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Fitness Saved My Life

Courtny Valenzuela, flexing

Courtny Valenzuela, 34, is a digital marketing content creator and bikini competitor from Oregon who recently took first place in her class at the Southern California Championships in both NPC Bikini Novice and NPC Bikini Open. She is also a Nutrishop brand ambassador who has her sights set on earning an IFBB  pro card and competing at Olympia one day. She trains six days a week with fasted cardio in the mornings and isolated weight lifting in the afternoon. She recently took some spare time to answer our questions about her fitness journey. Here is what she had to say:

How did you get involved in fitness and how long have you been doing it? 

I began my fitness journey about six years ago when I moved to Oregon. I didn’t know anyone at the time, so I wanted to fill my free time with something healthy and productive. Because I’ve always struggled with depression, I knew I needed to do something to keep myself out of it. Throughout those six years, I’ve had my off-and-on moments, but I’ve been more consistent with my fitness once I started competing.

Why does being fit and healthy matter to you? 

Fitness saved my life. If it weren’t for fitness, I would still be in my cycles of depression, where I am constantly pulling myself out of low places. Being fit and healthy has allowed me to contribute my best to the future I want and be a better person to everyone around me.

What has been one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome it? 

Giving up alcohol. The hardest part about giving up alcohol is that it is involved in every social setting. Anytime you want to do something fun, alcohol is always there. And for the longest time, I thought I needed to partake in drinking with everyone, or else I would be considered boring. But then one day I realized that most people don’t even pay attention to anyone else when they’re drinking and that my fear was all in my head. Also, I realized when I make healthy food/drinking choices, I have absolute confidence in myself and my decisions. But when I’m hungover, I am far more unsure about myself and my decisions are usually made out of insecurities or fear, which never ends up well. So after a while, it just became not worth it.

When times get tough, how do you stay motivated? 

I think about people who are REALLY doing hard things. Doctors out there saving people, scientists creating new life-saving medicines, astronauts figuring out how to survive in space, single parents raising five children, a paraplegic in the Olympics.... When I think about things like this, an hour of being hungry on a treadmill doesn’t seem so bad. Being great does not come easy. I can’t want greatness and expect that I don’t have to go through difficult times to achieve it.

Who inspires you and why? 

Steph Curry because he has always had the odds stacked against him, yet he’s faced and overcome every single challenge with humility, gratitude and grace.  

What supplements are you currently taking? 

Gut Formula, Super Multi+, Omega-3, Detoxin, Fiber4, Biotin, MERK Pre-Workout

What is your favorite Nutrishop supplement or supplement stack so far and why? 

I love Gut Formula! And, my favorite stack is the Hair Goals Stack. If you want to see results in your hair growth, this is the stack! Normally, my hair breaks off after a certain point, but now it is longer than ever. Everyone asks me if I’m wearing extensions! 

Courtny Valenzuela in bikini and gym attire

What does being a part of Team Nutrishop mean to you? 

Pride. I am very proud to be a part of the Nutrishop Team because this is a company that cares about the right things: quality ingredients, science-backed products, a healthy environment led with integrity, and overall health for their athletes and customers. This is a company I am proud to stand behind.

Favorite quote or mantra? 

From here on, I will keep all of the promises I make to myself. 

Top 3 songs you listen to when working out? 

Lifting: Through The Wire - Kanye West; Right Above It - Lil’ Wayne; Regulate - Warren G & Snoop Dogg  

Cardio: Hollywood Dreams - Post Malone/Fleetwood Mac; Praying to a God - Probz/LUKE; Alone - Trevor Daniel (anything with Justin Bieber, lol)

Favorite cheat meal?

Pepperoni Pizza with Ranch. No contest! 

Favorite healthy snack?

Protein pancakes made with PRO7EIN Synthesis Caramel Pretzel or any chocolate protein powder.  

What are your top five training tips for someone looking to get in great shape? 

  1. Start your workouts with the exercises you feel most confident doing. Constantly starting with harder, less desirable tasks opens the door for doubt to cloud your mind and suppress your motivation. When you start with something that feels easy, it helps build your confidence and motivates you to try something harder next. 
  2. Set yourself up for success by prepping healthy meals for the week. It is much easier to stay on track when you have a meal readily available to you during those hungry moments. If you don’t have a meal ready, a donut will start to look more and more reasonable. 
  3. Prioritize getting good sleep. When I decided to alter my lifestyle, the first thing I changed was my sleeping habits. Everything is easier when you are rested, including resisting temptations. Go to bed early and wake up early. 
  4. Set daily intentions. This is not a checklist. A checklist is a list of items you need to get done. Intention, however, is how you are going to approach the checklist. For example, today my intention is to let go of perfectionism so I can complete tasks without causing distress or worry to myself; also find moments of gratitude. When you can live each day with an intention, it gives you more control, and stressful moments become more manageable. And I think we all know that stressful moments are the easiest times to break your diet or workout routine. 
  5. Give yourself grace and forgiveness. If you try to bulldog your way to the best results, you will never be able to sustain them. Be kind to yourself; we all struggle and make mistakes. The trick is to try again each day.

What is the most important piece of advice you would offer to someone who wants to be like you? 

Love yourself for who you are. Don’t try to become the person you think you SHOULD be. Instead, take time to look deep inside, and find the things that truly bring you joy. If parading around the world in a bikini brings you joy, then do it! You function best and contribute more to this world when you are being true to who you are. When you realize that you deserve joy and happiness, everything else truly becomes easier.

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