By Lucy Roberts
Personal trainer Courtney Black is launching a new fitness tour, Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp, in a digital event on Saturday 1st May.
Black is a major name in the world of fitness training, with a popular personalised app to suit client’s needs and goals, a workout plan book and thousands of followers on social media.
The 24-year-old used to struggle with her relationship with food and exercise when she was younger due to a lack of education around the subject and now she wants to teach other people how to live a balanced life and exercise healthily.
Her live workouts throughout lockdown proved to be extremely popular but now she wants to take it to the next level with Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp.
Black spoke of how her exercise programmes have helped people with their health issues and gave her advice to anyone who wants to start taking part in her workouts.
Q) How did you get into fitness and personal training?
A) I was never really like a fit kid if anything I was actually the opposite. I loved coming home after a day, going to the sweet shop and buying like a massive great, big bag of sweets and doing that every single day and having three dinners. I then started ballroom Latin dancing when I was about 14/15 until I was about 18. As you all know, when you get a little bit older you start going out with your mates. The last thing you want to be doing is every night, every weekend, going to ballroom competitions, so that got knocked on the head. I’d say during my dancing, around that sort of time is when I developed my eating disorder, so I was massively undereating, I was about 45kg that I got down to, I was running off every single calorie that I was eating. I feel like when I got to about 19/20 is when I realised obviously, I needed to educate myself a bit more. people were stopping working with me, people were stopping me and telling me it was affecting my life, I was losing relationships, friendships, I was never going out for food and I just knew that something had to change. That’s when I started doing my personal training course because I wanted to educate myself a bit more. In that personal training course, I just learnt how much I didn’t know and how much I feel most people don’t know. I feel like the whole stigma around exercise and fitness for so many years was that women thought they needed to eat 800 to 1000 calories, they all thought they needed to do the same exercise as each other. We all thought we needed to cut out carbs, we couldn’t eat certain things and it was just drummed into our heads so much. For me it was a massive shocker that I was told that I could do the complete opposite to that, I was allowed to eat pasta and I was allowed to stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong it took me a long time to actually cement that into my brain and I’d say even up until 18 months/2 years ago, I wasn’t really following that still, I was still probably overtraining and undereating. But for me that’s where my passion comes from and that’s where my love of fitness comes from. There was so much to learn and so much to educate other people on.
Q) How rewarding does it feel when you see a success story come out of your fitness programmes?
A) It’s amazing. Before lockdown I wrote fitness guides, and they actually did really well and I used to get some crazy stories from that but obviously that was generics. It was, you buy a guide, and it was generic, but the app is so tailored to people and when I see people messaging me and saying that they’re getting IVF and they’re allowed to have IVF treatment now because of the workouts, their diabetes has changed, they’ve been able to run. I’ve got one girl and she’s literally got one arm and she does press ups and stuff and she’s got like a little box that she uses, and she sends me videos all the time and she literally smashes out the workouts with one arm and it’s crazy. It’s so amazing to see people who are suffering from post-natal depression, depression in general, mental health problems and they’re recovering from this so much and it’s these incredible stories that are literally my get up and go. People always say why are you always so passionate about it but how can you not be when you know you’re helping people like that?
Q) How important is it to you that you’re helping people with their exercise journeys especially when they might have an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise that you had when you were younger?
A) One of the main things with my eating disorder that I had was chewing and spitting disease and it took over my life so much to the point where I’d go out for dinner, I’d come home, and I’d look forward to buying chocolate to just chew it up and spit it out. I learnt so much about the negative effects of that and its crazy how many women it affects and men. I do post about it all the time and people that DM me and they say I cannot believe this is a thing and there’s just hundreds of messages from people recovering from eating disorders that have found my page, have found my workouts or on the app and they’re recovering from it. You’re seeing all these amazing success stories and it breaks my heart but at the same time it makes me so proud of them.
Q) What was the experience of writing your workout plan book, The Pocket PT, like?
A) Obviously I’ve done the workout plans before, I’ve got my app but for someone so big like Harper Collins to trust in me and Luke, my publisher. When he first messaged me, I didn’t believe what he was saying. It was so funny, I ignored three of his emails and one of my friends was like, no you need to message him back. When we got off the first call with Harper Collins I actually stopped, and I cried. When I put the phone down, I cried and I just thought how is this even real? Like I’m literally going to have a hardback book, Courtney from East London is going to have a hardback book. It’s crazy and it’s super cool. I’m excited for what’s coming next with Harper Collins.
Q) With a top charting fitness app, thousands of followers of Instagram and a workout book, what do you credit your success to?
A) Hard work, honestly. I’m actually taking a week off next week because I haven’t taken a week off for a year. But I’ve always been a hard worker, I used to work 16-hour days in the gym, I used to sleep in my car. Since I was 20 years old, I worked non-stop, and I know that even before lockdown I had so many of the fundamentals in place and I’ve been working, and I just needed one little thing to help me. Unfortunately, it was the live workouts during lockdown, but I never not showed up through lockdown. I did it every single day, no matter if I was tired, no matter if I wanted to just have a day off and I made sure that I was there because I was there for other people. And I knew how many people, 30,000 people were looking forward to that every day, so I didn’t want to let people down. I know that I’ve got a huge passion for it, but I’ve also now learnt my boundaries and I’ve known how to respect my body, so I know now that I need to take a breather when I need to, and I need to break when I need to. So, next week I am taking my first week off.
Q) Tell me about the Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp, what can people expect from it and how excited are you to launch it?
A) Actually, I don’t know if you know this but about three years ago, I travelled around the country, so I flew to Glasgow, I went to Portsmouth, I went to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and I ran my own little bootcamps. There was only like 50 girls at a time but that felt mental when I was doing that. I’d take 50 weights with me, 50 dumbbells, 50 resistance bands and we’d do a bootcamp in some not very nice places, like boxing gyms and stuff but I did that all off my own back. I really wanted to do it on a bigger scale, throughout the whole of lockdown obviously I’ve not been able to. But this is a global thing, so it’s going to be super cool, it’s going to be like a concert, it’s going to be like a festival, it’s going to be a massive production. There’s going to be lights, there’s going to be music – it’s going to be fun. I’m so excited.
Q) What advice would you give to someone who wants to start doing your workouts but hasn’t done a lot of exercise previously?
A) It can be daunting; people look at my workouts and think God I can’t do that, but you can. I have beginners, they’ve never done a squat before and they come onto the real times, you’ve just got to listen to me when I say that in a 30-minute workout it’s alright if you take 10/15 breathers, that’s better than stopping the workout. That means you’ve completed, that you’re a success because you’ve finished it. If you quit after five minutes, you’ve failed. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m not happy with that. If you keep quitting my workouts after five minutes, you’re not going to get any further. But even if you stop after every exercise and have to take a minute, I’d rather you do that and you get through it. Because next time you’re going to stop less and less and less and you’re going to progress and that’s the only way to get progressive and to get further in life is to keep going at it. Everyone starts as a beginner, there’s not point knocking yourself down or telling yourself, I’m rubbish because I’m a beginner, because I even started as a beginner. When I started, even when I had an eating disorder, I used to run for like two hours, but I couldn’t do that to start with, I built myself up to it. You build yourself up to everything in life and you need to just keep going at it and it will be so worth it and within a week or two weeks, your fitness levels are just going to soar through the roof.
Q) If you could go back and tell your younger self something, what would it be?
A) Fitness wise it would be to not cut out food groups and not to think I’ve got to do 60-minute incline walks and food is not the enemy. I used to think I couldn’t have little bits of chocolate; I couldn’t have little bits of carbs and you need to have a balanced lifestyle. You can have wine on a Wednesday if you want, wine down Wednesdays; but everything in balance. Career wise I’d tell myself to just do what I’m doing and all the long hours, don’t doubt yourself over it because you’ve got to put in what you get out. But also, to be able to be kind on yourself and to know when you need to take a break.
Tickets to the launch of Courtney Black's Warrior Warehouse Bootcamp Tour on Saturday 1st May are available to purchase now on LIVENow (courtneyblack.live-now.com) priced at £10.
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