Meet Susan Slavinski. Hailing from Palm Beach, Florida, Susan is a lady with a kick-ass exterior but humility within. Susan is the “real deal”— A certified nutrition coach and personal trainer that walks the walk and possesses a long list of client testimonials to do the bragging for her. Aside from acknowledging the importance of being “coached” herself as a personal trainer, find out what else makes her tick and has made her so successful.
How long have you been certified with NFPT?
I got certified with NFPT in May of 2011. 10 years ago!
Why did you choose NFPT?
At that time, Bally Total Fitness was still open and they suggested it to me. Being one of the largest and most respected fitness chains in the world I assumed NFPT was the best. My assumption was correct. They are!
Why did you decide to become a fitness professional?
Growing up I had a huge family. Our holidays had a lot of food and drinks. Over the years I watched many unhealthy habits and I didn’t want to live the same way. At 16 I hired my first trainer and have had one ever since. They brought so much to my life. When the lender I was working for was bought and I lost my position I had to opportunity to take a step back. I wanted to teach women everything I learned over the past 20 years and teach it to them so they can learn to understand and love their bodies.
What is the biggest challenge for you as a personal trainer?
When people cancel last minute without legitimate reasons. It makes me crazy.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the fitness industry?
I work with many women who overcame cancer and accepted their bodies as they were. Hormone issues post-chemo had them believe they could never lose weight or gain muscle. The tears of joy when they start to see change or get their balance back is one of the best gifts I could ever receive.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a personal trainer?
I have a client who came to me after losing her son. Her husband passed of cancer soon after I helped her get him sober. At 62 she has completely transformed her mind and body. She is literally the strongest client I have. We have been training together for 8 years.
How has social media played a role in your fitness business?
Social media has been wonderful to help keep my clients motivated by seeing what I personally do for training. Most of my clients have been with me for over 3 years and we have amazing relationships. It’s nice for them to know what I am going through at times and still see me go do my best that day rather than give up or give in.
I also like that when a client is referred to me they are able to go on my social media and see who I am as a mom, trainer, daughter, and friend. Personal training is just that–p
ersonal. I want them to be as comfortable as possible with me.
How has the pandemic affected your business and career path?
I had to move to a different town and to a new home so I could turn a bedroom into a “studio” to train my clients in. I am only back to 50% of the hours I was at prior to COVID but am as grateful as can be. I have many high-risk clients and clients in the medical field so I have been extremely cautious. I am not taking on new clients in-person unless I know them personally.
Teaching clients to train virtually was quite the challenge. But, making them use their body weight more and getting them off machines had been a life-changer for many. Balance, strength, and coordination have increased for so many. I also began to train most of them barefoot which they love and no longer want to wear shoes unless the training involves movements that require shoes.
Any advice for people thinking about a career in fitness?
You have to have a passion for people and for doing what is best for them. Listening skills and patience are two of the top assets in my opinion. Also, all trainers should hire a trainer so you know what it is like to be on the other side of things. I am turning 46 on 8/18 and hired my first trainer at 16. I still have a coach. I would not be the trainer I am today without them!
What does the future hold for you and for the fitness industry?
I like where I am right now. I miss doing finance and mortgages. This extra time has given me the opportunity to start studying for my license again. I will do both when the time comes. I have clients that need me as much as I need them!
Is there anything else exciting you would like to share?
Choose your continuing education based on what most people need and ask about. Not what is easiest. And get out and try every type of training there is. When a potential client asks you a question, you’ll be more likely to have the answer; knowledge is power. You won’t have that without education and experience.