Tell me, what inspired you to pursue a career in the fitness industry?
My sisters and I didn’t always have the healthiest lifestyles growing up, but we were always involved in sports. So when I went to college, to begin my Kinesiology degree, I began incorporating everything I was learning into my daily routine. Almost immediately, I noticed how much better I began to feel, and how much more energy I had! I think it was then that I realized I wanted to help other people understand how much happier they would feel if they learned to move and eat well!
What inspired you to study Kinesiology? Were you always active as a kid?
It seems like I tried every sport from swimming to track. I even tried football in 4th grade! But I pursued softball and volleyball from a young age throughout high school. I’m glad I was able to try a variety of sports, because I was able to experience firsthand all the different ways a body can move. It’s funny, because while I was studying to become a personal trainer, I learned so many helpful techniques about how to move correctly, and I thought to myself “gee, I wished I had learned that when I was playing volleyball.” It would have helped me a lot more than running bleachers over and over!
When you began your personal training career, did you have a specific goal?
I LOVE working with kids! My goal is to teach them how exercise can be fun, which allows me to be creative and make fitness a game for them. I’m also in the process of getting my Orthopedic Exercise Specialist Certification so I can help those with joint pain and injury strengthen their joints, and to help my other clients’ maintain healthy joints to avoid problems down the road.
I know firsthand you work with kids a lot, even as young as three! But many parents may not understand the benefit of getting kids involved in fitness from an early age. What would you tell parents who are wondering how to get their kids into a fitness routine?
Starting at an early age is beneficial because children gain confidence and experience with movement. But it’s important that kids and parents know that you can be active without being involved in 10 different sports, activities don’t need to be extreme to be effective, and starting young is okay! I love working with AddeoFit’s KidFit program that we launched last summer because it teaches kids ages 3+ that moving and exercise in a safe way can be fun! We do supermans on the bosu and have them balance on the bosu pretending like they’re frogs on lily pads. It’s not about a specific routine or mundane repetition at this age. It’s about being creative with movement in order to build stamina and agility!
Something you’ve been very involved with is your passion for working with kids who have special needs. Your face always lights up when talking about this topic!
Whenever I’ve met a child who has special needs, even as a kid myself, I’ve always made an effort to include them. I always thought that they were just like any other kid. I learned that maybe I just needed to communicate in a different way. For example, when working with kids on the autism spectrum, it has been my experience that they can do pretty much anything. I just may have to talk to them in a way that they understand and that makes them feel comfortable. It’s all about giving them confidence. When I was working at Autism Intervention Milwaukee, I learned how to individualize techniques that cater to each child’s needs and strengths. I incorporate those skills each time I work with kids. Every child can benefit from an instructor who understands that there are many different ways to learn and move!
You’re a “Millennial”. What do you think are some misconceptions attached to your generation?
I notice the trend changing in fitness with my age group from being focused on convenience to community.We do love our technology, but we also want to make genuine connections, which probably explains the trend leading away from big-box gyms and fitness centers to small niche studios. Yoga, barre and programs that incorporate the mind/body connection are becoming increasingly attractive for millenials and other age groups as well.
What is your favorite wellness hack?
I remind myself to treat my body and my mind in the same way by incorporating meditation and mindfulness as well as exercise into my daily routine.
Oooh, Mindfulness! Tell me more…
If I go on a walk, I leave my phone at home and don’t listen to any music. I notice the colors and sounds around me. For example, someone may say, “that tree is green”. But I’ll look at the trees and try to notice the different shades of green, different tones of colors in the flowers, and when I walk on the trails, I’ll stop for a moment and close my eyes and try to take in all the sounds and all the smells. At home, I’ll listen to music,close my eyes and just breathe. Breath is everything. It’s how I recharge and keep my energy positive.
If you had a piece of advice to someone your age on how to begin a workout routine, what would it be?
One thing I would say, is to write down your entire daily schedule and save 30 minutes for exercise. Don’t think of it as adding one more thing, but rather cutting something out to make time for yourself. And it doesn’t have to be every day. Even starting with one day a week is a step in the right direction. I also love meal planning. On Sundays, I cook up a bunch of healthy meals and freeze what I can, so I can grab and go during the week. That way I’m saving time, and I can have a healthy meal without having to think about it during the week. It becomes one less thing I have to worry about!
What is your “WHY”?
Wanting to have the energy and positivity to motivate other people to live healthier lives is what inspires me.
Writer, marketer and mother of two, Susan Madden has a background working with the Fine Arts in Dallas, TX and Milwaukee, WI. Relatively new to the fitness industry, she enjoys sharing her experiences about this crazy beautiful life, the endless quest to find work-home balance and wellness from a novice perspective. She’s passionate about nature, everything music, seeking out little moments that make a lasting impact, and has a newfound appreciation for the benefits of a well- made green smoothie. Susan is a native of Whitefish Bay, WI and now resides in Mequon, WI with her husband Mike and children, Samantha and Blake.
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