Early in my career, I was learning. A lot. I was brand new to the industry, and had a lot to study to get a grasp on how I could program for and train clients. In the very beginning, that included straight up means and methods, and a little bit of the nuances of coaching and delivery.
At first, way back when I was working in a facility, there were limited ways to go. I learned the basics of the generally accepted programming at that particular facility, and pretty much stuck to it. It took over a year to get confident in what I was doing and how I was delivering it, and then I started to branch out in my research. I discovered new and different trainers and methods, and became interested in what they were doing and how they were doing it.
And those were the humble beginnings of Kourtney Thomas Fitness. The more I took in from diverse sources outside of my immediate influence, the more my approach evolved. It became obvious to me that I wanted to do more, and I wanted to branch out. So I did.
Even as I started my own business, I was still pretty focused on fitness only. It was really trendy at that time to put out easily Pin-able blogs with workouts or recipes to increase traffic. Blogging was super popular, and I thought it was the best way to be visible. I was trying to build a viable business, and focusing on the fitness part of the space was certainly the easiest entry point. In person, I was giving my clients great workouts, but that was my main service. There was more a lot more working out and a lot less coaching.
And putting out fitness, workout, and running content did get me some traffic. It did get me some clients. It did build my business – to a certain extent. In person, the biggest thing focusing on workouts did was give me a lot of practice in programming and finding what works best for my clients’ physical goals. (<– aka experience.)
But the more experience I gained, the more I naturally started coaching. My clients would entrust me with their troubles, with obstacles, with life stuff that was affecting both their fitness and their overall well-being. They already knew that I was good at the fitness stuff, but somehow, they had also gathered that my expertise had grown beyond just how to lead someone through a workout.
It took a while, but I embraced that. Yes, I’m a personal trainer. But I’m also a coach. I’ve learned about me, and now I want you to learn about you. In all this learning I’ve done, and through all this experience I’ve gained, the one thing that stands out is that health is a total picture, and many people need more than just a trainer to guide them through that picture.
Working on fitness goals is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had many of them – marathons, heavy lifts, hypertrophy – and each one has been beneficial in its own way. I enjoy fitness stuff, no doubt. Performance goals, weight loss, whatever – they’re all worthy goals. I take absolutely nothing away from that.
But what’s the catalyst, you know? Or, more appropriately, do you know? It’s become far more important for me to ask my clients and readers why a lot more often, rather than to assume. What we can discover when we ask ourselves questions is far more valuable than glossing over that part and trying the next workout plan.
So that’s what I do. I ask questions. I listen. I give thoughtful responses relevant to each person’s concerns. We talk about families, relationships, body image, business, self-care and about a gazillion other topics that all relate to overall health and wellness.
Are you stressed? OK, let’s talk about why and what we can do to work on that.
Are you not sleeping? That’s affecting everything right now, right? Yeah, I thought so, so let’s talk about steps we can take to improve sleep quality.
Are you feeling burned out and disengaged at work? I get that, and I’ve been there. Maybe we can talk through some ideas for new prospects, or exploring your passions and whether there are opportunities there.
Have you been taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy lately? Like truly selfish, Queen Shit type of care? And do you know what you actually enjoy doing for yourself? Let’s talk about it, and I want you to report back.
Conversations like the above are what really make life changes for the better. And conversations like the above are what really make a big difference for the people I work with, both online and in person. And for complete strangers that I only know through email or social media.
So that’s why I don’t always write about fitness. It’s not for everyone, and I’m cool with that. Over time, I have lost followers and had plenty of unsubscribes to the tune of “Not in need of the motivational emails. was hoping this site would have workouts and nutrition info.” (That’s an actual one.) But I’ve gained even more engaged friends by communicating with my current approach, and the personal interactions that I get in response to this kind of subject matter are far more significant anyway.
Frankly, my business has grown in an exponentially more meaningful way since I have stopped putting out fitness-only content. Of course I use it as a catalyst and tool, because it is a root of what I do. And trust, I am very good at that part of what I do, and I won’t stop doing it anytime soon. But the dig-deeper coaching kind of stuff that accompanies the fitness stuff is the stuff that affects the people I reach. And the combination of the two? That’s the heart of it all.
Feeling good, especially physically, is about more than exercise. I want to enrich your life, not just tell you what exercises to do. Because without the former, you can’t get results in the latter.
I mean, #bigarmsbiglife is no accident of a hashtag.
Sure I can help you get big arms (and I will gladly have a flex-off or bro out in the gym with you), but I also want to support you in creating your big, beautiful life beyond the gym. Of course my philosophy continues to evolve, but it evolves and revolves around you. It’s still obvious that I want to do more – to connect more, to help more, to inspire more – so here I am, doing more. More than just the workouts.
Come with me to the big life – it’s a great place to live. And also, big arms. I promise I do talk about workouts sometimes.