My next step…follow me on my Fitness Life Adventure

Great news! I’m back! Well, I didn’t go anywhere but my blog did. It’s taken WAY longer than I thought it would but my website is up and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. (Video Disclaimer: I have to make fun of myself so I don’t get too frustrated at my perfectionistic procrastination-yup I made that word up. Deal with it.)

Watch me HERE…

From here on in, you can expect tons of info, photos, recipes, nutrition information, inspiration, adventure ideas and more! Plus everything you have come to love on this blog (THANKS for reading it) except its in a new home HERE. The whole idea is to shape your life as you want to live it. It’s a big world with tons of possibilities…so lets get to work and start enjoying it even more.

For those of you who know my story, you know it took years of work to get where I am today. I was working the typical corporate job that I enjoyed but didn’t fulfill me. I found my passion for fitness and I haven’t looked back since!

I consider it a real privilege to have found my passion and that has changed pretty much every aspect of my life. If I can help one other person do the same, I would be thrilled.

Life is about balance and that is true in work, relationships, fitness and nutrition. Check my website for updates and find me on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. I’ll be posting a ton of stuff there. In the meantime, welcome to the journey.

As they say (whoever they are)- Life is about the journey, not the destination. So lets make the journey amazeballs- I added that last part ;)

Keep it real. Courtney

DANCE OFF with a Dancing with the Stars Pro

I haven’t met a dumbbell I didn’t get along with. And we all know I can do a burpee, run sprints and push some serious weight around. But when my friend Kym Johnson from Dancing with the Stars came to my gym to teach dance I couldn’t NOT take her up on an offer to learn the Jive (one of the fastest, cardio intensive dance styles).

I think I did OK…but man it was not easy! Next time, I will show her some of my favorite workout moves but they don’t look as pretty. :)

Get inspired,

Courtney

Everyone Has a ‘Behind-the-Scenes’

I stumbled upon the above quote and read it. Then I read it again, and again, and…you get the point. It all clicked for me at that moment, and I wanted to pass on that message. I have battled with insecurity my entire life: I could never be as pretty as the popular girl in school. I would never look like the models do in clothing ads or on the cover of magazines. –Self-critical thoughts like this were constantly running through my mind.

Now I am on the cover of magazines and can add ‘model’ to my resume, but guess what? I am still hard on myself when I see other people’s competition photos, magazine covers, and Facebook posts about perfectly clean diets and hours of cardio. That’s where that quote came in…I realized I was comparing what I know about my ‘behind the scenes’ struggles and imperfections to someone else’s ‘spotlight’ or polished product.

REALity check: If you have doubts and insecurities, chances are everyone else does too.

When I recently attended the Olympia Expo in Vegas I set out to ask the role models in the fitness industry, who I now call friends, if they would share their ‘behind the scenes’ moments with me. I think the video speaks for itself so check it out. J

The notion that perfection is required to have an elite physique or to reach your fitness goals is just a perception. Make FITNESS a part of your day. Have balance in your LIFE. And treat both like an ADVENTURE.

Keep it real…

How I quit my day JOB to follow my PASSION

August 1, 2012: Today is the day. It has been circled on my calendar for quite a while. I have been living a double life for almost two years now. For the most part it has been a fun challenge balancing my two worlds but it has also been tough. To those who know me personally, I am the straight A student, bookworm-girl who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and worked very hard in the hotel industry for the past ten years to climb the corporate ladder.  And I have reached a certain level of success; One would say I have a ‘cushy’ day job. And I can’t complain…but I also can’t settle for 9 to 5 for the rest of my life…

I have walked a very tight rope this past 18 months and rarely do the worlds collide (save for a few employees googling me then subsequently walking into my office shocked- which is always a hysterical and awkward moment).

By day I am a hotel manager for Hilton in a suit and heels…

And the rest of the time…Well it is probably who most of you know me as.

It’s hard to believe my journey into fitness has been just a hobby up until now but it has. I was never a model, never wore a bikini to the beach because I was insecure and up until now have been a normal girl with a career and a ‘normal’ life.  Competing in a bikini competition early 2011 opened up a lot of doors for fitness modeling. And as I kept competing and making more and more contacts in the industry, I realized how much I enjoyed this ‘other life.’ But I was not going to be that  girl that quit her day job to pursue modeling in LA, my mother would have been very upset. So I decided to balance my time and do both as long as I could. But the more I talked to people through social media about my journey and gave fitness/nutrition advice I realized I loved helping people reach their goals.

And that is where I am at today. I am a certified personal trainer newly living in LA, starting my first day at the Equinox in Santa Monica today and am so nervous/excited/scared/anxious etc to start my next chapter.   I believe you need to make room for success in your life and luck is nothing more than when preparation meets opportunity. I want to share with you what I learned through this process and hope that if any of you are thinking about turning in the punch card to be your own boss and share your passion with the world, that this helps- even just a little bit.

Don’t quit your day job…YET

It is a big decision there is no denying it, so don’t rush it. There were many times in the past year where I was exhausted going straight from working one job to the other with no break. Or times of great success in opportunity in fitness that I was itching to make it my sole gig. But I am glad I waited because it allowed me to get myself in a position to be successful. With the security of a job and a paycheck you can take that time to ‘get ready’. Study for that certification, research your industry or competitors, go back to school etc. Whatever it is you want to pursue do as much as you can on the side with the security of a job, it will take the pressure off a bit. With that said, remember: If you wait to do anything until you are sure it’s right, you probably won’t do much of anything. There will not be a perfect moment to make the plunge, so at some point you will have to make the call, but there is a finesse to timing the transition so be patient, but not complacent.

Follow your passion, but listen to your gut.

Passion is great. People say if you do something you love, you won’t work a day in your life. Or do what you love and the money will follow. And I have to say I agree; sometimes watching the clock from 8 to 5 was miserable but working on diet and training plans till all hours of the night was strangely enjoyable. But passion isn’t everything, you need to follow your instincts as well. Sure shooting for magazines and exercise DVDs was so much fun I felt guilty getting paid, but my gut told me that is not a sustainable career. You have to take calculated risks and incorporate what you love into a solid career plan.

Gather your tribe.

Don’t do it alone. FUD will consume you (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Also, as passion projects usually go, you might be too close to it to get an objective,business-minded view. As uncomfortable as it made me, I was honest with my boss at work from Day 1 and her support and advice and flexibility is one of the main reasons I have the courage to make this move to begin with (thank you Kristi). And telling my friends, family and a few strangers about my dreams and plans gave me a new perspective and fine tuned some of my ideas. Sounding board, support group, shoulder to lean on; I don’t care what you call them but you need them. Tell people close to you what you are considering doing and talk about it often, their encouragement, advice and sometimes tough love will be invaluable. When I got the text from my mom telling me to ‘go for it’ I knew the time was right.

Remember: No Risk…No Reward.

It is exhilarating and awesome to think of a future where work feels like play and money comes easy. But just remember, it will still require hard work to create your empire. There will be times (probably many) where the money is slow to come. Courage is letting go of the familiar and getting up after every failure. So be courageous and know that you are staying true to you and sharing your passion with the world and stick it out. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. So I hope you will try..and try again and again if you have to. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Believe. Become. TRY

Be Fit. Be Fashionable.

Hair pulled back, baggy shirt (I probably got for free at some 5K), old soccer shorts or sweats and my trusty pair of Nikes- that I probably had for 3 years.

That was me every time I went to the gym. I used to exercise to look better, hopefully gain some confidence and then maybe buy some sexier clothes when I felt I looked good enough to wear them. But no matter how sweaty I got at the gym, I never felt ‘hot’ and I blame the Turkey Trot 5K shirt and soccer shorts.

If that sounds familiar, I urge you..no I beg you to invest in yourself and buy some stylish fitness apparel that is functional, flattering, and heck if you love wearing it so much maybe you will even work out more. Obviously ‘fitness fashion’ has come a long way and since becoming a fitness model and personal trainer I have had the opportunity to try almost everything!

Enter Lorna Jane. I heard about this new fitness clothing store that was opening in Santa Monica -my new home- and was super excited when I googled them and saw fashionable workout wear with the high end fabric I come to expect but even more style and flair then I could imagine! (And with 70-100 new items a month you can avoid being twinsies with every girl at the gym :p )

The lovely powers at be got me an outfit to try out and I think I’m in love! And I even got to meet the creater, Lorna Jane herself, at the IDEA World Fitness Conference.

It was really inspiring to meet the woman behind the brand!

She is so inspirational and the message behind LJ is as good as the clothing:

MOVE. NOURISH. BELIEVE

MOVE your body every day
NOURISH from the inside out
BELIEVE in yourself and that anything is possible if you work hard enough

I predict this Aussie company will soon takeover the US fitness fashion scene and I wanted you guys to be the first to hear about it! I was wearing this gear on the road so excuse the picture quality :p

Headed out for a run in my new outfit in San Diego..it stayed put and was super comfy!

Let me know what you think of the outfit in the comments below and check out more of their clothing at here!

It feels good on the inside to look good on the outside and THAT’S OKAY. You deserve it, you work hard for your body and you should be proud. Remember that.

Till next time…

Lean, Fit, Beautiful…and unhealthy??

Have you ever walked by the magazine rack and thought, “I want to look like THAT!”?

 

 

 

Or do you follow fitness models, bikini competitors and other fitness professionals (eh-hem- including me) and tried to follow their nutrition and training plans in hopes of obtaining that physique? That was me about a year ago…

Well I hate to burst your bubble, but I care about your health, so this needs to be said: The physique you see holding the trophy or on the cover of the magazine is 9 times out of 10 not a sustainable look. And by that I mean, maintaining low enough levels of body-fat (the kinds you see on stage) is difficult and sometimes damaging to your health. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but from having gone through the gamut this year so-to-speak, I want to share my experience.

I personally loved every minute leading up to and stepping on stage, what I didn’t love was the aftermath. I competed in 10 shows in a little over a year, and there wasn’t a week that I couldn’t tell you exactly how many weeks I had left until my next show, photo shoot or event. I was always on such a rigid diet plan that I never stopped to think, what happens after my last show?

When I started training for my first competition I was 118lbs and 24% Bodyfat. By my first show I was 116lbs and 14% Bodyfat, I had replaced fat with lean muscle mass and felt GREAT. It was after my first show that my diet plan changed. I received plans from countless experienced and well-know competition trainers. All of whom knew what they were doing and as a newbie, I did as I was told.

Each time I stepped on stage I was lighter, leaner, and winning. The problem with continuing to compete and trying to stay on diet plans that are meant to cut you down for a specific date is that you have to continually keep cutting to maintain the same results. Which means increasingly more rigid diet plans and more cardio…just to maintain. By the time my last show came I had nothing but protein and peanut butter in my diet. Sounds crazy, right? BUT I was lean….

Like I said, I loved the experience and wouldn’t take any of it back, its through learning and mistakes that we grow and improve. Just looking back I can see how it all unfolded much more clearly.

After my last show…I was in a fog. Confused, lost, and OBSESSING. I thought by letting myself splurge a little, OK…a lot, I would somehow satisfy the suppressed cravings and then get back to normal. Then after weeks of mindless eating, and pounds being added back on quicker than you can say ‘bikini’ I realized I had no idea what ‘normal’ I was searching for. Was ‘normal’ back on a competition diet plan? Or the blissful ignorance of eating how I did before I started competing? All I knew was I had developed food issues. An unhealthy relationship with food, if you will.

(Side note: Orthorexia is a real eating disorder- an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. If you think you have a real problem, you should seek the advice of your doctor)

If you are wondering, ‘what did you eat?’ here is where I started:

Meal 1: 4 oz egg whites, 1/4 cup oatmeal

Meal 2: Whey Protein Shake, water

Meal 3: 4 oz lean protein, 1/2 cup brown rice, veggies

Meal 4: 4 oz lean protein

Meal 5: 2 rice cakes, 2 tbsp peanut butter

Meal 6: 4 oz lean protein, veggies

As you can see, there is less than 100 grams of carbs in that diet. In fact, I think besides my bi-monthly cheat meals, I never went over 100g of carbs for months on end. Oddly enough, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences, recently issued a recommendation that children and adults get a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrate a day to maintain maximum brain function.

What’s my point? Eating the way a fit model says they eat during prep and doing their workout is not necessarily the solution. In fact, such a rigid, restrictive plan will more than likely lead to failure because of the difficulty to comply. I have learned (the hard way) that BALANCE, healthy HABITS and independence is key. I have dealt with the ramifications of metabolic shut down, hormonal imbalances, weight rebound and negative emotional connection to food…and come out the other side.

Have you noticed that I never post about my 3rd hour of cardio or my plain chicken and broccoli 5 times a day? Its because I don’t do either of those, AND I want to send the message that you can have a body you feel GREAT in and have the fitness model physique (if you desire) without obsessing and maintaining that unrealistic lifestyle.

Competing is a great ‘goal’ to motivate you to get the body you want, I just want to pass on the message that if anyone tells you the only way to do it is with 2 hours of cardio and very low carb diet, I hope you think twice. I love being in shape, but I love more that I am now doing it the healthy and balanced way and can really represent a healthy lifestyle. While I am busy working on a ‘Healthy Nutrition Bible’ so to speak, here are a few of my main tips to get you started:

1- Cut out the junk- If you still consume soda, fast food, junk food, candy, and excessive alcohol-stop it. No seriously, we know better and there are healthier alternatives.

2- Avoid/Limit the ‘white devils’ - white sugar, white flour, white rice, white milk and white salt. Choose raw sugar or natural sugar alternatives (Truvia or Xylitol), whole wheat flour or oat flour or coconut flour, brown rice, unsweetened almond or rice milk and sea salt or no added salt (go for other spices or salt free blends- Mrs Dash for example) when cooking.

3- Eat “REAL” food - Was there a bagel bush or a cookie tree 10,000 years ago? No! If the majority of your diet consists of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and grains- stuff that we are intended to eat, than you are on the right track. Indulgences are OK but your habits define you so make sure what you do ‘most of the time’ is comprised of healthful food.

And in case you were wondering…yes I still have a six-pack. :)

Be Healthy,

XOXO Courtney

How do you stay fit while traveling?

Video

WALK EVERYWHERE. No seriously…I walked all over London and Paris and took stairs at every tourist attraction. It was fun, I saw more of the cities then sitting in a bus, and stayed fit. I mean, you can’t NOT eat bread in Paris so I planned accordingly! And saw some very random people along the way… (PS- I have very average video editing skills…don’t judge ;) )