Walking On Water

by Suzie Cooney 11

Aloha. I am so very fortunate to live and work on the island of Maui. As a Northern California girl, moving to Maui has allowed me to enjoy the warm waters and share my knowledge and experience as an elite fitness trainer, and incorporate water sport to inspire and empower women and men.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous serious injuries, which was very difficult but turned into many wonderful experiences to share and help others cope with their challenges. Recently, a silly accident of simply missing the bottom stair at my home left me in a wheelchair for a couple of months and caused my body to atrophy.

As an example of fitness in my profession, both as a trainer and sports model, it was a time of hard acceptance and many frustrations. Of course my studio is downstairs, which meant the wheelchair and myself had to go down those stairs several times a day.

Since I could not walk — one leg was broken in two places, the other had torn ligaments — my triceps took the brunt. This was okay until the stairs became very hot on occasion. My clients were so supportive and didn’t mind taking direction from me in the the wheelchair, but it meant that I could not train my more advanced clients for some time.

At the age of 43, it was very hard to know that my once strong legs were quickly turning to noodles, but fortunately I was able to maintain my upper body and mid region. How I longed to simply be able to drive, walk on the beach, swim or surf!

Now it’s November and I’m back, strong and very thankful for my “down time”. So many good things came of that period, and I was able to really appreciate those who are disabled permanently.

The one sport that I knew would help me, because of it’s constant isometric requirement, was the sport of stand up paddling. My body transformed in under a month as I set out to regain my leg strength. I could not believe it!

So now I teach stand up paddling to the women of Maui at free weekend clinics. We also do a little beach core work, active stretching and strength training. They are amazed how fast they can get lean and enjoy the surfer’s glide. The water is empowering and so is a group of wonderful women.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

Suzie Cooney is a former sponsored motocross racer and windsurfer who currently fills her time surfing, stand-up paddling, windsurfing, mountain biking, snowboarding and riding motocross. She is a professional fitness trainer… {more}