Shaunna Spivey-Spinner’s Realizes Their Dream as a Fitness Professional 

By Greta Stuckey

After Shaunna Spivey-Spinner gave birth to a son during the pandemic, the Syracuse native was ready for a change. Spivey-Spinner felt uncomfortable in their body and started looking for ways to get fit. Soon after, Spivey-Spinner decided to make fitness more than a hobby. In 2023, they made their dreams a reality by becoming a personal trainer and founding Holliwood Fitness


Spivey-Spinner didn’t always have it easy growing up in Syracuse. They were bullied in school and told by many that they were “different.” Despite the challenges, they liked being unique. In their junior year of high school, they were nicknamed ‘Holliwood’ for their fancy basketball playing style. 

They went on to play sports, make art, model and write. Now, they help others reach their health goals. When Spivey-Spinner started working out every day, they had a small gym setup in their garage. Today, they have a complete gym in their garage, where they see between 12 and 17 clients a day. 

When they’re not training people out of their home gym in Syracuse, Spivey-Spinner can be found at Crunch Fitness Cicero running high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes or personal training sessions. Some days, they will start around 8:30 a.m. and finish around 7:30 p.m. In between seeing clients, they make sure to fit their own workout in. 

“It took me a year and a half to get myself to where I wanted to be,” Spivey-Spinner said. “Fitness is never a thing where you get comfortable. Like you always want to see what you can do next.” 

Describing their appearance as a masculine presenting woman, Spivey-Spinner wanted to be there for similar clients or anyone else who is looking to improve themself. They hope to ultimately help people better their lives through exercise and nutrition. 

“A lot of people are intimidated by the gym,” Spivey-Spinner said. “So that’s where I come in and I can do it at my home. It’s like going to the gym without all the looks and stares people think they are getting.” 

Get in touch with Shaunna Spivey-Spinner

Instagram: @trainwithholliwood thereal_holliwood
Phone: 680-287-2929
Business Challenges 

While Spivey-Spinner has over a dozen clients now, starting out wasn’t so easy. Once they decided to become a personal trainer full-time, they had to get certified. After that, they started the process of finding clients. During the pandemic, they struggled to find people who felt comfortable enough to workout in their home. It took a long time to build trust with clients, partly because they were still getting comfortable with their new career. 

“I was just getting into it myself,” Spivey-Spinner said. “Because when you get a trainer, you want them to look like a trainer. I didn’t always look like a trainer. I had the knowledge, I just didn’t have the body. Now I have both, so it’s a little different.”

Looking Ahead 

Spivey-Spinner hopes to one day open their own gym. As they continue on their fitness journey, they want to be a role model for their son and show him the benefits of working hard. 

They also hope to be a resource for people who may be new or uncomfortable in the fitness space. When they were looking to get back into fitness, they messaged personal trainers for advice but didn’t hear back from any. One of their goals is to be responsive to people who reach out. For people looking to start their fitness journey or open their own business, they suggest doing your research and going after it with confidence. 

“Put yourself out there and be confident because everybody has to start somewhere,” Spivey-Spinner said. “Don’t get intimidated by day one.”

The Stand thanks Reggie Seigler, a long-time member of The Stand board and a program coordinator at the Syracuse Housing Authority, for inspiring the “Stand on Business” column and helping us connect with business owners in Syracuse.

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