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SUP Pro Talk with Suzie Cooney

Improve Balance & Reaction Time: Indo Board Training Gear & Suzie on the New “Gigante” 24″ Disc

Maui Wave Action!

Waves are a force of nature like no other. Susan does a superb job to illustrate this and more. A great read!


Surf Stronger Order This!

Radio Segment with Suzie Cooney: What You See Is How You Perform: Increase Your SUP, Surf, Dirt Bike or Any Sports Performance With Visualization Training

What You See Is How You Perform: Increase Your SUP, Surf, Dirt Bike or Any Sports Performance With Visualization Training

      LISTEN HERE  to Suzie’s Radio Segment

by Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui

See the finish line, the crowd cheering you on the last buoy turn, the last surf heat before the horn, the last lap of your mountain bike or dirt bike race and see your personal victory! Okay, now adjust the speed and tempo, add a little more weight to the bar, do a few more balance tricks and turn up the music.

Visualizing your win, your finish or any goal you set out for your racing or training I guarantee will get you that trophy or medal or simply help you get to the next phase of your training and sport. We watch the networks play over and over in slow motion, two competitors going handle bar to handle bar on the dirt track, paddlers digging as deep and fast as they dig deep into last turn back to the beach, or the Olympic speed skaters pushing off those last few powerful meters.

You can do the same during your training. If you’re a surfer and while you’re performing a weighted squat on your INDO Board, you see the green room and the spray of huge dragons breath; popping you out of that tube standing tall touching the back of that blue wall. For example, when I’m on my spin bike, I close my eyes as the music carries me across the ocean on my Naish Glide at warp speed, catching every bump and trough possible, or better, turning on the face of a big wave.

Whatever your sport, your mental game and how you see yourself as an athlete makes a critical difference in how you perform. Do you see yourself as an athlete? Are you looking to build your game and confidence? I’m not a scientist, but what I do know is that the subconscious captures images of our desire outcomes and holds them and when an opportunity mimics the situation, it retrieves that image and allows our minds and body to shape and make that true.

I have the pleasure to introduce to you my training client, Stephen. Here is his awesome story on how his visualization training became an exciting reality, to a successful 27 mile stand up paddle race finish. The race was Saturday April 23rd, 2011. It started from Honolua Bay, Maui across the open ocean channel to the island of Molokai. Sport, stand up paddle, partner Mike Owens.  ( photos by Joshua Kjorven)

“ I would like to help contribute, it was one of those crazy ideas one gets while I was watching Connor and Dave battle it out in the Pailolo Channel on last year’s race. It was in November when I first watched the video of the battle where Connor ultimately won. Watching him paddle, getting that imprint of his paddle stroke, and ability to read the swell was captivating. I thought with a little practice “I could do that” and why not, what could possibly go wrong? I never think about the details (they usually become a barrier),I just stay focused on the goal, and the details usually work themselves out in the end.

I set up our indoor pool to train and get in shape during the winter months, and then arrived in Maui to start training with you and Jeremy. Jeremy corrected my paddle stroke, and taught me to catch bumps on the four Maliko runs we did, plus several days in the harbor. Suzie helped me focus on my balance and strengthened the areas that I needed to improve upon, and it really helped. In reality was I ready for such a crossing and be a contender? No but my goal was to do it, learn it, and experience the rush, get the confidence, and then do it again next year, hopefully solo.

 This is an excellent example of how Stephen’s visual training of seeing his successful outcome and all the steps he needed to take to get there, seeing himself as an athlete, a competitor and a finisher! Good job Stephen!

What I suggest is that you get real clear on what you want to see. Get real specific with how you want to perform. Do you want to go faster, carve bigger turns, or catch bigger glides or simply finish? Focus that imagery on just that. See in your mind over and over again that perfect picture of the outcome. Some people also explore hypnosis.

When you look in the mirror at the gym, get hyper focused and don’t be embarrassed of how strong you think you look. Right on! That’s what I want. Growl, sing see the confetti! If one of my clients is training for a big event and we’re squeaking out one more set or rep, I just love to whisper in their ear, “this is when you win.” I’ll also say, “Are you not the fierce competitor I know? Then do it.”

Now I’m not the mean trainer you see on TV, but I do give my clients the tools to help them get real with themselves and give them lots of positive images while we are training. I am the one that will keep you very positive and erase any negative and mental obstacles. If you don’t have a trainer, I suggest you try and do the same.

Develop a mantra that you say to yourself as you have your image. This is also a very powerful tool I suggest to my clients that get’s them very fired up and focused. I don’t care if it sounds totally silly, or if it’s a string of unusual sounds, it’s what resonates with them, If it makes sense to them and get’s them to that place they must go, then say it. I know people hear me when I’m surfing, SUP surfing or training down Maliko. I talk to myself all the time out loud.

What I strongly suggest when testing out your mantra with your visual, please don’t say negative things, like “you dummy, just one more stroke” or “I’m an idiot… “. You get my drift. Positive words, positive images equal a positive outcome.

Takeaway: Say to yourself  “I am an athlete, a fierce competitor and I am strong”. See yourself getting tubed, finishing your first 5 or 10k, rounding that last buoy, or hitting it full throttle across the line.

I’d love to read about what you see when you train and what the outcomes are? Are you faster, stronger? How did it change the way you train? We welcome your comments!

Aloha, Suzie Cooney, CPT

Should you like to learn more about Suzie and train with her on Maui for your next successful experience, go to her website at

Also follow her on Face Book at: Follow SuzieTrainsMaui on Twitter

Suzie is alsoTeam Rider for Naish International. Check out the latest in her SUP specific training tips.

Transform your performance! Train like Suzie’s clients with the INDO Board

It was a great day, emotional and draining but I will do it again next year for sure.” Stephen

Getting ready for the big Maui to Molokai Challenge!

My partner was Mike Owens, we did a great job, for first timers, and we had fun. And we will do it again next year. I started visualizing this goal in November, and kept at it since then, but on the beach that morning I was just grateful to have the opportunity to do such a thing, everyone was giving us course instructions, Jeremy was saying this will be an experience of a lifetime and to enjoy it, but once we put the paddle to the water… That visualization, the memory of Jeremy’s instructions and Connors video all came in to focus and that made the difference.

Advanced Core Training with INDO Board by Suzie Cooney


by Suzie Cooney, CPT

Core training is absolutely necessary for all ages and all levels of fitness. The core is simply everything excluding your extremities, however in the following exercise the legs and arms do assist the core to execute this advanced plank move.

Start Position Plank

Here, my client Juliet Bundschuh, has recently advanced to the INDO Board Stabilizing Plank. With her feet together behind her, arms locked at shoulder width part, and chest over the INDO Board, she is using all of the finer and deep pelvic floor muscles to keep her centered and steady. In addition, she requires upper body strength to keep her body supported on the board.

While keeping her head in a neutral position, she will start here and then move the board to the left and right, while engaging the core muscles to bring her back to the center, start position and repeat.  The trick is to take away any stress you may feel in your wrists, arms or shoulders and bring it back to the center. Also be careful not to let the board slide out.

Advanced Position

The advanced progression is then to left one leg behind you about 6-12 inches off the floor and continue the same. Here, she will notice her glutes to fire more actively on the supporting leg that is still on the ground.  Very impressive Jules!

Jules’ training always includes core training. Core training prepares the body for the workout or heavier demands in exercising.

To advance this move even further to the next left, I may put the Gigante INDO Board Disc underneath her feet! Crazy action occurs throughout the entire body.

I hope you enjoyed this quick, advanced training tip.

To learn more about my training techniques you can follow me on Face Book to: or

Suzie Cooney, CPT  of Suzie Trains Maui    See you on the water!

To get your INDO Board, click here! Jules’ awesome, new training shoes are the OluKai Kia’i Trainer.

A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica by Suzie Cooney January 2011

A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica
by Suzie Cooney January 2011

Exploring by SUP in Costa Rica

One of many gorgeous sunsets!

I’m fortunate to live in a paradise called Maui, however after recently returning from a new found paradise in Southern Costa Rica, I can now appreciate my new discovery of one of the most beautiful, friendly, places on earth.  Warm water, waves and beautiful accommodations is what I discovered.  (see all photos below in slide shows )

I was kindly invited by Gregg Mufson, the owner of the Zancudo Lodge; to experience what I can easily say was a first class, four star adventure. Our mission was to scout out the waters, meet the gracious staff and survey the grounds for my SUP stand up paddling clinic he is hosting this April 2011.

On New Year’s  day, my  arrival to the city of San Jose, Costa Rica I encountered a very smooth transfer from the helpful driver at the airport to the exquisite Intercontinental Hotelwith a comfortable suite.  The next morning, after a delicious breakfast buffet, the same driver appeared on time in the lobby ready to take me to local airport where again they welcomed me by first name. Off I went on the modern SANSA plane to Golfito where I would then be greeted by another driver to the boat, which would take me on an exciting ride to the lodge.   

Plane ride to town of Golfito

The short plane ride down to the lodge was amazing. Below you could see the gorgeous Dulce coast and the dense jungles with many farms that were scattered throughout. 
The plane touched down easily on a small strip and the airport itself had so much character and flavor with, once again my driver looking for me before I could grab my bags!

The colorful town of Golfito reminded me of mine, Paia in Maui. Although we only have one stop light, they have none. The population is roughly 450 people with quaint shops and restaurants and smiles everywhere.  My driver spoke very good English so that was helpful to me, since my espanol could have used some practice.

Like clockwork, as I was comfortably waiting at the marina, along came one of the 15 boats from the Zancudo Lodge. The captain welcomed me, grabbed my bags and off we went down the waterways to the lodge. The air was warm and the jungles we passed very thick and I wondered what or who lived in them. On occasion I’d see a gorgeous private bungalow too. 

Gregg himself was at the dock and helped me to land. All of his boats were lined up to serve and accommodate us for our private SUP adventures. I was very impressed! My bags were taken for me and I was escorted to the main hall and delighted with a fabulous lunch. The staff made me feel right at home.

My 600 square foot private bungalow was fabulous. I opened the door and thought I had entered the Four Seasons or a modern W hotel.  Gregg’s wife, Goldine Wang  has impeccable taste and appointed the room just perfectly. This stand alone suite I was in, also called the Junior Suite was  gorgeous. It had rare purpleheart hard wood floors, open ceilings with bright light, air conditioning, a very comfortable king size bed, complementary WIFI, flat screen TV, safe deposit box, beautiful bamboo linens and of course a cozy robe and personal slippers.  It also had a private sitting terrace. (more photos below)

In the main part of the lodge, the other 12 rooms were appointed in a similar fashion,350 square feet,  but had 2 plush, full beds  and are just steps away from the main dining hall and bar, adjacent to the inviting pool with teak, comfortable, padded chase lounges. 

One can also reserve the impressive Master Suite which is beach front, 1200 square feet, inlcudes a home theatre, separate bedroom and large living space with an outdoor lanai perfect to enjoy the sunsets.

Although I had a bit of jet lag, Gregg was very eager to get us on the water and paddling! I needed the rest of the day to adjust and enjoyed walking on the beach right in front of the lodge that seemed to extend for miles.  The water is warm and it’s great for shell hunting.

The weekend I arrived, New Years, is a busy holiday for the local Ticos.  The beach was lively and full of warm and friendly waves and smiles. Gregg said that

One can walk for miles on the beach in front of the lodge

tomorrow, it would be dead and very quiet. He was right. The beaches were empty and it was great to stroll as the only one on the beach.

My dinner the first night was outstanding.  As a treat, Gregg had a visiting chef named Stephan who prepared us a special shrimp appetizer skewered on sugar cane with a light, tasty lime drizzle.  Wow! To follow, a lovely plate of fresh vegetables harvested from the property, fresh dorado caught that day and a side salad.

Finally,  the next day our first SUP exploration out in the Bay. Gregg is a stickler for being on time and ready to go, and I appreciate that. Boards, paddles and cooler were loaded already on the boat and at 7am we left the harbor! On the boat, an impressive, powerful 32 footer,  Wilson, the first mate and captain Tito were so friendly and really knew these waters.  The ride was exiting and sure enough, as planned a nice mellow swell just south of the lodge. We have a code not to share the name of breaks for fear it will be over populated. Trust me, it was awesome. You’ll just have to go and ride it for yourself.

We anchored the boat and paddled to the break that was peeling left all day long. Consistent, nice A shaped, and wow, talk about long rides!?!?    Crazy!  With only 4 of us on the break, you could easily get in 20+ rides or more if you could handle it. Gregg and Sean were showing me the way pointing out the best sweet spot and where the sand bar began.

Sloan charging!

 These are very helpful tips when arriving to a new spot. Second time SUP rookie, Sloan, a fisherman from New York was handling his board really well. Gregg was just a paddling machine and we had a hard time pulling him off the waves when it was time to go.


Although it was only 9 AM, it felt like 1 or 3pm, for we are much closer to the equator. I was sure to lather up some heavy duty sunscreen.  If you needed, you  could paddle back to the boat, grab a drink and head back out. What service!

Still recovering from a bit of jet lag, I rode all the waves I need to be absolutely convinced that I did not want to leave this place and explore more waves and other water adventures. Di and Yvonne were also charging. At times when I looked over at them, I thought to myself, “wow here comes a decent set and there they were, still paddling and smiling big.”  They were stoked!

Back to the lodge, cooling down after an excellent session with new friends, lunch was already being prepared. The menu is fabulous for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have to say, although as a trainer, their French fries and special BLT sandwiches were delicious.  Topped off with a nice cool drink,  I was ready for a siesta in one of the hammocks that are perfectly strung under to gorgeous palms with views to die for. 

Time seems to stand still there and although this was a semi-working trip I felt pretty relaxed. Often, before dinner, some would grab a volleyball game. Just before dinner is served is when the paddlers and the other guests tend to gather in the main lodge hall.  We were treated fresh lime ceviche and I have to admit a nice cold Imperial or my favorite, Corona beer went well!

All the people I met staying at the lodge were friendly and eager to be social. I met nice folks from all over escaping the cold East coast storms.  I, of course encouraged everyone to try stand up paddling. Some raised an eyebrow very curious and others actually signed up with the instructor the next day.

When the rest of my crew, Yvonne and Di of Laster Heathman Media arrived we planned a fitness afternoon with Gregg and the other guest for and INDO Board demo day Luckily Marvin Ortiz, professional photographer was on hand to capture some of the laughter and everyone hanging ten on this new training gear that all the trainers will use for the SUP clinics scheduled in April.  Yvonee, Di, Gregg, Sloan and Elie were rock stars!

Here’s a link to all the fun on that day:

monkeys spotted in the jungle!

I think one of the most memorable days was paddling to the wild animal sanctuary and along the way I, DI and Yvonne I think were spotted first by these darling red Spider monkeys, curiously swinging from tree top to tree top. I thought to myself, “WOW” this alone was worth the 16 hour plane ride. The waters along the jungle were a beautiful turquoise blue and green. I could see lots of sea life below, including star fish and other brightly colored fish.

We left the boards with the captain, and hopped off the boat and soon began a guided tour through the jungle.  Marvin was our chaperone.  We were told not to wear watches, earrings or especially sunglasses, for the monkeys are quick and will steal them off you in a moment and head up a tree. Most glasses we were told do not survive.

This particular wild nature preserve also rescues injured birds and other creatures of the jungle. We learned a great deal about toucans and other exotic animals.  The tour itself lasts about 2 hours, but we had to rush back to the lodge for a live radio show broadcast to SUP radio to tell the world about this magical place to stand up paddle.

We had had a full day. Nearing the end our fun filled week, tonight before dinner, Gregg offered to be my partner and teach me the game of bocce ball. He is quite the competitor and has a unique style all his own.    Di as well, you could tell she was a very experienced player and a little competitive too!

This professional grade bocce ball court is very special. Gregg spared no expense when he personally had over 1500 pounds of crushed oyster shellsimported all the way from Bellingham, Washington. He’s pretty serious and so were some of his other guests. I had a blast and learn quickly about back spin and bumping other balls.  This was a great way to catch the most gorgeous sunsets of the day and work up an appetite before dinner.  The warm tropical breezes were always present, and now and then a quick squall of rain would sneak through.

I miss my compadres, Di and Yvonne, I was very sad to pack my bags and leave this special place. I thought Maui was the best for stand up paddling, well I’ve been proven wrong. What the Zancudo Lodge is offering to all levels of stand up paddlers, is an exceptional property and warm waters for everyone.  Gregg’s qualified staff can help. He can arrange private rides to best breaks, or you can simply carry your board right from the lodge to the ocean. You are literally steps away. Should the wind pick up in the afternoon, the boat can take you out to see as far as you like for what are called down winders.  I recommend this for the experienced ocean folks and experienced paddlers.  I’m sure Gregg will want to join you!

Gregg and Goldine, thank you for an experience of a life time and I will be back in April. Your hospitality and ability to make everyone feel so welcome is evident as to why you are such a success.  I am telling everyone I know to not only come this spring for the SUP clinics, but really make an effort to see what this lodge has to offer.  Simply magnifico!

“Pura Vida”

Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui


photos provided by Martin Ortiz, Di and me.

Women of all ages and all SUP levels, come join me here at the Zancudo Lodge and let’s have some fun paddling and getting in great shape.  We will have other adventurous activities planned as well. Book your reservation now. Space is limited!  Click here for more details.

You can also visit: http//

The Zancudo Lodge
Ph: 800-854-8791

INDO Board Demo Day Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui

INDO Board Demo Day at the Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui

January 5, 2011 – Reporting from the most beautiful SUP and surf and fishing spot in Southern Costa Rica, The Zancudo Lodge! Owner, Gregg Mufson is hanging ten on the INDO Boardas he and the crew prepare for the surf rolling in this week. I’m here introducing the team on how The INDO Board is great workout for everyone.

We have all the gear from INDO Board, including the new Gigante disc to challenge beginners to the hard core SUP’rs and surfer alike. Gregg, Yvonne, Sloan, Elle, and Di all participated in an afternoon of learning, laughs and some thigh-burning fun. I can tell their addicted and promised them, after this workout we’ll all be ready for any water action tomorrow!

We started the morning on a mellow, slower surface. Next we graduate to the beach to hard pack sand for some faster action and more fun. In such a short time, everyone got their groove on and was hang’n on the nose. I challenged them to an upper body challenge which Gregg, Di and Yvonne immediately worked up a small sweat with the plank and one leg lifted behind them, alternating at 5 – 10 second intervals. Below, Gregg is performing the advanced plank with one or both feet behind him, on a Gigante disc.

The Gigante disc is the newest platform training tool for INDO Board, that inflates up to 12 inches that achieves the 4-way action intended for those who want to enhance their SUP or surf performance. We placed both discs under Gregg’s surf board and what a ride. Inflate it more and hang on!

It’s my favorite piece of equipment in my studio at home. I also use it for clients just recovering from major hip or knee surgery as a rehab element. Today we’ve kept the inflation to 6 inches as my willing participants start their training.

Then off to what I call the core bug. This move is in the prone position requiring glutes and the upper scapular region of the shoulder blades to work in unison as we seek the most stable position. I recommend keeping the head in a neutral position. I also suggest to keep breathing smoothly and hold the position for 15 – 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat 5 times.

In addition to this great core exercise, by placing the INDO Board board directly on top the Gigante, together we performed leg burning same side lunges, for a count of 5-10 each leg.

Gigante sitting came last where Yvonne, Di and Elle gracefully sat on top of the Gigante as feet and hands stayed off the ground lending to an extreme, deep core constant, contraction! Well done girls.

You can tell we’re having too much fun. I can’t wait for this spring when I host my STAND UP For Women’s Health and Fitness in April, here at the lovely Zancudo Lodge! All the gear is here and so is the fun. For more information go to:   

This lodge is like staying at the Four Seasons. From warm waves to a cozy robe in your room, excellent food and gracioius staff, to healthy, to amazing food prepared fresh everyday.

Thank you Chip and Hunter at INDO Board, for sending these boards and discs over. Gregg and the others are on their way to be SUP stars.

Pure Vida and Aloha!

Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui

photos by Marvin Ortiz

Motivation and Focused Strength Featuring Lisa trained by Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui


Lisa deep in it!

Motivation.  It is the most important aspect of any fitness regime and yet sometimes it is so difficult to find!  There are lots of tricks to stay motivated.  For me it’s all about doing something I like to do.  Then it’s easy to stay active.  I also change up my activity… a lot.  Winter for me means snow.  Lots of snow.  I love to snowboard, ski, snowmobile and cross country ski.  In summer I enjoy being on the water, at least when the wind is blowing.  For the last few years I’ve been learning how to kite surf.  Continuing to challenge myself with something new helps me stay motivated.  Having a friend to play with is also a great way to stay motivated.  Sometimes when the couch seems more appealing than your bike… it’s great to have a cheerleader to help you get moving.  And when you have an abundance of energy you get to do the same for your friend.

 I’ve always considered myself pretty fit but certainly recognize that there are some big gaps.  And at 45 those gaps are getting deeper.   3 weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get invited to tagalong to a Suzie Cooney workout.  I hadn’t previously worked with a personal trainer and the session I did was tailored for someone else… but I loved it and immediately booked myself and my husband in for our own sessions with her.

My idea that a personal trainer was akin to an army sergeant couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Yet Suzie provides a perfect motivational force!  And she is a force.  Moving weights back and forth a few hundred times is not on her program which is good because it has never been on my program.  I didn’t know you could do some much with an rubber band and a ball.  Every training session is different and each session is filled with an incredible variety of exercises.  It is never boring.  Suzie works hard at tailoring your work out to address each individuals needs.  After our sessions my husband and I always compare what we did… and of course.. who is better at what!

 I wish that I could take Suzie with me when I am not on Maui because with her help my current fitness goals are getting closer and closer.

 Thanks Suzie!

Lisa is an inspiring, charging woman. I enjoy training and working with Lisa for she goes to task and beyond with a fierce focus like I’ve never seen. She has broke records in the studio and takes pride in perfecting and executing all the exercises I put forth and eagerly accepts ANY challenge that I place before her.

For example, standing on a stability ball is no easy exercise. Then why don’t you add some dumb bells to the mix and some shoulder presses. Follow this by a grueling “weighted” session on the Vew Do Board, INDO Board and then finish off with a leg burning round of high performance land surfing on the Brett Lickle special SURF BALL trainer pictured here:

Lisa2 Surf Ball

 Besides her outer beauty, she is a walking, living example of health and fitness and I hope everyone who reads her story will step it up a notch. When you see her photos you know, this is an athlete!  Lisa and I have much in common like fast motors, and fast action packed adventure.  You can be sure Lisa will be charging on her snowmobile faster than ever with more body confidence and her training will help her in any condition that is demanding of her catlike, quick reactions.  Also be sure to look up if you’re kiting or windsurfing on Maui, she could just be soaring over your head catching some big air.  She’s also taken a quick learn to SUP and is already stepping into some tight step turns on her second day!  She is real and she is mighty and I’m glad to know her.

Suzie Cooney, CPT

Suzie Trains Maui  http//


Balance Training Makes a Difference for Two Maui Windsurfers

Balance Training Makes a Difference for Two Maui Windsurfers

Whether you’re carving off the lip or throwing a forward loop, we’ve all had those days where crazy landings or a gust or lack of wind can really throw you off balance and into the water.

My two clients and good friends, Mike Abrams of Pukalani and Tim Ellison, owner of Polli’s Mexican Restaurant in Makawao, both windsurf  just about everyday even after an intense training session. They’ve been kind enough to share a few of the things we do in the studio that transfers directly to the success and performance on the water.

Tim Ellison flying at Kanaha!!

Tim Ellison flying at Kanaha!!

Tim, pictured here loves to sail on the outside of Kanaha quite a ways out and knows that sometimes those jibes aren’t going to be full of wind. With all of the balance training we do he writes: “I must tell you though, what a great session I had yesterday. I can already feel the improvement in my balance,and what a difference it makes. I am even more excited about working with you as I can see the difference already!”

Here, Tim is working on independent leg strength and balance at the same time. The equipment we’re using here is called the INDO Board on top of the inflatable disc, made by INDO Board, called the Gigante.

I feel it’s important to to allow each leg work out the different finite muscles and the supportive muscles that support the hip, knee and ankle joint simultanouesly. Tim is incredibly focused and I often have to stop breaking studio records and move onto the next challenge.

Tim 1 leg INDO Board Gigante Challenge

Tim 1 leg INDO Board Gigante Challenge

Tim shows up ready to bring it each and every training session three times a week. If you’re sailing on the water, you’ll be sure to notice him with his smooth style and incredible balance!

TIm on the INDO Board & Gigante Disc

TIm on the INDO Board & Gigante Disc Mike knee balancing on stability ball

Mike knee balancing on stability ball

Mike knee balancing on stability ball

Now Mike Abrams, also a regular at Kanaha, (click here see his article and extra action photos) really loves a balance challenge too. Balancing on a stability ball with your knees takes lots of practice, determination and focus. For Mike, it’s like nothing new. BUT, when we ad a 8 lb medicine ball, everything changes. If you’re just starting out on this move, be sure you practice near a stable object like a treadmill or stationary bike-something to hold onto.

Mike holding 8lb med ball

Mike holding 8lb med ball

Balance training should be an integral part of your regular routine no matter what sport  you enjoy, or even if you’re just reentering fitness at any level. Having good reaction skills can prevent injuries and unwanted down-time. You don’t have to have fancy equipment like this to make the best of your balance training.

Carve harder, last longer on the water with stronger legs, and get your balance game on! Order all the gear here:


For example, just simply stand on one foot with your knee bent softly and  your knee tracking over your second toe. Use a long mirror to see how your body performs and to que yourself. If you like, take a dumb bell and  hold it out in front of you and then move from side to side and see how you can control your positon.

Tim and Mike, a big thank you to you for sharing your talents and your experience with everyone! See you on the water.

For more tips and if you’d like to be trained by a professional, I’m happy to help. Call me at 808-283-2121 or visit my webiste at   You don’t have to be a windsurfer like Mike or Tim to benefit from balance training.

For more balance tips, check out other articles I’ve written :


You can also follow me on Face Book:

In good health and Aloha,

SuzieSuzie Cooney, CPT

Absolutely Amazing Abs Suzie Cooney’s Favorite Abs for ATHLETA


Click on the image above or click here for all the photos of how to get amazing abs!


To see the entire abs series photo click on link above!

To see the entire abs series photo click on link above!

Absolutely Amazing Abs

by Suzie Cooney • May 25th, 2010 • Category: Gym+Training, Videos+Tutorials

We all want to look and feel great with strong abs all year long. I’ve selected a few of my favorite ab exercises for you to try and get results!


This is an excellent exercise that you’ll feel immediately and get nice results for your upper and lower ab region.

Preparation: Sit with feet slightly apart. Heels down, toes up. Lightly clasp hands. Lean back to where you can begin to feel your abs protruding without risking low back compensation. With good posture and shoulders back, focus on keeping your chest or sternum in a straight line. I recommend doing this in front of the mirror.

As you twist, keep head and chest pointed straight ahead. Attempt to touch the floor with your hands. Engage your abs, and really FEEL them as they assist you to bring back your hands mid line of your body and then to the other side.

The speed should be a fast to moderate tempo. I would try at least 3 sets of 25. Keep breathing fast, short breaths!

Progression: Try a medicine ball of 4-8 pounds or a dumbbell. Use the weight to get into a rhythm. Don’t let your arms take over.


Targets upper AND lower abs at the same time! This exercise has amazing results.

Preparation: Place hands behind head, DO NOT lock fingers. Gently support head in nape of neck with fingertips.

Extend either leg and lift slightly off floor. If any lower back discomfort, raise extended leg higher. Tilt your pelvis towards you to encourage a nice, low back pressed to the ground. Bend knee of opposite leg. Imagine a pulley on your chest lifting you to the ceiling. Make sure you are looking above your eyebrow to prevent elbows from falling forward.

Lift chest and shoulders off floor and force your abs to contract. As you lift, hold that contraction for a count of 2, breath out. DO NOT allow your shoulders to come back to the floor, but keep the abs taught at all times. If you notice your elbows winging forward, look up and flatten them out, otherwise you’ll strain your neck and the exercise will have little effect.

Start with 3 sets of 25. Breathe out on the way up. Remember to build endurance and stick with it. You’ll soon notice that it will take you more reps to start feeling it. That’s a good thing!


The BOSU is a popular platform that adds new challenges and really can make your workout more fun and efficient. Here is a fun progression that demonstrates how to target your abs and obliques. This takes getting used to and if you’re just starting, you may quiver just a bit.

Preparation: Sit on top of the BOSU and scoot a little towards the floor, just below the center of the BOSU. Place your hands behind you to support your low back. As you begin to lean back you’ll notice your stomach protruding. This is a good indication that you are on target to begin.

Begin by contracting abs and pulling knees towards you, then fully extend your legs until they’re almost straight out in front of you.

Then to target the obliques, sit on your side with one hand in front of you and the other behind you for support, and do the same. You may need to find the sweet spot to get in this position. Be patient. Make sure your hip flexors or legs are taking the load, and really focus on the obliques.


INDO Board introduced the Gigante Training Disc, which was actually designed for stand up paddling and surfing balance fun. But I have found many other things to do with it. (See my recent article for Athleta here »)

There are many progressions you can do to make your ab workout on the Gigante fun and extra challenging. This 24 inch disc inflates up to 12 inches tall. For our workout, I’ve inflated it to about 5 inches. It’s more stable this way.

Similar to the BOSU, sit on top of the Gigante and place your hands behind you. Bring your knees to your chest, then extend your legs away from you. You are guaranteed to shake, quiver and wiggle — this is the fun part! I try to get my center very calm and still, and get very focused.

And then try your obliques! Remember, this disc moves in four directions so controlling it with your abs is hard work. But I promise it will get easier!

Then we progress once more to a medicine ball of 4–8 pounds. I’m using an 8 pound medicine ball. A simple dumbbell will do too.

Lastly, we took lots of photos to get this right and you can see I found this to be fun and challenging. This time I raised the 8 pound medicine ball above my head slightly to help me with balance! Try different angles with the medicine ball if you like. Positioning your outer thigh more on your hip is your starting point. This progression really requires quick reaction to the Gigante, then finding the sweet spot before you go into the extension.

As you can see there are many different ab exercises to choose from. The key is to mix it up and never allow your body to get used to one exercise. By selecting fun ab exercises you will be more likely to see results sooner because they won’t be such a dreaded part of your workout. I tell my clients they will never ever do a traditional sit up in my studio or on the beach. Why, when there are way more fun things we can do?

Also keep in mind one cannot spot-reduce a specific body part. Being fit and healthy is a total body effort. Including a smart cardio program, making better food choices, and eating smaller portions all contribute to weight loss and toning.

I tend to do abs last in my training routines because your abs support you and keep your body upright while you are working out.

Lastly, remember just when you start to get uncomfortable is when your body will change.

Be well and healthy!

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Warm aloha,

Suzie Cooney, CPT » » »

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Interval vs Long Steady Cardio Training Makes for Efficient Training

Interval vs. Long Steady CardioNew Picture (8)

We’re learning more and more about interval training vs. longer bouts of cardio efforts. Making your cardio time count is the key without over training. Regular bursts of high intensity training followed by moderate recovery is the really the way to go, not to say that there isn’t the place for a longer scheduled cardio period.

Studies suggest one may burn up to 1 1/2 times the calories during the same duration if you had done long and steady cardio. In addition, you will even burn 75-125 additional calories after the workout. Also keep in mind that long and steady helps enhance your metabolism. I’d like to suggest to do intervals 75% of the time and then mix it up with another 25% of Long and Steady to help reduce your chance of injury by over training.

One of my favorite cardio programs that I do for myself in 30 minutes is this:

Treadmill, spin bike, treadmill, spin bike; alternating between each song from my IShuffle. Guns n Roses, Welcome to the Jungle, does it for me!  By the time I’m reaching 20 minutes into my cardio, I try to not sit on the bike AT ALL , until I’m my 30 minutes is up. But, I’m also careful and know that I can’t maintain and all out effort for the entire 30 minutes. I’m probably pushing hard about 6-7 times all out for 45 seconds to a minute, then allowing for small recovery but never fully recovering of course. Then up again!

My heart rate is definitely high but I’m having way more fun by approaching it this way. Then after this, I’ll do my strength training, followed by some balance training with all my fun gear, like the new Gigante by INDO Board. 

Or, if time allows, I grab my SUP board and do fast sprints from point to point. I’ll even head into the wind for and extra challenge.

If you’re just starting to get into interval training, take it easy and don’t allow yourself to crash halfway into your workout. I might suggest that you simply do 2 -3 small bursts of high intensity bouts at 20 30 seconds and work your way up. To do a whole song at 3 minutes can easily deplete your energy stores if you aren’t careful. Another reason to eat about 45 minutes well before you do this.  A little high quality carb or fiber, like a banana or oatmeal is good.  And then remember after your workout, you should consume a little carbs and protein to rebuild what you broke down and replenish your fluids.

Kicking your metabolic after burners on high is truly the key.  This will keep your metabolism  in a higher gear day and night!

Let me know how you do!

In good health,

Suzie Cooney, CPT  Suzie Trains Maui       Follow Suzie on Face Book:


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Catch the New Wave in Balance Training with Suzie Cooney and the New Gigante from INDO Board

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The New Wave of Balance Training:

See Athleta’s Featured Chi Article here:


Suzie Cooney • Apr 15th, 2010 • Category: Gym+Training, Tips From a Pro

Now you don’t have to be in Maui to catch this new wave in fitness training, and you don’t have to be a big wave surfer to get the benefits of my new favorite piece of training equipment. But before I reveal this cool new training platform, I want to talk about the importance of preparing your body for anything!

Whether you’re training for your first trail running race or simply want to prevent yourself from any unwelcome stumbles or falls, balance training is an integral part of everyone’s fitness routine—no matter what age or what sport you enjoy.

We’ve all missed a step or have felt our ankle buckle and you say, “Whew, glad I caught that one.” Almost one year ago now, I landed on the bottom step of my home for the millionth time and…. WHAMMO-snap-break-tear. In under 2 seconds, I found myself in the dark at the bottom of the landing searching for my cell phone to call my boyfriend for help. My left ankle and leg were broken, and right leg ligaments torn, which led to two months in a wheelchair.

You would think that as a fitness professional and athlete, I’d be ready for anything. The one element I did not mention was that the landing was completely dark so my brain had no awareness of what to do when I hit the bottom. I’m positive had I been able to see my landing I may have had a better chance at recovery.

We rely on our senses more than we realize. Our senses tell our body where our limbs are at all times. If our joints are not strong or flexible enough to react to our environment, it can result in down time or, worse yet, a serious injury. In my case, my eyes could not assist me to help assess and catch my fall. So part of balance training is actually brain training to navigate your body safely through any obstacles that may come in your path.


Balance training can be as simple as standing on one leg or as exciting as feeling what it would be like to surf or try the new craze of stand up paddling! My clients can’t wait to hop aboard a surf board or a stand up paddle board with me and practice surfing down the line, but more importantly working on improving their balance—and they don’t even get wet!

There’s quite a few balance training devices that will progress you safely, so best to start out simply. Part of my evaluation for every client involves balance testing. It’s quite a surprise to learn about your own balance, and which leg may be more dominant than the other. I achieve this with a simple piece of hard dense foam roller cut in half. I test all planes of motion with the progression of two legs (stable) to one leg (less stable).

As a client progresses with me, then it’s time to introduce the Giganté! You don’t have to know how to surf or stand up paddle. The Giganté (the first “G” is pronounced with an “h”), made by Indo Board, is a giant inflatable disc that allows for a new way to have fun and improve your balance. It gets all the small muscles that support the hip, knees and ankles to work together while you balance on a four-way rubber platform! And of course, all the while your core is working hard to center and ground you.


Here I’ve got two Gigantés inflated halfway (about 6 inches) with the nubby side up under a longer stand up paddle board. I use the paddle to assist me up to the board and then to mimic my paddling motions. I can also add a weighted body bar. Your ankles and feet may get a little fatigued from tension the first couple of times, but as your brain begins to register the information and send it back to the muscles and nerves that assist you in your balance challenge, each time you get better, stronger and more confident each time!


Balance training, as mentioned earlier, should follow a safe progression. For more challenge, the progression is to remove one Giganté disc, grab a smaller board and increase the inflation of the disc (the disc easily inflates by blowing it up like a beach ball after you remove the pin). Now we’re ready for more action and our balance challenge just got more interesting!

The disc is now inflated up to its max of 12 inches tall. This disc is so sensitive to my every movement—it feels like it’s reading my mind. I need to keep my upper body and feet loose and maintain good posture. As I begin to paddle, the board responds like I was surfing in more intense conditions. Fitness training was never so much fun. My legs also get a great workout!

With the Giganté, I will also sit on it and try to keep my body balanced on it that way—an excellent core workout at the same time. You can also simply lay down on it in a prone position with your arms extended above your head like Superman (or woman)! This is really an amazing test of core strength and balance, and is sure to make you giggle while you wiggle! By squeezing your glutes and legs together behind you, feet off ground and lifting your chest while keeping your head down, you’ll find your center balance point—or what I like to call the sweet spot. Wow, simply amazing.

One thing I’d like to mention: While starting any balance program or exercise, practice your exercise of choice without looking down. That’s not to say don’t look where your feet go for proper placement and body alignment, but in this case, I want to look down the wave or where I’m going. It’s easier on the brain and your performance will improve dramatically. You can also practice your balance moves in front of a long mirror, which I find very helpful.

Make balance training a part of your fitness routines and you’ll be ready for anything!

Aloha!  Suzie Cooney, CPT

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Quick Reactions and Good Balance Can Make a Better Stand Up Paddler by Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui

KialoaAthleta2Quick Reactions and Good Balance Can Make a Better Stand Up Paddler by Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui

Whether you surf the big waves of Maui’s North Shore or touring the beautiful channels and waterways of Jupiter, Florida, or on Lake Tahoe, it’s known that if you have good balance and can respond quickly to changing water conditions or obstacles that can come in your path; better chances for a more enjoyable SUP session.

Time and time again I’ve had to call upon some of the tiniest muscles, to fire fast and respond to get me out of trouble or to dodge a turtle on the same wave! I’ve also encountered large pieces of floating debris, strange breaking waves, or other people in my line that I had to have quick reaction times and good balance for recovery to get my footing back.

As a trainer and water sports enthusiast, I’ve always encouraged the importance of trying to mimic similar conditions in your workout program on land. You can keep it really simple or add some fun equipment too.

To me, balance training is like brain training. Without getting too technical, it’s like adding a few more wires to our brain or panels so you’re ready for anything. One technical term I will use is called neuromuscular training. The definition simply means selecting specific exercises that are very specific to increase one’s performance, and trigger the appropriate actions to allow your nervous system to operate and perform functionally at its maximal level.  

Your eyes, core, and all of the muscles connected to your central nervous system have an important role to quickly gather information, route it to the right department and fire away. Ever had the feeling like you’re moving in slow motion while during a serious wipe out? I have. It’s the strangest feeling. I’m not sure I’m fond of it and I try really hard to have cat like reactions and excellent balance to avoid that.

Stand up paddling, as simple as it looks does in fact require a little balance when you’re beginning and as you advance. When you’re learning, you’re so busy turning the paddle in the right direction, looking at the horizon and more than likely, gripping the deck with every single muscle in your foot, leading to early fatigue.

Once you’re up and gliding there’s not much to it. But, as you step into your first wave or go down in the size of your board, you may discover you need a little better balance or to retrain your brain to learn again.

Next time you’re in the gym or in your own home gym, start practicing a couple balance techniques to keep your brain and muscles fine tuned.

Equipment: The BOSU, INDO Board, my KIALOA paddle and an 8lb medicine ball or 12 -15lb body bar.

These are advanced moves, so start out slowly and progress safely:

BOSU AthletaKIALOA1. BOSU, dome side down with paddle, medicine ball or body bar:

 I’ve actually taken a bit of sand paper to roughen up the plastic side of my BOSUs to aid in traction, or have sand on my feet!  I recommend barefoot so you can really get the feel of the movements of the BOSU. Step on safely, feet parallel to the plug, posture nice and tall, relaxed looking ahead. Take your paddle, medicine ball or body bar and start to paddle 2 strokes each side. Switch off to mix it up. As you move your arms out and to the side, notice how sensitive the BOSU becomes.  I like to try and go to fatigue or until my legs scream!

2. INDO Board on top of dome of BOSU: see photo up topPlace the INDO Board itself on top of the dome of the BOSU. I like to have a little less board off the back to I can really pretend I’m heading down the line. Or if you’re more comfortable to start, place the INDO board so it’s nicely balanced in the center. Change it up. You can place your feet side by side as if you’re cruising and do it that way, or if you’re charging some waves, assume the surf stance.

 This time you’ll notice the added extra burn to your back carving leg at the same time looking ahead where you want to go, down the line.

Good balance for stand up paddling is key and important for many things we do in life. Next time you’re on the water, try paddling on one foot, or simply standing on one foot. In the gym, try kneeling on a stability ball for extra fun. Be sure to hang onto a sturdy object at first. Add more air to the stability ball to make it more challenging and fun.

Any questions about these exercises or to learn more, feel free to email me at Suzie@SuzieTrainsMaui.comor check out and

Glide with good posture, react fast and paddle hard!

Aloha, Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui

Suzie is a Pro Team SUP Rider for Naish International.  Check out her profile here!      Follow Suzie on Face Book:

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