Susan Niebergall on DEfying The Norm
“It’s never too late to change. You have to, first of all, want to do it and then be willing to do it.” – Susan Niebergall
Susan Niebergall is an entrepreneurial business-owner, personal trainer, and strength coach, who has truly defied the norms of her field by breaking into the fitness industry in her early-50s. She made the switch from helping people as a school counselor for 30 years to now helping people to transform their lives as a fitness professional. Susan believes that “It’s never too late to change. You have to, first, want to do it and then be willing to do it.”
Earlier in Susan’s life, she went back and forth through many different weight loss programs, from commercial meal plans to various workout regiments. Susan talks about how she never had very much success with these meal programs because she did not pay much attention to the methodology and logic behind the programs. She just trusted these large meal plan brands because they marketed themselves as quick and easy solutions, and with time and experimentation she eventually learned that this marketing is rather misleading. Despite her nutrition troubles, Susan became passionate about weightlifting and working out. Even though her workout habits were in place, this constant gain and loss of the same weight became an exhausting on-going cycle for Susan for around 30 years. One day, she finally went to the doctor to pinpoint the issue within her health efforts. Susan was completely convinced that her metabolism had slowed down due to menopause, which was the reason for the issues she was experiencing. However, the tests showed that her metabolism was fine. Susan’s doctor informed her menopause was not the problem, and that she was simply eating too much and needed to focus on creating a well-rounded diet of more wholesome foods. This is a common problem for many woman, and this moment was a major turning point for Susan. That day she ran out of excuses and finally had to take responsibility. Susan says, “It was then that I realized that I was in control of the situation and it was up to me to take the responsibility.” This is advice that can be applied to many different challenges in life. There often comes a point when we must take a step back, reassess the situation, and take matters into our own hands.
“It was then that I realized that I was in control of the situation and it was up to me to take the responsibility.” – Susan Niebergall
After Susan went through this personal fitness awakening, she began to invest more in her weightlifting practice. In conjunction with her improved eating habits, Susan decided it was time to begin the pursuit of combining both of her passions through becoming a personal trainer. Susan was a school counselor for 30 years, she loves talking to people and helping them navigate different life challenges. She felt like personal trainers can have a similar impact on people regarding their health and fitness practices. On top of working full-time as a school counselor, Susan began working towards her personal training certification and eventually began to take on this job outside of her counseling hours. Gradually, she began to devote more time to her passion in training and coaching, which ultimately lead her to create her own personal training and fitness business.
The roots for Susan’s current business, Susan Niebergall Fitness, were planted when she began teaching workout classes to other teachers after school. This was her first experience rallying a group of people together to work towards their fitness goals. From there, she started working with Jordan Syatt to build an online fitness community to really motivate people to pursue a better and more fit life. She has a number of ongoing ventures that make up the core of her business including coaching one-on-one virtual and in-person fitness sessions, starting a large social media following to encourage and increase awareness on a daily basis, as well as creating her “The Strong and Lean at Any Age” podcast. Susan is a huge advocate for personalizing fitness journeys for all different kinds of people, no matter their age.
“One of my biggest mistakes was not taking responsibility for my actions or my lack of action, and once I started doing that, everything changed.” – Susan Niebergall
Susan never would have made the strides she has today if it were not for a few factors. First, she believes that people must take matters into their own hands and hold themselves accountable. She says, “One of my biggest mistakes was not taking responsibility for my actions or my lack of action, and once I started doing that, everything changed.” In addition to this self-aware mindset, Susan says that through all her work “[I] just want to get the message out that it’s never too late to do anything.” If she would have let the age barrier in the fitness industry hold her back, she never would’ve created her thriving business nor would she have made a positive impact on the lives of her clients over the past 5 years. Finally, Susan has found success in setting small attainable goals that can lead to larger long-term change, in fitness and in life. This allows a person to find the motivation to continue pushing themselves to reach each of their different goals along their path.
“[I] just want to get the message out that it’s never too late to do anything.” – Susan Niebergall
Health and fitness can truly mirror a similar framework to that of any challenge in life. Susan talks about how many things she has learned regarding motivation and success in the health and fitness realm are extremely applicable to many other aspects of life. With a strong sense of self-accountability, a drive to reach your goals, and a never-aging hunger for pursuing your dreams, the possibilities in life can become almost endless. Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to share your journey and advice! If you want to tune into Susan’s fitness wisdom and expertise, check out her Instagram, or her business, Susan Niebergall Fitness – then check out the links below.
The Joy of Movement and the Hutt Mutts with Jenny Hutt – The Strong and Lean at Any Age Podcast
Written by: Anna Rice
Interview by: Jason Crowe