Meet the Phoenix Fitness Team

Coach Sara Zela

Sara Zela, OCB/IFPA Pro Natural Bodybuilder, TRX® Qualifications: STC, GSTC, Certified AGTC TRX-Blackrank instructor,  USAPL Certified Powerlifting Coach, Featured Athlete, Natural Magazine, October 2015 : Path to Pro: Turning 40 and Reclaiming Life

Sara re-discovered her fitness passion after turning 40. Growing up she played several sports and led a pretty active lifestyle. After graduate school she became less than active and led a sedentary lifestyle.

“Turning 40 was a defining moment for me. It scared me to my core. How could I be 40? How could I be overweight and so unhappy? Things needed to change, and I knew I was the only one who could make change happen. It took 4 months after turning 40 to get my head in the game. The only way I can describe it is like a light switch. I woke up one day and decided that was the day I was going to take the first step towards a healthier, happy life.”


Sara joined Coach Royce’s Power drills class and never looked back. After losing 54 pounds (14 pounds past her goal) before her 41st birthday she never looked back.  Sara took the stage in July 2015 as a competitor in Natural Bodybuilding,  winning 1st place, earning her OCB/IFPA Pro card at the Newburyport Yankee Classic.

” I realize I began my journey as a 40-year-old woman wanting to improve her health, rekindle a passion for fitness, and to reach goals I thought were reasonably attainable. However, this journey became more than losing weight, it became a path of discovery, pushing my boundaries, going outside my comfort zone, exploring new ways of living a full and healthy lifestyle. I love this community, profession and I LOVE competing on stage.”

Sara holds TRX® Qualifications: STC, GSTC and is a Certified AGTC TRX-Blackrank instructor and a USAPL Powerlifting Coach. She was a featured athlete in the Natural Bodybuilding Magazine.

She looks forward to her future in fitness; coaching, training, teaching and always learning more. She has a huge goal ahead to become a world-class natural bodybuilder, with the help of Coach Royce, she believes this is attainable.  Sara hopes to inspire others to love fitness, and to contribute to the community that has given her so much.

More about Sara:

Sara has an undergraduate degree in painting a graduate degree from Tufts University in Museum Studies. Working in Communications, Marketing and Museum Education over the past 15 years she has a passion for connecting people with the visual arts. Her favorite artist is Ellsworth Kelly and the abstract expressionism period.  “Art of all forms can have a powerful impact on society. It has the power to inspire and connect.  Art begins conversations, enhancing critical thinking and teaches many to listen and learn from other opinions and view points.” 

Sara is known for her positive outright energy – especially when leading group training classes-  some clients have referred to her as the “energizer bunny”.  She believes 150% in all her clients and the Phoenix Task Force Team.  Constantly researching and crafting the most unique and successful sessions, Sara strives for excellence. Training clients is a highlight in her life and she provides the Phoenix Task Force with unconditional support and passion.

For more information or inquiries contact Coach Sara 

Coach Kristin Bolton


Kristin Bolton, Phoenix Fitness Assistant Powerlifting Coach, USA Powerlifting State Referee, Certified USA Powerlifting Club Coach, Professional Member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association

I’m a work in progress. I’ve done yo-yo diets, lost and gained the same pounds more than once. 2009 was the wake up call. A picture of my 5-month old son after open heart surgery fighting for his life. I was 300+lbs and I saw a Mom in the picture not fighting for hers. It took me another year to fully commit to change and work with my first coach. My motivation in the beginning was to be a healthier Mom. I lost 100 pounds in just over a year, that was easy in comparison to keeping it off. I still struggle but have kept the weight off. I walked/jogged 5k’s the first few years of my journey and trained with kettlebells.
It was while training for my first (and last!) half marathon that I was introduced to the deadlift. And that deadlift led me to competitive powerlifting. I don’t miss walk/jogging, treadmills or the elliptical and I no longer diet. The secret is finding an activity you like, setting realistic goals and just keep going.
In 2014, I competed in my first USAPL powerlifting competition, I was terrified, but was hooked instantly. The following year, I competed at USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals in Scranton, PA. I have always been in the highest weight class for women, the ‘super heavy weights’. I never liked the title, until Nationals. I was surrounded by super heavyweight women in the weigh-in line. And instead of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, I felt pride, accomplishment and empowered. It was a pivotal moment of self acceptance. I was strong, healthy and being a super heavyweight athlete felt great. It is my sweet spot!
I wake up at 4:40 am weekdays to go to the gym. What motivates me so early? Three things: spending time with my family after work, the people I workout with and of course lifting heavier!
I’m passionate about strength training (because it works!), coaching great form/technique (injury prevention/bigger lifts) and helping anyone find their own groove in the gym. I’ve had my share of setbacks and continue to work through them. It’s about progress, not perfection and knowing your fight.
Favorite things: frozen yogurt, laughing until my stomach hurts, coffee, puzzles, lavender, sweatpants, s’mores, flip-flops and hammocks.
More about Kristin:
She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Art, Photography and a Master of Business Administration, Strategic Marketing & Communications. Kristin is a  USA Powerlifting State Referee, she is a  Certified USA Powerlifting Club Coach and a Professional Member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
Kristin is well-known for her gentle, thoughtful kindness and motivational support in and out of the studio. She is driven to provide the highest quality training and guidance to the the Phoenix Task Force and clients.

Coach Cindy Gilbert

ACE Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Management Specialist, Certified Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition & Motivational Speaker

I spent all of my childhood and young adult life feeling unhealthy and physically inadequate. Maxing out at 325 pounds I knew something in my life had to change. I spent more years than I can count, (age of 9 up) muddling through the confusing exercise and diet fads the world was throwing at me only to be left frustrated and feeling like a failure. I so desperately needed to be set free from the physical prison my body had become. It had ruled and ruined my life long enough! It’s then that I got on my knees and prayed for the determination to make a permanent change!

I managed to lose a whopping 170 pounds (without surgery, Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers)! I did it by deconstructing old mindsets and habits and creating brand new life reviving “healthy” ones! I did my best each day to eat right and exercise. I was finally able to put the misconceptions of diet fads and radical restrictions to rest and passionately embrace a life style of good health, fitness and love of self that would last a life time.

Coach Cindy Gilbert- Her Story has been featured on the Dr. Oz show, the front page of Foster’s and in New Hampshire Magazine.

I became a personal trainer because I so desperately want to help other people find the liberation that comes with living life to the fullest in a body and life style to be proud of.  I know first-hand that when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin you don’t feel comfortable with LIFE!  No one should have to live life like that!

I now hold certifications as a Weight Management Specialist, Health Coach and Personal Trainer. However, my biggest credentials are my life experiences, my story, my struggles, my triumphs and my persistence! My life has been the best “On the job training”

People who have worked with me have continually found Motivation to persevere, Insight to overcome habits for good, Inspiration to fuel the journey, Courage to do things they only dreamed of doing, Strength to get the job done and Freedom to live a happier and healthier life.

More about Cindy;

Before becoming a full time Trainer & Health Coach, Cindy devoted 15 years to Early Childhood Education as a School Director, Assistant Director, Program Coordinator, Pre-school & Kindergarten teacher.

“I had no idea how much that career would prepare me for this one. As an early childhood educator I was trained to observe and assess abilities and behaviors beyond the surface and scaffold learning to bring each individual to the next step in their abilities. I was shown the necessity of encouragement and positive feedback to get results and positive changes. I was forced to use my instincts and creativity to developed plans to meet the needs of each individual. I have keenly developed my perception, intuition and instructing skills”

Cindy is best known for being inspirational, motivating, insightful and compassionate.

But most of all she is known for being an Inspirational Overcomer!  Through her stories of overcoming obesity and most currently the effects of Toxic Mold she has inspired others to believe that they can overcome the impossible too.

Cindy gives 110% to everything she tackles and has great attention for detail. Whether it be in a class or personal setting, Cindy will do her best to make you feel like your story, your struggles and your goals are the only ones that matter!