Get to Know Our Trainers: Sarah McNiven

Sarah McNiven is a personal trainer for HCI Sports & Fitness. One of the newest members of our personal trainer team, McNiven provides customized training programs to give anyone the tools they need to hit their personal fitness goals. We asked her a few questions about her experience training, her own personal fitness, and how she got her start at HCI. Read below to get to know if Sarah McNiven is the personal trainer for you!

When and how did you get your start in fitness? What drew you to working in fitness? 

I was always an active child involved in softball and competitive dance through high school. In college, I decided that I wanted to maintain my focus on health and I pursued my Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Public Health. Over time, however, that turned into a more sedentary lifestyle than I wanted, and the impact I was having became harder to see. That’s when I got involved in personal training, where I could work one-on-one with my clients and bring together everything I’ve learned about exercise, nutrition, injury prevention, and the mind-body connection.

What drew you to HCI? What were you doing before training at HCI?

Before coming to HCI, my individual personal training business was growing and I wanted to move to a space that was centrally located and well equipped.

What was your focus when you started training?

From the beginning, my focus has been to create a program for my client that is tailored to the whole person. The goal is often to help someone to lose weight and build muscle, but the cornerstone is to help them reach their full potential. When you take the time to understand the foundation that a person is beginning with and you create a program that considers all of these factors, you will help to not only achieve their overall strength and body composition goals, but you will see improvements with their endurance, balance, coordination, and posture.

Have you learned any important lessons as a trainer?

I would say that one of the most important lessons to keep in mind as a trainer is that there is not a “one size fits all” approach in personal training. Communication and understanding of the client’s needs and lifestyle are key to making long-term and long-lasting progress. You have to be able to cater the program to the individual and to be genuinely engaged in their success.

Any memorable moments with one of your clients?

Picking one memorable moment would be next to impossible. There are memorable moments almost every day with every client. This job provides lots of little moments that I am honored to share in. Every time a client achieves something that at one time thought they couldn’t is rewarding to me.

What is your typical weekly fitness routine?

I like to train five to six days a week. I make sure to do strength training four days every week and then on days five and six I incorporate cardio and agility training.

What are your fitness goals at the moment?

Life is busy, and between work, family, and numerous other commitments it can be a challenge to make healthy decisions when eating all the time. My fitness goal at the moment is to focus on making all of my food decisions ahead of time. That way, I’m less likely to stunt my progress by making impulsive (and maybe expensive) eating decisions. So, my goal at the moment is to use my day off to prepare all of my meals for the week.

What are your fitness goals for the future?

I plan to live as active a life as I can, for as long as I can. Fitness, nutrition, and wellness exist on a continuum, and that might lead one person to ultramarathons and another to Olympic powerlifting. In the future, I hope to add three flexibility and stretching sessions to my normal training routine per week.

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