Susan Watkins PT Spain
From School at the ripe age of 16 I joined the Army, I wanted to swim, I was always active as a child, breaking records as a female cadet, as a swimmer and sprinter. I was pushed into the Royal Logistic corps and served 5 years as a military chef. A career I had no interest in but excelled at on the promise of a transfer to the PT Corps. This never happened and after 5 years I left having served a term In Macedonia/Kosovo. I left to try and gain some control over what I wanted to do with my life, as child I was pushed into things that were of little to no interest to me and always gave it my best shot hoping I would get to where I wanted to be. I took GCSE PE at School but at the end of my first year of GCSE’s I changed school due to having been bullied for years and refusing to go back, my next school did not have the option on carrying on with that lesson so I had to forget it.
In 2002 I moved to Spain for the first time with my son of 18 months having left the Army, and quite frankly I was lost. Alone but in a place I was sure I would be better in I used my Chef qualification to get work. After a little less than a year I was in another relationship and fell pregnant with my daughter. Not really sure that this was the life I wanted I went ahead and did what I believed to be the right thing, despite feeling at an utter loss. I worked in a restaurant with my daughters father but after she was born I was not able to return to that job as I could not afford the childcare on my own for my two children and was left struggling and battling with a family who had no time for me and wanted to see me gone. I fought it a little and tried my first online business retailing. In Summer 2006 I put on my first ever Fashion show at Marbella’s Nikki Beach. It was to be my first successful failure but left me exploring a creative side I had not yet really known existed. I started to design independently and researched alternative fashion, styles, cultures etc. It was a great escape from the life of misery I was in which I quickly ended after Nikki Beach. Having no paid work, not being able to get work that allowed for the children to be looked after as (the full responsibility of that was given to me, no financial help was given by any of my children’s fathers) I contemplated that my only choice was to return to the UK and start again. I went to York and started to build my life. I worked for 10 years on the fashion industry as a personal and fashion stylist and failed on many occasion to launch my own business successfully. Having fought a hard battle for pretty much most of my life I started to suffer with anxiety which over time led to depression. Financially I had always worked at a great loss, but I was perfectly content in the life I was creating, one day this all fell down on me. I had, had various relationships, the end of a particualry good one was to be my final breaking point. In Paris on a family road trip I ended my relationship, this was just after we had been robbed of all our belongings in Roubaix. I had no job, I had given up trying to be self employed so I could work around my children and my C.V looked pretty well inconsistent which no prospective employer likes.
This final fall, everything that was superficially keeping me upright just literally disappearing overnight led me to run, and run I did, being home felt odd and uncomfortable, if I wasn’t running I was walking with my dog, lost. I had started taking PT sessions just before my holiday and went back for more, not because I could afford it, but because I couldn’t not afford it! Mentally I was screwed, physically I had spent two years suffering with sciatic pain, no amount of doctors and physio were helping, it was the talks I have with my PT that led me to enroll on a Personal Training Course. I wanted to know how to fix my back pain. I had to find a way to be well again, this was the start. Initially I did my Fitness Instructors qualification and looked for work in Gym whilst I had another go at setting up my design/jewellery business. I set up Vie Beads Jewellery in September 2005 and in May 2006 I was fortunate enough to be offered part-time work in a local Gym. This was the start of me juggling two businesses I am equally passionate about. In July 2017 I qualified as a Personal Trainer and in August I started taking on clients, my jewellery business is set as a online retail business. I never had a desire to leave Spain in 2007 but my circumstances dictated that, that was my best option, to come back to Spain and have the opportunity to bring both my businesses here in 2017 I took it.
My passion as a PT is therefore balance, balance the pleasure with the pain, balance the physical activity with the mental activity. Keep well and learn how to look after yourself and never accept physical pain as something inevitable or something that you have to learn to live with, you don’t. My time studying psychology over the years has left me understanding that mental pain is always temporary and just like the body can also be changed.
During my time in the UK I have volunteered in roles working with underprivileged and challenging teens and Bradford Counselling Services. I have attended coaching courses, and coached myself as a way to maintain and progress each stage of my life moving forward. These are the techniques I teach my long-term clients. I am passionate about food, nutrition, environmental and physical health and fashion. I am not a person with a singular interest or a singular goal, I am not one dimensional and I believe we are educated to believe we are and that we have to find a box to fit it to be accepted. As someone who has never had this kind of acceptance and has experienced what freedom feels like I try to help my clients achieve this too (where needed). I have clients who suffer extreme anxiety and I coach them so they are able to carry on and do what makes them happy. My one passion is life, and the freedom to live outside the parameters of a so called education. Life skills are s missing so drastically from our society my purpose through fashion and fitness is to simply give people the feeling that they can go after whatever goal they want and it’s ok to do so, more than that, there are people like me that can and will help and support them.
This is what the last year of my journey looks like. In August 2016 I set up Vie-Fit, in June 2017 I took it to Spain. Life gets in the way when you let it, it is always a choice.
2017 and 2018 promises to be an adventure introducing Vie-Fit and Vie Beads Jewellery to the Spanish and Ex-pat community of Southern Spain. Based in Coin all training in Spain will be run from my home training studio.
- (2017) NCFE certificate in understanding nutrition and health
- (2017) Circuit Training – Premier Qualified
- (2016) Kettle bells – Premier Qualified
- (2017) Circuits Instructor – Premier Qualified
- (2016) Level 3 Personal Training – Premier Qualified
- (2016) Level 3 Personal training Nutritionist – Premier Qualified
- (2015) Level 2 Fitness Instructor – Premier Qualified – Work Experience with Streamline Gym and Reach Fitness
- (2015) First Aid – Premier
- (2012) Undergraduate – Criminal Justice/Business Studies University of Essex (Kaplan Open University)
- (2007 – 2012) Fashion and Personal Styling 10 years industry experience
- (1997 – 2001) Military Chef – NVQ Level 2 in Catering and Hospitality
Interests and ongoing studies
- Yoga/Acro Yoga
- Pilates/ Piyo
- Neuro Psychology/ New Psychology
- Food for health
- Posture and Alignment / Muscular and Development
- Life and Sports Coaching
- 5 years military service including adventure training and operational duty
- 13 years as a chef – 7 as a Sous chef starting in the Armed forces then working in restaurants Spain and York
- 10 years as a Fashion stylist and lifestyle coach
- 1 years as a life coach and Personal Trainer
- 2 years as a fitness instructor