Healthy intent from the get-go from an Olympian and Mother of Two

Olympian, qualified physiotherapist and exercise champion Sarah Cowley Ross is on a personal mission to never miss a Monday. Doing exercise to start the week with the intention she wants for her life - to live fully and inspire others to do so too.

When Sarah saw an Instagram post towards the end of 2018 about never missing a Monday of exercise she knew she had to do it. She started recording what exercise she did on her social media channels and was surprisingly shocked about how many people jumped on board. Determined to start the week right, making her health a priority, she has never missed a Monday in 2019.

“I feel better for having done a quick workout and as a result I know I’m a better human. People started tagging me on Instagram quite quickly or sharing the hashtag and for me that was awesome - to share with people easy ways to exercise and get the week off to a good start for some has been really life-changing. They’ve found they’re more likely to continue to exercise throughout the week. It’s inspiring for me.”

As an ASICS Ambassador for nearly 20 years, Sarah competed internationally in track and field at times training up to six hours a day as a heptathlete. Nowadays in retirement from competitive athletics, her life is different juggling both family and work commitments as well as voluntary governance work for sporting organisations in New Zealand. “I grew up in a sporty family in the middle of two active boys. I was always trying to keep up with them and I think that embedded a love of physical activity. We were very fortunate to have a love of sport fostered at a young age.”

Exercise philosophies for a healthy lifestyle

The motivated mother of two says often people approach her about how they can increase their fitness or make healthy lifestyle changes. When they ask she now starts with “never miss a Monday” because she feels that when you start the week strong you’re likely to finish strong as well.

A strong advocate for a healthy and balanced lifestyle Sarah shares with ASICS her other exercise philosophies she and her three-time Olympian husband Angus, live by: no three days without exercise, always find the movement opportunity and lift weights. The couple hold each other accountable to these rules as a way of trying to get the best out of each other. “We know we both love exercise and how it makes us feel so when one of us is a bit cranky it’s time they head to the gym.”

Sarah often shares what she does on a Monday whether it’s one of her old weights workouts, a circuit while her kids are having a bath or even just a 1 minute burpee routine. She does so with the intention not of self-gratification or social media likes but with the hope that others too will stop scrolling for 1 minute or 10 minutes and get moving.

“There’s a real power in exercise to shift your mindset. For me that’s huge.” New Zealand as a country has tragic mental health statistics and regardless of whether you’re suffering or not Sarah says she operates at a higher level when she’s active and living a healthy lifestyle.

Sarah Cowley Ross

Go-to quick workouts - tips and tricks

Sometimes on a Monday after running around after her kids all day she may only do a workout that is 1 minute long - for example 1 minute to see how many burpees you can do. Thirty is her 1 minute burpee PB and at the end of it she’s knackered but proud of herself for doing something. “Doing high-intensity short bursts of exercise is a great metabolism kicker - it’s awful but I love it. I like to show people that you don’t need fancy equipment, you don’t need hours on end, to move. You just need to start.”

Often on Monday nights after her kids are in bed she’ll do a quick at home workout in her lounge. One option she says which is great for a quick full-body workout is 10 bodyweight squats followed by 10 push-ups on the minute for 10 minutes. She says often when she starts off doing a 10 minute workout she’ll end up doing more - noting that the hardest thing is to break that initial inertia. Hill sprints up her driveway also feature on her Instagram page admitting that when she is time poor on a Monday she’ll do quick full-body workouts which are high intensity. On the other hand she says it’s a stroll in a park when she knows her body needs a slower pace - saying she’s much better at recognising when she needs to adjust and accept how she’s feeling rather than pushing too hard.

Getting off the couch can be difficult but some tips that Sarah uses are thinking about why she chooses to make exercise a priority. “Having a powerful ‘why’ is highly motivating to get it done,” says Sarah. “I also have some songs on the go that always make me want to move. I’m not afraid to have them on repeat to keep me going through hard sessions.” Sarah recommends sharing your exercise goals with a buddy who will hold you accountable.

New fitness goals as a Mum

Sarah Cowley Ross excercising

Following the birth of her children Max (4) and Poppy (1), Sarah admits exercise has become hugely important for her mental health. “As a Mum you’re constantly looking after the needs of your little people and for me I certainly was guilty in the early days of being too exhausted to look after myself. I know I’m a better person for being active - that makes me a better wife, Mum, and citizen. So it’s a no brainer I make it a priority (even if we’ve had a tough night with the kids!)”

Sharing #nevermissamonday she says has been empowering. Not only has she taken ownership of this goal but others have stepped up and that she says warms her soul. Mondays for Sarah she admits freely are actually full-on days as she has her kids at home. That’s why her kids are often found cheering her on or she’s beside the sandpit while her kids dig as she’s doing a circuit.

Regardless of how loaded her Monday is - juggling family and work commitments, she’s on a mission to move to get the best out of life. For 2020 Sarah says she plans to continue to keep sharing her #nevermissamonday workouts in the hope that others join the movement too. It’s a win-win in so many different ways and she’d love you to join her in starting the week strong to help you be the best version of yourself.

Sarah’s 5 quick Monday workouts

For all your future Monday workouts choose shoes and gear that will help you get the most out of your training. ASICS offers a wide range of women’s shoes and men’s shoes specifically designed for performance to help you reach your fitness goals.