah@bearfitness.london to find out more!