Real People, Real Results: Susanne Kimball
All people face challenges on their way to fitness. How they handle it determines their success.
A new environment can force people to change. Adjustment is normal and healthy. A move from Oklahoma to Texas made a world of difference for Susanne Kimball.
The new environment gave her new fitness goals fresh soil in which to blossom. She hired an awesome personal trainer and set her sights on the stage. She took the challenge in stride and found a way to enjoy the rigors of exercise.
Learn how this cancer survivor remained positive and motivated through all her challenges!
How did your fitness journey begin?
I started getting serious about my fitness journey in the fall of 2012. I realized that all of my clothes were tight and I was uncomfortable. I decided to make a plan. I started using Bodybuilding.com to educate myself on exercises and put together workouts for myself. I became more conscious about what I was eating. I cut out my frivolous snacks and cleaned up my diet.
I was always active in dance, soccer, and cheerleading growing up. In high school I worked out at a local gym and lifted weights, so being active and training weights wasn't new to me. I even worked out in college, sometimes more than others. After college I didn't have a consistent workout schedule. I was adjusting to adult life and not in a good gym rhythm. Finally, in 2012 I got back into the swing of things.
The big catalyst for fitness came in the spring of 2013, when my husband and I moved from Oklahoma City to Houston. Being in a new city where we didn't know many people prompted us both to become more serious about fitness. I became more goal-oriented with my weightlifting. I made weekly plans for myself and took in more protein. In early 2014, I decided I wanted to compete in a fitness show. When I decide on something and put my mind to it, I do it!
My coach is Lauren Stogner, and working with her was awesome! My competition prep was great. Not because my life wasn't busy, but because I wanted it to work enough to invest the time, thought, and planning it requires to prepare for success. I learned about what and how much to eat for my goals. I traveled a lot during my contest prep and still made it work and made consistent progress. I competed in the Fort Worth Fitness Universe competition in October 2014 where I placed second in bikini short and third in model.
When I started working with Lauren and prepping for my competition I was at 24.8 percent body fat (March 2014). Now I'm at 12.6 percent body fat (January 2015) and this is my offseason. I maintain a healthy diet and difficult workouts all of the time, because I love training, so I don't do what many consider offseason. This is just my life.
What fitness regimen delivered the best results?
I love to change things up to keep my workouts interesting and challenging. I added dropsets and supersets into the mix. This is my current plan. It is geared toward developing my upper body, shoulders, and back. I enjoy running outdoors, short races, and half marathons. I also walk outside with my husband and dog.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
Fitness is my outlet. Being active and training hard makes me strong of body and mind. Studies have shown that exercise is a great way to treat minor depression and I feel like this is true for me personally. It amazes me how well my body responds to weights and I love the way lifting makes me feel. My morning workouts are my favorite parts of my day.
Competing gives me a goal to work toward. Anytime I complete something I always look for what's next; I enjoy having a goal on the horizon. Being on stage in peak form is a symbol of triumph, a reflection of the hard work and dedication it took to get there. It's more than just presenting my best physique; it's my personal journey through life and work to become the best version of myself.
What or who motivates you to live healthy?
My motivation mostly comes from within. I'm a driven, goal-oriented person. This lifestyle shaped my life for the better and gave me strength to apply to all areas of my life. I'm also motivated by my family and friends looking to me for support and when people tell me I'm an inspiration for them to change their lifestyle.
I'm a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma on my 20th birthday. I'm now 11 years cancer-free! This experience taught me a lot and forced me to grow up early. While cancer really sucks, I'm thankful for what I gained from the experience.
Where did you go for inspiration?
I'll look at BodySpace, Instagram, a fitness magazine, or website for visuals. Music always helps me get into the groove. I usually listen to EDM, hip hop, metal, or mash-ups of all of them when I'm at the gym.
What are your future fitness plans?
I plan to compete in May at the Musclemania Lone Star and at Fitness Universe in Miami in June. I would love to become a figure pro, do some fitness modeling, and make a name for myself in the industry.
Training is part of my life. I will always train because it's more than just looking good. It's about overall health and wellbeing. I may do a 10K or half-marathon this year. I am working on my NASM CPT and expect to complete that in April. I'll begin working with friends and family and some online clients at that time. I'm so excited to be able to help others develop a healthy and fit lifestyle!
What is the most important fitness tip?
Stay consistent—this is the key. Be consistent with your nutrition and your workouts. Change won't happen overnight, so be patient. If you are consistent, persistent, and patient you will see results. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and make progress toward your goal. And add a new gym outfit every once in a while is good for motivation, too.
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
Figure pro Jessie Hilgenberg is one of my favorites. She has a great physique—strong, muscular, and feminine. I admire what she's done in the industry and the brand she's built for herself. I also admire Bodybuilding.com athlete Samantha Ann Leete, because she's had a great transformation. I can relate to her body type, before and after, and I think she's a great example for people.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
It really all started here. I used this website for information on workouts and meal plans. I started with the Jamie Eason LiveFit trainer and then kept going, putting together my own workouts. I ordered a variety of supplements from the website, followed the athletes on social media, and read articles. Thank you for being such a great resource!
- 2014 Fitness Universe/Musclemania; Fort Worth, TX
- 2nd place bikini short
- 3rd place model