1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, who is Courtney Marshall?
Well, my day job is as an Assistant Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire. I’ve got 1 husband, 4 cats, and tons of hobbies!! I love all things athletic and funny.
2. So I found out about you on facebook, at the time you were posting about your progress with the plank exercise. What made you want to share your weight loss journey?
I initially wanted to share because I think this whole quest is hilarious! I had initially done a squat challenge and invited some buddies to do it with me. At that point, I decided to post a YouTube video every day so that I had a song to squat too. Once I did that, I moved on to other monthly exercise challenges, and my good friend Alex posted a plank challenge. I had so much fun talking with other folks who were doing the challenges that I thought I’d record my planks.
3. For many people who are overweight stepping into a gym is a scary thing. What are some tips or pieces of advice that you have for someone who is on the fence about starting to exercise?
1. Find an activity you like. For a long time, I tried to be a walker because that’s what all the magazines told me that that’s what fat ladies should do. I found walking to be incredibly boring, and I tried everything I could think of to spice it up. Now I swim, lift weights, dance, jump rope, and a whole bunch of other things I never thought I’d do. I enjoy it all so much!!
2. Don’t fat shame yourself, your body, or your abilities. Everybody is doing awesome, no matter what exercise they’re doing (or not doing). Treat yourself with love and compassion and do activities that make you love yourself even more.
3. Make friends and make it fun. There are lots of nice people at the gym!
4. Make it look good! Don’t compare yourself to other people or do something beyond your abilities because you think your’e supposed to. If you modify a move, make it look like the best thing ever!! You’re a star!!
4. Do you have a workout partner or do you do it solo? If you do have a workout partner would you mind sharing a little bit about he or she?
This is an interesting question because while I don’t have a steady workout partner, I have workout buddy groups. I have the7am Zumba ladies, my Tuesday morning hip hop crew, the Coach Royce crowd, the Integrated Fitness powerlifting team, and of course the good folks at CrossFit! Then there’s all my Facebook healthy homies, especially Team Don’t Stop Get It Get It! Alex is the person I exercise with the most. She’s my Zumba and hip hop instructor, and we also take a few CrossFit classes together each week. We’re gearing up for the Spartan Sprint!
5. So I heard that you do Crossfit, what was your first time going to the CF gym like?
The first time I went was to cheer Alex on at a competition last year, and I thought that everybody was really nice! I signed up for a charity WOD and was hooked as soon as I picked up the kettlebell! Soon after, I signed up, jumped into my on-ramp classes, and have been there ever since. I love it!
6. What drew you to CF? When most people think of CF they think of men and women who are lean & in crazy shape!
I enrolled in a twice weekly Weight Challenge class at Integrated Fitness and had a great time lifting weights in a community of super strong women. I decided that I wanted to experience that same type of community every day. By this point, I had already cheered Alex on in the CrossFit competition, so it already didn’t seem like a scary place. I like CF because the people there see themselves as athletes improving their craft, not as a collection of appetites to deny and bodies to berate. Everybody there works so hard, and I love being there!
7. As your journey towards a healthy and happy body goes on I am sure that you have hit some road blocks or obstacles how do you deal with them?
When I have an off day, I don’t let it get me down. I work out every day, so I know that I will have plenty of time to do it again. I also enlist the help of friends. I text or call if I’m having a rough day. For example, one day I really wanted pizza, so I went on Facebook and committed to a group of friends that I’d go home without stopping. When I got home, I sent them another message.
8. When you first started exercising what was the hardest thing for you? Tips on how you overcame those things?
The hardest thing was letting go of what I thought exercise was, especially exercise for fat women. I overcome this by signing up for activities and competitions that I think are far outside my comfort level. Right now I’m signed up for a CrossFit competition in July and the Spartan Sprint in August, and my second powerlifting competition in October. These activities encourage me to reach for higher goals, goals that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. I’m incredibly ambitious!!
9. Do you have a daily routine that you follow?
I do. Every day I go to an Alex class (except for Sundays!) and I go to CrossFit. I begin every day with a list of goals for the day and I end it with emailing a gratitude list to two good friends. I usually start the day with a green smoothie.
10. Do you have anyone who you look up to or a mentor in the exercise world?
I guess I look up to Alex a lot. She’s my instructor for a number of classes (hip hop cardio, Zumba, hip hop dance, barre, and this summer, tap dance!) Over the last year, she’s become my good girlfriend. I’m sure she’s like, “Oh great. Another testimonial from Courtney.” but oh well, she’ll have to get over it. I love that girl! She makes dancing so much fun and is such a huge cheerleader for all my forays into sporty fun and competitions. She also has two dogs, Bo and Bella, who are good walking buddies. Alex is so body positive and makes all of her classes hilarious. I love that she makes everybody feel so welcome. It’s been great going from having her as an instructor to a classmate in CrossFit class.
11. What is your favorite food?