Sarah Beilfuss


Rosa is the only UK-wide fund for women and girls. Our vision is of equality and justice for women and girls in the UK. We support projects throughout the UK that are helping women and girls to thrive.
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From Bedridden to Bodybuilding

Sarah Beilfuss

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From Bedridden to Bodybuilding

"But WHY Bodybuilding?”

I hear you ask. And you would not be the first person who asks me that. After all, why would anyone want to put themselves through the restrictive diet of 6 very bland meals a day, eating the same things at the same time of day every day and everything that could give the food a bit more flavour is basically off the menu. The diet is strict with NO exception. None of the “oh come on, just one biscuit.” No. None for me.

And while being hungry most of the time, the 5 am start for my fasted cardio (before breakfast that is) adds an extra level to this ordeal and is only the first of currently two workouts per day. The number will increase closer to the competition. The second workout of the day is me lifting the heaviest things I can in the gym and continuously pushing myself to the limit.

So why do I want to put myself through all that? Well, read on and I’ll give you my answer later on.

I’ll have to take you back a little bit. My story starts in 2010 when I found my energy levels dwindling. Initially this was cause to annoyance rather than concern and so I did what I always do and tried to push through. In 2013, at the age of 31, I then suffered a complete burnout, was bedridden for a whole year and lost my job, ending my corporate career as a result.

I found myself in this predicament after a culmination of life changing episodes including severe stresses at work, working hours in excess of 80 hours per week, multiple trauma, physical attacks (all of which were sexually motivated), divorce, rape, burglary, and cancer in the family. Doctors diagnose Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2012 after experiencing cluster migraines and I was signed off for the whole of 2013, suffering severe pain all over my body and being chronically exhausted.

Every morning I had to decide if I brush my teeth or brush my hair, as I did not have the strength or energy for both and was in significant physical pain. Simple day to day tasks were insurmountable. Doctors never diagnosed the source for the pain and severe lack in energy. Yet I was led to believe that I would never get better and the best I could hope for was to learn how to manage my symptoms.

Not one to give up easily (or ever) I refused to accept that and was determined to get my health back on track. First I started with short walks, then swimming, soon incorporated yoga and started weight training in 2015. Roll on 2016, I am now running my own business, empowering women and advising other people who have suffered severe burnout and I am challenging myself with a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) to highlight there is light at the end of the tunnel - competing in a bodybuilding competition in September.

So my answer if you ask me “WHY?” is “Because I can!”  

As babe Ruth famously said: “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up!”

My Big Why

For a long time I believed my challenge was overcoming having been so severely ill. But that was only part of it. In the years leading up to my bedridden state I was attacked several times. Almost all of these attacks were sexually motivated. I was molested and sexually abused by my best friend. I was raped on a first date. I suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition I thought only war veterans suffered from. It is the aftermath of these attacks, the memories, the nightmares and the fear that are still with me that are the real challenge.

Initially I thought I had chosen bodybuilding simply because I had a point to prove of having gotten my health back. Now I realise it is so much more than that. It is my way of regaining control over my body after that had been taken from me.

Having gained this insight, I want to use my story of recovery and this challenge I am now embarking on to:

  1. Highlight the issue of still widely accepted violence against women, inequality and how this is affecting women’s lives across the UK.
  2. Inspire others to take charge of their life, follow their dreams and never, ever give up.

Therefore I have decided to share my story and use my journey to raise money and awareness for ROSA, the UK Fund for Women and Girls, who make grants to support projects and initiatives across their 4 Pillars of priority:

  • Leadership & Representation: In the UK today, women still earn almost 20% less than men (and the disparity is increasing)
  • Safety: 43% of women under 35 have been sexually harassed at some point on the streets of London.
  • Health & Wellbeing: 87% of young women today say they’re judged more on their looks than their abilities.
  • Economic Justice: Women are not only at much greater risk of poverty than men, but they’re also likely to experience more frequent and more prolonged spells in poverty.

How you can help

Most people would say “Please give generously”. I believe that every little helps and would like to invite you to give as little as you like or as much as you can. Because no matter if you give £1, £10, £100 or £1,000 you are contributing to a great cause, making a real difference in the lives of women and girls across the UK and are giving me the motivation to keep on going.

And you don't even need money - help me to spread the word by posting, sharing and tweeting my journey all over social media. You can follow me on



Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor me and donations will be quickly processed and passed to charities. Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity's behalf where the donor is eligible for this. I really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.

Recent donors

23.09.16 Thanks for being such a great role model.


19.09.16 Sarah, I am in awe of your courage. What an inspiration. I wish you huge luck for the future and an amazing life ahead. Xxx

18.09.16 Absolute legend!

16.09.16 Go Sarah! I wish you good luck! You've done very well already!

09.09.16 You're already a winner just slipping into some heels, a sparkly bikini and getting your ass on stage!! This is truly an amazing effort for charity not your average event but a true test of body and mind! Enjoy the post show feast.

25.08.16 Go Girl!

15.08.16 Go Sarah!

03.08.16 Good Luck!!

21.07.16 Fantastic! Good luck, Sarah

14.07.16 You go, girl!

14.07.16 Good luck! You've already achieved so much, well done. xxx

14.07.16 Go for it Sarah! You are an inspiration.

27.06.16 Via chickwholift Facebook page, good luck!

29.05.16 inspiring


13.05.16 Good luck! :)


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