Train with the strongest woman in Leytonstone




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“Every female should be able to do anything that a man should be able to do,” says Sakari De-Meis, professional powerlifter and personal trainer.

“A lot of people don’t know what they’re capable of.”

Sakari runs her classes from a studio in Church Street, Leytonstone and outdoors at Hollow Ponds. 

Sakari De-Meis
Sakari De-Meis

Picking up a 12k weight as if it’s a tin of baked beans, Sakari might not look like a stereotypical weightlifter, but she’s keen to dispel any common preconceptions about ‘bulking up’ that many people fear.

“During training, you have various rep ranges to make sure you don’t get bigger and instead I work on toning and strengthening your physique,” she explains.

Sakari, twice British powerlifting champion and 2010 European champion, didn’t start training until after the birth of her second child. Feeling out of shape due to an illness, Sakari started using weights as part of her fitness regime. She didn’t consider competing in events until a friend at her local gym said she was strong enough to stand a good chance of getting through to the finals.


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With just a couple of weeks to go to qualify for the British championships, Sakari’s friend at the gym briefly explained the rules.

When the day came, Sakari drove down to the qualifying competition, which was held at army barracks in Folkestone. As a new driver, the journey itself was nerve-wracking but when the judges decided her equipment didn’t conform to the strict rules, Sakari wanted to turn back home.

“I left the site and called my husband, who told me to stay,” says Sakari. “So I went back in, and some of the guys that were competing lent me the correct equipment.

“I did the competition and I qualified there and then. It was amazing, the best thing ever.”

Lifting helped Sakari to learn more about herself, and with that came a new type of confidence which she now passes on to her clients.


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Coming from an Indian background, there were limitations for Sakari as a woman.

She expains: “I didn’t have a very strict upbringing, but there were certain things I couldn’t do. I couldn’t hang around with a boy, for instance. The sport gave me something else, and enabled me to think, ‘as a female, I’m going to get to do everything a man can do.’”

This philosophy is something that Sakari passes on to her daughter and her female clients.

“That’s why I love training women. I love to help build confidence and for them not to feel as if they have to be a size six or eight.”


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But don’t expect an easy session with Sakari. Her techniques are different from what you might see in a lot of gyms. As a champion powerlifter, she’s strict, and makes sure her clients put their best efforts in.

“I don’t like to see people give up. I want to see good results, because there are so many benefits. People will get fitter and stronger. If something’s not working, I’ll look at the bigger picture and find out why.”

Each programme is tailored to the individual client’s desires, and all levels of fitness are catered for.

Prices start from £35 per hour. 

Contact SK Personal Training for more information. 




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