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Changing people’s mindsets through fitness

Susie Black is a personal trainer and pilates instructor based in Coupar Angus
Susie Black is a personal trainer and pilates instructor based in Coupar Angus

Susie Black is a personal trainer and Pilates instructor based in Coupar Angus. In conjunction with enterprise support organisation GrowBiz, Susie is working with small businesses this year to help them identify work or personal goals.

How and why did you start in business?

I started working in the fitness industry after two pregnancies left me with chronic back pain. The only thing that relieved it was regular exercise so I signed up to a course to learn how to teach aerobics.

Understanding how barriers like pain, ill health and weight gain can prevent people from taking the steps they need to improve their health has guided me to working predominantly with clients who struggle to exercise.

How did you get to where you are today?

By constantly studying and applying everything that I learned with clients. I spent a lot of time working with small groups and individuals so that I could gain quality feedback about the training programs I was choosing and understand peoples’ motivations. I learned very early that without ‘buy-in’ from a client it was near impossible to help them achieve their goals.

Who has helped you along the way?

I relied heavily on online training courses to increase my knowledge while still being a stay at home mum. I worked alongside other personal trainers and also worked part-time for Live Active Leisure in Blairgowrie where I gained several rehabilitation qualifications.

Your biggest mistake?

Waiting until I had all the answers before jumping in. There’s always time to learn on the job and if you don’t throw yourself in you’ll miss out on opportunities. I also used to find it hard to ask for help.

Your greatest achievement?

I had an older client who was very unsteady and at a high risk of falling. After three months of working together she received one of the tickets to walk across the Queensferry Crossing at its opening and she completed the walk with ease.

Who has helped you along the way?

I relied heavily on online training courses to increase my knowledge while still being a stay at home mum. I’ve worked alongside many other personal trainers and instructors. I also worked part-time for Live Active Leisure in Blairgowrie where I gained several rehabilitation qualifications.

What do you want to achieve in the future?

I want to help people change their mindset about their health. Up to 70% of the conditions we experience as we age are lifestyle-related and can be avoided.

I’ve started a Facebook group called Making Change Stick to encourage people to respect and care for their health and enjoy the benefits that brings. I’m writing a book along with mindset changing programs. I’ve also recently started a training company, Movement and Music, to teach carers and staff who work with people living with dementia how to increase their activity levels.

Do you want to recruit in the future?

I’m very interested in joint ventures where I can learn from others about how to achieve our goals. There are so many great freelancers delivering supporting services to business that I’m currently more in favour of buying-in skills.

What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

Having to make all the decisions yourself…and the accounts!

Advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?

There are organisations out there like GrowBiz and Women’s Enterprise Scotland who want to help you. It doesn’t matter how small or grand your idea, they’ll help you find out if it’s something you should take forward and support you along the way. It’s never too early to start.

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