SLEEP! The value of quality sleep cannot be overstated. This is when the body gets a chance to rest and repair. There are functions in the body that happen ONLY during deep sleep. It is imperative that our bodies get to do the work internally that is required to keep us healthy. Good sleep hygiene can make a very big difference in our health and wellbeing and of course mood.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Ross.
Courtney is a Functional Medicine Practitioner, Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Nutrition Specialist. Courtney has been a fitness professional since 2005 and is passionate about motivating and guiding her clients to optimal health and wellness. She has found success with her clients by enabling them through education to take control of their own health and wellness to reach their goals.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Istarted out as a model. I knew I couldn’t model forever, but that I could have better longevity if I was fit. I had some minor surgery on my foot and was kept off the runway for awhile. Being sedentary was brutal. Once I was able to get moving, I dove head first in to working out. I saw that I could change my own body and wanted to help others do the same. I’m also still doing some modeling almost 2 decades later.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most interesting thing I feel is that my thirst for knowledge in this area just won’t quit. After becoming a CPT, I got into health coaching, then nutrition, then functional medicine. I am forever fascinated with how the body functions. I never dreamed that I would be doing all this today, but I absolutely love it. It is definitely my passion. I look at my clients as puzzles and I want to put the pieces together to help them be their best.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Oh man, I never ran as a child. my mother always made fun of me so I was too self conscious. When I was 30, I decided I wanted to start running. It seemed like that thing that was out of reach. There was a woman at the gym that was an effortless runner and I saw her daily on the treadmill. She would get on the treadmill, put a piece of gum in her mouth and just take off. I thought “I want to do that” so I put a piece of gum in my mouth and tried to run. I lost count of how many times I bit my tongue and my mouth. Not to mention I was so winded since I was a new runner. To this day, I do NOT run with gum.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I believe my unique contribution is a combination of passion and the desire to problem solve. I truly look at my clients like puzzles. Every puzzle is different. No two people can be on the exact same program regardless of whether or not they want the same result or have the same issue. You need to treat each person as an individual.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Wow. I do have someone very special. The person who believed in me ALWAYS. Was supportive ALWAYS, and taught me how to believe in myself. I didn’t grow up with that. I had 5 years of my life with him. He was everything to me and then he passed away suddenly. I can honestly and emotionally say that I would’t be where I am today if he had not been in my life. I’m so grateful to him. It made me realize the power of love and support. He always wanted me to follow my desires and told me “you can do it.” He passed 8 years ago and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to him for all he taught me.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
In my experience, the only one is that people don’t believe they deserve to live the life they want. For whatever reason, they believe they cannot change. I see a lot of self sabotage. Honestly, that is really it. When you dive deep, and you ask “why” and you ask “why” again, that is what it comes down to. There can be a superficial reason, but when you really get into it, there is a reason they think they are not worthy. It really is a shame. Plenty of times clients don’t even realize it until I keep asking and then they get into the uncomfortable space that they don’t even go into. Until they go there, nothing will change.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
1. Eating organic fruits and vegetables. Most of us don’t eat enough plant based options but just making the ones you’re currently consuming organic can up your nutrient intake and reduce toxins like pesticides and herbicides in the body. Frozen counts too! You can save money here and still enjoy things that might not be in season near you.
2. Along with that, if you eat meat, eat grass fed and organic. The same thinking comes into play here. You are eating what the animal ate. If they ate garbage, so are you. Studies have shown that grass fed beef has the same Omega-3’s as deep sea fish! That is pretty amazing. On the other hand, grain fed beef is high in Omega-6’s. Most people’s ratios of the two are already out of balance. Always buy the best quality food you can afford. Your body will thank you for it.
3. Next comes the cleaning products. Go through your house and clean out all the traditional cleaning products. Several studies have shown that the air inside our homes can be worse than the air outside. Much of that comes from our cleaning products, scented candles, air fresheners etc. Those things that smell good are actually toxic. It is about reducing your toxic body burden. Think about all the chemicals you are putting on your skin and inhaling daily. Just make the commitment to replace things one at a time. When you run out of something, replace it with a natural alternative.
4. Now on to exercise, my passion! Like Nike says, “just do it!” Do anything just start moving. Try something different. See what makes your heart sing. Go get that endorphin rush. You’ll have extra energy and a spring in your step for hours to come. There is nothing like a hard earned sweat. Sweating is great for the body and is also a detox pathway. The body’s lymphatic system does not have a pump like the cardiovascular system does. Our bodies were made to move! If you are new to strength training or trying a new video, practice the moves in front of a mirror to check your form. If you can afford to hire a trainer, do it. They can help you decide what is best for your body and help you get your form down. Ultimately, the best workout is the one you’ll do.
5. Finally, SLEEP! The value of quality sleep cannot be overstated. This is when the body gets a chance to rest and repair. There are functions in the body that happen ONLY during deep sleep. It is imperative that our bodies get to do the work internally that is required to keep us healthy. Good sleep hygiene can make a very big difference in our health and wellbeing and of course mood.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Some daily benefits of exercise are the endorphin rush, moving the lymphatic system and building cardiovascular and muscular strength and endurance. You will feel better after you exercise even if you wake up dreading it. You will always feel better moving your body in a safe way. We talked about the lymphatic system. You can’t always see the benefit, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Any form of movement is positive. Finally, as we age, we lose muscle mass. The more muscle you have on your frame the better. Being strong and mobile will always be a benefit to people.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
I think a solid 3 to start with would be the squat, the push up and the pull up. That covers every major muscle group and of course there are modifications if you are first starting out.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Definitely don’t skip your warm up! You need to prepare your body for exercise. That will prevent a lot of potential problems. Also, you need to stretch. Our fascia needs work too. We can’t neglect body parts. Our bodies will let us know if we do. Also, there are good supplements out there. Research what you buy as there are plenty of bad ones too. They can definitely either give you an edge or help you recover.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
To be honest there isn’t a ‘Diet” most are told to follow. They are all individuals with different needs. I will say that I tell them all to eat as plant based as possible. They know to do as much organic as they can. Have a good source of clean, filtered or purified water to stay hydrated and eat intuitively. I do the same. Anything I eat the skin on is organic. I have an RO system in my house for water. I have a sweet tooth so I’m not perfect but I always have healthy, natural, organic food on hand.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
You Are The Placebo by Joe Dispenza. This may sound a little woo woo for some, but he talks about our ability to rewire our brains and recondition our bodies to make lasting changes. I had a partial tear in my rotator cuff that I healed through his meditations.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Man this fires me up! I would start a movement to get people moving and get back to nature. That includes the way we eat, and they way we medicate ourselves. Our bodies will heal themselves if we get out of the way. Pharmaceuticals are bandaids. Let’s get the knowledge to the people and allow them to decide what they would rather have.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Khalil Gibran. We all get knocked down by things or people’s words or whatever. How we come out on the other side is what matters. I don’t do things “because of “in most cases, I do them “in spite of.” Being able to learn and grow and be better is amazing when you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I honestly can’t pick one. You can choose for me. In the fitness space, Bedros Keuilian. He is so inspiring and motivating and will call bullshit when necessary. He has gotten me through many a bad day with his posts. In the health space, I would choose Dr Christopher Shade from Quicksilver Scientific. I would love to nerd out with him on the biochemistry behind his products. The quality of their products is second to none and to pick the brain of this brilliant man would be an unforgettable event. Finally in the same vein is Keiran Krishnan from Microbiome Labs. Another brilliant mind in the arena of all important gut health. He has designed some incredible products that I take myself and recommend to my clients. I’d love to speak with him about gut health, the microbiome and poop. 🙂
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@_moxie_fitness_cle On Instagram
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!