A week in the life of Susie Woffenden
It’s the start of a new week and I always endeavour to start how I mean to go on… reset, calm and prepared!
There are a couple of mornings during the week where I have very early starts for clients who fit their training in before work but I always keep Monday mornings to get ahead for myself. One of the lesson’s I have learnt over the years is the importance to look after myself first so I can be fully present and engaged with my clients. My coaching takes a holistic approach and through my own fitness journey I know that that the most powerful changes start from within. I lead by example and so taking time to set my own energy and intentions for the week is an integral investment to my business.
I put my body through a fair amount of vigorous training and so it is important to always choose foods that not only provide me with good physical performance but ones that support my overall energy, vitality and well being. Getting my essential nutrients in the morning always gives me a good kick start and mental boost. Upon waking, I mix a comprehensive superfoods powder with my Aliment Omega 3 Liquid Fish Oil and add a teaspoon of matcha green powder for an extra energy burst. I’ll have this whilst checking my emails. I spend a lot of time online as a fair amount of my business is via online training but as much as possible I like to dedicate time windows to specific tasks otherwise everything can merge into one and jumping from one thing to another tends to be very unproductive. At the beginning of the week I dedicate a morning to responding to new client and website enquiries always with a good hearty breakfast alongside. I like to keep all my meals balanced with a good split of protein, fats and carbohydrates: a typical breakfast would be fruit, oatmeal with eggs and avocado. I drink two cups of strong black coffee a day, usually in the morning and always before I train. Adding a tablespoon of Aliment Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil gives it a lovely creamy texture and extra energy kick plus is a great way of keeping my metabolism and immune systems tip top!
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that everyday is different. I do not work at one set location which also gives me a lot of freedom and flexibility. With that comes the pressure of building up my own network of clients, I’m responsible for my own client leads which is the advantage of others working in a commercial gym where members can provide a continuous stream of bookings. With a background in Advertising and Marketing, I have always been passionate about brands and when I moved into a full time career in fitness, one of my motivations was to build and grow my own brand. Looking back at my own fitness journey, the greatest gift has undoubtedly been the feeling of empowerment and sense of purpose that I experience through my training that has transcended into all areas of my life. I call it my Strength Within and this is the legacy I want to share with others; my brand was born. I’ve worked hard to build up a steady stream of 1:1 and online clients, people often ask me if I miss my old advertising days but the truth is, I use this experience more than ever before… this time though it’s for a brand I can call my own.
I spend most of my day in the heart of London’s West End where I train clients at a private hotel gym conveniently located close to my own gym where I train myself and also teach group exercise classes, travelling a little further afield to client’s houses and their offices throughout the week. A large part of my own fitness foundations started via group exercise strength classes and I’m really passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge and inspiration in this environment where music and community can play a huge role in motivation and accountability.
I fit my own training around my client commitments, usually I’ll have a couple of morning clients and then a gap late morning which works well for my own training in terms of energy and performance. By that time, I’ll always have at least one balanced meal and a coffee or two inside me and feel ready to hit the weights. I enjoy doing one dedicated strength session 4 or 5 times a week, typically this is about an hour. My body has adapted and recovers quickly due to my lifestyle factors that I can control: food, sleep, supplements. In addition, I’ll usually participate in a conditioning or HIIT class a few times a week. There is a strong community spirit within the gym where I train and it always fuels me with a lot of positive energy working out with others in this environment. I have at least one rest a week and a day of active recovery which generally consists of working on mobility or technique. I never get locked into a set weekly training plan as I’m very intuitive and responsive to my body. It’s important to keep the body challenged and even more important to keep the mind motivated.
Once or twice a year, I set upon a more rigorous training and nutrition plan in the lead up and preparation to competition on stage in fitness physique. It was a sport that captured my heart in 2012 when I started following influential fitness models who were competing on the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion) stage. I took to the stage myself in 2013, winning my Pro card the following year and have competed on the World stage for the last 3 years, achieving a top 5 world ranking within my Pro Fitness category each year. It propelled my own fitness journey and has been instrumental in growing my professional profile and an active social media following.
Competition prep (often 12 - 16 weeks) can be a gruelling period where I take a no-compromise attitude to my training and nutrition. Often it can mean two or at times three training sessions per day and analytical food intake but I always stress that this is an exception: it is not sustainable to keep this level of pressure on your body both physically and mentally. My body is able to cope reasonably well during this period due to the fact I take a much more balanced and relaxed approach to training and nutrition the rest of the year. Consistency and moderation is what I always promote and encourage with my clients and this is exactly what I aim to embody myself.
I’m out and about most of the day and I’ve learnt never leave home without at least two meals, my laptop and at least one spare set of workout clothes! Working in the West End I am spoilt for choice of places where I can plug into a wifi network and make the most of any downtime working on my laptop with peace of mind that I have good quality food at my disposal. I don’t religiously track food, instead I like to listen to my body. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to act on my own intuition when it comes to training and nutrition. It is also a big part of how I work with my clients, to provide education and then to empower them to listen to their own inner guidance. I do however generally prefer to take time to prep my own meals, a little bit of time investment helps keep me on track from a quality and also financial perspective! I keep my meals balanced and nutritionally dense with a good variety of local and seasonal produce. Where possible I choose protein from grass fed meats, wild sustainable fish and free range eggs and poultry. Some of my favourite carbohydrate sources are sweet potatoes, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa and fats generally come from animal fats, fish oils, nuts, coconut and avocado. Of course there are always times where I will need to buy food on the go or choose to eat out socially. I have a couple of go to places where I know I can pick up some easy snacks and always work around menus to make smart choices when eating out. Outside of dairy, I don’t eliminate any foods from my diet, instead I take an 80:20 approach where I incorporate any foods that I enjoy but are typically more calorie than nutritionally dense within 20% of my intake. This typically includes chocolate, nut butters and raw cakes… a particular favourite of mine! I keep my supplements basic outside of comp prep preferring to get most of my vitamins and minerals from whole food sources however I do choose to take some additional nutrients to help compliment my lifestyle, aid my recovery and keep my energy and immune systems high such as B-Active, Urgent-D spray, Vital C from Aliment Nutrition. Winter Wise Antioxidant drink is my first port of call if I’m ever feeling under the weather and usually works wonders without having to take any medication.
Weekends usually consist of catching up with household chores, food shopping, cooking and of course a bit of downtime. Social time with friends is usually spent over brunch, coffee or juice… and the hunt for raw cakes and treats have replaced the once late night pursuit of cocktails and clubs! Running my own business with so much via online platforms, it’s easy for me to work late nights on my computer but one of the best ways of switching off is getting hooked into a good Netflix box series.
Staying active on social media, has become a prerequisite to building and maintaining a profile within the fitness industry. One of my future goals is to set up a platform where I can share more educational and informative content around training and nutrition. For now, Instagram is my main platform and connection point where I share inspiration, photos and promote brands where there is an authentic and beneficial partnership.
As I say every day for me is different, my weeks can vary from one to another but I never hesitate to take on a new opportunity that excites me. The element of not always knowing what comes next keeps me focused, grounded and locked into the present moment: mindful and grateful to be living out my passion and sharing it with others.