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The Shark Bite Show Episode 3: Courtney on fitness while dealing with a brain injury

Nick and Mental Health Counselor Courtney talk about 1 on 1 training, overcoming disabilities, and the link between fitness and therapy.

Nick  00:00
Today we have Courtney, she’s one of our members here. She is a member of Shark Bite Cape Coral. She’s been with us for a little over a year. And probably takes part in personal training with Coach Christie, right? Yeah. Now, I told you before we started, I really wanted to have you on this podcast. You’re on the shortlist of people that I wanted to contact immediately. So I’m really glad that we get to have you here. So let’s talk about a couple of things because you have a super unique story. I think a lot of people really like to hear it. So who are you? What got you interested in fitness? How did you find a way to Shark Bite?

Courtney  00:48

My name is Courtney. I guess what got me interested was, I was tired of being stagnant. So I have some things I will go into later and might have some mobility issues. So it was always kind of difficult for me to find a coach that would be able to work with what I’ve got, and would be able to know what I really need for my body. So it was just so random. One day, I just Googled Cape Coral. I have a few friends that really encouraged me to find the perfect coach. All of this stuff is crazy. Amazing. So I was like, No, I’m not gonna do that. But for some reason I just did. And I came into an intro and said that you are okay. Okay, let me just take it away. Let me do it. And, it works so far.

Nick  01:44

Oh, cool. I mean, it obviously worked. I’ve seen him do some pretty cool things. But I think he maybe didn’t expect to be able to know. Talk about that, that intro process a little bit, because I remember sitting in this room with you when we first met, right, and we talked about why you’re looking for a job and what you were hoping to have to happen. Talking about that process. What was that? Like?

Courtney  02:03

It was super easy. I think after I typed in the inquiry on the website, you’d like to call me right away, we may have a time that was for me to come in and just talk to you for a couple of minutes. You’re super authentic and real about what you do here. And I really, really appreciate it back. When selling me anything. If anything, you’re reminding me of what I have to hope for in life. And so it was just an amazing, comfortable place to be from the very beginning.

Nick  02:35

That’s cool. I’m glad. Yeah, I’m glad. I’m glad that it felt that way. Right, because you’ve worked with me and Christy and Crystal Josh and everybody. I think sales is the last word to describe anyways, you know, we came to the realization a long time ago that we’re not trying to sell anyone on joining a gym, you know, we’re just trying to help people. And if Yeah, if this doesn’t help them, then that’s okay.  

Courtney  02:57

Simon and everybody that I noticed here have a really good connection, just walking, going, you can feel that energy when you come here. So I see that every single day. And it’s never, we’ve been here almost a year and a couple of months. And everyone’s always in a good mood. It’s so amazing. I love it here.

Nick  03:19

But it is nicer when you walk into a place and everyone’s smiling and says, Hi. Give it about a week everyone here is gonna learn your name. You’re not gonna walk from the front of the room without eight people like this. Well. Where else is that? Right. Okay, so most people at the gym don’t know this, you know, you’re, you’re currently recovering from brain injury. Right? Can you explain a little bit about what happened, what the recovery process has been? Like? What are some of the struggles you’ve gone through that maybe people don’t know about?

Courtney  03:53

Yeah, it’s so interesting, because having a brain injury is kind of like an invisible disability, because I’m very sorry, here it was my 20 years and it’s just like, no one notices, but there’s something not quite right off a little bit. But it happened about 12 years ago, I went in for a routine procedure. And suddenly with anesthesia, it causes the brain aneurysm in the brainstem. So all my cognitive abilities were intact, it was just my motor function. So everything from breathing to eating to seeing any kind of muscle memory was just kind of reset. So I have to do a lot with this little therapy for probably about six months after, but I do still have some residual like off-balance issues or visual issues. So it’s just it’s really hard to explain to people like hey, I’m Courtney, I have a brain injury. So it’s just that it does take some time for me to get to know people and for them to get to know where I’m coming from. So it really I tell people it hasn’t stopped me from living my life in July view, I’m a licensed mental health counselor, I have my own private practice. Just straight away actually, obviously coming here whilst I was looking forward to getting connected with movement, which I tell my clients is so beneficial for mental health. So finding this really means walking the talk and, and really connecting with me and helping myself in that way.

Nick  05:36

How has fitness specifically helped with that? 

Courtney  05:45

Yeah. So just functionally small things like when I parked my car and there’s like a little curb up to like a gas station or something. We always planned in my head with gas stations I could go to like that didn’t have that curve, like but so it’s like now confidently being able to remember that muscle memory of like the way that Chrissy would have myself over a million times, like that itself is just it allows me to just go through my day a much easier, with less anxiety, less subconsciousness. I’m just here to get what I have to get done. So just set it up. Always super find out. For me, being comfortable with those small successes for me.

Nick  06:41

That’s cool. Those are my favorite things, right? Like getting to lift up a bunch of heavyweights is cool. But like as a coach, Chris, and Josh, and he and every one of us have talked about this so far. The coolest thing about a coach is when you guys get to do something that you thought you couldn’t do? Yeah. If your life is 5% Better outside of the gym because of what we do here. And that means that what we’re doing is super successful. Yes, for sure. Christy’s like hit me up after messing with those, and she’s so excited about it. She’s so damn excited about it. I mean, I guess that’s a great time to ask about it. Like we even worked with Christie. Right for a while now. She’s your one-on-one coach. Right? And you seem to have some really strong positive feelings about her. Right? Yes. Talk to me about her and what she’s done and how and why you guys can XLR.

Courtney  07:31

So many things. But we both like we have similar personality traits, I think you just have fun while we’re doing something. Sometimes just a little bit ridiculous. And somebody who just is comfortable to be around, I can be myself around, especially when, for me, doing these movements is a very vulnerable place for me to be and kind of probably fail over and over again. But being around somebody who’s so positive and doesn’t allow me that negative self-talk, and just kind of feels that fire might not sell me it’s just a lot for that. And it’s truly authentic and genuine. And I can’t tell you it’s really hard to find. So I appreciate that from her.

Nick  08:21

Yeah, every time I look in the back, I just see the TV laughing. Working out. Let’s go. That’s cool. That was Yeah because you know, Christy works very, very hard to make sure that you and our other clients have a good experience. Yeah.

Courtney  08:35

Oh, as a coach, she definitely knows what she’s doing, especially with my specific needs, she’ll be able to accommodate and customize what she’s doing with me. So there’s never like if I’m not getting something and she’s keeping on the same thing to try something else. So being adaptable, like I can see that in her poaching. So awesome.

Nick  08:56

Yeah, right, then that’s, that’s the mark of somebody who knows what they’re talking about. If I can just repeat one thing to you over and over again, I might not know if I can, if I can come at it from different angles, as she does. Like, that’s gonna feel great. Yeah. And you talked about how, you know, it’s kind of a vulnerable position. Right? I’ll tell you what, like, that’s, that’s not only with you, like, for me, it’s hard. It’s hard to try new things. You know, it’s hard to try things that you’re not sure you’ll be successful at. And I think I know, for me, I think having a coach is the surest way to feel comfortable trying new things. As you said, there’s so much support there. And if you mess up, well, you guys might laugh about it a little bit. They’re not gonna laugh at you. They’re gonna help you get to the way you want. Right, right, right. Yeah, that’s cool. So you have a very interesting job, right? The official position was the title.

Courtney  09:46

I’m a licensed mental health counselor. I’m also a nationally certified counselor and agency partner at the practice group practice. What’s the name of the practice of my speed counseling services.

Courtney  10:03

Yeah, we have amazing, amazing talented therapists. And we all have our different specialties. For me, I work with a vast population, but my specialty has really honed into eating disorders and trauma recovery. So reprocessing. So with CrossFit, it is actually really interesting how some of those somatic movements can be so healing and with the research, we have about EMDR and the way that maybe those work while you’re doing those movements in high-intensity sessions, it’s healing. Yeah, literally healing. So I have so much respect for it to

Nick  10:50

We’ve talked about that right now, it almost feels like a form of therapy. And I can’t legally say that, but it sure feels like.

Courtney  10:57

It really, really is, especially for people you do have that need to have that some of the top down therapy is just, we’re not hitting the right brain. So good. Have that feeling because every emotion carries a physical reaction, to be aware of that, especially with the body movements is going to help them process and be able to not have an overactive nervous system all the time. 

Nick  11:35

It’s just super fun. So let’s say I wanted to go find out more about lifestyle. If I wanted to come and become a client, how would I do that?

Courtney  11:42

So all of us have gone to our website was gay counseling Again, each of us has a different specialty, we have our own different vibe that we have. So, paper therapists, it feels like the same best for you. And we can also call and we can help you decide that we call back within 24 hours, all of us can get what you want within the past couple of days of you calling. So it’s a very direct streamlined process. Cool.

Nick  12:13

I know that I’ve shared about your stuff on social media, it’s been really helpful. I know, it’s not exactly the most fun topic for a lot of people to talk about, you know, but I was in the military, and I found that as mental health and actively working on it is something that can benefit all of us. You don’t have to just be whatever you think goes to mental health. I know. I mean, for me, it’s very helpful

Courtney  12:40

We have a process. And she’s been doing EMDR, too. But with the population that she works with, it’s highly, it’s a big, big thing not to be seeing a therapist. So what we do is we don’t send her around a diagnosis center, take a look at talk therapy, we customize it for what you need, and what your family system needs. So that’s a part of why I love working and learning from each other. We’re able to help that individual meet their needs, as opposed to giving them a standardized treatment plan.

Nick  13:18

And what’s cool is like you’re explaining that might explain why you like this place so much, because that’s exactly what we did. Yeah, Christy or Chris, or myself or Josh or crystal. And people have specializations like, we want corrective exercise like with your shoulder. Josh is the man for that. Right, right. Can you talk about that for a second? You asked me to bring this up. So this plug about Josh and athletic Recovery Services?

Courtney  13:42

Yes. So in his episode, that’s definitely why he mentioned other services where if it was in a rehab setting, a long time it is to be a hobby of the function in your life. It’s not necessary to help you do those movements in the gym or to even progress once you’ve reached a sort of, like, functional level. So what he does with exercise, I know, for me has been just like changing, being able to recognize the cues that my body responds well to. And notice, like what positions I’m from, as my default and to help me be aware of it so I can help move better, has been crazy musing. And I really haven’t seen that. Even in all the things I’ve been with all the different therapists who are amazing people. That’s not what their goal was for me. And so it’s been 12 years. Being able to work with somebody can still allow my body to learn new things and help me adjust could really happen? So I really appreciate it.

Nick  14:58

It’s cool, right? It’s almost like there is a lot that you didn’t realize, right? That’s my favorite thing about interest. Okay, so you talked about, you finding a connection between fitness there, right? What is that manifested for you in ways other than physical? So other than being a step over curves, which is awesome. Yeah. Like we talked about the power of a walking one for you, right? Like how cool it was that you can now do walking lunges, right? Why is that?

Courtney  15:27

Well, it’s definitely something I couldn’t do before. And like you said, for me, to be perfectly honest, I do have this like, for perfection. And so to come in and not do it, right, and now. It was like, my own exposure therapy until, like, that’s what supposed to feel like, that’s where you have to be, to be able to do it all the way. So, like, mental wellness wise, it’s kind of breaking down my own negative core beliefs about why I can do what I’m supposed to be doing, and to be more vulnerable with people. So it’s like, as a therapist, this is really my own therapy. Yeah, it’s

Nick  16:09

cool. They say that doctors are the worst patients. Yeah. You’re making sure that you actually get in there. So like you said, walking the walk and talking the talk. Yeah. Awesome. So in December, you did something really cool, right? We host a charity competition here. We call the reindeer games. Yeah. And you compete with it? Yeah, you can. With Josh right. Yeah, I man, I was so excited when I saw your name, come across the signup list. Talking about your glowing talk. Talk to me about that experience. It was it was

Courtney  16:42

I remember when he asked me. He was like, so you want to be a partner for Rainbow games? I’m like, do you know you remember who I am? And so I said, Yes. I told you earlier. I’m about Yes. Now. So I’m just like, You know what, let me just see this thing. And if I fall on a diet, Bondi. So it’s, but again, like, I wouldn’t have been able to open up so much without so many supportive people around me. Even in the composition, I remember really focusing on those assets. And there was some group of people on this bench that I’ve never seen before. And they’re just like cheering me on, we’ll go salsa girl. Oh, my God, this is amazing. Like this whole, everybody that comes to this place, gets this like energy. And like as we support each other, and I go in thinking, Well, wait, I can’t do this, or where people are going to like, see me struggling and not know. But that girl, that’s what she’s doing? What’s he doing here? That never happens. And it was like, just like, affirming that people are moving and that I’m amazing. And I can do hard stuff. Yeah, that’s actually my affirmation for this week. I can do hardly

Nick  17:56

Yeah, I love that. I love that. Those were my friends. I remember in the corner. Those are Dan and Sam. And they were losing it. They gave it to me afterwards. And they were like, that was so cool. People were already like, boxtops don’t care about that. Because I know, they recognize it, like what you were doing was super challenging. And you’re doing it? Well.

Courtney  18:15

Yeah. And yes, well, and for where I started, you know, way back like last December, to that moment after competition, I was able to focus on what I was doing and like, work with Josh and listen to Christie and their cue the beer Give me it was like, my experience. I definitely learned a lot about myself and trust myself more. And just being able to meet people that are so supportive was, I think, probably the most important just to have that level of acceptance. 

Nick  18:52

I remember I was supposed to be monitoring like every lane. And I’ve kind of forgotten about all the other people. Because as I was watching you do the fast steps, the steps into the box. I remembered your first session. Yeah. And like, Oh, this is an overview of the segments. I remember you having a hard time walking towards where your session was going to be. Yeah. And then we asked you to balance on one leg for about a second and he almost fell over. Yeah. And I remember watching you struggle with that the first time Yeah. And now over a year later, you’re like competing at a high intensity in front of an audience with people cheering for you as a partner was like waiting for you to do your part. Right? That’s so cool. I randomly give you that value. So awesome.

Courtney  19:28

But one of the competitors Selena she was actually one of my physical therapists. When I saw her years later, and the competition that she was also in, I was like, Oh my God. She saw me doing my way and when she likes, I can’t believe you’re here. 

Nick  19:54

You’re like you remember me when I couldn’t walk? And here I am doing a fitness competition next year. That’s so cool. That’s such a cool feeling. Okay, so if you were talking to someone, and they were scared to give fitness a try, right? What would you tell them? What would you want them to hear?

Courtney  20:18

I definitely would want them to like it, go back and give themselves just the opportunity to prove themselves wrong and get them out of their own way. Because I feel like that was a part of the problem before, I believe that I can do something too difficult for this, I have to be fit enough to come to a gym, that’s like, that’s not what this gym is about. So being able to trust the process and be open to learning new things. I think that’s why we want them to understand. And that there is a place for you wherever you’re at whatever level you’re on. So

Nick  21:00

Yeah, that’s cool. I was listening to this when I asked her what she’s saying. The biggest smile came over your face like I can see that. Okay, well, cool. Courtney, is there anything else you want to talk about? This has been awesome. Oh, yeah. The nutrition challenge. Nutrition? Yes, yes, talking about.

Courtney  21:19

So I had never done anything like that. And it’s, it’s also kind of a sensitive area and never gone, Oh, please, just talk about your relationship with body and with, with food. And so Christy was also my nutrition coach. And so it wasn’t about the body, it wasn’t about being able to be cut or look a certain way, it was about building sustainable habits that allow you to reach the highest potential that you have. And it was, it was amazing. And all this, again, all the support that you get with the challenge, and makes building those habits really fun, while holding each other accountable. So I got even more people. And it was just a really great experience. And another one of the best investments for me, as I’m learning more about how to take care of myself better, and like to level up in life. That was so significant. This is one thing to be able to move your body, but to be able to take care outside of the gym is really, really important too.

Nick  22:28

And you said that, you know you’re kind of specializing in eating disorders, right? Was that helpful for your practice going through that challenge?

Courtney  22:34

It definitely gave me more insight into how we look at food. There’s really no such thing as bad or good. It’s different type of fuel for the body. So somebody who was going through an eating disorder, definitely would not. They have to learn certain things and become nutrition sufficient before going into something like that for sure. But with this program, it does not reinforce that same diet culture that most other professions do. Which I really, really appreciate.

Nick  23:09

Yeah, I’m gonna have Katie on here to talk about that specifically. One of the things that can be boring, right? If you’re, if you’re on a diet, I don’t know that that’s the healthiest mindset. And it’s also not going to give you the longest-term results. You know, a diet is like a quick fix. And I think generally quick fixes don’t work, right? But like you said, picking up long-term habits they tend to work.

Courtney  23:33

And what can you tell us about your videos and what the program is like? Well, I do. Marvelous intuitive eating. So listening to your body and knowing what you really need and how you’re feeling. Being able to cope using other things besides eating behaviors or overeating. That’s something that you’ve taught in the program too, about being more in touch with what you actually mean. And being able to cope in a healthy way versus using food or as an after behavior.

Nick  24:06

You know what I was when I started nutrition coaching with Katie’s my nutrition coach as well. I was hesitant to jump on board for reasons like that, you know, and then when it became obvious that she wasn’t gonna restrict my eating, she was gonna help me make more positive choices. And then the results of that would have downstream I was like, Oh God, I really like this. I’m super on board with this.

Courtney  24:30

Yes. It definitely was challenging and it would make it so much more fun. What another one of the things I’m not super good at yet. Is cooking. Yeah. So there are videos and just like the simple directions of like, get that and do this and you don’t like to do it this way. One of the other coaches’ wives gave me a recipe for something and I was like, okay, find it enjoyable. This isn’t something you have to say. Oh, I don’t want to do that. It’s like, why can I learn to do that?

Nick  25:08

Do you know about Crystal’s meal prep course coming up? You’re gonna really like them is of course just on that kind of answer. Thanks for being here. Thanks for all the hard work I mean, like, I don’t. I don’t know if you’re aware of how many people in the gym you inspire on a daily basis. And anybody who knows your story sees you back there doing cool stuff with ball balls and jumping and steps and running and hopping on the rower in the bike. And I think I don’t know. I hope you know that you have an effect on the people in this gym just like you say they have an effect on you. So thank you for coming in and busting your ass on that.

Courtney  25:50

Thank you so much.


Check Courtney out here:

(239) 285 5883 – Courtney’s business phone number

Be sure to check out this episode of the #TheSharkBiteShow. 

Available in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or any of the podcast platforms. 

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