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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!

Achieving Personal Life and Fitness Goals Is Special for Everyone

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I am writing this special post that is sure to fill you with inspiration and cause you to reflect and pause, for you are  about  to read about a lovely person and client named Lisa Thompson. Lisa, who has so bravely and willingly allowed me to  share with you her personal life challenges; begins with a special and unique triumph unlike any that I’ve encountered in my 13 years as a personal trainer. So thank you very much Lisa.


Often my job as a personal trainer and healthy lifestyle specialist is to help people define their goals and get very, very specific. That’s part of the journey for many and a time of self discovery. Most people I train would like to shed a little weight, maybe train for a SUP race, or marathon or simply reenter fitness after years of a stressful job, or they’ve just had a baby and need help losing those last 10 pounds.  Some want to feel energized and simply improve their overall life and body strength.

This story is different and has so much more meaning. Not to say those goals mentioned above aren’t life changing. But Lisa came to me for a different purpose and goal; one of several that I thought was so extra special. I’d like to refer to them really as “life” goals, because if you can clarify your life goals your body goals will simply follow.  One of those special goals was she wanted to slim down enough to fit into her mother’s vintage dress. But as I’ve learned it really goes far and above beyond that.

Like many of us in our lives losing a loved one is a devastating event.  Lisa has recently experienced the loss of a loved one, her companion and boyfriend of 8 years. In addition to that she had a terrible case of viral meningitis which can be fatal and had very painful, debilitating symptoms that can last for some time. This you can imagine was a real blow to her body and spirit.

So now that you have a peek into the life of Lisa, I will now share with you her own words that I’m sure will have you cheering and smiling, but also maybe cause you to reflect on what is important in your life, right now. That is her desire for you.

Lisa writes, “Fitting into my mom’s dress was really sparked because of the loss of Ed and my bout with viral meningitis and the realization that you never know when your last day on earth might be.  I’ve been wanting for years to slim down to get into this dress but what good would it be if I couldn’t share it with my mom.  She is 82. I’m of the mindset now that you can’t put things off for a better day.  That better day may never come and if you want to do something there is not time like the present.  I’ve spent a lot of life either living in the past or in the future and the key I think to happiness is just being present in your today.”

Lisa Again, thank you Lisa for opening your heart and sharing your deepest truths.

The minute I met Lisa I knew that she had an inner drive and a certain level of determination that once she wrote down a goal ( which I always suggest ), she’s the kind of person who would absolutely do it.  To say she is a perfectionist I think she wouldn’t mind, but to say that she raises her own bar very high, I think she would agree. I love that.

I was also very keen to observe it would not take long for her to achieve her goals because I could tell with her professional background being of one that is incredibly demanding with no room for error; that would serve the mental part of our training program, and allow her for a built in level of discipline which is the hardest part for most.

Lisa began her training with me July 8, 2013 and in just a short 9 weeks she accomplished her goal! I was so impressed and thrilled for her that I begged her for a photo of her in her mother’s dress.  And here we are. She was never afraid to be uncomfortable while we were training.  As a matter of fact, I needed to encourage her to have just a little more fun and not be too serious during our sessions so she could enjoy the journey.

Her program was directed at a higher level of cardio more often during her work week. I designed a program to include weight training with many different variables so that we could get the desired “cut” and “lean out” results we wanted.  She was not needing to shed much weight at all, in fact her weight did not change much, but what DID change was her measurements and very noticeably.

Continue reading Achieving Personal Life and Fitness Goals Is Special for Everyone

Ten Tips To Help You Start Shedding Weight for Good

Aloha and welcome to the Suzie Trains Maui Blog

The topic of shedding or losing weight is nothing new. So why then does everyone search for the quick fix or the one diet, magic shake , new trend, or little pill to solve this to do this for them ? That alone is a huge case study on the psychology of human behavior.

People assume that if you’re fit and healthy that it’s easy as I hear a barrage of reasons of why someone can’t lose weight. It’s simple, the bottom line, deep deep truth is, they’re not ready or don’t want to. I realize I’m putting myself out on a limb when I make a statement like this, but you’re still reading and you might be thinking, wow, how awful of me to say this.

I’ve heard it all, about the “why’s”  the “yeah buts” and “if onlys” to last me a life time. Just like I’m probably shocking you with my direct writing of my opinion here, as I normally am quite conservative in my blog entries. Now I am a compassionate and caring fitness professional and I do know first hand from my own experiences with illness and medical conditions, that sometimes medications or other real health matters offer a true layer of challenge that needs to be treated and approached in a different manner.

My daily dose of health! My reminder that my health is golden. View from my lanai on Maui

There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow and the pot of gold is your health. But the clients I help and train are truly successful and will do anything and everything I suggest 100%, not half way, because they know I’ve been there. I walk the talk and I know what it’s like to be down and not as fit as I’m supposed to be.

If you didn’t know this about me, I’m the trainer who broke her legs in April of 2009 only to be in a wheelchair for three months, completely atrophied from the waist down, and still train from my wheelchair. My body changed, turned to mush, but the inside of my heart and brain did not. I did not give up and I was committed to myself and my clients more than ever. I had the fire.

What is your fire?

We often need a jolt to really shock us out of unhealthy habits or help us make that mind shift. What can sometimes happen is an unexpected health event, such as a heart attack, or blood clot or maybe a diabetic episode, or like me a stumble that ends up badly.

Your health matters and so do you as a person. I’m not saying this will happen to you, and I’m not saying you should wait until something of this nature happens. Please avoid these health events. There is a lot of life to live so please start right now!

Take the reigns, and take charge of your life. Think of the possibilities of how your life would look and feel in so many ways when you decide to do just that. Notice I didn’t use the word “if.” ?  Toss the Kleenex and wipe your tears of frustration and keep reading.

Shedding weight is more than just dieting, one has to be really ready so the results can be real and for life.  And by the way, dieting doesn’t work. It’s a word that causes us to fail.  So starting today, please take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary and replace it with simply “better food choices.”

Support in your corner is usually your own team of health professionals, loving friends and family; there to cheer you on and hold you up when you hit a bump in the road or feel you can’t go on.  No one expects you to do it alone, so reach out and ask for help. So here are my tips to help you get started:

Ten Tips To Help You Start Shedding Weight for Good

1. Make the decision – Just do it and commit.

Continue reading Ten Tips To Help You Start Shedding Weight for Good

Radio Segment: Top Pick Gifts of Health and Fitness

Aloha everyone!  Here is my list of some of my “favorite things” that are sure to excite and motivate the fitness fanatics or those who are re-entering fitness, or simply want to change up their routine. Tune in here and listen to my radio segment from my weekly health and fitness radio segment on the Maui Breakfast Club, December 10, 2012 and find the perfect healthy gift.

Click Here to Hear Suzie Live

The training equipment I suggest here is appropriate for all ages and all levels of fitness. I like to keep things simple and functional as not to overwhelm people but to allow them to get the results they desire in a very easy and efficient way so they don’t get bored nor does there body. Click here to listen now.

My Favorite Health & Fitness Gifts:

Gift Certificate for a Personal Trainer: Having someone in your corner is so helpful. Whether your trying to shed 5 or few more pounds, prepare for an event or race, or simply want to have a personal program designed to keep you on track and mix it up, a well qualified personal trainer can help. Check for certification such as NASM, make sure they are insured and have a good reputation in the community.

Indo Board Balance Trainer:  FREE SHIPPING UNTIL DEC 17th Order here  Everyone knows that I am a huge fan of this equipment. It not only helps the surfers and standup paddlers in your life, but if your’e just coming off a knee, ankle or hip injury this functional training equipment can do wonders and help strengthen the weakest core muscles, improve your balance and leg, hip and knee strength.

The Sc Continue reading Radio Segment: Top Pick Gifts of Health and Fitness

SUP Pro Talk Workshop Benefits Paddlers While Supporting Mental Illness Campaign

Suzie Cooney gets the crowd going at Lumeria Maui

Maui, HI
November 27, 2012

Stand up paddlers of all skill levels gathered on the serene grounds of Lumeria Maui on November 3rd for the SUP Pro Talk Workshop with Suzie Cooney. The educational (and fun!) land-based event touched on many important topics for paddlers, including the health benefits of SUP, water safety and ocean preparedness, SUP fitness techniques and training demos, and equipment reviews.

Clay Everline, M.D., co-author of the Surf Survival Health Hand Book, was on hand with a valuable lecture on First Aid, and pro paddler, Jeremy Riggs, heated the afternoon up with his tips on downwind paddling. Suzie Cooney, as charming as ever, kept the crowd entertained and engaged with her informative and “hands on” teaching style.

The big winner of the day was the organization Bring Change 2 Mind, as 90% of the event’s proceeds went to supporting the group’s fight to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness. The organization, founded by actress Glenn Close, provides educational material and a meeting place for a broad coalition of organizations that provide service, screening, information, support and treatment of mental illness.

Suzie shares:

“We were thrilled to sell out three months in advance. That really confirmed to me that people are eager to learn and support the sport. I’m a big advocate of those dealing with mental illness, so I wanted to spread the word about the organization I support, Bring Change 2

Clay Everline, M.D. was very informative and entertaining, as was Jeremy Riggs, our local downwind pro who shared some of his helpful tips. The participants had great questions, which was helpful for the entire audience!

The event supporters and sponsors including, Naish, Kaenon Polarized Eyewear, Indo Board Balance Trainer, Pocket Fuel Naturals, Scosche Health & Fitness and CamelBak Hydration Packs, were all very generous in providing some great raffle prizes. People were stoked to win products that compliment their SUP lifestyle.” -Suzie Cooney, CPT, owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC

Bring Change 2 Mind.orgFor more information about Bring Change 2 Mind, visit:

For more Stand Up Paddling Fitness Techniques, Success Stories, Workouts and Upcoming Events, visit:


Nevada SUP Paddler Scott Boyles checking in with a Big Win and Big Stoke

One of the many rewards of helping people with their stand up paddling stroke/fitness/technique is getting emails, photos and updates of their stoke and even better, wins in their local events. Makes a coach proud!

I had the chance to catch up with Scott Boyles at this year’s Battle of the Paddle at Dana Point where I could see from the fire in his eyes, discipline and strength in his body that this was only the beginning for him.

Scott Boyle and Suzie Cooney at the BOP at Dana Point, CA 2012

Suzie & Scott2012 BOP Dana Point, CA.

Scott came to Maui with his wife Cheryl last year and took a lesson with me to improve his stroke. He was incredibly technical which I enjoyed all the more. He got it and he got it fast. As a student, he was a quick study and understood the finer nuances that take most people a little more time to grasp. With his anatomical knowledge and practice, I knew he’d have big breakthroughs too.

As he was already in excellent shape, it didn’t take him long to find his true core power ( about 5 minutes! ).  He was able to understand how to use and transfer that power directly to the board and water. Impressive.

Scott writes:
“I had paddled[only twice in my life. My wife Cheryl and I went to Maui, called Suzie Cooney. She invited us on a community downwinder from Paia Bay to Kanaha. Could barely stay on the board! Then I took a personal paddle lesson from her, and she demonstrated the great ability to coach technique, but more importantly communicate in an effective way. She was also so laid back as was the community she introduced us to, it really made it a awesome experience.

Went home, bought a board and set the goal to complete the 22 miler across Tahoe race (supported by a lovely wife who knows I need a "focus" on a physical activity).  [I] achieved that in 2011. Did a number of other races, many sponsored by South Lake Tahoe Stand Up Paddle. Trained more, paddled lots, coached more by Tracy Day, bought another board a Flatwater Paddle, a fricking rocket. Then won the 18-55 age group in the 12′ 6″ class in the 2012, 22 miler. By the way, all at age 50!

Suzie is definitely a high ranking ambassador of SUP awesomeness, along with many others.”

So when I saw Scott again, as a trainer, of course, I noticed his ripped abs and asked if he’d share his training secret. He makes it look so easy!

Scott Boyle performs the plank on an SUP
Scott Boyle defying gravity in plank pose on his SUP

“For my abs: I do crunches once every couple months or so, up to 5 reps maybe 3 sets max. They are hard on the back and really unnecessary! (I learned a lot about true core strength following my second lower back surgery.) Ab strength is totally built on exercises that are based on core and balance as the primary foundation.”

Scott also came in 3rd in age group and 8th overall in the famous Tahoe Nalu long distance race.

Continue reading Nevada SUP Paddler Scott Boyles checking in with a Big Win and Big Stoke

Balance and Strength Training Pays Off for Maui Windsurfer

Aloha Windsurf Enthusiasts,

I’m so grateful of the kindness and feedback that every so often comes my way, as it is the greatest reward. My clients inspire me everyday with their dedication to their water sports and health. As a trainer who specializes in water sports performance and windsurfer myself, it’s pretty awesome to get emails like the one below written by my client, Mike Abrams of Pukalani, Maui.  Mahalo Mike!

“To all those water sports men and women it may concern,

After my sailing sessions yesterday and today, I simply felt compelled to write this endorsement about Suzie’s training methods, that I have been blessed with for almost 5 years. I am the luckiest windsurfer on the planet to have found Suzie as my personal trainer. Every day, I find that I am performing moves and controlling my board and sail better than ever before. I am a very humble person, with I hope a low ego and no expectations of how I am going to sail with each session.

However, I can honestly let my fellow sailors know that I have improved, and sail with much more confidence and balance skills than ever before, no matter what the conditions seem to be. Like today, I sailed an hour and a half and never missed one jibe and yesterday sailed in overpowering conditions, and performed jibes on the outside (while most folks fell into the over choppy and gusty blown water) with total control.

I directly attribute these increased balance skills to Suzie’s training which includes not only balance training, but core strength training too, along with regular weight lifting. I can actually feel my legs lifting up from a squatted position (because of having to keep the board on the water in over powered conditions around the turns) towards windward to help keep my balance. Also, I can now jibe in light winds with much greater confidence because of Continue reading Balance and Strength Training Pays Off for Maui Windsurfer

Weight Loss Success Story: Dano Sayles of Maui Hawaii Lean Strong and Healthy

Weight Loss Success Story: Dano Sayles of Maui Hawaii Lean, Strong and Healthy

I’d like to introduce you to my client and friend, Dano Sayles of Maui, Hawaii. Dano, husband, and father, is a successful realtor and business entrepreneur who has recently accomplished a tremendous, goal.

Dano shed 40 pounds in two months. His body fat dropped from 33% to 26% and lost an impressive 7 inches from his waistline!  ( SEE PHOTOS BELOW ) He is 54 and is living proof that anyone can do it, you just need the support and tools.

We all know the challenge of losing weight and keeping it off can be frustrating and defeating. But when you have a plan and surround yourself with a team to support and guide you reaching your goals is awesome!

The world looks different. Your clothes fit different, you move differently with a profound inner and outer strength, and the world sees you differently.  People want what you have and that is pure and simple, health and vitality.

Dano transformed his life and has kindly allowed me to share his story on how he did it. There is no secret formula, no magic pill or wave of a wand. So, how did he do it? Well, he was first motivated by a contest called the 6 pack challenge.  People from all over the country would post their weight loss goals and history on FaceBook and by a certain date, there would be a winner with the most weight lost.  Dano is competitive.

He discovered the popular movie,  Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, a Joe Cross Film.  This film is real, raw and really incredible and shows the emotional connection to food, unhealthy habits and the debilitating physical results a poor diet.

Inspired by the movie and the amazing results the people in the film were having, Dano came to me fully ready to commit.   It was time to shed the weight for good and start a new, healthy and energized life. Little did he know just how much it would change his life in every way. We had some very big goals ahead of us.

I had been coaching and training with Dano in the past and often travel or the demands of his business would pull him off course.  We’d reach some decent goals and then we’d have to start over also sometimes due to injuries.

Like the movie illustrated, I mentioned to him that I had tried juicing myself and knew of well known chef on Maui named Craig King. He offered a service of preparing daily fresh juices as a way to cleanse and jump start many people who needed help in cleaning out the body and starting anew.  I also knew they would get along very well and have a supportive relationship, which is critical during this transition from food to no food.

Continue reading Weight Loss Success Story: Dano Sayles of Maui Hawaii Lean Strong and Healthy

Health and Fitness Radio Segments with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui May 2012

Health and Fitness Radio Segments with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui May 2012

Tune in every Tuesday to KNUI 900 AM @ 7:30am on Maui’s Best Talk Radio Show

The Maui Breakfast Club

 Suzie talks with host Tom Blackburn Rodriguez on trending health and fitness topics that interest you! Listen live here,

May Topics: 

Listen to Suzie's segment here

May Day May Day for brides to be: The Feeding Tube Craze! What?  Women are desperate to lose weight before their wedding day and will do anything at any high ridiculous cost is the doc is willing too.  Restricted to just a feeding tube through the nose down to the esophagus, a good look? Why not just do it the way everyone else does, because after the marriage those pounds will likely sneak back in faster than it took to get them off!

Poll on the Today Show stated that out of 7121 votes, 95.2% thought it was nuts and only 4.8% thought it was okay as long as it was safe.



Exercise 101

Exercise benefits, guidelines and principles for weight loss and health

The Benefits of Exercise
Motivating Yourself to Exercise
Cardio, Strength Training and Flexibility Guidelines
Strength Training Guidelines
Flexibility Guidelines

Listen to Suzie's radio segment here!

Continue reading Health and Fitness Radio Segments with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui May 2012

Buidling Your Dynamic Core with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui for Naish

( All Rights Reserved 2011)Want to explode your paddling core strength? You got it. These exercises require that you understand how to engage your core muscles both before and during the entire set. You become the stabilizing factor as you perform these movements. Also, I’d like you to pay close attention to the tubing or TRX Rip Trainer cord so that it is always taut and under tension throughout the entire series. I call this “time under tension”. If you “let go” of this concept, or your core, you won’t benefit fully from this workout.

Training Note: It’s your choice if you wear shoes or not, or if you train on an unstable surface such as the beach (which is more challenging). I try to train barefoot so that I can mimic the feel of the board. If working with weights, be careful not to drop them on your feet! Everyone’s training needs and experience will vary, so the number of sets/reps you perform is up to you. Typically, if you are just starting out, try 1-3 sets with 10-12 reps each, making sure you are always in perfect form.

Equipment: TRX Rip Trainer, medium/heavy resistance tube
Progression Variables: change the platform you are standing on or use a heavier tubing or cord
Exercise 1: Standing Core Dynamic Stabilization TRX Ripper/Tube Rotations
Naish Team Suzie Cooney Dynamic Core - exercise 1 Click on the photo for a larger view.
In this photo, I’m using the new TRX Rip Trainer with the heavier cord.

Starting with your feet solidly on the ground about shoulder width apart, pointed straight ahead and with good posture, tie the cord to a secure object (Dave’s truck worked great!). Holding the TRX bar at shoulder width and just below the top of your shoulders, begin to engage your core by drawing in your abs and hold while making sure to breathe. Remember, safety loop! Don’t death grip the bar, but start far enough away from post with enough tension that will require you to stabilize the bar and your body. Rotate your body to the right while core engaged, then slowly return just before your start position (critical) and repeat.

Progression 1: Stand on your BOSU or other unstable platform. (An INDO Board on top of a Gigante Disc works well too). Now do the same movements while on the BOSU. Wow…crazy!
Suzie Cooney Naish Team, Dynamic Core - Exercise 1 - Progression 1
Progression 2: Secure a light, medium, or heavy gauge tubing to your secure object and perform the same movement as above, however, this time you’ll need to steady the tubing with your left arm locked. Gently clasp the tube with one hand, but do not grip too heavily. Place a bit of tension on the tube and begin the rotation. Remember “time under tension”. To increase challenge, step further out or hop on your BOSU or other unstable platform.To read the rest of my article and to see all my SUP Fitness Tips go to: visiting Maui, Suzie is available for private ftness training and beginner to advanced stand up paddling lessons. Contact her at 808-283-2121. Suzie is a professional Team Rider for Naish International.Get your TRX Rip Trainer here. The Rip Trainer will really help you build your core to explode that stroke!

POWERFUL Legs for SUP: Exercises for Flat Water, Waves and Gliding by Suzie Cooney

Power Exercises for your Legs Exclusively For Naish International
by Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui and Naish Team SUP Rider

This is the final series on Leg Strength for stand up paddling:

Last Week: Strengthening Balance Exercises for your Legs    Also: Leg Stabilizing Exercises for Better Board Control

Power Exercises:   To See Suzie’s entire article:

Training for power comes with time and one should have a pretty good base of fitness before attempting some of these exercises. Extra precautions should be warranted to those who may have ankle weakness or other orthopedic challenges. You may have heard of plyometrics, which refers to very powerful, 2 legged, explosive like exercises that help speed and power.

Training Note: It’s your choice if you wear shoes or not, or if you train on an unstable surface such as the beach (which is more challenging). I try to train barefoot so that I can mimic the feel of the board. If working with weights, be careful not to drop them on your feet! Everyone’s training needs and experience will vary, so the number of sets/reps you perform is up to you. Typically, if you are just starting out, try 1-3 sets with 10-12 reps each, making sure you are always in perfect form.

Exercise 1: Box Drops
Equipment: Box or stable platform (24-29 inches off ground)

This exercise requires you to drop to the ground from a box or raised platform and land softly. It is very important to land on the balls of  your feet, not on your heels. The box I’m using is 29 inches tall.

Exercise 2: Box Hop Ups

Equipment: Box or stable platform (24-29 inches off ground)

 This powerful exercise can be a great cardio blast too. You can increase the difficulty by changing the speed or height of the box or platform you are jumping to. I suggest not standing too far away from the box or too close; about 12 inches away from the box seems to work well.

 For Exercise 3 & 4  go to:

For more information and tips from Suzie Cooney go to:
and follow Suzie Trains Maui on Facebook or @suzietrainsmaui on Twitter.