Mar 312017

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond.

I know fitness and how the right balance of training, mindful exercise and good nutrition can transform your life. Rewrite your script of making resolutions and quitting them and start living a healthy lifestyle today. Fitter Than Ever offers an easy-to-follow activity and eating plan and is packed with Slim for Life Secrets to keep you on-track and motivated. This book will make your journey of losing weight, exercising and eating healthy fun and empowering.

The e-books are available now. A paperback print edition will be available by April 30.

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Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond

Oct 252011

Whenever my fitness classes start to feel stale rather than fresh, I know its time to learn more. Conferences and research get me pumped back up. At fitness conferences, such as Fitness Fest and IDEA, I learn new techniques, exercises, and research relevant to my work as a fitness professional. I run out the door bursting with excitement to put what I’ve learned into practice. I literally can’t wait to teach my next class.

It should be like that with your workouts as well. When enthusiasm flags, you seek a way to bring that excitement back to exercising. If your strength training workouts are putting you to sleep, you hire a trainer to show you exercises that are safe, yet different from what you’ve been doing. If you are tired of going it alone during workouts, you join group exercise classes or a group of individuals that do an activity you enjoy. If you have reached a plateau where you aren’t seeing any improvement, you try cross training with less familiar modalities to kick your body back in high gear.

Here in Tucson, we have groups that meet to do many different activities including swimming (we have at least 4 Masters teams – for Arizona; see for a list in other parts of the country), hiking, running (Southern Arizona Roadrunners –, mountain biking (Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists –, and road biking (Greater Arizona Bicycling Association – GABA – For those of you who live in SaddleBrooke, there are groups for you right in your neighborhood. I recently learned that the SaddleBrooke Hiking club even has a daily fitness walk at 6:30 that meets at the HOA 1 basketball court (a newsletter on the group can be picked up in the HOA 1 fitness center). Even residents who don’t feel comfortable walking on uneven surfaces can get out there and walk and meet new people.

If your current group exercise class isn’t meeting your needs, shop around until you find a class you find one that’s fun and meets your fitness objectives. Many people I work with report getting excited about trying a new kind of group exercise format such as Zumba or taking lessons to improve their golf or tennis game.

Knowledge can get you excited about working out, too. It can be empowering to read how taking charge of your fitness can reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, improve bone and muscle density, energy level, reduce body fat, improve HDL (good cholesterol), reverse the “age” of your muscle cells, and much more. Many fitness enthusiasts attend fitness conferences and read every article out there about health and fitness. If knowledge fuels your fire, go out there and get educated! Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Fitness, American Fitness, and the IDEA Fitness Journal are just some magazines I read often. It is important to use your intellect and reasoning to evaluate the quality of what you are reading. There is a lot of misinformation out there as well. Sometimes discussing what you’ve read with a fitness or medical professional can be helpful. The American College of Sports Medicine is a reputable source, which offers annual recommendations pertaining to cardiovascular and strength training for individuals wanting to maintain fitness and/or lose weight.

Whatever you need to do to bounce out of bed excited to move that body, figure it out and then go for it. Your body and mind will be glad you did.

Aug 172011

If your motivation is flagging, perhaps a special event on the horizon will kick your tail into gear. Many of my SaddleBrooke clients and class participants plan to join me to walk the Everyone Runs Saguaro Physicians 5K event on November 13. It will be a morning of fun and fitness to remember. And you still have plenty of time to get in shape! The course is purported to be fairly level so the fall risk should be minimal.

Even if you don’t live in SaddleBrooke, you can plan to walk with us – the more the merrier and we always like to meet new friends. Just send me an e-mail to so I can let you know where we will meet that morning. To sign up for the event, go to Be sure to sign up for the 5K (3.1 miles) and not the half marathon or the kids fun run or you will be in for a real surprise that morning! If we have people interest in actually running, I will organize a separate group.

In preparation for this event, you should walk at least 3 days a week for 30 or more minutes. Remember when you sign up, you will sign a waiver basically saying you are fit and healthy enough to participate. So please prepare for this, OK?

Apr 222011

Susan Dawson-Cook in Personal Best Stretch - photo by Chris Mooney

Susan Dawson-Cook doing shoulder girdle stretches in Personal Best Stretch

Like most personal trainers, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard this worn out excuse: I don’t have enough time to do my exercise program. What’s really scary is that most of my clients are retired. If you can’t fit in an hour a day to exercise when you’re not even employed, there’s something seriously out-o-kilter with your priorities!

If you’re about to conjure up an excuse or two today, below are a few tips that might help you put your schedule and priorities in perspective:

1 – Look at exercise as part of your health care progam. If you exercise more, you will likely spend less time at the doctor’s office and the hospital.

2 – If you schedule your exercise time, just like you do for a trip to the doctor or for your bridge or quilting hour, then it is less likely to be left by the wayside.

3 – Find someone in the community that you look up to as a “fitness role model.” This person can inspire you to be your best. Your role model might be someone who shows up at the gym every morning at 7 a.m. sharp, a neighbor who competes in triathlons or someone who practices yoga every morning at the clubhouse.

4 – Fit in stretching during small increments throughout the day. When my neck and chest gets tight from sitting in front of the computer, I stand up and do neck rolls and then lay over the foam roller to open up my chest for a few minutes. I also often stretch to relax my body right before going to bed. Paying attention to what your body needs and delivering it is no different from giving your car a tune-up. Your body will feel and function much better if you are mindful. I also highly recommend regular chiropractic and massage to help keep you feeling like a fine-tuned machine (instead of a robot with rusty parts).

5 – If the long bout of exercise feels daunting, make slots for 3, 15 minute bouts of exercise. I personally don’t like this because it takes me 10 minutes to warm up enough to enjoy the rest of the workout, but I do know that this works well for many people. I also followed this method when I was travelling 75 percent of the time several years ago. I would do 10 minutes on the bike in the morning, walk around the parking lot for 10 or 15 minutes at lunch and even pace around in airports!

6 – If you are overcomitted with board responsibilities, social events, and other hobbies, let something go to make time for your exercise. I often combine the social and the exercise by training in groups or hiking with my family.

7 – Make it fun! I lost weight and got in my best shape ever when I started taking group exercise classes. Since I found them fun, I wanted to go every day and exercise became a joy instead of a chore. Everyone likes some kind of exercise. Keep trying different modes until you find what you like and you can’t help but succeed.

If you have a favorite tip to share, I’d love to hear it 🙂

Jan 212011

I am very excited to announce that I will be starring in a DVD, Personal Best Stretch: Move Better Than Ever, to be filmed next week at SaddleBrooke Ranch. Whether you are an athlete, gym rat, or someone who wants to reach items on high cupboard shelves, you will benefit from this enjoyable and easy-to-follow format.

This program includes stretches you can incorporate into your routine pre- and post-exercise. Included in this comprehensive dynamic and static stretching program are moves and postures from Qigong and Yoga, postural improvement stretches, sports-specific activities, and Olympic swimming warm-ups for the shoulder girdle.

The expected release date for this DVD is mid-February, 2011. The product will retain for $19.95 plus applicable tax and shipping charges. A 15% discount will be offered on all pre-orders placed and paid for before release date. For more information, please contact Susan at 520-572-0388 or via email ( Thank you for your interest!

Jan 032011

Kick off the New Year right by joining my new Drumming Intervals class. We will drum out fun beats on top of stability balls while moving to motivating music. We’ll also work most major muscle groups during strength intervals, which will be intermixed with the cardio intervals. If you want to burn calories, have a blast, tone muscles, and have a blast (oh, I already said that), this class is for you!

It will be held 12-1 every Wednesday (except 12-12, when there is a Ballroom dancing conflict) at the Mountain View Fitness Center. See you there on January 5. Bring good shoes, high energy, and “attitude.”

Jan 172010

I am currently teaching the following group exercise classes in SaddleBrooke (at the SaddleBrooke Fitness Center and cost is $7 per class):

Monday 11:30 Conditioning (30 minutes low-impact aerobics/30 minutes strength training and stretch)

Wednesday 11:30 Circuit (class alternates between cardio and strength activities – high intensity, high calorie burn and you will be so busy doing different activities that the time flies) 

Thursday 11:30 Strenth/Balance/Posture (gentle strength workout with resistance bands with an emphasis on posture and balance)

While Yvonne is in Cancun, I will be teaching the Dance class (Wednesday, January 20) at 8:30 and a Stretch Plus class at 9:45.  I hope you will come and enjoy the fun! Your family and friends are also welcome.