Behind the scenes with Karmea founder Sarah Anne Evans
An interview with the founder and heart of Karmea, Sarah Anne Evans, by talented Sydney writer Ashleigh Mills | mymeow.com.au |
I first met Sarah Anne in 2010 at a triathlon catch up organised by a friend who was convincing me to race. Way back then, the sporty blonde and her partner Warren, were creating online fitness programs for people training for endurance events and running an outdoor fitness company. As my triathlon addiction grew (then swiftly ended) I have watched Sarah Anne grow her business into a successful multisport hub. Karmea now offers (as well as training programs) turbo classes, strength training, yoga and pilates. I have watched as Sarah Anne has not only created a gym, but also a vibrant community, welcoming people of all levels. On a personal note, Sarah Anne took me from a beginner triathlete to a half ironman, adapting a program for me around a busy life.
I have her to thank for believing in myself to have one of the biggest achievements of my life.
A few weeks ago I chatted to my former coach about all thing sport, living a Karmea life, her recent trip as a National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) role model, her previous life, what is next and her biggest business learning.
On her previous life. Sarah Anne ran a successful events production company for over 15 years in the UK. In her former life she jetted about from event to event, working long hours and earning a great reputation for high quality productions. She always had the passion for health and fitness, training for endurance events outside of her busy schedule and racing for Great Britain at age group level in triathlon and duathlon. A move to Australia in 2009 brought the chance of a fresh beginning and the opportunity to pursue a career which aligned with her passion, fitness and training.
Realising the dream to open the Karmea Hub. After training clients outside for four years Sarah Anne started to feel a itch that she wanted to have create a center to bring together the Karmea community and welcome people to a friendly, non intimidating space. She says that this took a while to say out loud, particularly to her husband, as the dream was a big leap financially and time commitment wise, to running the outdoor business with minimal overheads. The Hub on North Head in Manly has now been open for two years and continues to grow by the week, with 30 hours of classes a week to choose from and over 500 active clients visiting the centre each month. The team of Karmea Athletes is limited to 20 to enable Sarah Anne and fellow coach husband Warren, to offer a personal service to each of them.
The biggest business learning so far. Learning to step back as a trainer and be behind the scenes as a manager has been a steep learning curve for Sarah Anne. Today she works with a team of great trainers who are committed to the Karmea brand and ethos. Managing personal stress and time in between fitting in her own training, coaching, writing training programmes, and running a business is also challenging. Sarah Anne sets clear boundaries on her work and personal time, something that gets blurred when your sporty hobbies are also your job (and you love to talk about sport!) She keeps two phones, one for work and personal, the work is always switched off when she isn’t working. Her own training forms an important part of her week, but fitting it in around a 50hr work week can prove challenging. Days start early, 6am, and finish late 8pm, so scheduling and planning are important to ensure balance. Recovery time is massively important so she manages this by setting aside some non-negotiable time for herself on the yoga mat twice a week. “My Yin Yoga time is scared”, she says.
On what is in store for the future. “I only look three to six months ahead at a time” she says, explaining that this allows flexibility and space for opportunities to arise. “While I have long term aims for the direction for Karmea, I like to allow new ideas to grow and I’m always open to new adventures and possibilities.”
On the NASCA Athlete and role model tour. In August 2015, Sarah Anne had the opportunity to go on the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy Role Model tour. This opportunity took her 200km from Alice Springs, to a small community called Laramba where she spent a week doing sport with the kids. This experience was transformative in her understanding of Australia’s first people. “Coming back to Sydney and my home on the Northern Beaches, couldn’t feel further from the reality of everyday life of the real country I call home. I have been to the heart of Australia, and now I’m not sure where I live. I look at the land around me differently somehow. The true foundation of this country lays with its first people.” You can read more about this amazing journey on Sarah Anne’s blog.
On what event is next. Sarah Anne’s next event will be representing Australia at the Xterra World Championships in Maui on 1st November, alongside hubby Warren. The off road Olympic distance triathlon (swim/mountain bike/trail run), will also include some well needed rest with time to kick back and ponder her next adventure.
On the best part of her job. “Seeing the change in peoples self belief and confidence when they realise what they are fully capable of” is the biggest reason she keeps doing what she’s doing, she says. “I love that I train people that really don’t see that they are such an inspiration to so many. We get so caught up in the things we are striving for, that we often can’t see what we are achieving right here and now”. Whether it’s training a couple to keep fit for their walking holidays, or training someone for an ironman, the result is equally as exciting for Sarah Anne, when she see’s the change in people, their lives and their belief that anything is possible.
Read more about women with purpose, travel, beaches, reviews (and cats!) by Ashleigh Mills at mymeow.com.au