I started following Courtney of @courtneysfitlife_ on Instagram over a year ago when I began my fitness journey. Though prior to, I had followed some very inspirational ladies on IG, I really connected to Courtney’s feed. Her transformation felt so relateable because she presented herself in such a humble, human way. More than just a beautiful compilation of photos, Courtney truly shares her experiences from her heart throughout her feed — it was visible when I began following her, but getting to know her on a more personal level, I have found that her story is truly ingrained in her, and she lives accordingly; honestly, genuinely, and unpretentious.
Funny enough, we connected on Instagram because I stumbled upon a photo of hers in ‘Photos You Might Like’. Another profile was trying to use her ‘before and after’ as one of their own clients’. I messaged her immediately and told her someone had stolen her transformation pic. The rest is all history!
I gathered some questions to ask my fellow mama and fitness babe. If you don’t know Court, you should!, not only is she making waves with her realness on Instagram, but she also happens to be one of the nicest women I’ve ever met.
Can you tell me about your journey into motherhood? Were you scared or did you feel ready/prepared for it?
“Where do I start! Honestly, I was terrified. My mister is almost 4 years older than me and was starting to feel that itch to start a family. I was only 25 at the time and felt like I just wasn’t sure I was there yet. One day it just felt like it clicked for me, like all of a sudden I just felt like ‘yeah, this is what I’m supposed to do right now.’ So we decided to stop trying not to have a baby and I got pregnant about a month later.
I’ve always been really active, pre-baby I was way into running and yoga. That being said, I was incredibly freaked out about what pregnancy was going to do to my active lifestyle and my body. Having those thoughts made me feel guilty. Here I was, healthy, capable of having a baby, and I was worried about having a dumpy mom body and winding up wearing sweats and mom jeans for the rest of my life. I decided I’d just focus on staying healthy and having the fittest pregnancy I could.
I ran and taught yoga up until my third trimester when everything fell apart. You know those people who tell you not to try to plan anything when it comes pregnancy/labor/being a mom…they’re mostly right. The second you think you have a handle on things something comes along to humble you and remind you that you’re not in control. I ended up in the hospital with chest and back pain. The doctors thought I might have a blood clot in my lungs but couldn’t be sure without exposing me and the baby to radiation through a CT. They kept talking about how that wasn’t an option because it’s just too risky for the baby so we attempted to rule out everything else we possibly could first.
I have had kidney stones in the past and suggested they check my kidneys but the doctors brushed me off. Later, the decided they wanted to do an ultrasound of my gallbladder and again, I pushed them to look at the kidneys as well. They gave in and ordered both tests. As the tech was doing the scans, I asked her how my kidneys looked, she indicated she wasn’t allowed to give me information but to make sure that the doctor looked at the results from my right kidney. The doctor came back in an hour later and simply said ‘gall bladder looks fine, must be something else’. She turned to leave and I asked, ‘What about the kidney results?’ She opened the chart back up and said ‘Oh! well…your right kidney is really enlarged…but even so…we can’t rule out a clot. I think we’re going to have to send you for CT.’ She asked us to think it over and decide whether or not we wanted to move forward and let her know once we made a decision. I was so conflicted, they’d spent hours telling me how terrible this option was for the baby. I felt so unprepared for all of this. Was getting the CT selfish? Was I going to be a bad mom before I even had this baby exposing him to radiation? Were these doctors just ignoring my kidney issue and sending me for unnecessary tests?
The mister and and I decided we needed to rule out a blood clot because the risk of me dying wasn’t worth chancing. We cried together for a long time and eventually the tech came to take me for the testing. He was young and kind and asked me to move to the transport bed. As I got up he said, ‘Oh, they didn’t tell me you were pregnant. You can’t have a CT’. I burst into tears as I explained we had no options. He apologized and wheeled me down to the CT room as I tried again to compose myself. A woman came out of the room and said, ‘Oh honey, you’re pregnant…’ Again…massive tears. She hugged me as I cried and asked me to wait a moment so she could arrange for me to be sent to their newest machine which delivered the lowest amount of radiation. She promised to do her best to shield my baby and she held my hand and cried with me through the whole process.
After this entire ordeal, my results came back negative. The nurse came by and let me know I was being released. ‘Wait…released? How am I being released? I’m still in pain, I can barely breathe, what am I supposed to do?’ She said they had to assume at this point the pain was a result of my kidney being blocked by a stone or the pressure from the pregnancy and was backing up with fluid and enlarged. The only options for dealing with this issue while pregnant were to do surgery with no anesthesia to insert a tube into my kidney through my back to drain it. They tube would have to be left in until I had the baby and risk of infection was high. The other option was to take pain killers and try to keep the dose low enough that the baby wouldn’t be born addicted.
After all we had been through, these weren’t options. Nothing that could potentially harm my baby was an option. I left the hospital sick, unable to walk, barely able to breathe, tears running down my face but I had resolved that I was going to protect this baby. I think that was when I first felt like a real mom. That’s when I entered motherhood.”
What’s something you wish someone had told you that you would advise to a new mom?
“Honestly, don’t listen to anyone and fight for what you know. This is your body, your baby, and your life and you really do know what’s best for you. You know what you’re capable of. People are going to want to tell you who you’re going to be, what it’s going to be like, how you’re supposed to handle it, but being a mama is uniquely you! You need to make those calls. Don’t let others tell you how its going to be, forge that path for yourself.
I remember so many people saying things like, ‘Say goodbye to that cute body’ or ‘You’ll never be able to wear those jeans again’ or ‘Sleep now because you wont get any later’ or ‘If you don’t breastfeed for a year you’re depriving your child’; the list goes on. Ultimately, none of it matters. You need to do what is right for you and your baby, not what is right by anyone else.”
Were you always active? If yes, how has this evolved for you? If no, why did you start?
“Yes! In highschool I was really obsessed with ballet. I thought I was going to graduate and major in ballet in college. I eventually realized that I wasn’t that good, I liked eating, not obsessing over my body, and I wanted to actually make some money in my career. Not to mention I was basically destroying my body with all that I was doing to be a tiny dancer.
After I stopped dancing I took up yoga. It felt like the perfect outlet. The flows reminded me of how I used to move in ballet, it maintained my flexibility, but it had so much more to offer me. I also took up running and ran the original Wasatch Back Ragnar relay 4 years in a row to keep me motivated to keep training, pushing mileage, and speed.
Once I became pregnant I kept up with running and yoga as long as I could but my third trimester complications sidelined me until after the baby was born. During that time I stumbled upon Kayla Itsnes’s instagram and saw Kim Fairly’s transformation photos and my jaw literally dropped. That’s what I wanted. She was just like me, a new mama just killing it! I bought the original ebook that day and held on to it until my doctor cleared me to work out.
I got into the BBG guide 6 weeks postpartum and it was killer. After 12 weeks I was expected abs but was mostly just still fat. I’d seen changes in my body but was no where near my pre-baby self. I had seen changes though so I decided if 12 weeks changed my body that much, another 12 would change it more, and I would just keep going until I got where I wanted to go. I wound up doing nothing but BBG and yoga for 2 straight years!
From there I started adding lifting and ended up in my current routine, a mix of BBG, lifting, HIIT, yoga, and running. I get a little bit of all the things I love and I’m really happy with how I look and feel.”
In the short time we’ve been friends I can tell you are modest and genuine, qualities that I definitely look for in people I surround myself with. What places, people, experiences do you pull inspiration from tobe you?
“Well, thank you. That means so much to me. I think a lot of who I am comes from my dad. Growing up my dad used to have a lot of little life lessons he’d tell us all the time. There are three that are always on my mind and govern a lot of how I live:
1. You never know what someone is going through. Everyone you interact with could be struggling. You can’t put yourself in their shoes and know those struggles so always be kind. In every interaction you have try to treat people how you would want to be treated.
2. When I die I’m not going to wish I spent more time at work or made more money. I’m going to wish I made more memories, had more experiences, and spent more time with those that I love.
3. Your integrity is all you have in life. Always be honest and real.
He’s a good man that dad of mine.”
Can you share a time that you struggled and what motivated you to overcome that struggle?
“Umm…daily ha ha. We all have our demons and struggles in various times of our life. I think with any struggle I’ve had, getting a chem degree while working full time, having a baby while working with a husband working and going to school, getting in shape, dealing with my nutrition, etc. the key to moving through it is remembering why it’s important to you, staying consistent, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Thats where amazing things happen.”
I’m sure you’ve been asked before, but what does fitness mean to you?
“Fitness is about creating a lifestyle, one that is consistent but growing. It’s about challenging yourself at whatever level you are at and committing to working on yourself everyday.”
You have an impressive portfolio of brands you’ve worked with on Instagram. I’m sure many Instagrammers would love to know how to get started with collaborations, what few pieces of advice can you share for someone getting started?
“Omg! Ha ha…could I tell you some stories! My very first collaborations I had a couple brands reach out to me and they wanted to send me product to share about on my instagram if I liked it. I was suuuuuper weirded out by it and convinced they wanted my address so they could poison me and my family ha ha. I started accepting things and ended up posting about a lot of products that really didn’t resonate with me while I figured it out. I kinda came to a point where I decided if I was going to post about products I had to have standards. I implemented a set of rules around what I would and wouldn’t post about and still stick to them. The product has to fit with me and my message, I have to love and use it, it has to be something I’d be willing to recommend to my best friend and feel good about. Like my dad said, ‘Your integrity is all you have.’
If you’re just getting into collaborations or want to get into them, be bold. Approach brands you want to work with and tell them why you’re worth working with and why you love what they’re doing. You will get rejected sometimes but it’s great practice for building your confidence and I think its great to let brands that you love know why you love them!”
What are your favorite exercises? Least favorite?
“I loooove shoulder day, capped shoulders are a goal of mine for sure. Ab work is also my favorite…all of it. I love working abs. Chest day is killer. I really struggle with it. Part of it is because I had a snowboarding injury at 16 that left my shoulder and ribs permanently displaced. This has caused imbalance and weakness on my right side. I have other muscles that have to compensate for the displaced bones. While I’m functional, I think fear and knowing I’m weaker in my chest holds me back.”
You’re stuck on an island for a month and you can only listen to one song, eat one food, and watch one show – what are they?
“Oh man…you’re going for the tough questions here. Song would have to be Love on the Weekend by John Mayer because it makes me happy and reminds me of rainy days in San Francisco and quite walks in rain through Muir Woods with my man. One food is a tough one…but let’s go with turkey chorizo tacos. One show…do I get a series or just one episode? If I get a series I want game of thrones because I could watch it a million times and still miss half of what’s actually going on in the plot. If it’s a single episode I’m going to fight you for a movie instead and ask for Ocean’s 11 because it’s just bomb.”
If you aren’t following Court, make sure to on Instagram and her blog, Courtney’s Fit Life for fashion, lifestyle, and fitness. Here’s to connecting with women that are going through it — we may be different, but when it comes down to it, we are all fundamentally 99.9% the same.