Writer / Marcia Vigren . Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Susan Van Hoosen is a woman with a glow about her.
A self-proclaimed hugger, she has a vibrancy and warmth that radiate from her and you can’t help but absorb some of it. It is hard to believe that her husband, Trent, passed away only two years ago, taking her down to her knees and forcing her to cope with the extreme grief.
They had the relationship that many admired and wished for themselves. They both enjoyed exercising and clean eating as part of living a healthy lifestyle. Then the unimaginable happened when Trent suddenly died from a blood clot to his lung (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a hereditary disease), leaving Susan in shock. About a month after his death, she put her daughter on the bus and dragged herself to the basement to work out for the first time, since his passing. That was the first day that she didn’t cry since Trent’s passing. She tried going back to her corporate job of almost 12 years, but that lasted only two weeks. Susan realized she was being called to serve others through health and fitness. The idea began as her grief therapy and evolved into her new career.
Inspired By Fitness was born.
As soon as she became a Certified Personal Trainer, Susan already had her first two clients. After just two months, she had six clients. Within a year and a half, she also earned her CrossFit and TRX Certifications and became an ACE Certified Health Coach. The client base continues to snowball just through word of mouth. “God sends me every person that comes here,” smiles Van Hoosen.
Divine intervention sure seems to play a part in this business. Susan wanted her logo to be an elephant, not an animal famous for its muscular physique. She wanted it because of the mantra that Trent lived by when things got tough, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” So, the day after telling a friend she was going to research images of elephants, she coincidentally received a picture of one in the mail from a friend at the Indianapolis Zoo. The elephant’s name was Sophie, Susan’s and Trent’s daughter’s name, and it was 46 years old – Trent’s age when he died. She was standing in front of a waterfall with her trunk in the air, which signifies happiness. Susan put the elephant’s likeness on a Bosu ball with a kettle bell in her trunk and a logo was born.
Part of each client session is a lesson on nutrition, which, for most people, is the hardest component of wellness. Susan helps her clients with food journals, menu planning and preparation tips. “It‘s more than just physical fitness,” she said. “I coach my clients on how to create a clean lifestyle they can sustain for a lifetime by practicing daily healthy habits and easing into lifestyle changes.” Most of the clients are women and baby boomers. “It’s safe here,” smiles Susan. “They don’t have to worry about being watched, intimidated or what they look like.”
Inspired By Fitness’s format includes working with clients one-on-one, in pairs, small groups and corporate wellness programs. The stimulating, clean and comfortable garage and basement studios are full-time training spaces stocked with all the equipment you would ever need to get a great, fun workout including: TRX suspension training, rowers, kettle bells, battle ropes and Pilates rings, Dynamax Balls, Bosu Balls, etc. Each client session is customized and always varied focusing on functional movements and bodyweight resistance, targeting multiple muscle groups in each movement. “I teach my clients that you don’t need an hour to get an effective, workout.” says Susan. “You can accomplish a lot in a half hour or 45 minutes once you learn how to use your body effectively.”
Other than wanting to add more companies to help with their Wellness Programs, Susan’s goal is to continue to serve people to live the healthiest lives, and to love their bodies through clean eating and consistent movement. She has daily exercises and nutrition tips on her website, inspiredbyfitness.net, along with information about training, pricing and how to contact her. You can also read testimonials that might speak to your health and fitness needs.