Sarah Alysse is the founder and CEO of Live Well Enhance You, a company that focuses on helping individuals and corporate executives find balance and strive for wellness in their careers and personal life. As a stress management and fitness coach, she teaches her clients to have a work/life balance as well as find fun self-care SOULutions to improve their gut health and fitness performance.
What is truly kick-ass about this?
Sarah is only 33. She is making waves in the wellness industry, and her success as a young Chicago entrepreneur has been featured across major media platforms, including The Chicago Journal, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, US Reporter, and LA Wire.
Sarah began her fitness journey in college and has been a fitness trainer in Chicago for 12 years. She was very successful as a personal trainer and loved her job, but she always desired to give her clients more. We interviewed Sarah to learn how she got started and what inspires her to keep going. Enjoy!
Tell us, Sarah, why did you decide to start Live Well Enhance You?
My father was diagnosed with Stage IV Kidney Cancer that metastasized to his lungs then brain in 2016. When I was facing the loss of my father, I discovered that I was an emotional eater in addition to being a burnt-out fitness trainer and musician. To suppress my emotions during his illness, I would eat a bag of flaming hot Cheetos or a pint of ice cream after lunch, and then an hour later I would have two portions of dinner. I was constantly nauseous because of the harm I was doing to my body. Stress eating was my coping mechanism to address all of the feelings I held inside. After my father’s unfortunate passing, I made it my mission to find the right balance between my health, wellness routine, career, and personal life.
That year I started small with a new healthy routine of walking my dog. Although it seemed small, it was very therapeutic and it was easy to commit to. Walking my dog each morning helped me to get out of bed in the morning. Around this time, I also decided it was time for me to learn how to cook and I began making my own dinner every night instead of eating out. Recognizing that my body and soul – as cliché as this will sound – was a temple, and I had my dog, Presley Harrison, to take care of, I started to feel alive again.
During all of this, I was still an active fitness trainer, but I knew I wanted to do more for the clients I served. Through my own trials and triumphs of healthy eating and learning about nutrition, It was evident to me that society had a bigger problem than just figuring out how to fine-tune their physical appearance; people needed help making lifestyle changes.
I had my true AHA moment to start my own company when I was studying nutrition for my Integrative Health Coaching certification in 2017. I knew I had the knowledge and know-how to teach proper wellbeing practices instead of just how to drop weight and feel great.
It was clear to me my own health was in jeopardy from stress and burnout. When I was in the “fight or flight” mode, I would select foods that weren’t serving my body in a healthy way. Taking ownership of my own life led me to the decision to educate other people on how to improve their gut health and follow their gut instincts. That’s when Live Well Enhance You was born!
Describe your business in detail.
Utilizing my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater, Holistic Health Coaching, and Fitness Training, I understand the connection between the brain and the body. I take these principles and work with individuals wanting to enhance the best version of themselves. I help people maximize their bodies to tackle whatever activity that their career or personal life may demand.
My clients and I focus on understanding their brain-gut connection, developing mindfulness around their stressors, and enhancing fitness performance with functional movements. I go through routines to help clients manage their stressors so behavioral changes are easier to make and then everything else falls into place.
Sarah is continually earning new certifications to serve her clients better. She is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, a STOTT Pilates instructor, a Keiser’s Cycling Foundations instructor, a TRX instructor, a Total Barre Instructor, a NASM Certified Personal trainer, and a Master Trainer for bellicon move, bellicon bounce, and bellicon circle. Through Live Well Enhance You, she offers group fitness classes and individual classes both in-person and virtually.
Other offerings include pantry clean-up sessions and grocery list check-ups, which go over tips and tricks for navigating your favorite grocery store and coming up with a game plan for bringing healthier meals into your home.
By continually holding space and finding new activities for her clients, Sarah lets them know that they aren’t alone in their journey to become better and healthier people.
What is the best part of your job?
My business allows me to connect with people and help them better their lives. I examine what health and fitness areas clients are missing, work with them to identify their stressors, and help them discover ways to bring joy back into their daily lives.
I am teaching my clients the solutions that I needed someone to teach me – how to balance nutrition and manage stress in a healthy manner. I love encouraging body positivity and promoting healthier alternatives to certain foods because as a country, we are a fast-paced, fast-food-consuming nation, and it’s hard to make healthy decisions on the go. I am here to address this for anyone who wants help. I love my job!
As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. You also work with corporations to help develop employee wellness activities. Tell us how that works.
All of my clients seemed to have the same underlying issue, burnout from work. When I came to this conclusion, I started to have conversations with human resource teams and top-level executives about what was missing in the workplace. What they shared with me is that they noticed a huge decrease in employee productivity since the pandemic started in 2020. People were simply stressed to the max from all the craziness in the world and they were getting burnt out from trying to control things they couldn’t control.
Many companies used to provide their employees with gym memberships and lunch-and-learns to help with stress and anxiety, but when push came to shove, those perks were the first things to go due to low attendance and fewer offerings of in-person classes. Thankfully, companies are realizing employees are burnt out and they have begun to add more mental health services to address their stress levels. I believe we all still need more connection and movement in our lives, which is where I come in!
In 2021, I crafted my signature program for businesses, Enrich Your Workplace. Through this program, I work with corporations that want to invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing. This program combines masterclasses, wellness workshops, small group coaching, and executive team building. These interactive programs are designed to engage, educate, and motivate your team to incorporate wellness into their lives both in and out of the workplace. Topics range from nutrition and healthy eating, tips to fitting in fitness and creating a workout routine, strategies to stress less, workplace wellness activities, goal setting, and tips on striking a work-life balance.
What trials do you face and what keeps you going?
For any new challenge, I remind myself that failing turns into progress, which leads to success. It wasn’t easy starting my own business, but I knew it was something I needed to do to feel fulfilled. Each year there are new obstacles I face as an entrepreneur, but I’ve learned that if I continue to grow my mindset and take risks, I actually thrive. These obstacles require me to continue learning new things which keep Live Well Enhance You a business my clients want to invest in.
What advice would you have for any Resilient Women that may be stressed or on the verge of burnout?
Honor your feelings and normalize needing a mental health day. This could be as simple as staying home to meditate, sleep, cook a healthy meal, or travel to a nature preserve to reset.
Next, take a look at your daily schedule. Is it packed to the brim? Be careful of overpacking your schedule. It will be challenging, but you want to leave windows of time available for you. When I take breaks in my schedule, I make sure to shut down my computer and walk away. I also try really hard to get an adequate amount of sleep so I feel rejuvenated the next day. Plain and simple, little steps like these help a lot to reduce your stress levels and be more productive at work.
Those are great tips! Can you offer any advice to women who may be considering starting their own business?
It’s never too late to invest in yourself! Embrace your uniqueness! Don’t let fear or imposter syndrome get in your way. Find a mentor who has similar values to your own. Continually network with, and learn from, people who are leaders in your industry. Being open to learning from these people will make you a stronger individual and may lead you to bigger opportunities.
There you have it, ladies. Balance is possible with a little determination and coaching from Sarah Alysse. As a professional stress management and fitness coach, Sarah provides working professionals with ideal and tangible practices that will change their way of life. We thank her for the time she spent sharing these fantastic insights and wish her continued success in her great work!
If anyone is looking to improve their health journey or their workplace, they can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a consultation call. I also encourage all of the ladies in the Resilient Women Rise community to tune in to her podcast to learn about stress reduction and hear her conversations with experts on their own wellness challenges. It’s called Stress Free SOULutions and can be accessed wherever you download your podcasts!