Susie Orr On Empowering Women and Creating A Sustainable, Healthy Lifestyle

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When I first met Susie Orr, she was in the midst of training for her first bodybuilding competition. The first thing I noticed – besides the fact that she was in amazing shape – was her passion for the industry and determination to succeed.

It’s that same determination that got her to the point of launching her own personal training studio, MISSFITZ, alongside her business partner, Rachel McCartan less than a year later.

She set out on a mission to empower women on their fitness journey, built her own community of strong women supporting one another and now, has created her first e-book, Student Sculpt Guide, to be released on 15th September. The aim of the guide is to help women create a healthy, sustainable and affordable lifestyle while on a budget.

We spoke with Susie about her inspiration behind Student Sculpt Guide, the biggest misconceptions about the industry and her tips for establishing a gym routine alongside a demanding schedule.

Tell us about how you got involved in the fitness industry.

When I was 16 I became ill with glandular fever, which is pretty common but due to underlying immune system problems it took me almost a year to recover. After the infection cleared I had lost a lot of weight and constantly felt exhausted. In my first year of university I hit rock bottom. I had always hated school and it seemed like university was going to be no different. I sat in my room with my blinds closed and watched YouTube videos all day, only leaving my bed to go to the bathroom or make more microwave popcorn. I told my parents I was attending every lecture and couldn’t come home on the weekends because I had so much work to do, but secretly I just couldn’t be bothered with the effort of getting up and leaving the house.

My mental health was at its lowest and I eventually accepted that wallowing in self-pity was only going to drive the problem further. I decided I needed to take control of my health and get my energy levels back up. I got a gym membership at LA Fitness and hired a personal trainer once a week so that I was accountable for getting dressed and was out of the house doing something at least once a week. When my energy levels started skyrocketing and I saw my body starting to develop strong curves that I’d had never had before, I became hooked. Weightlifting made me feel strong and confident and by experiencing first-hand how amazing I felt in myself I knew I wanted to make others feel the same. I have since gone on to open a female exclusive personal training studio MISSFITZ with my awesome business partner Rachel McCartan, affording me the opportunity to help other women transform their lives the way I have.

As the name suggests, MISSFITZ focuses on training women exclusively. What fuelled this decision? 

Having previously worked in a bodybuilding gym, the women I was coaching felt intimidated in this environment and were hesitant to do any exercises that they may do incorrectly for fear of others judging them. Whilst I encourage my clients to ignore what other people may be thinking, I do think it is beneficial to learn the basics in a safe environment with no fear of being judged. Eliminating the fear of others watching allows the client to fully engage in the session without worrying about how they look doing the movement.

In relation to only coaching women, myself and Rachel simply specialise in coaching women, we can relate to female only issues such as premenstrual weight gain and female only health issues such as PCOS. I also love the idea of having a strong community of women who support each other and help each other reach their full potential and I feel we have been successful in achieving this at MISSFITZ so far.

My mum is the strongest woman I know and she raised me to support and uplift other women instead of seeing them as competition. My mission with MISSFITZ is to encourage other women to do the same.  

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about working in the fitness industry?

That we all have abs 365 days of the year and we don’t have a life outside the gym!

The pressure to be in incredible shape when you’re a coach is crazy. I feel it is important I lead by example and show my clients that I eat a balanced diet and train regularly but it is equally important to show you have a life and enjoy eating out and having the odd drink.

What inspired you to create the Student Sculpt Guide? 

I started training when I was a student, so I know what it’s like wanting to get in shape but having time and financial pressures getting in the way. I also prepped for a bodybuilding competition while I was a student, so I know what it’s like getting shredded on a student budget. I spent a lot of time finding the most cost-effective ways to meal prep and managed to fit my training in on a tight schedule. I have condensed everything I learnt in that time into this E-Book in a basic format so anyone can get started no matter their budget or time constraints. It is not a bodybuilding plan or a ‘shred’ plan, it is a plan that can be used long term to create the body you dream of. 

What differentiates SSG from other workout guides out there?

It’s sustainable and you should have no issues sticking to this plan. The most common issue I see with workout guides is that they have ridiculously long workouts or weird ‘Quinoa’ recipes in them that, let’s face it after the novelty has worn of you will have no interest in spending hours making. My guide is affordable, easy to follow and has the ability to help you lose body fat AND keep it off.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ambitious, committed, curious  

What does success mean to you?

Fulfilling my purpose in life. This took me some time to figure out, but I encourage anyone reading this to question this every day. You are allowed to change your purpose in life but always make sure you are staying true to your fundamental beliefs. So long as I have enough wealth to sustain me I am content and find success is finding purpose in what I do every day. 

How do you balance your personal life with running a business?

I don’t. I challenge you to find any self-employed person who has a work life balance.

My business is my baby. Though it is important to take conscious time away from work and spend time with the ones closest to you. Since we started MISSFITZ I have changed a few things – I have a work phone to contact clients on, allowing me to take time away from work. I also google calendar my entire life, this way I make sure I allocate time away from work to see family and friends and gives me an overview of my week allowing me to see when the best time is to train and meal prep. 

What do you recommend to those trying to establish a gym routine alongside a demanding work or uni schedule?

Start small! Even if this means committing to only one gym session a week and 20 minutes of daily walking it’s better than nothing. Nothing is what we do when we commit ourselves to working out 5 times a week, then get disappointed we missed our training session so we decide to eat chocolate and start again next week (which turns into never). If you are very busy get google calendar and schedule your week, most importantly schedule in your meal prep times. You don’t have to meal prep everything but I recommend having your lunches and snacks organised ahead of time to avoid mindless eating. 

What does your fitness routine look like?

I currently am following my student sculpt guide and am in the ‘Beginner’ phase. This is two total body workouts in the gym and one gym-based circuit lasting only 30 minutes.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?

Get help with putting a program in place. When girls reach out to me I’m always happy to offer advice on training and I know many others in the fitness industry are the same! We are here to help you so don’t be afraid to message us and ask. Having a program to follow allows you to track your progress and makes training more enjoyable as you see your strength increase. 

What are your go-to meals when rushing out the door?

I usually have my carbs cooked in advance sitting in the fridge (couscous, potato, rice) I usually fire some of that on a plate with precooked chicken or a thin beef steak I can flash fry then add spinach leaves and baby tomatoes. Snack wise I usually stick to yogurt and berries or corn thins and ham.

What would you say is the main reason that clients don’t reach their goals and what solutions have you found helps get them out of that rut?

Lack of sustainability in their training program or diet. When I develop a program, my client can stick to they will see results pretty quickly, when you see results you keep going and the easier the program is to stick to the longer the results will last.

What keeps you motivated?

Knowing I have to be a good role model for my girls. 

What can we expect from SSG and what’s next for MISSFITZ?

I am hoping this will make a big impact with many young women starting on their fitness journey. I am aiming to connect the girls who start SSG, so we can build a little online community allowing girls from the same areas to communicate so they can link up to train together! I cannot wait to see the results everyone gets from SSG and will be arranging monthly prizes for transformations.

As for MISSFITZ, we have just employed another coach Emma Spiers. We are continuing to expand our business; online coaching will soon be available and another coach will be hired in the near future, so we can help as many women as possible!

 

Follow Susie on Instagram to stay up to date with the Student Sculpt Guide (released on 15th September)

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a freelance writer covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman. Niamh is also a blogger at niamhserena.co.uk and podcast host of Werkin’ On It.

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