Tough it Out | Sondra Barker

Sometimes we are put into tough situations in order to help us reach new levels that we never knew we could access. For health and fitness enthusiast and model Sondra Barker, it was the way she was treated for being overweight. Many people in the world struggle with their weight and are ridiculed for their looks. Imagine every day being surrounded by people who constantly put you down. It could lead you to feel worthless and wanting to give up on life. However, Sondra shows us why it’s important to remain strong and find self-empowerment. Never let people’s negative words leave you defeated. Use those experience to fuel your ambition and let it lead you to tapping into potential you may not even have known existed within you.


Early in life, Sondra struggled with her weight. She found herself constantly being put down and struggling with her own confidence. That was until she discovered the power of health and fitness. “I first became interested in fitness over 15yrs ago because I was surrounded by a group of women at my job when I was entering college who were constantly mean to me. I was also dating someone at the time who constantly put me down. For me fitness was an escape to clear my mind and focus on myself instead of the negativity around me,” Sondra explains.

Using health and fitness as an outlet has led Sondra to many break throughs. Beyond achieving amazing results, Sondra has also picked up opportunities in sharing her approach to fitness and even modeling.  It’s never been about looks for Sondra, but how she feels. Leading a healthy lifestyle makes Sondra feel good and propels her to take full advantage of the many opportunities that present themselves to her.

“My modeling career was always very rewarding for me because I never really thought of myself as one of the pretty girls until much later on in life. When I won a modeling contracts for a well-known swimwear line called Venus swimwear I was like, “wow I really am pretty”. Also knowing that I felt so much better, had more energy, felt healthier, and could wear outfits that made me feel confident.” – Sondra Barker

Ups and Downs

Of course, no one is perfect nor should be expected to be. 15 years later, Sondra still finds that sometimes her weight fluctuates, but it doesn’t discourage her nor makes her obsessive. She continues to live life doing the things that make her happy and always brings the focus back to her overall health. She suggests others should find their own unique approach to do so as well. “My weight easily fluctuates and it doesn’t help that I’m a food writer and photographer. I absolutely love food and will not diet. For me it’s all about balance. At one point, I lost 30lbs. I have really learned my body type throughout the years and I know what I need to do in order to lose weight. This is why it’s so important to have a customized routine. All bodies are NOT created equal is my motto. For me I do basic cardio that I know I can do for at least 30-45 minutes, but what makes the most difference is lifting weights. I lift weights as heavy as a possibly can and because my body type has such a difficult time gaining muscle, it really transforms my figure and it a key factor in my weight loss,” Sondra explains.


Sondra encourages others to pursue a path to health and fitness. I say, “A path” because Sondra stresses the fact that no one is the same. SO what works for her may not work for you. What works for you probably won’t work for the next person and so on. Everyone and their bodies are unique. Achieving health and fitness is all about what works for YOU. But it is one piece of advice that Sondra feels everyone can benefit from, “You can do anything you put your mind to. It’s not easy for anyone in the beginning. It’s all about creating a new habit and once you start it will become easier. You just have to stay committed. You cannot rely on anyone else to keep you motivated. It starts with you! For me, I turned the negative energy around me into motivation to prove them all wrong. I know better than anyone that I won’t finally make the decision to change things around until I’m ready.”

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

Edemame crackers from trader joes, although what I normally do is have tons of leftovers. I never finish an entire meal. I love having my leftover for breakfast or as a quick snack I can just pop in the microwave, eat really quick and be out the door.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?    Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?

Everything in moderation, does that count?

What is a typical workout you will do when you go to the gym?

I typically will do 30-45 minutes on the cybrex, stretch and do abdominals, and then I rotate my weights liftings between legs, arms, and chest/back. When I do legs, one day I’ll do machines and the next time I do legs I will do free weight exercises. I’m also a Pilates Instructor and will throw that in on another day when I don’t want to head to the gym. One of my favorite tools to use are sliders, which you can get for $5 at any hardware store for moving furniture. I do sliding lunges and side lunges. They are awesome!

Sondra Barker


Instagram: @sondrabarker and @prettyfitfoodie