Spotlight: Suzanne Harden
Spin Fast, Climb Heavy
Meet Suzanne Harden. Accomplished fitness competitor, spin class enthusiast, driven go-getter and former MPG Executive. Exuding passion and determination, she’s ready to take on whatever challenges come her way – one step (spin, curl & lift) at a time.
Keep it Spinning.
It wasn’t until her late 20s that Suzanne discovered a love for working out, becoming a certified spin instructor about ten years ago.
“I love the high energy level, how hard you can work and that you can challenge yourself regardless of your level. I love to spin fast and climb heavy. There’s nothing else I can do cardio-wise where I can push myself and my class like that.”
Suzanne relies on technically advanced pieces that offer a distraction-free workout so she can focus on keeping everyone motivated to the last minute of every class.
Work It Out.
As the VP of Marketing & Brand Sales at MPG, life at the office is no exception. From presentations to board meetings and business trips, her schedule is nonstop. Suzanne needs a work wardrobe that blends functional details with sophisticated style. Working in fashion and spending countless hours at the gym – she has unique insight into what goes into creating the ultimate performance-driven clothing line. Every day presents a new challenge, but she faces it with confidence in clothing that works just as hard as she does.
As a female in senior leadership, Suzanne’s no stranger to facing pushback. In the past, her strong, driven personality has been viewed as a negative but her time at MPG has proven differently.
“My experience working at MPG has been a great one. As the only female on the executive team, I have always been treated as an equal. My opinions are respected and I’m empowered to operate with autonomy. MPG’s founding principle is “A Spirit of Unification” and with over 100 employees, representing more than 40 different nationalities and 70% of the total workforce being female – I feel like inclusion is just part of our DNA.”
Train to Win.
When she’s not at work, Suzanne lives in her workout gear. Breathable, moisture wicking, anti-odor pieces make it easy to get the most out of each training session. Preparing for a fitness competition takes major sacrifice, focus and determination. Her rigorous training schedule means she doesn’t have time for clothing that can’t keep up. Depending on where she’s at in her preparation process, Suzanne spends anywhere between 90 minutes to three hours per day training. Her daily eating regimen is five to six pre-planned meals directed by her coach, consisting of high-protein, basic whole foods. No refined sugar, processed junk food or alcohol allowed.
“I love that although you’re competing for that first-place spot, you’re also working to beat your last best physique. I like the discipline required while you’re in the process. It’s not a sport for everyone. It takes a certain mental toughness and I like to challenge myself to be better, to work harder.”
Proving that hard work and sheer dedication can pay off greatly, Suzanne recently placed first at the Toronto Pro Qualifier competition in the Figure Masters A category. She celebrated this impressive win with her go-to post competition meal; steak, salad, fries and red wine. Back in Winnipeg, the celebration continued with her biggest fans – her husband and two miniature dachshund pups.
Finding time to fit it all in is a constant balancing act but Suzanne manages to make it happen, outfitted in MPG clothing to elevate her lifestyle. From nailing the presentation, to crushing her spin class, to taking home the first-place medal, Suzanne is always ready for her moment in the spotlight. She demonstrates that no goal is out of reach when you’re outfitted with a detailed plan, determined mindset and the performance apparel to help you get there.
5 Pro Tips With Suzanne
1. What’s your best trick to stay motivated while training for a competition?
Visualizing the end goal really helps me to keep pushing myself to the next level. It’s hugely important to create a plan and track your progress through a workout diary. This reminds me what I covered in my last session and what I need to focus on for the next workout. I try to be as in tune as possible with how I’m feeling after a workout so I can take it to the next level, next time.
2. Your busy schedule includes business trips on the regular. How do you manage to stay active while travelling?
Usually, travel involves accommodation at a hotel with a gym or several other options nearby. I love to attend fitness classes in other cities, especially spin, so I can see different instructor styles and continue to refine my personal teaching delivery. I try to throw a skipping rope in my suitcase, which is a great in-room cardio option, and I have been known to use hotel furniture and bodyweight exercises to get the job done in a pinch i.e. triceps dips on a couch or coffee table.
3. How do you avoid injuries with such a vigorous training schedule?
I make sure that I take proper rest days to let my body recover and always do a warm-up before jumping into my routine. Foam rolling and massages are also a great way to release muscles tension and improve circulation, shortening recovery time.
4. We all know that when it comes to seeing results, what you eat is even more important than your workout routine. However, this is often the hardest part for people to execute. What is your best meal prep tip?
Batch cook so you always have the food you need readily available to stay on track when you’re hungry. Batch cooking is simply preparing larger portions of different foods, meant to be mixed and matched to create versatile meal options so you never get bored. I usually prep for the week and even prep extra to freeze if I’m moving into a busier phase in my schedule or competition prep. I also weigh everything because the little “extras” can really add up. If you have a goal, learn how to track your macros (macronutrients) so you can create sustainable healthy eating habits versus a short-lived diet.
Fast Fact: Macronutrients refer to the three basic components of every diet; carbohydrates, fat and protein. Macro, meaning “large,” refers to the fact that these nutrients are needed in larger amounts. Almost every food has a combo of macronutrients, but the difference lies in the composition of these macronutrients.
5. What’s one of the biggest mistakes you see people make while training?
Not sticking with their program long enough to see results is a very common mistake. Change doesn’t happen overnight! Another mistake I see is repeating the same routine you’re comfortable with and not challenging yourself or changing it up. A workout buddy or trainer can really help take you out of the comfort zone and spark motivation.
Photo by Zoom Images Pros
Photo by Zoom Images Pros