Meet the Trainer- Courtney Zona

Let’s take a look at another member of the Gruntz Fitness team, trainer, Courtney Zona!

How did you get involved in fitness?

I come from a long line of fitness professionals in my family, my father was a body builder type, always drinking muscle milk and pumping iron in the basement. My mother was an aerobics instructor. My sister is a personal trainer in Florida and my brother is a General Manager of  3 gyms in Florida. So I was bound at some point to follow suit.

I have been working in retail for over 13 years, ever since I was 16 years old. I worked up the ladder fast and became store manager. I also have my associates degree in business management. I was happy for a long time in retail management, but when I can back from maternity leave I realized something just wasn’t working for me anymore. I just couldn’t justify being away from my son 40+ hours a week at a job I didn’t have passion for.

So, I started exploring different career fields. My sister made a comment on something I posted on Facebook and said I should become a personal trainer. I laughed think “How the heck am I supposed to go back to school right now!!” The more and more I thought about it, the more and more I couldn’t get it out of my head. I did research on different programs and actually talked to Matt about NASM. I went back and forth with myself for about 2 weeks and then I had a very tough day at work and on my break signed up.

I couldn’t be any happier with my decision. I am excited every day to work with some amazing people and am very thankful to have matt take me under his wing.

Have you always been fit, exercised?

My history with my weight is a very long story. I was a very fit child always running around and playing. When I was a freshman in high school I started developing my figure, while my friends were still very small and skinny. Confused why I looked different I began skipping meals. I was on a dangerous road, working out 3 hours a day and hardly eating. My sisters eventually caught on to what I was doing and gave me a choice. I start eating and not working out as much, or they tell mom and dad. So, I just went back to my normal eating habits. junk food, pizza, ice cream… you name it. In the course of a year I gained 50 pounds. I went from 115lbs to 165lbs.

Now that I am educated, I know that I killed my metabolism and that is why I gained so much weight. I remember going to my pediatrician and her telling me I was on a dangerous road to obesity due to my rapid weight gain. This was my wake up call. I started working out again and lost 15lbs my junior year of high school.

After high school I just kept getting better and stronger. I have tried so many different things. I have failed several times but kept going and today I am a healthy and strong 135lbs.

Cardio or weight training?

Before I got into weight training I was all about cardio. My husband called me the cardio queen. It wasn’t until I did the insanity program that I started seeing these muscles coming through and my legs becoming lean and sculpted. I was in love with my body and remember being so confident that bikini season. After 2 rounds of insanity I began running and was training for a half marathon. I started to notice I lost so much muscle tone.  So, I decided to get a gym membership and started weight training.

Today I normally do 6 days a week of weight training and 1 day a week of running 3 miles or so. In terms of changing body composition, hands down weight training.

How do you get women to lift heavy and get out of the mindset that they are going to “bulk up”?

Educating them on what is happening in their body when they weight train. Many women feel if they strengthen the muscle they will make that body part bigger not smaller. However, what is really happening is you are burning the muscle which burns calories. Essentially as you strengthen the muscle, the surrounding fat is also burning away and making room for that beautiful sculpted figure to come to the surface.

Top ab exercises.

I love c-sit position, there are so many different varieties and you can get a great burn out.

Do you meal prep weekly?

Yes, I meal prep. I have been for about a year now and it is so life changing. I honestly don’t know how you can be successful without meal prepping. It takes me about 2-3 hours and I usually split it up, doing some on Saturday and some on Sunday.

What are your go to snacks?

My go to snacks are: shakes, protein balls, protein pancakes and carrots. I love carrots!

What is one piece of advice you would give to those looking to get healthy?

My advice to anyone ready to get started on getting healthy is plan, plan, plan. Plan your meals to know exactly what you are going to eat and when. Plan your workouts weekly to know what you are doing every day. Plan your goals and when you will track them. Also make sure your goals are practical. No more than 6-8lbs lost in a week.  Don’t forget to take your measurements the scale in not always accurate.

Stay tuned for more interviews!

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