As a wife, mother of three, flutist, and singer in a rock band, Courtney King’s life was an exhausting whirlwind.
She wanted to be healthier, knew she needed to change things, and embarked on a journey that resulted in dropping 50 pounds. With a new interest in fitness and renewed vigor, she became a certified CrossFit trainer.
Her life is still a whirlwind, but now she has more energy to cope with it.
“I feel healthy and strong. I knew I needed it. I feel confident in my own skin. I have more energy as a mom. Going to the playground, I can hang out with the kids,” she said.
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She has also accomplished things she did not think she ever could.
“I can do things now I couldn’t do as a kid. I can climb a rope. I can do handstands. We hiked up Stone Mountain on a recent trip to Atlanta,” she said. “CrossFit is fun. It’s not the usual go to the gym, get on a treadmill and lift weights. When you finish, you think: ‘I just did that!’”
In 2013, she took the first step. She decided to train for a half-marathon. For 12 weeks, she trained, and lost weight.
That was the spark she needed, and further fitness grew from there.
“I hated exercising,” she said. “I started changing my nutrition with AdvoCare. That gave me a plan to follow. I replaced sugary calories. I lost 50 pounds. Then I stopped exercising. So I tried running again.”
Running her kids around, she drove by the CrossFit Voyage “all the time.” It was two blocks from her home, and had been open six months before she found the courage to go inside.
“It was a cool little place. I needed someone to tell me what to do,” she said. “For a late-night gigging musician, it was not an easy commitment. But I got into a habit.”
The people there made all the difference, she said. They were encouraging, supportive.
“A lot of it is community, helping each other out. They helped me stick with it,” she said.
That spurred her desire to not just do it, but to teach it, too.
“I’m a born teacher. I felt if I could translate what I learned to help people out, I wanted to do it. I’ve been there. I’ve been over 200 pounds. If I can do it, you can do it,” she said. “It’s something that brings me joy to see people reach their potential. I just love coaching people. I love to find out how people tick.”
She received her National Academy of Sports Medicine certification as a personal trainer a year ago.
Working at CrossFit Voyage in downtown O’Fallon been a perfect fit.
“This place is all about the people, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s like a family,” she said. “If I get unmotivated, I see a 73-year-old woman in here, and I think, she’s coming here, I can do it. It motivates the people around you to make good choices, too. This is what is the best for me.”
She continues to wear many hats.
Courtney grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and met her husband of 17 years, Gene, a fellow music major, while attending DePaul University in the Windy City.
“We got married the same year we graduated,” she said.
A master sergeant, Eugene King plays trumpet in the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, stationed at Scott Air Force Base. They moved here in 2005, coming from Dayton, Ohio. In several weeks, they will be on the move again, as he is being transferred to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
“We have big changes ahead. It’s going to be hard to leave O’Fallon,” she said.
Daughters Emma, 12, and Alivia, 8, are home-schooled, and son Ryan, 15, was, but attended the OTHS Milburn Campus for freshman year. All three take Suzuki violin lessons.
Music has always been important, no matter how busy life gets.
“Music touches every part of your life,” she said.
Classically trained in the flute, Courtney said her father would play Jethro Tull music when she was a kid, which fostered her love of rock music. Since 2011, she has been a part of an alternative rock band, “Slow Down Scarlett.” She sings and plays flute.
“I’ve come full circle,” she said. “Music has always provided a lot of opportunities.”
The five-member band, based in O’Fallon, has performed all around the state and St. Louis They appeared at the House of Blues in Chicago and will be at The Firebird on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Their recently released second album is called “The Best of the Rest,” and you can hear excerpts on their website, slowdownscarlett.com. Their first album, “The Greatest Hits,” came out in 2013.
Courtney, who earned a master’s degree in flute performance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville about two years ago, also gives flute lessons on the side.
She will continue to combine her love of music, fitness and family into her life.
“Working out is like life. It’s hard doing it, but you get through it. It’s like life’s challenges,” she said.
Q: Do you have words to live by?
A: If you “kinda sorta” try, you “kinda sorta” get results.
Q: Whom do you most admire?
A: This might be strange, but I admire my children most. In each one of them I see ways that I want to be more like them. They are growing up to be amazing humans. Also things that make me say, “Whose kids are these?”
Q: If you could spend time with a famous person, past or present, whom would it be?
A: Ruth Wakefield, the lovely inventor of the chocolate chip cookie!
Q: What is the last book that you read?
A: “Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg.
Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation?
A: Exercise and make music! Exercise because it makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself. I feel good inside and out after a workout. Sweat daily. Music. It’s the expression of being human. It’s a microcosm of life. All of the balled up events of the day get unraveled into strands of music: joy, mourning, boredom, excitement, anger, peace, love. It’s the perfect outlet. If I had the time, I would do nothing else. On the same note, I’m glad that I don’t. The more life I experience, all the more music there is!
Q: What is the usual state of your desktop?
A: Organized chaos. Maybe unorganized chaos.
Q: What did you want to do career wise when you were growing up?
A: Growing up, I really always wanted to be a mother. And I’m proud of that and consider myself blessed to have three amazing children of my own.
Q: What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?
A: Well, I guess I would say … seeing people. I try to really see past what they try to show me. Everyone puts up a mask to a certain extent. What they want you to see. But learning to look past that, I think, helps me to be a better teacher, coach and artist.
Q: What irritates you most?
A: Chewing noises. Ha, ha!
But seriously, when I’m listening to a song and it spoonfeeds me feelings. Blantant, uninspired songwriting makes me feel emotionally taken advantage of. It strips the music of it’s creativity. It’s like an artist painting a caption right on the canvas. Who does that?
Q: What type of music do you listen to?
A: I’m a classically trained musician and can appreciate most types of music, but I do listen to a lot of alternative rock. Lately it’s been Rival Sons, Cage the Elephant, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Raconteurs, White Stripes, The Kooks, Paramore, Coldplay, MuteMath, Civil Wars. And of course, Slow Down Scarlett!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The people. I run into so many people everyday, between coaching, teaching music, and gigs, each day is different. Working with people and learning how I can best communicate to help them reach that next level — whatever that may be — is my favorite challenge.
Q: If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?
A: Performing, promoting, and writing new music all the time! And of course, CrossFit!
Q: When they make a movie of your life, who would play you?
A: Jessica Alba.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?
A: Duct tape and my dad. We’d be home by morning.