904’s Fittest: Susan Harmon
Height: 5’ 6”
1st place Women Medium Figure Competition NSA Naples, Italy ‘10
2nd Place Women Bodybuilding ‘10
4th Place OCB Bikini Division ‘11
6th Place OCB Fitness Model Round ‘11
1st Place Bikini Tall DC Capital Classic ‘11 (Fitness America)
1st place Fitness Model DC Capital Classic ‘11 (Fitness America)
4th place NPC Bikini Tall ‘11
1st place OCB Fitness Model Charm City Classic ‘11
2nd place Bikini Open OCB Charm City classic ‘11
This month 904Fitness talks with the stunning Susan Harmon about being a fitness competitor, her personal training career and her philosophy on health. Finding a balance between self-driven and people-motivator, Suzy has found success by training hard while letting her positive personality shine.
There was a night when things changed for Susy. It was NOT the night she earned a spot in the top 10 of Miss Teen Maryland (1998)….or the night she was a finalist in the Maryland Venus Swimwear Model Search (2001)…or the nights she won the DC Tournament of Champions Fitness Model Division and Bikini Division and first place at the OCB Charm City classic Fitness Model Division ( 2011).
Despite impressive stats, Susy was on the floor crying the night her life turned for the positive. After a difficult divorce Susy vowed one evening to change her habits, from crying to crunches. She traded tears for situps to combat the blues – a motto that now guides her when coaching tennis and gymnastics or when personal training.
“Make your smile change the world, not the world change your smile,” noted Susy, when discussing her philosophy on fitness. For Susy, health and positivity make us ready for life’s challenges. Helping others adopt this mentality early on motivates her. “It fills me with joy every time I see children learn a new skill or feel great about themselves. I know I’m doing what I was meant to do because I’m teaching the younger generation to be healthy and love exercise!”
What initially inspired you to get involved with fitness?
Growing up my mother was a marathon runner and my dad was a doctor. They encouraged me to be active and fit, whether I liked it or not. At the time I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be pushed into sports at a young age. Then, in my 20 and 30‘s I worked with trainers who helped me to visualize my goals. I stopped complaining and started seeing drastic changes in my physique. This motivated me to get organized about a fitness career and at the same time inspire others.
Everyone struggles at some point on keeping motivated, what do you do to overcome those struggles?
I try to keep my vocabulary very positive – no saying “can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, hate, sorry, unfortunate”. Being strong comes from within. There is no reason to give up on your goals just because things look bleak. That’s the exact time you have to change the things you are saying in your head.
Some people believe that the competitive fitness industry encourages dysfunctional attitudes about eating and weight for women. Do you feel like that’s true?
Unfortunately no matter what the sport, there will always be those who choose to try and reach their goals in an unhealthy manner. I believe the mainstream fitness media however has done a great job of identifying those who are achieving their goals naturally and keeping them in the eye of the public. It can be done, it’s just a matter of having the right mind set and discipline. It’s becoming more popular to choose healthy menu options, pack your own lunch and say no to junk food. The idea that you have to take fat burners or use steroids to achieve a certain physique is just false. It can all be done with a balanced lifestyle, good nutrition, and hard work. The athletes that do that in our sport are the one who really make it great in my opinion!
Everyone falls off the health and fitness wagon sometimes. What do you say to yourself when you get off course?
When it comes to health and fitness, everyday is fresh, a new day with possibility. I love this idea!