The right formula for a healthy life
Name: Sara Ross
Quote: “If you want a good quality meal, you’ve got to prepare it.”
Background: A recent retiree with energy that would rival a 25-year-old, Sara Ross and her husband spent most of their lives on the East Coast before discovering the Southwest. She’s a regular fixture at a local gym, spending about 2.5 hours working out each visit. You wouldn’t guess it, but Ross wasn’t always so active. “I was a klutz as a kid and always picked last for school games,” she says. “But in my late 20s and early 30s I started playing tennis. I turned to sports where I wasn’t in anybody’s way, like aerobics, swimming and Pilates.”
When She’s Working Out: In addition to her cardio workouts, Ross lifts weights and does yoga. “Being active is part of my life and it feels so good,” she says. “How do people not do this?” Her hard workouts have paid off. Ross recently won a gold medal for power lifting 140 lbs in a dead lift.
When She’s Not Working Out: Ross is passionate about her health in every way. “Fitness is exercise plus diet,” she says. “I really live by that, which is why my food is fresh and vibrant. I don’t get food and stick it in the freezer for three months.” Every weekend she and her husband head to the neighborhood farmer’s market to stock up on fresh foods, like organic vegetables.
Staying Motivated: Ross and her husband go to the gym together, which adds to their marriage of 40 years. “Find a friend and do it together,” Ross says. “The gym is a great place to meet friends. Working out doesn’t just fix the external, it strengthens the internal, too.”
At Meal Time: “You can’t eat garbage and expect to be strong,” she laughs. “I take breakfast very seriously.” As a pescatarian who follows a macrobiotic diet, mealtime can be somewhat of an adventure. For a quick meal, she relies on one of her favorite recipes: Japanese baby turnips and red Russian kale sautéed with garlic, onion and soy sauce. “People think I’m weird but I haven’t eaten meat, dairy or sugar in 18 years,” Ross says. “I wasn’t feeling well so my doctor told me to cut them out…and I did.” She and her husband eat upwards of 95 percent organic produce.
Goals: “Fitness is functional, which is why it’s so important,” Ross says. “Fitness affects your quality of life. I can carry my suitcase by myself on a plane, and I don’t need help putting it away. Working out helps me live my life and lets me do the things I want to do.”