Return of the wonder woman

Personal trainer Susy Natal marked her return from injury with this spectacular photo gallery. She shares the secrets of her journey back and how she prepped for the photos.

If you’ve ever suffered an injury that has prevented you from training, then you can take inspiration from Susy Natal. When she suffered a debilitating lower back injury nearly a year ago, the Sydney-based personal trainer wasn’t sure she’d be able to train anymore, let alone do this stunning photo shoot. For a personal trainer, not being able to train is a career ending-move. 

“Chronic pain makes everything really hard,” Susy told Fitness First magazine, referring to the bad times. “It was after a few months of my back not getting any better that I got to the point wondering if could keep doing what I was going. I was at a crossroads, wondering if I was going to be able to continue being a trainer.”

But rather than swap the gym for a couch, Susy started to work around her injury. “I started to train the upper body and do some bodyweight movements with my lower body, because getting everything active started to help diminish the pain a bit. No squats, leg press or machines but lots of single leg and bodyweight stuff. I started to become the single leg training queen,” she laughs. 

Although she was already in a healthy weight range Susy figured that if she lost some more it would reduce pressure on her spine, alleviate the pain and make her feel more comfortable. It’s here she made a crucial discovery: that when you’re losing weight for reasons other than what you look like, the motivation is much stronger. 

“The time that I had a really health-driven important reason to be leaner was also the time I was able to get it and keep it because it wasn’t about how I looked, it was about approaching my body from a place of respect and wanting to take care of it,” she says.

The result, in the gallery on the next few pages, was spectacular. But as she explains, the body perfection achieved in the photo shoot required its own special preparation.