IFBB Pro Sara Picken Brown Talks With TheAthleticBuild.com

How did you get started in bodybuilding/fitness?

I started in the fitness industry after completing my certifications back in 2001. After entering the industry as a personal trainer, I was approached by a manager of GNC Livewell in Melbourne Australia, to consider competing. I had no idea what ‘Figure’ was all about, so after reading a number of articles on Monica Brant and her contemporaries and seeing a show in Melbourne, I decided that I would give it a try. My first show in 2005 saw me Win both Novice and then the Overall. I was hooked and made a decision that night that no matter how long it took, I was going to obtain my IFBB Pro status. 7 years and 23 shows later I achieved my dream.


What is your favorite body part to train?

I love training, no favorite body-part. I give each session the same level of effort and see every session as benefiting the overall health, look and performance objectives to achieving my goals.

Do you do any other types of training besides weight training?

My program is very functional and very rounded. I combine Bodybuilding, Crossfit, Olympic lifting, Endurance and even swimming. My Tactical 90 Day (T90) Advanced Program is a strategic approach to body management and is exceptionally functional so that no matter your goal, which sport specific elements can be incorporated to the plan, you will be targeting and able to excel across all elements of performance criteria to maintain your edge and improve health.


 Can you give us a sample of your routine?

My routine is currently set to see me through to my next challenge, SEALFit 2014 KOKORO- a 50hr training experience that is a condensed version of the NavySEALs BUDs/Hell week. The ‘evolution’ starts at 2pm on Friday and concludes 50hrs later on the Sunday, during which time recruits of SEALfit are subject to Log PT, hours of water familiarization training, Crossfit sessions and SEALfit workouts that can last up to 2 hours, loaded Ruck hikes lasting 6 hours or more, no sleep and much more. Designed to utilize the physical domain as a platform.  To strengthen the mental toughness and emotional resiliency of the individual, strengthen the understanding of team work, personal responsibility. Develop the individual to withstand and thrive under highly stressful situations.

So my training currently consists of Crossfit WODS I have been dong MURPH on a weekly basis aiming to reduce my times. (MURPH: 1.6km Run, 300 squats,200 pushups,100 Pullups, 1.6km Run), long runs, swim sessions, Hill Sprint sessions, Olympic Lifting sessions and higher volume conditioning circuit style sessions.

Here is just one example of a recent session:

complete in 50 min or less

  • Warmup Rower 1000m (sub 5min)
  • 4 Rounds
  • Deadlifts 10-10-8-8 (minimum bodyweight lift,  aim to increase load each round)
  • Burpee pushup tuck jump 10-10-10-10

3 Rounds 10-10-15-6

  • DB flat bench press
  • DB Front shoulder raise
  • DB Rear Delt Flies
  • Chinups

2 Rounds (3-9kg med ball)

  • WallBall squats 20-20

What kind of music do you listen to when you are working out?

I don’t tend to like having earphones n as I find music distracts from the mind/muscle connection. But generally anything like ‘The White Stripes’, ‘The Prodigy’, ‘The Glitch Mob’, a new favorite is ‘Ashes Remain’. If its epic my session will usually be a good one.

We all have at least one, what is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

Hmm embarrassing song…well I have a little Frank Sinatra…is that considered embarrassing?..lol..


What does your diet look like when you are trying to get lean?

I maintain a clean diet all year round. The only thing that will change is the ratios of carbs protein and fats given my goal to grow or lean up. So its plenty of protein from chicken, red meat or salmon, lots of veggies, carbs tend to be rice or quinoa and fats from coconut butter, olive oil and I have a nut addiction so they tend to be locked away on the pantry when its lean up time.

List the top 10 foods we would find in your kitchen:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Coconut water
  • Coconut butter
  • Chicken, beef
  • Salmon
  • Salad greens especially Kale
  • Bananas (love these)
  • Chia seeds
  • Quinoa


What kind of cardio do you like best and why?

Hate running, but its essential to my objective goals. So I tend to do long runs 8km x 2 per week at the moment. A couple of 3-5km runs, for speed aiming to do 5km n sub 20mins. Sprint sessions up hills are just starting to be included and also weighted stair master sessions (since I have no access to an outdoor bleachers arena) with 7-10kg vest and a 20-30 min interval on the stairs increasing pace every minute on the minute.

If you could give somebody only one bodybuilding tip what would it be?

Train and compete for yourself, don’t get caught up n the hype and never lose sight of your ‘why’. Everyone is an expert and generally they will try to sway you for their own ego needs or they have an agenda that’s not necessarily in your best interests. Be situationally aware and give 300% effort to your dreams.


Tell us about your biggest bodybuilding/fitness influence?

My biggest influence for look and career progression would be Monica Brant, she’s the BOMB. One of my sweetest memories was guest coaching for her FEM camp in Melbourne one year. A real honor.

Favorite cheat food?

French Rose or Red wine.


Do you take any supplements?

I tend to monitor how my recovery is going and will include; LGlutamine, BCAA’s, Magnesium (transdermal and as a tablet), Glutathione from MAX International and Juice Plus+ as a multivitamin.

What does the future hold for you?

I am participating in the SEALfit KOKORO in July and then after that there are a couple of adventures planned in South America and the Appalachian Trail. In terms of my weight/crossfit/Figure training…watch this space; I am very keen to participate in the Sealfit Turning Steel event which combines tactical shooting and physical endurance over 3 days.

PICTURES BY: Srdjan Photography for SPBFitness copyright 2014

Sara Picken Brown
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