Zlata Sushchik is an award-winning fitness competitor, lifestyle coach, the creator of the Sexyfit Method and Community, and the author of the Sexyfit Method Book. She helps hundreds of women achieve a lasting lifestyle change, using fitness as a foundation for success. She is the host and producer of the Sexyfit Podcast, which features celebrity experts and reaches thousands of women on a weekly basis.
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- Proper nutrition and fitness will amplify your energy and productivity.
- If you want to do something, you have to WILL IT to happen.
- Do your best and do NOT let your fear interfere.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:21] – Zlata moved to the US when she was 16 and did not know how to speak English; fitness was common language and her fitness journey has led her to create her own business and book
- [02:36] – JLD says he loves the sharing of ideas with other entrepreneurs in San Diego
- [03:38] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Really helping women become their best self and best version of themselves through health and fitness and how to use that in their journey in life
- [04:33] – Zlata says they create more than just a fitness and diet routine for their clients
- [05:05] – Entrepreneurs tend to put their fitness and health last, but it is the foundation of their success
- [05:34] – Nutrition and fitness amplifies your productivity and cognitive function
- [06:34] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: When Zlata and a business manager/partner and friend ended up in mediation because of the content of her book. She has been working with the person for a long time and it took a lot of her energy, time and resources to bounce back from that experience
- [08:55] – JLD says if you want something to be real, you have to “will it” to be real
- [10:14] – Zlata explains how writing a book is a process and that you will have partners along the way
- [11:03] – If you are thinking about partnerships, do the paperwork
- [12:07] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Zlata used to live in Alaska and was working a corporate job. She was also a fitness competitor. While traveling, she realized she had another option with what she could do with her life
- [15:05] – Zlata chose San Diego when she was drinking with two other women and they were thinking about where they wanted to live
- [16:06] – JLD tells Fire Nation to not hold themselves back
- [16:14] – What are you most FIRED up about today? – “My new book and seeking out mentors for myself”
- [16:46] – Zlata is writing a new book and they are doing a rebrand of Sexy Fit
- [17:54] – Check out Zlata’s website and social media channels with @iamsexyfit
- [18:26] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? –“Fear of judgement, 100%”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Do your best and forget the rest”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Working out”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Asana
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Traction
- [19:43] – Whatever the fear is, slow down, breathe and just do your best in the moment
Zlata: I am so ready. Let’s do this.
John: Yes! Zlata is an award-winning fitness competitor lifestyle coach and the creator of Sexyfit Method and Community and is the author of the Sexyfit Method book. She helps hundreds of women achieve a lasting lifestyle change using fitness as a foundation for success. She’s the host of the Sexyfit podcast which features celebrity experts and reaches thousands of women on a weekly basis. Zlata, take a minute, fill in any gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Zlata: I love that. Thank you so much for a beautiful introduction. I would not be here where I am today without truly yours, John Lee Dumas, so thank you so much for –
John: Aw, you’re the best –
Zlata: For all the inspiration. My journey really began way, way before I was the Sexyfit Method girl. I think it’s really important to know that I moved here from the US when I was 16 without speaking a word of English. And fitness was my avenue from lonesome self to really creating the best body, the best mindset, the best circle of friends, and now the best business that I love so much. So it’s been a really cool journey from where I was ten years ago, and ten years later on the dot to write a book about the whole thing. So that has been super cool.
John: Well, it’s really exciting and I’m really excited about the fact that we’ve been able to become friends over the years. In fact, when we lived close to each other in Pacific/Mission Beach, San Diego, we would get together every now and then; take some walks and kind of chat over some business ideas. And that’s what I really do personally miss about not living in San Diego. It’s just such a hotbed of entrepreneurs and mindsets and just people doing a lot of cool things. I’m trying to start something up down here in Puerto Rico’s Latas.
So if you ever decide to move down here, I’ll something cranking by then. But I was definitely in San Diego in March, missing it, saying, “Wow, I feel like this is a place I could definitely move back to.” So, I just love the area that you moved to, how you embraced the language, the culture, the entrepreneurial mindset, all those things. And what you’ve created is super cool. So, with all of that – because you’ve done a lot now. You’re an author, you’re a podcast host, you’ve done a lot of cool things. What would you consider specifically your area of expertise?
Zlata: That’s a beautiful question. And don’t threaten me with a good time of moving to Puerto Rico. Okay? I will be there in a heartbeat – I mean, got a spare bedroom?
John: Yes! Oh, we got a couple. We got a couple –
Zlata: I’m totally kidding. I’m totally kidding. Area of expertise. I love this question for multiple different reasons. One is if you would have asked me this let’s even say six months ago, I would say it’s of course, it’s nutrition and fitness. And it would be such a vanilla answer. And the non-vanilla answer to that – my area of expertise is really helping women mostly, for now, is become their best self and the best version of self through health and fitness. And how to use that motivation and that knowledge and that growth on their journey through life.
A lot of women walk into Sexyfit as their first time doing “personal development” because they think they’re walking into a fitness company to get a fitness plan and they will be fit. But we end up really creating so much more for them, and there’s that transformation towards the best self that excites me, that excites them. And that’s really the core of what we do versus just giving somebody a shrimp recipe. Anybody can do that.
John: As you’ve been experiencing this transformation of your business and the transformation of your clients, what’s one thing that you think that we don’t know in your area of expertise that would really help us out in business and life in general?
Zlata: With entrepreneurs, I know that a lot of us who are listening we tend to think that fitness and nutrition is the last thing on our list because we go towards business goals and families and raising kids and perhaps the side hustle. And our body becomes the last thing that we truly care about. And for me, the way that I look at it, it’s the foundation of our success. We have more energy; we’re way better leaders because we have a better mood. We have better cognitive function.
To me, what we really seem to be missing as entrepreneurs is that nutrition and fitness really amplifies what you do and how effective and productive you are. And sometimes in our industry, that glorified team no days off and team no sleep. You’re shooting yourself in the foot, and you’re diminishing your productivity and cognitive function by doing that to yourself and truly if we just paid attention to fueling and nourishing and balancing our energy versus “look at it as a diet”, I think we would get a lot more benefit out of our healthcare and self- care routine.
John: You came to the US not even speaking English so you’ve obviously overcome some massive life hurdles. But what I want to talk about next is a entrepreneurial hurdle that you had to overcome. So take us to what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date, Zlata. Tell us that story as painful as it might be, take us there.
Zlata: Thank you so much for asking that question because it actually has to do with the very book that just got published, that just got published to the world probably the proudest thing I’ve ever created with my team. And the worst moment in my entrepreneurship journey was when a business manager/business partner/friend of 2 ½ years, we ended up in mediation because of the content of the book. And it was such a heartbreaking journey, John, because you’re working with somebody side by side. And I honestly ended up being a hot mess. I think I was in bed for like a good 2 ½ weeks.
And we had to push the launch for almost three months and all the paperwork and the lawyers and all this crap. And it was just like – it was a choice for me to make in that moment because you know what we think about we’re there’s betrayal or thoughts or stories or different things happening. And I realized that I can use this as an experience to either get bitter or to get better. Because we can all say, “Well, I’ll never trust anybody again. Nobody will have this much access to my business. I will never co-write a book with anybody”, and start to go off on a roller coaster of just unforgiveness when we’re really just truly hurting ourselves.
And instead, what we chose to do, we actually chose to rewrite a lot of the contents of the book. We reshot a lot of the things that were in question. And I basically loved that book back to life because everybody on the team was like, “Oh my God. We’re really talking about the book again. You’ve got to be kidding me.” And it was like, “This book, people.” It was like everybody was just so upset about it. Energetically – I’m very voodoo spiritually connected person. And I was like, “You know what? This book has really bad energy right now. We all need to stop hating the book and actually love it back to life because it’s taken us a year and a half to get this together. This is not us. This is not a me game. This is a we journey and this is a journey to help other women transform. So let’s love it back to life.” And either you get bitter or you get better. And we got better.
John: Well, I love all these things. I kind of want to rehash a few things you brought up. No. 1, Fire Nation, if you really want something to be real, you have to make it real. You have to will it to be real. And like when Zlata said multiple times, she loved this book back to life. She literally breathed love back into this book to make it a reality. And quote that you said twice that I just wrote down which is, “I’m going to either get bitter or better.” What’s my choice? Well, I hope Fire Nation when you hear that, that you’re always going to lean towards better because there’s just nothing that ever comes good out of being bitter.
And the thing that I kind of wanna close down with and maybe get your feedback on Zlata, because you might disagree with me a little bit here. Just because you had one bad experience doesn’t mean you’re gonna have future ones or past ones, etc. But I’m a personal believer that I love all kinds of ships. Tall ships, small ships, white ships, black ships, but I don’t like partnerships. So what is your experience on that, Zlata?
Zlata: Very interesting, very interesting question because this is the book that I chose to self-publish. And I opened a can of worms there because now I just wanna write all the books. So with this book, you don’t just write a book. I think this is like a missing point that a lot of humans don’t understand an online world. You don’t just write a book. You write a book and then you do a workshop, and then you do the keynotes and then you do the courses and then you do the speeches. You just don’t write a book. So you better be prepared to talk about this subject for awhile.
And you’re gonna have partners along the way. And those who are on your team helping you, but as far as having partners in the business, as far as we split revenue and things like that – No. That’s not the route I’m going to go and call me a control freak but that’s how I like it.
John: But what did you learn? What do you want to make sure that our listeners get? If someone is going to go down that road for any number of reasons because they’re not you, they’re not me who have made that decision that we’re not gonna do that, but they are for any number of reasons. What’s a word of wisdom that you would pass along to them?
Zlata: Paperwork. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. Honestly, a lot of things especially you know how it goes in San Diego. A lot of things get started in “the garage”. Right? Where it’s like Joe got together with Jill and Jill has a great idea and Joe has the marketing skills. And then they kind of make a course or they create a building or they create an empire. But then Jill wants to go have a baby and Joe thinks that he owns the whole thing. In the beginning, you have to be very, very clear of who does what, who owns what. And you have to renegotiate every year or two. I would say renegotiate every year and make sure that you are legally both protected because you’re essentially entering a marriage.
John: Zlata, let’s turn from the darkness to the light. This light being one of your greatest ideas that you’ve had to date. Take us to that aha moment. Tell us that story.
Zlata: The greatest idea – oh my goodness gracious. You’re going to love this one.
Zlata: And this is not health coach 101. I would like to just mention. So before I started doing what I’m doing now, before I had Sexyfit, I worked at a very boring corporate job being a really fantastic contract negotiator for an oil company. And I lived in Alaska out of all places.
John: I was wondering how you got so tan when I met you by the way.
Zlata: That’s what it was exactly. I’ve a lovely shade of blue to be – he’s joking. There’s no tan. There’s no tan. And at the time I was also a fitness competitor. So and what really lit my soul on fire was traveling and fitness and talking about fitness and really my best friend’s transformational journey was really something that was near and dear to me that really made me go, “Huh? Maybe I’m not meant to work in this box without a window. Maybe I’m not meant to live in this state where I have no joys. I don’t fish. I don’t hunt. I grew up in Moscow for Christ’s sake. It’s the furthest thing from what I actually want to do.”
And it wasn’t without me going to Vegas and okay, there might have been a little bit of partying involved when I actually made that decision. When I said, “You know what? This safe boring job that I’m living this story of being secure and climbing the ladder perhaps is really not my thing.” And that was the bravest most courageous moment. Within three weeks after that, I was in California. I was in San Diego. I’ve never been here before and I said, “I am going to be an entrepreneur. I’m going to pursue my entrepreneur journey. I have no idea what I’m gonna do. I have no idea how I’m gonna make it happen but that’s what I’m going to be doing.”
And it is the brightest moment of my life when I actually got my courage together and put my big girl pants on and said, “There must be something better and something greater than mine fear of getting out, stepping out of the box.” And kind of like middle finger to everybody who was saying, “You’re gonna be back in a year. What are you going to be doing in California? You don’t know anybody. It’s so expensive.” All those excuses, all those stories, but I’m glad I didn’t listen.
So that was the lightest moment that I can think of because I just remember my face and the, of course, the convertible Mustang rental car I rented when I first got to San Diego. I’m like such a staple. Just that grin on my face. We’re saying, “Okay, I’m doing this. I don’t know what this is gonna be, but this is gonna be great.”
John: Ah, so cool. And just real quick, how did you choose San Diego? You said you didn’t know anybody here. What was the deal with that?
Zlata: How did I choose San Diego? What happened was it was two women in conversation after drinking two, three glasses of champagne. And this is how it went, John. I’m not kidding. We’re like, “We’re not going to the East Coast because going home is way too expensive.” And mind you, we’re like 21 years old at that point so this is all we’re thinking about is how we were we gonna get home. And then I knew that I didn’t want to live in Vegas. It was too hot. Arizona was a little too boring, didn’t want to live in Portland. Seattle was too rainy, and we just kind of decided we want to live by the beach.
And I said, “I don’t like LA.” And she said, “I like San Diego.” And that’s exactly how we decided to come here. I seriously didn’t even Google anything. I just kind of booked a ticket and was like, “That’s cool.”
John: I love those stories and it’s just so inspiring to hear people that just say, “You know what? Let’s just throw caution to the wind. Let’s see what happens.” And here you are years and years later rock n rolling. You made a name for yourself in San Diego. You’ve made a group of friends and I mean it’s just so cool to see in Fire Nation. What’s holding you back? If anything is, well, don’t let it. There’s no reason for it.
Now, Zlata, break it down for us. Today, what are you most fired up about?
Zlata: I am so fired up about my new book. And this is again, a conversation of courage. And I seek out the best mentors for myself because I believe that without mentors, we can only see a fraction of what’s possible. And by saying I’m excited about this new book, I’m not talking about the book I just wrote. I’m talking about the book I’m writing now. And I’m really excited about a re-brand of what Sexyfit represents for women. And I’m fired up about the idea of old kind of “weight loss, lose 10 lbs., and get fit”, that old kind of conversation to really come to life in a different way for women.
We’re going through a re-brand of where we’re looking into more intimacy sensualities, sexuality, really treating yourself as a goddess, as a woman, as much self-respect and trust and kindness and compassion as you can possibly envision for yourself in the moment. And it’s quite a different conversation from the usual fitness world of buy this shake and I’m so excited to head that direction and it’s something that I’ve been talking to my mentors. And we are all fired up about it so super stoked.
John: Now if Fire Nation wanted to jump on board and learn more, where could we do that?
Zlata: You can find me at sexyfit.com or on social media; you know snapchat, Instagram, Facebook at imsexyfit and pretty imsexyfit across the board. And can’t wait to connect with all your people.
John: Well, don’t you go anywhere, Zlata. Don’t you go anywhere Fire Nation because we have value bombs that are being dropped in the lightning round as soon as we thank our sponsors. Zlata, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Zlata: I am so ready to rock. Let’s do this.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Zlata: Fear of judgment 100%.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Zlata: Do your best and forget the rest I think is by far the most valuable.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Zlata: Working out in the morning, working out with weights, working out. Did I mention working out?
John: I think you said working out, but I can’t – no. Yeah, you said working out.
Zlata: I think it’s working out.
John: Can you share an internet resource like Evernote with Fire Nation?
Zlata: Oh, I love Asana. I live by Asana and color code everything.
John: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Zlata: I love the book Traction. I think it gave me a lot more clarity of on business.
John: Zlata, I wanna end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance from you, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Zlata: The best parting piece of guidance is remembering that whatever the fear is, whether it’s fear of judgment, whether it’s even fear of success or whatever it is that comes up for is. If we weren’t meant to be doing what we’re not meant to be doing, we would not be doing it. And the best thing that you can possibly do is not speed up because that’s not how you stop a train that’s gonna get off its tracks. But to actually slow down, breathe, and truly just do your best in the moment and that’s the only thing you can truly do.
John: Love that. And again, one more time where we can find out more about you.
Zlata: You can find more about me on sexyfit.com or on all social media at imsexyfit.
John: Love all of that and Fire Nation, you’re the average. Of the five people you spend the most time with, you’ve been hanging out with Zlata and JLD today so keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com just type Zlata in the search bar and her show notes page will pop up. This might be shocking, but you’re the first Zlata that I’ve interviewed so you’ll be the only person there under the name Zlata. That’s Z-L-A-T-A, Fire Nation. And Zlata, I wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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