Courtney McCarthy

About the Episode

Hey Outlaws, welcome to this week’s episode. Courtney McCarthy is joining us today to share her journey to becoming a wellness professional. She is the CEO and founder of Loyobo FIT, a fitness community dedicated to helping women ditch diet culture, find joy in movement, and figure out how to love their bodies. We also discussed how the pandemic changed the fitness industry and how they pivoted into the virtual world. Tune in to hear more insights. Enjoy!

Disclaimer
This week’s episode covers a very sensitive topic about weight loss, diet culture, body movement, and body image. If you are currently going through any of these stages and feel it can be triggering, it is better to skip the episode.

Topics discussed in SEASON 2, episode #93

Topics Discussed:

  • What Courtney is finding her soul needs at this season of her business as we come up on the end of the year
  • Courtney’s journey from a government policy analyst to a wellness professional
  • How the pandemic lead Courtney to pivot her business into the virtual world
  • How Courtney’s own entrepreneurial journey impacted how she coaches and does business
  • The importance of language and community
  • Changing your mindset around how we relate to our bodies
  • Why it’s important to unlearn diet culture 

About Courtney:

Courtney McCarthy is the CEO and founder of Loyobo FIT, a fitness community dedicated to helping people (but especially women) to ditch diet culture, to find joy in movement and to finally figure out how to love their body. 

Courtney’s own journey with health and weight loss inspired her to become an ACE certified fitness professional. She learned the hard way how broken our views are towards women’s bodies and health. How the model that the fitness industry presents to us as the answer keeps us stuck and feeling worse. It’s not just about “exercising more and eating less”. It was only when she learned to accept her body and learn how to really have FUN with movement that she started to heal from chronic IBS, as well as low self esteem.

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Connect with Melanie here:

Courtney McCarthy

Speaker 1 (00:00:01):

Hey outlaws, welcome to our next episode of this season of Entrepreneurial Outlaws. I'm really looking forward to introducing you to today's guest, Courtney McCarthy. Courtney is the CEO and founder of Loyo Fit, a fitness community dedicated helping people, but especially women to ditch diet culture, to find joy in movement, and to finally figure out how to love their body. Courtney's own journey with health and weight loss inspired her to become an ACE certified fitness professional. She learned the hard way how broken our views are towards women's bodies and health, how the model that the fitness industry presents to us as the answer keeps us stuck and often feeling worse. It's not just about exercising more and eating less. It was only when she learned to accept her body and learned how to really have fun with movement that she started to heal from chronic ibs as well as low self-esteem.

Speaker 1 (00:00:54):

As you can imagine, today's conversation, Courtney and I deep dive into a lot of diet culture conversation. So I want to preface this with a trigger warning. If you are currently going through an eating disorder, if you are experiencing eating disorder, of hearing a conversation in, in reference to, um, the health and fitness industry, um, and potentially conversations around weight loss are going to be triggering, I want to kind of preface this, Um, maybe skip today's episode. Absolutely. Okay. Next week's episode is going to be, um, kind of our final round out of the season. So I just want to give that trigger warning now. Um, in the episode, we will be talking about covid in the fitness industry. This is something that we've talked a lot about over the season, businesses, how they've been impacted by Covid, um, and also talking about physical space being closed, because that is something that, especially in the health and fitness industry, and obviously similar, similar industries, um, like, uh, retail and, um, leisure and, and things like that have been affected over the last few years.

Speaker 1 (00:01:59):

So we're gonna be talking about that as well. We're also gonna be talking about pivoting into the virtual world. Um, Courtney's really interesting story from government policy analyst to wellness professional. She's gonna be sharing that with us. And we're also gonna talk about the importance of language and community when it, when we talk about loving our body, um, because this is a really important part of the conversation. This is something that more and more in the last few years, and especially the last 18 months, I've realized that, you know, things that I didn't know maybe a few years ago, which is that, you know, even fat people will experience fat phobia, uh, sorry, will be fat phobic. And this is something that's really interesting to start to dive into and uncover. And when it comes to talking about our bodies and, and what we can, you know, what we, what we hear, and being more, um, aware of the conversations that happen around us, you know, that I have talked more and more about my own experience as a fat person, um, in business, especially the last year or so.

Speaker 1 (00:03:01):

This is a conversation we've had more and more on the show, and it's a conversation that I continue to have in my personal life. It's a conversation that I continue to have in my emails and also talk about, you know, especially on TikTok. Um, because a lot of what I see, um, a good portion of what I see on TikTok is from fat creators. And that is really an a choice. It's something that I've chosen to really surround myself with because I want to see my body represented. And if you've been here for a while, you'll know that my, um, a bit, you know, my original inspiration for my stickers and my sticker shop has been about showing, um, you know, body diversity and, um, being able to share these beautiful stickers, these beautiful people, especially women, um, in ways that we don't typically see.

Speaker 1 (00:03:50):

Because often bigger bodies, fat bodies, um, are used as a marketing tool. And I used as a before, um, and I've said it before and I'll say again, I am not a before picture. Like, this is my life. I'm existing, I'm living my life, I'm experiencing my life. Um, and I happen to also be fat. Like these things do not have to work in isolation. So this is gonna be a really great conversation, but I did wanna preface this with that trigger warning. So if you feel that this is a conversation that you're not able to listen into, absolutely. Okay. If you start to listen into the conversation and feel that it's too much, also okay. Like, please do what's right for you. Um, I hope that you'll come back for next week's episode if you need to miss this one. Um, we are gonna be diving into, oh, the last two months of me not being on Instagram, what's next? All of this good stuff. And as I said, I will, I will try not to cry <laugh>, but, um, I'm not gonna promise anything. So anyway, let's get into today's episode with Courtney.

Speaker 1 (00:04:55):

Okay. Welcome to Entrepreneurial Outlaws, Courtney, I'm really looking forward to trying business and wellness with you today.

Speaker 2 (00:05:04):

Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1 (00:05:07):

I'm really looking forward to it. So before we dive in and get to know you even better, I would really love to just take a moment to check in with you because our theme for this season of Entrepreneurial Outlaws is entrepreneurial burnouts because the marketing during this season is so deeply rooted in hustle culture, and it can be really, really easy with so many shopping trends and marketing trends to try and do it all. But I would love to know from you, what do you need during this season of your business? Oh,

Speaker 2 (00:05:39):

What a great question. And I love the fact that, that it's your theme for this season because it's been such a theme of my life, I feel like, for, and my business for 2022. Um, so, you know, I'm sure we'll we'll dive into it as, as we go through the interview, but right now, in my season, uh, both my business and my personal life, it's really, uh, I feel like if, if I had to categorize it, it's like asking questions and really stepping into my own definition of success and what that looks like and what I want the bigger picture to be. I've just made a ton of changes in the business and in my life in order to create more time, to be able to slow down, to be able to focus on what's most important, which I know has that beautiful relationship of the better that I'm doing, the better that I can, you know, give to my business and, and encourage my business growth. So I don't know if that's a a very clear answer to your question, but it's, it's, as I said, it's all about, you know, asking questions, being curious and tuning inward.

Speaker 1 (00:06:54):

Yeah, I love that. No, it was very good answer to the question. I mean, I love some curiosity, so yeah, that's, that's absolutely, absolutely fine. 



Speaker 1 

I love curiosity. So I think that your explanation of what you need is absolutely wonderful because asking questions is so powerful, especially as business owners. And I think we're not encouraged to do that often enough. We really aren't. Um, I mean, we are not encouraged to do it probably at all, but especially in business because so much of online businesses about, as we've been taught to not trust ourselves mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think when we can be curious, we can't be judgemental with ourselves. And I think that's, that's one of the reasons why it's not encouraged <laugh>.

Speaker 2 (00:08:59):

Yeah. And I think it's the beauty of the pandemic, right? Which kind of broke us all open in new ways and mm-hmm. <affirmative> forced some of us to really ask questions and examine what was working in our lives and what wasn't. So I'm trying to lean into that of like, there was a lot of challenges that came about from the pandemic that, that really gutted my business in certain ways. Um, but on the positive side, it's, it's allowed me to get to a place and ask those questions that I probably never would have if the pandemic hadn't happened. So

Speaker 1 (00:09:32):

Yes, definitely feel that that vibe as well, that it broke me open in so many ways and in some ways I was able to put myself together, back together. And in some ways I'm still trying. Like, it's, it's, and it sounds so, it sounds incredibly morbid, but I, I feel it in a very beautiful way as well. There's so much beauty that came from it. Yeah, yeah. Beauty coming from that pain as well. So, I know we are gonna talk about the pandemic a little bit, but before we get there, I would love to know more about your background and your entrepreneurial journey, because I know that you started working out in quite a different industry, a different environment, the whole night yard. So tell us more.

Speaker 2 (00:10:13):

Yeah, so I actually, my educational background is I have a master's in public policy and public administration, um, which is a stream of political science. So I worked for the federal government here in Canada. Um, I was a regulatory analyst for both Health Canada and the Treasury Board secretariat. And that was, and still is a really big passion of mine. I do find politics fascinating in many regards, but like many people who either end up in, you know, bureaucracy or big corporate organizations, it really was soul sucking. And I went into government because I, I had the dream of, of really impacting change and making a difference in the community and making a difference for my country and wanting to be at kind of the center where all those decisions were made. And it really just didn't pan out that way. I was so deeply unhappy.

Speaker 2 (00:11:14):

And that's when, gosh, now that I'm saying it, maybe the theme of curiosity has been like more like a decade now <laugh>, because that's when I really started to ask questions. I remember being, you know, 25, 26 and thinking I have 30 more years of my working life, at least. Is, is this, it like, is this, so many people that I was working with in government were like, Oh, you're just becoming a bureaucrat. When they addressed my, you know, growing cynicism and feeling like I was just trying to get through the workday just to get the paycheck and the benefits and, and all those kind of holy grail markers of working for the public service. And, and even when thinking out with my life, many of the women were like, Well, just think about when you have babies. Like, think about the mat leave and all those great, you know, benefits.

Speaker 2 (00:12:06):

And I just felt really stuck and I thought, you know, is this all there is to life? Is this all that? You know, I spent eight hours of my day working, can I, can I really commit that much of my life to something that really is not even, not just bringing me joy, but is draining me from all aspects? So I started asking questions and I started trying to figure out, okay, what did I love about politics that maybe isn't isolated to politics? Is there other fields or other industries or other positions that I could utilize the skills and the education and the experience that I have and, and still tap into that desire to really help people and impact change, but not necessarily where I was originally envisioning? So I made the big leap of quitting the big adult job. <laugh> actually at the same time, you know, I'm a, I'm a very like, burn it all down and start, start nude kind of person.

Speaker 2 (00:13:10):

So I left, Oh, same, you know, I was in a long-term relationship, left that relationship, moved cities and really gave myself permission for about a year to just figure it out. Like I wasn't, I'm sure you've had stories on your podcast, right? Of the people who, who have the vision, they're like, I don't like this, but I wanna like, make jewelry or whatever. And that's my shining light. I wasn't like that. I had no freaking idea. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Um, but I did have some kind of inklings that I wanted to explore more. I had these kind of ideas. So fitness was one of them. Um, I had very recently, right as, as my life was kind of imploding at the government, I had taken a Zumba class. And as somebody who had struggled with weight and body image and my relationship with food and really being immersed in diet culture, Zumba was the start of a big shift in my life.

Speaker 2 (00:14:10):

It was the first time where I had experienced a kind of safe space in a gym where between the instructor who was teaching the class, it was a women's only gym. All of a sudden I felt this click of like, Wow, is this, what is this what movement is supposed to be? Like? I was just having so much fun. I wasn't thinking about, you know, how I looked or if I was burning enough calories, I was connecting with other women there. So it wasn't as much of a solo activity or feeling isolated as often I felt previously. So that was one of the avenues that I really wanted to explore. Like, it could I be happy? Is this something even just part-time? Is this something that I wanted to pursue as, as kind of a paid career option? So in that year I started teaching and it started snowballing pretty fast.

Speaker 2 (00:15:09):

<laugh> where, you know, the more I taught zba and I had a really positive experience and really was connecting with the women that were coming to my classes, the more I started to learn other types of, um, classes, different formats to teach, I started getting more certifications, becoming more qualified, and really loving it. But I also saw something else that was happening, which was in this process of this year of discovery, I lost a ton of weight and became what most people would qualify as like the ideal figure for a woman nowadays. I had a flat stomach, I was small, I fit into straight size clothing. And the women coming into my classes kept asking me, What's your secret? Um, because they also wanted to, to create those kind of results. And again, this theme of curiosity and asking questions, I realized that I had done all this work to lose the weight and I still didn't feel better about myself.

Speaker 2 (00:16:20):

I still was struggling with my confidence. I still was struggling with my body image. There was still so much stress and shame and struggle around food and what I was eating. It was so restrictive at the time. And that was mirrored back to me from my clients who were also struggling with their own body image, who were looking for answers, who were feeling safe in my classes, but really unsafe as a whole in the gym, not knowing what to do with their bodies, not knowing what works and what doesn't. And really, again, stuck in that kind of shame cycle.

Speaker 2 (00:16:55):

So I, with this theme of asking questions, started saying like, can this be done differently? Can, can the world of fitness as it exists, can there be a different way that's based out of those emotions that I felt in that initial Zumba class that's based out of joy, that's based out of connecting with other women? And that the more I learned about the body positive movement and the anti diet movement and the mindful eating movement, the more that that really resonated with me and allowed me to start healing my relationship on my body in completely new ways. And I thought this is what I wanted to do. And it wasn't enough for me to just teach a class at a gym. I wanted to build something from the ground up that was based in those kind of values. So it's when I made the decision to <laugh>, you know, go into business for myself, start down this entrepreneurial journey and open liable fit.

Speaker 2 (00:17:50):

And so I started with a brick and mortar studio in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and was doing that for about 18 months when the pandemic hit completely, as we just said, blew us open. Uh, we were online within about 48 hours, although it was a very messy online transition. <laugh>, as I'm sure many entrepreneurs can, you know, empathize with. We just kind of were like, we'll figure it out as we go. And now, you know, we've just made the tradition transition as of August 1st. We've now become a fully virtual online community that that offers both fitness classes, live fitness classes, as well as a lot of support when it comes to mindset, when it comes to mindful eating and, and really healing, um, your body image and building that confidence. So it's been, it's been a wild ride to say the least. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:18:42):

Yeah. So I'm really curious, um, because you said that you, obviously you opened your business shortly before the pandemic hit mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and obviously having to suddenly switch to online training very, very quickly mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, was a, an impact because of the pandemic. I'm really curious to know what other, how else the pandemic affected your business in terms of perhaps your, your clients or, you know, people who were, were previously training who, you know, during the pandemic and then even also now in this, I mean, we're still very much in it, but you know, nonetheless in this kind of post pandemic landscape. Um, I'm just curious to know how else your business is affected and, and perhaps even in the online space as well.

Speaker 2 (00:19:31):

Yeah, I mean, we could have a whole, I feel like, multiple hour conversation about this <laugh> because it, you know, especially being in fitness, you know, I think fitness, hospitality and tourism, like we were hit the hardest just because of the nature of what we did, right? Like my entire business was based around group activities, which was the thing that was not allowed <laugh>. So, um, there's, there's so many different levels in the way that it impacted us. And I feel like there were also different chapters, meaning like the first year of the pandemic was different from the second year of the pandemic, which was different from this current year as far as the way that it impacted things in the first year. You know, there was definitely an initial phase of, um, naivete when we all thought, you know, it'll just be two weeks <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:20:31):

Yep, I remember that well,

Speaker 2 (00:20:32):

Yeah. And people were incredibly supportive at first mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then, although we did have, you know, as soon as we went online, there was a ton of cancellations. There was a ton of people who didn't want to do the online or even, or even try the online or people who are facing their own struggles, right? Of people who had lost their jobs that that just needed to take a step back. So that was a, that was a huge, um, adjustment. And we, we obviously had to spend a ton of time training our staff and figuring out the tech and upgrading a lot of tech. So there was a lot of capital investments that had to come forward at a time when, you know, our revenues were also taking a massive hit. Um, but then it was about, I wanna say the like four to six month marks.

Speaker 2 (00:21:22):

So four to six months after shutting down, when we were now doing basically virtual only, we definitely noticed a shift in how our members and potential clients were showing up. It was when, and I I'm hoping that, I'm gonna be real honest with you today, <laugh> today, Melanie, in the hopes of it makes some other entrepreneurs not feel alone, but it made it, it really made me and my team feel like we were the lightning rod for people's frustration, or people's grief or people's anger about the pandemic, where things that I, or I actually explained it to, to someone recently where I was like in person that the, the bar was pretty low that we had to pass to be seen as like providing really good customer service or providing a really positive experience. The bar got raised and moved around a lot when it came to the online experience, I think because, you know, for a lot of our members that were with us before the pandemic, there was the el that comparison right?

Speaker 2 (00:22:29):

Of like, why don't I feel the same way about the gym or about the community as I did before the pandemic happened without realizing that a lot of that wasn't just us, right? Like it, the world had changed. They, their life had changed. So, you know, to, to be able to separate out those emotions and those feelings of like, okay, this isn't actually about Lobo, this is about, you know, so many other things. I think it was just easier for a lot of people to blame us or to, to say that we were not, you know, living up to their expectations or whatever. So we struggled for, for that period to then reorient the business and figure out, because people also needed something different as well. When we first went online, we really only focused on fitness classes. We really only focused on providing that movement experience.

Speaker 2 (00:23:23):

And it very quickly became obvious that people needed a lot more. And people were, so many people and our community members were struggling emotionally and spiritually and mentally and dealing with all kinds of new stress that we were, we were their community, we were their safe space that needed to expand to be able to hold space for them in these new ways. So it's where we brought in more coaching, we brought in more social activities and community activities to be able to help them, you know, talk through stuff and, and, and get support and, and relate to one another in ways that they weren't able to do in almost any other area of their life. So it caused us to really, as I said, like ask questions and reexamine the business as a whole and figure out how can we show up and give our clients what their need, what they need.

Speaker 2 (00:24:17):

And I'm really thank, that's one of those things that I'm really thankful for because I'm so passionate about the coaching element and providing and having those conversations and providing that support. Because I look at my own journey and I, Fitness was the catalyst, it was the starting point, but it really wasn't what transformed my relationship with my body, what transformed my relationship with my body was doing the hard, emotional and mindset work. So that's where I can now offer that to our community of helping them to, to get really, you know, transformational results and completely changing how they feel in their bodies because we can now provide a wider breadth of services.

Speaker 1 (00:25:05):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I really love that, and I'm really, and you mentioned the fact that the kind of the bar of service Yeah. Increased. I think that's really interesting because, um, I was having a conversation very similar to that just recently with somebody, and we were just talking about in terms of like marketing, um, you know, pre-social media and then online, you know, the, the expectation there was that time. I mean, it still exists, but especially like in the early days of Twitter, and I've never been a Twitter user, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just, you know, I'm just going by, That's okay. I'm not either <laugh>. Okay. So like, for everyone else listening, this is just my hearsay for <laugh>, but, um, you know, the expectation that you could tweet a brand, a company, you know, big, um, corporation and complain and would, you would expect a response.

Speaker 1 (00:25:53):

And to some extent that can happen. But I feel like as entrepreneurs and as small business owners, you know, and I mean, it's not even small, it's almost like micro, because I know that small businesses, like if you're making less than a million, well yeah, I'm selling making less than a million. Yeah. I'm like zero to a million. There's a lot in there. So it's like even go to micro. Yeah. So, you know, as very small micro-businesses, a lot of us are doing it on our own. A lot of us, you know, are either on our own, we maybe have one of the team member of EA or maybe we have a small team. Even with a small team, if you are dealing with customer service, that is is a tricky, it's a tricky part of the job. Yeah. Really tricky. My experience before I became a business owner, I worked for a decade in customer service and I, you know, it taught me a lot.

Speaker 1 (00:26:48):

And I definitely have high expectations of service because of that, but it also made me more compassionate. And I feel like I have that kind of difficulty of what I expect versus also having the compassion for the persons on the other end, or responding. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and I have been called some things and dealt with some really horrible people mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but ultimately in the online space, because we are always available, you know, social media doesn't shut down. It doesn't close at five o'clock, you know, it's always on. That might be so cool if we had a social media pattern like closed at 5:00 PM like hours <laugh>. Yeah. Like, it just opens from nine till five and then after that it's like out of hours. Um, anyway, But because it's always available, that makes us always available because it's international, it's always available.

Speaker 1 (00:27:37):

And I feel like that has really blurred the lines of customer service. It's blurred the lines of people's expectations versus like what they're actually going to get. And even then, us being able to dictate and clearly tell people what our boundaries are, um, I think that's so important. And I know that it can be really hard because again, as small business owners, we don't wanna say no, we don't wanna turn down customers or clients or business. Um, you know, and there that has its own set of issues and conversation. But being able to navigate those boundaries and being able to actually, you know, keep people happy without crossing our own boundaries or, you know, making ourselves burned out, that is such a tricky, I don't wanna use the word balance, but it's like a tricky path because a journey, um, because I don't, there's always gonna be those times when we cannot get it right.

Speaker 1 (00:28:37):

We just cannot get it right. And we just have to like, choose where our kind of boundaries, choose where our kind of, this is the minimum, this is the maximum. And that's like, as far as I'm gonna take this conversation or whatever it might be. And I think it looks different for all of us, especially, you know, in our industries. And I think when you're working with the public in any capacity, it's always gonna happen. But I think it's so interesting during the pandemic, because in my opinion, I, I know that for me locally, what I saw a lot of is small businesses basically winning <laugh>. These very small businesses were able to think outside the box. They didn't have to ask a boardroom of people mm-hmm. <affirmative> how they could do business differently. They were like, Hey, let's try this. And then small caterers or small, you know, independent bakers or restaurants were able to suddenly go, Okay, we're gonna deliver food now for people.

Speaker 1 (00:29:33):

Um, and they were able to make those changes very easily. And what we saw locally where I am is then a lot of bigger businesses started to go out of business and we started to lose a lot of bigger shops, but gain so many more independent shops because of that. Oh, interesting. Yeah. And I feel like that in itself just has a massive impact. You know, that's obviously brick and mortar and specific to where I am locally, but I feel like on the online space in 2020, we thought it was gonna be really awful. And I think a lot of people, again, had to think differently, had to think outside the box, shift the way they were working. And I feel like it's harder now than it was two years ago for a lot of people because you've now, you know, decided what you're gonna do.

Speaker 1 (00:30:16):

You've now gone, okay, we've, we've experienced something we never thought we would experience. And we got through that. And I feel like now two years later, also a lot of entrepreneurs, like we've already mentioned, are experiencing that this kind of, I don't even say it's just burnout, it's just that feeling of like, what, what has been happening for the last couple of years? Yeah. You know, we've all experienced it in different ways, and I think as business owners, we put so much of ourselves into our business, into our marketing and online that I think that has a massive impact on how we connect with people in person, online, wherever it may be. And I think that has trickled down into customer service. It's made us a lot firmer with our boundaries as well.

Speaker 2 (00:31:03):

Yeah. And I think, you know, it's really interesting the way that you explained, you know, what's happened locally and what you're experiencing. Cause I think that this, this is exactly a huge part of the conversation and the questions that I'm currently asking myself. Um, because we had the opposite effect where we are, it was primarily a lot of small businesses that ended up shutting down, um, and like closing their doors for good. And especially specifically in fitness, one of the largest Canadian fitness chains, which is, uh, I won't actually, I won't drop names, but if you're in Canada, you'll know who they are. Um, they got a bailout from the government, um, something to the tune of like, I feel like millions, millions upon millions of dollars. And I remember thinking like, you know, I, I didn't even qualify because of the size of my business for a lot of the government supports and grants.

Speaker 2 (00:31:54):

And I remember just thinking like, what the absolute, oh my God. Like how, how does this, this company who has already like, you know, hundreds of thousands of locations and employees, like, they get the bailout and we, you know, a small company like us doesn't get any support. So there was a lot of frustration there. And, and I think exactly what you described as the expectations being different in the digital space, that is a hundred percent what we experienced. Because before, when we were at brick and mortar studio, the way that you had access to us was very clear business hours, right? Like we were either there or we weren't. But now in the virtual space, there is no boundary in the same way of, people may understand in theory that we still operate like a brick and mortar business in that there are hours that we working in there, hours that were not mm-hmm.

Speaker 2 (00:32:51):

<affirmative>. But rather than before, like, I'll give an example. Like our, some of our first classes are at 6:30 AM We've gotten emails from people at like four in the morning about that 6:30 AM class, which pre pandemic, they knew that there was no way in hell that somebody was gonna be there at the studio at 4:00 AM <laugh> to answer those, to answer the phone or to answer emails. But now, in a virtual realm, we'll have people who get frustrated or get angry of the fact that we didn't respond in that kind of two hour corridor. And I love the term that you used the micro-business, because I think that's what I would really categorize ourselves as pre pandemic. We were definitely like, I would say like a small business where I had a team of about 11 between instructors and admin staff. And now we're down to, I have one other admin staff and I have three other instructors.

Speaker 2 (00:33:43):

Um, but I've gotten a lot of compliments on my social media. So social media is something I love. I love reels. We're just about to start TikTok, which I'm very excited by <laugh>, but I love it. I, it's something that I, I find really fun. So it means that I'm gonna cheat my own horn a little bit. I get a lot of compliments on our social media, and I've had some business coaches that I've talked to tell me that if you just were to look at my socials, you would have no idea how small of a business I am, because they appear a lot more polished, like a bigger brand would. So I think it also that people, it's, it's, as you said it like social media evens the playing field a lot. Like as far as how different companies show up. Like it's, it is easier for a small business to have a really polished professional social media in the same way that a larger company would.

Speaker 2 (00:34:37):

And I think that that also blurs the expectations of like, I look online and I come across online as maybe a bigger business than I am. So therefore there's that expectation of availability that a bigger business, you know, with like a full customer service department might be able to deliver that. I can't, um, like answering emails at like 4:00 AM <laugh> or whatever. Yeah. So it's, it's, I definitely am trying to work through those boundaries or even that communication strategy of how do you, how do you communicate how small of a business you are and kind of ask for people's patience and understanding or compassion while not having them lose the trust or the credibility in you being able to deliver what you're, what you're promising to deliver. And how do you find that kind of happy middle where they give you that leeway or that benefit of the doubt, but also still are, you know, one of your champions. So that's, that's a big, been a big theme of this year of like communicating boundaries and figuring out what works and what doesn't, especially now as we're actually transitioning away from the brick and mortar space. So those lines are good. And you know, as we're, as we're expanding our reach into different time zones, you know, how do we really clearly establish those expectations of what people can hold us to?

Speaker 1 (00:35:56):

Yeah. Yeah. I think it's, I think it's really difficult. I think you're right. Um, we can definitely, as consumers put a lot of merit and a lot of assumptions <laugh> around somebody's business both ways, dependent on their size of their following. I think, you know, you can look at someone and see they have a smaller following that usually signifies something to us versus someone who has a bigger following. And I think that's really interesting. I know that in the last few years, or last couple of years, so she's, in doing this podcast, when I look at accounts that I'm interested in, I do look at that follower number. And I think depending on their industry and what they're doing, that follower number does impact how I may, the assumption I may make about them, but also whether or not I'm gonna follow them. Because oftentimes I will now not follow bigger accounts.

Speaker 1 (00:36:58):

Mm. Because I feel like the relationship I have had with bigger accounts has not been the kind of relationship that I, you know, want, and I'm talking tens of thousands of followers or more. Yeah. Um, because for me, connection's so important and I feel like if connection's really important for me, I really value having, for me personally, I really value having a small, um, online community, small following small email list. Like I know that numbers to some extent make a difference, obviously on how much people see, but at the same time, I'm also really, I'm really, really aware of how I, of my own personality and how I interact with people as a business owner. And it would be impossible for me to do that if my numbers were so much bigger. And I, and I feel like that in itself is a really nice permission slip, but it's also really interesting to see how it can impact us in other ways. You know, people's expectation is that you're so much bigger, um, which isn't, you know, isn't a bad thing, but it's also then navigating those, those fallout of that as well.

Speaker 2 (00:38:09):

Yeah. But I love how you phrased it as, as that idea of giving yourself a permission slip. Because I do think that with entrepreneurship, especially in the online world, there is such a pressure to go after the numbers, right? To, to get the followers, to get the likes, to get the views kind of sometimes like at all costs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think, again, giving ourselves permission to allow ourselves to create our own definitions and possibly like, reject some of those standards of like, okay, followers doesn't actually matter to me. Cause I'm very much like you. If, if, if I'm given the choice of like having, you know, hundreds of thousands of members in my community that, you know, I don't really know or I'm not able to interact with, versus having a smaller community that, that I'm able to, to really establish those deep relationships.

Speaker 2 (00:38:57):

Like, I'm always gonna go for that, for that latter option. Um, but even I find myself kind of having that internal battle of like, you know, reminding myself what's important and reminding myself of what matters to me and not letting myself get down on myself because, you know, I don't have tens of thousands of followers, but I do create those strong relationships online. So, you know, I think it's really important to have those conversations and to bring that to light and also to, to give ourselves permission of like, there are other ways for you to define success. And it doesn't have to be just by, by follower count. And I love hearing that there are people like you who, who actually like, are intentional about that and who think about that when you're following, you know, different brands because, you know, I think again, there's, so, there's, there's that expectation. There's so many people who just, who actually are the opposite, who like go after the bigger accounts. So thanks for nothing. One of <laugh>

Speaker 1 (00:39:52):

<laugh>. Yeah. And I mean, I, I get it. You know, Um, speaking of TikTok, I am on TikTok, so, you know, we need to connect on that. Um,

Speaker 2 (00:40:00):

I haven't even posted my first video yet, so tell me all the things

Speaker 1 (00:40:03):

<laugh>. Oh, okay. Well, I was just, I was gonna say, speaking of TikTok, um, you know, I have, I, I started out a year ago as a time, we're recording this on that platform. I, my husband used it and I had no desire to be on there whatsoever, but I was taking a break from Instagram and at the time, and so I was like, You know what, Let's just go on there and have a play. And it actually ended up being the thing that inspired, like this new chapter in my business. It inspired my creativity and to kind of rekindle that relationship with my creativity and as an adult <laugh>, as someone who has done a lot of that mindset work that we were talking about earlier and a lot of the emotional work. And I was like, Oh, my relationship with art and creativity is so different now.

Speaker 1 (00:40:45):

And TikTok is really, is really, we're not gonna talk about TikTok, but TikTok is really interesting. And I definitely, I look at it and think, I, I say to myself, you know, I don't have a community here yet, which is kind of fun because it's so interesting to see who interacts with my videos on there versus the people who I've already been connecting with for like six years Yeah. On Instagram. There's such, there is a difference. And that's really interesting to see because I'm in such a different place than I had been five years ago, four years ago. And so, cuz my business has evolved so much, these people are coming into my business as it is now. And that's really interesting as well. So you might find that when

Speaker 2 (00:41:29):

You, um, well that's, that's what I'm really excited about for this phase of my business is, as you said, is like, like having, having that kind of, I don't wanna, I don't wanna use the word clean slate, but almost that's what I mean of like people coming in who, who just know what I'm doing now and then can evaluate me based on this <laugh> this chapter of my business, rather than having that comparison of like, Oh, well she used to be a brick and mortar, or I used to like this, or she doesn't do this anymore,

Speaker 1 (00:41:57):

Et cetera. Yeah. I, I think that makes a difference. I was talking about this to somebody in the day, cuz I don't know if you know this, I don't assume that you do, but I'm taking a break from Instagram at the end of this month as time of recording this for the rest of the year and I will be focusing in on TikTok and Pinterest and I was chatting with a friend the other day and we were talking about it. I said, you know, the thing is I've been posting every single week pretty much for six years on that platform Wow. For my business. Um, and that's fine <laugh>, but my business has changed a lot since in the six years. It's changed a lot in the last year. Yeah. And I said there's so much content on there that is no longer relevant mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I'm not saying people go back and like that content, but I wonder how much of an impact that makes, You know, I don't know. I have no idea how much of an impact

Speaker 2 (00:42:45):

A Right. Like, we have no idea. Like it's so complicated. So,

Speaker 1 (00:42:48):

So, you know, I'm, I like clean slate is not a bad thing when it comes to social media. Trust me. I sometimes am like, I wanna burn my P Trust account down and start all over again. Oh,

Speaker 2 (00:42:58):

That urge sometimes to just burn it all down and start fresh. It's strong man. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:43:02):

Yeah, it is. So kind of talking of re evolving businesses, you know, I, as I said, I, I kinda shifted my business this year and I opened up a fat positive, inclusive and diverse stationary shop. And a part of designing these stickers and being able to sell them started with the journey for me of unlearning what diet, culture and society had told me about my body. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> what it is to quote be healthy. And that has been, I think unknowingly this journey started a lot longer than I realized. And one of the things I remember many years ago, four or five years ago, is understanding the need of representation in my body type. And even at that time, my body was probably different to how it is now, but I still didn't feel represented. I feel even less represented now. And that was one of the things that kind of, I guess, ignited this, is that I was trying to draw portraits.

Speaker 1 (00:44:02):

Um, I was actually trying to draw anime portraits that looked more like me. I could not find anything. And I realized how much representation has a fundamental impact on how I feel about my own body, how I feel when I go clothes shopping, how I feel about what types of clothes I would be wanting to wear. You know, just unlearning the term flattering has been mind blowing for me mm-hmm. <affirmative> because I'm like, No, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try this. And if I don't feel comfortable, that's a whole different story to whether somebody else perceives it to be flattering or not. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and this is an ongoing journey. I'm still kind of going through this, It may always be, but the ability for me to mentally and physically take up space has kind of happened because of that representation. And I'm curious from you to learn more about the community at Low Yobo. I said it right. Fitness <laugh>. Um, and how your own entrepreneurial journey has impacted the way that you coach and do business as well.

Speaker 2 (00:45:03):

Oh man. I feel like there's so many layers to to that question as well. Um, when I, uh, I'm gonna go back a little bit. So my, a really important, um, line in the sand that happened to me or, or, uh, there's a word that I'm looking for kind of that a real impactful moment was early on in my training days. And this was, um, also in the middle of my, my own kind of more extreme weight loss. Um, I, I had a woman who was attending one of my boot camps cause that's what I used to call them, um, who was in a larger body and she ghosted me. She, after coming for maybe like three or four classes, she just stopped coming. And I reached out a few times and, and never heard from her. And she finally sent me back a message like weeks later.

Speaker 2 (00:46:00):

Um, and, and to this day, uh, I'm so thankful that she was brave enough to share her feedback with me because she said that it was a comment that I had made in at the time. Like it was such an offhand comment. It was, it was an expression that I used to use all the time as, um, one of my, one of my old body goals was to have arms that like when you looked at me, you could tell I worked out. So, um, that'll create a visual for you. And so I think I, I used the term tank talk arms at one point and she shared that like, that had made her feel so badly about her body because it, again, it created that kind of linkage of your body has to look a certain way in order to wear tank tops. And you know, the reason that I got into fitness was because of my own struggles with my body, my own struggles with lead, and I wanted to create a safe space.

Speaker 2 (00:46:52):

So hearing that feedback from a woman was what was heartbreaking. I was like, that's the last thing I want somebody to feel when they leave my classes, that I think that their body isn't good enough. So that really led me to asking questions about, okay, what's my responsibility? Where, where's my implicit bias? How has fat fatphobia and diet culture impacted how I see different bodies? And challenging exactly what you said and exploring the research behind that link between health equals weight loss or health equals a small body. And, and the way that that fatphobia even impacts research, especially from like, not just the medical side, but the fitness and diet industries. So that's where like my learning and growth has continued over the last couple years of really diving into and, and following and connecting with a lot of other anti diet professionals and a lot of, uh, bad activists.

Speaker 2 (00:47:51):

And again, learning about my own biases and a huge part of what we do and how I show up and coach is really holding space for uncomfortable conversations. <laugh>, I think that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's a great way of putting it, is like, I want people to get uncomfortable. And what I mean by uncomfortable is exactly what you just said of like this term flattering of like, well, let's actually break that down. What does flattering mean? And if you go, if you keep kind of exploring what that means, it really means looking as thin as possible. Like that's, that's most of the time when we talk about clothes are flattering, it's, it's clothes that help you look smaller. And when we start to challenge and break down those ideas and those concepts, then we can start to really do the work of, as you said, like changing how we relate to our bodies, changing how we make decisions, changing how we see the world around us.

Speaker 2 (00:48:52):

So that's really my goal with coaching. And you know, I'd love to get that to the point where we were, as I mentioned, so we've, we've, I'm a, I'm a much smaller team now <laugh> than I was. So, uh, it's a real priority for me as, as I try to rebuild and, and grow the business to ensure that I have representation by working with lots of different bodies and lots of different professionals who share the same values of me, of wanting to change how our society views health and really empowering people to be, to be the experts in their own body rather than coming at it from the approach of like, I have all the answers do, but I say, This worked for me, it's gonna work for you every time. So that's really kind of where, where I'm at when it comes to, to coaching and, and what my goals and values are.

Speaker 1 (00:49:48):

Yeah. And I feel like what's interesting there is I feel like we've come such full circle in our conversation because my experience as well is that as I have kind of, for lack of a better way of describing it, ditched diet culture, but really it's, it's trying to unlearn diet culture and trying to unlearn the ways in which it has not only infiltrated into my relationship with my body, but my relationship and my perspective of other people. Yeah. Um, and why I'm even having a perspective of other people. Yeah. <laugh>. And also, you know, even in my business, you know, diet culture groomed me for how I interacted in my business. It groomed me and my lack of trust with myself because I grew up and spent my entire life being told that I couldn't trust myself. Yeah. Cuz I couldn't trust my own basic food choices supposedly mm-hmm.

Speaker 1 (00:50:48):

<affirmative>. So, you know, that distrust carried on into everything else. You know, I, I always doubt myself. I would question my own decisions. I would question the decisions I wanted to make in my business. I would allow other people who also seemingly looked a sound part. I came from that, I dunno if you know this, I came from the health and fitness industry. And so when I started my business, that was kind of where I, I was in an environment where unfortunately my coach was incredibly toxic and we're not gonna go into that. I've talked about that before on the show. But, you know, literally being told that if I take back care of myself, my body will grow and my body will grow, my business will grow. And I was just like, what <laugh>? And it was like the impact that that had had on me. And so there was so much to unpack and unlearn and I just, I feel as though that trust is, is such a powerful part in business and in wellness, in health, in, in our entire lives. And as, as women, especially those of us who identify as women, being able to trust ourselves and learning what that looks like and means for us game changer.

Speaker 2 (00:52:07):

Yeah. Well, and, and especially to, I think it's, as you said, for for, since I identify as a woman and I have, you know, I've always had this strong desire to change the world. Um, the, the ability to empower both ourselves and others to operate outside of the norms, I think is also huge of that idea of, okay, society tells you you need to be, you know, young, cisgender, you know, straight I, straight ba, um, white thin, all these things in order to be perceived as valuable or to be perceived as successful or desirable or attractive. And to the more of us that that can step outside of that and not just step outside of that, but step outside of that and find joy and step out that outside of that and find pleasure and step outside of that and change how we parent our children and heal generational trauma and have conversations with others.

Speaker 2 (00:53:17):

I think all of those is how of course, you know, systemic change is absolutely required. That can also exist though alongside of us being, being able to change our communities, to change our families to, to create that more grassroots level change where we just, we show up. Right. Coming back to that, that point of representation, if, if we ourselves are not able to step into the spotlight, to step into those positions of power, that that creates a break in representation, right? Like, we need people who feel good enough in their bodies and feel good enough in themselves to feel capable and able to step forward and have their voice heard. So, you know, that's, that's a huge part of what I do as well is, is to me it's, it's no longer about fitness. It's no longer about even just individually. Like of course I want people to feel good in their bodies, but to me I look at it as like it's a greater responsibility that if I'm able to help, you know, women and those marginalized by the patriarchy feel better in their bodies, that's how I can push back against, um, you know, the things I disagree with in the world and also that I can feel like I'm making things better, that I can feel like I'm impacting change, that I can be like, I'm at least doing what I can with what I know.

Speaker 2 (00:54:38):

So yeah, it's not, it's not just about fitness anymore. It's about so much, such a bigger vision <laugh> for wanting to leave the world a better place.

Speaker 1 (00:54:48):

Yeah. No, I, I couldn't agree more. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we are coming to the end of the show, but I do have one final question for you. Okay. Um, and it's, it's always like my most, my most favorite question to ask, What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneurial outlaw in your business right now?

Speaker 2 (00:55:11):

I think for me, especially that that outlaw part is, is really being unafraid to break the mold. And that is both in my personal life. So we didn't get into this too much, but my husband and I have just moved to the forest to, to do an off the grid lifestyle change. Um, which many people have had many thoughts about, and many people had many thoughts about me closing the brick and mortar and moving online. And for me being an outlaw is, as you said, coming back to that state of trust of like, what does my voice say? What do I believe is the best next step forward? And, and trusting in the, in the vision of what I can achieve without I'm, I'm a recovering people pleaser, so I'm trying to drop that of like not letting external voices, you know, influence my decisions of really, of really looking inward instead of outward. So that's, that's where I'm trying to be in that LA right now. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:56:12):

I love it. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that with us. I'm, so I wish I had time to ask you questions about moving off the grid.

Speaker 2 (00:56:18):

I'll come back anytime you like my dear <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:56:21):

I will do that off. Um, but yeah. Okay, <laugh>. So thank you so much for giving us your time today, Courtney, where can everybody find you online?

Speaker 2 (00:56:33):

So we are, as I said, we're big on Instagram right now. It's label fit, that's l o y o b o F I T. You can also find us on tac maybe even by the time that this gets released, I'll have my first video up. Um, but I'd also love to gift your viewers and listeners if, if you're also at the point where you're like, Okay, I love the way that this sounds, even what both of us are talking about, of, of really embracing the body that I have and stop trying to change it based on these societal viewpoints of what health looks like. I have a free guide if you go to loit.com/love your size. It's all about taking that step of learning how to embrace the body that you have now and feel good in the body that you have now, rather than planning to love the body that you have later. So you can get that free download from there. If you're ready to start your journey. And of course, just reach out if you have any questions, and I'd love to meet you.

Speaker 1 (00:57:28):

Yay. Thank you so much. And everybody, you can find a full transcript along with all of the links from today's episode over on the show notes@melanieknights.com slash podcast. Thank you so much, Courtney.

Speaker 2 (00:57:43):

Thank you, Melanie.

Speaker 1 (00:57:45):

Bye

Speaker 2 (00:57:47):

Bye.

Speaker 1 (00:57:49):

Thank you so much to Courtney for today's episode, for taking the time to sit down with us and chat about her business and her journey and experience. I really, really appreciate it. So we have come to the end of today's episode, and as I have said, more than, more than once, next week is our final episode of the season. It is also going to be the final episode for a extended period of time. Um, I don't know how long this break will be. I know that there will be so much clarity and so much important, um, inner work happening for me that when, if and when I do come back to podcasting, we will be able to dive into some incredible topics. So, um, I hope that you will stick around and join me for next week's episode. We are going to be looking at the last couple of months of me not being on Instagram.

Speaker 1 (00:58:47):

Um, this is something that I've kind of, I've touched on a couple of times with my email list. We've chatted over there about this and I've talked about it, um, in a blog and on TikTok. But yeah, it's been a really interesting couple of months not being on Instagram. It feels like it's been a lot longer than that. Um, but I'm gonna be sharing with you the things I've noticed, things I noticed really early on. I'm gonna be sharing with you my feelings towards the platform now. Um, I'll be talking about whether or not I'm gonna go back and what that's gonna look like. Um, and I will also be sharing with you, of course, what's next, What do I have planned for my business and, um, you know, the outlaw movement. Um, and I'll also be sharing with you more about Patreon and what's to come there as well, because of course, as I've said a number of times, we will still be hanging out over on Patreon.

Speaker 1 (00:59:41):

So if you are looking to continue these conversations, you want to continue deepening your entrepreneurial outlaw business, you wanna continue stretching those outlaw wings, um, head over to paton.com/the OC where you can learn more about how to join us over on Paton. You will learn more about what you get as a patron. And, um, yeah, it's, it's a really incredible community that continues to grow and thrive and I love being able to create content for them over there. So next week is gonna be probably a longer episode. I will just pre-warn you of that one <laugh>. I'm sure I'm gonna have a lot to say, but I wanna make sure that I cover everything and that we can stay connected beyond, um, beyond November, beyond this month. So that's it for today's episode. Thank you so, so much again for listening in. And until next time, outlaws.


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