Fitness By Design
Susan Simon has always had a passion for art and design – earning a degree in Landscape Architecture and painting and sketching in her free time. When she graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2009, design jobs were few and far between for new graduates. She decided to move to New York for more opportunities, and found herself working for Macy’s in the corporate office as a Planner, gaining exposure to the world of retail. After three years, she realized her heart was not in her work, and she ultimately found solace in her daily workout.
As a child, Susan played a number of sports, from golf to basketball, baseball to volleyball, but her major focus was on soccer. Playing for a successful club in Milwaukee, she loved the sport - the exhilaration of scoring a goal, the smooth tackle of the opponent for a turnover, but most of all, that feeling of athleticism, being strong in your own body and turning off your mind to simply be in the moment. This is what she craved and she not only wanted to do it for herself, but to help others achieve this as well.
Susan began to pursue a career in Personal Training at Equinox in 2012, quickly progressing to a top-tier status. From this point on, she sought new challenges, and began to expand into Group Fitness with the company, teaching running and boot camp classes.
With each experience, whether training one on one, or working in groups, Susan would find it difficult to get clients into the right position, to ensure exercises were not only safe, but effective. Resorting to use lines on the floor, tape X’s, or marking points with dumbbells, and saying things like “just a little more to the left”, or “move forward a couple of inches” were common, not only to her, but to other trainers and instructors she encountered. With her design background, she could visualize the solution – something that was simple to understand, easy to implement, and universal to anyone using it with unlimited possibilities. Today, Spot is the result of that idea.
Life on the Mat
At the age of 9, Aly Hassan began wrestling in his hometown of Cairo, Egypt. Always one to pick up new moves quickly, using his creativity to challenge and beat his opponents, he worked his way up to the National Team by the age of 16. With the Egyptian Team, Aly competed internationally, traveling to tournaments in Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France to name a few and winning the African Championships consecutively from 1997-2004. Another highlight of his career was qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Aly moved to New York in 2005 to start a new chapter, becoming a Certified Personal Trainer and working with professional athletes – honing their skills for high-level performance, reinforcing mental toughness through strenuous training, and inspiring them from his own experiences to be well-rounded individuals, not just elite athletes. In 2010, Aly moved to Equinox to become one of the top trainers on the Upper East Side. Susan met Aly at Equinox while both were working as Personal Trainers and together they brought the idea of Spot to life – seeing a need for a tool that would enable fitness and health professionals to position their clients in safe, effective movement.
As a wrestler, Aly spent the majority of his life competing on a mat, visualizing different movement patterns to his international success. He has been able to apply this same knowledge and innovation to the unlimited uses of the Spot Mat and making him a vital part of the Spot Movement Team.