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“Fitness Doesn’t Happen by Being Passive”

Susan Fink has always been passionate about fitness. She is a Los Angeles native, mother of four, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, indoor cycling instructor, and marathon runner.  As a personal trainer Susan works with her clients both at their homes and in her own purpose-built studio. She also worked for nine years as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at UCLA’s John Wooden Center. She is certified in personal training (NSCA-CPT) and group fitness (ACE-GEL) as well as in spinning (Mad Dogg Athletics).

Susan’s goal is to guide and educate her clients to enjoy and appreciate the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle for their minds, bodies, and spirit.

Susan Fink 1  How does one of your favorite quotes, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” relate to your own fitness philosophy?

Susan:  Fitness doesn’t happen by being passive.  Maintaining the status quo does not bring about change.  Rather, fitness happens by making a concerted effort to work towards a goal.  I try to teach my clients that if they want to become stronger and healthier they have to push themselves to try something that might be uncomfortable both physically and psychologically, whether that means, for example, getting up thirty minutes earlier in the morning to exercise or increasing the weights they use.  Once an individual is able to move outside her comfort zone and accept being a little uncomfortable, change will happen and she can move closer to her goal.  What are some common mistakes you see your clients making when it comes to exercise and how can they be avoided?

Susan:  Clients give a lot of lip service to their goals but often do not back it up with the necessary actions.  Many clients come to me with a goal of losing weight.  I try to teach them that nutrition is a key component to weight loss and fitness, along with exercise.  But when asked to keep a food journal to track what they are eating on a daily basis, 90% of them never get around to doing so.  How can I help them monitor what they eat and make good food choices when they can’t tell me what they are eating?  I also find that some clients come to class and think it is a social time rather than a serious program that requires concentration and focus.  As a result, they are so busy talking to others in class that they risk potential injury through not properly following directions or paying attention to what they are doing.  In addition, the lack of focus leads to less intensity during their workout.  Can you talk about how developing mutually beneficial relationships with other fitness professionals has helped you grow your business and understand how to better target potential clients?

Susan: Developing relationships has helped me in two major ways.  First, I work alone.  At the beginning of my fitness career, if I went out of town or for some reason was unable to train a client or teach a class the session would have had to be cancelled.  By developing relationships with other trainers I have been able to bring them on board to substitute for me when necessary, which allows for the continuity of a class and my clients’ training.  In addition, my contacts with another trainer who specializes in the senior population enabled her to bring me on board to help train her clients.  This was an area in which I had wanted for a while to gain greater experience and expertise.  As a result, I have been able to promote the new skills I have developed in this area as I market for my business.  What influenced your decision to offer Tabata Bootcamps™ to your clients?

Susan:  I like to work out out hard, vary my workouts, and meet new people.  I think the Tabata Bootcamp program offers that.  The program can be adapted to any fitness level.  The exercises, though familiar, change so the workouts are always different.  And bootcamp, by definition, is a group experience.  Individuals are more likely to stick to a program when they are able to develop relationships and feel that they are a part of something greater than “just” an exercise class. What advice do you give to clients who are losing their momentum and motivation with their current fitness routine?

Susan:  Try something different.  If something isn’t working, even a little change can make a difference.  It could be a simple as finding a workout partner.  It could be changing the time of day of the workout.  It could be changing the environment—like getting outside.  It could even be getting more sleep.  Lack of sleep can zap us of our motivation for almost anything.  What are some healthy lifestyle tactics that our readers can keep in mind as the holiday season approaches and temptation increases?

Susan:  Getting enough sleep is a big one.  We make better choices, related to both food and other health issues, when we are rested.  It is also important to stay hydrated.  We feel less hungry when we continue to drink water all day.  One should also plan ahead.  If there is an office party, eat first so you are less tempted to indulge at the party.  And add exercise to your daily schedule.  Just taking time for ten minutes of exercise three times a day can make a big difference in your mental outlook and make you feel better physically.


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