Courtney Connolly has been a dancer for more than two decades and considers herself an “athlete of life.” But despite regular, consistent workouts each week, she wasn’t getting the results she craved. “I had been struggling to add muscle, and I wasn’t seeing the changes we all want — arms, abs, and glutes — despite how hard I was training,” Courtney explains.
Then, in June 2018, she took her first SweatBox class. Now, just six months later, Courtney has powered through those plateaus and has made some major gains. She has seen a significant decrease in her body fat percentage, and she can lift heavy without missing a beat. Courtney is a dedicated Sweat Star who’s in class five to six times a week, so of course we had to find out about her story and what keeps her coming back for more!
When you started taking SweatBox classes, what were your initial goals?
As a dancer of 20-plus years, a former marathoner, and an avid cyclist, I’ve always considered myself to be an “athlete of life.” I’m not someone who necessarily sets weight or size-related goals. Rather, every day, my goal is to train hard, stay focused, and push my body to its absolute physical limits. I want to feel and be healthy, and to feel and be strong. Training at SweatBox makes me feel and, hopefully, be both of those things.
What kind of progress have you seen at SweatBox?
I’ve seen a substantial decrease in my body fat percentage and a relatively dramatic increase in muscle mass. I am now able to successfully do exercises like overhand pull-ups and what feels like endless amounts of pushups — two body weight exercises I had struggled with for years. In general, my ability to lift heavy weights has drastically increased. For example, I can now chest press 40 lb dumbbells when I was previously pressing 25s.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about my physical progress, which is probably my favorite. Taking SweatBox classes — with all the variety of movements and intensities — perfectly pairs the cardio and strength training needed to encourage fat burning, while also promoting muscle growth. I don’t see myself “burning muscle” the way I seemed to when I was primarily doing strict cardio and weight and strength training. All this being said, you still have to lock it up in the kitchen, or you won’t see the results you’re striving for.
What do you most enjoy about SweatBox?
As someone who travels extensively for work and who takes classes all over the world, I can say with confidence that SweatBox offers the most challenging and effective workout I’ve ever experienced (with variety aplenty!). The programming itself rigorous, and the instructors are incredibly dynamic, knowledgeable, and encouraging. And when they’re not coaching, they also TAKE the classes.
I believe in the positive psychological effects of group fitness. SweatBox actually takes it one step further. Each attendee is situated in their own “box” for the entire session, and I love how you feel like you’re part of a group personal training session — with a really fierce playlist — given all the individual attention you receive.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t sure about trying SweatBox?
What are you waiting for? Don’t give it a second thought. Sign up for the two-week unlimited package, and you’ll never look back. When my two weeks expired, I immediately moved forward with the monthly unlimited package and continued going 5 to 6 days a week. If you’re serious about achieving your fitness goals, you won’t find a workout in D.C. better equipped to help you do so.
Have you noticed any other physical/mental changes since starting SweatBox?
Physically, I’ve added a great deal of muscle and cut my body fat percentage to the lowest it’s been since my teenage years. I never thought I’d be saying this in my thirties, but I am in the best physical shape of my life. Mentally, I’m able to push through fatigue in a way that makes me feel superhuman. Just when I think I can’t do another rep, the voice inside my head is saying, “You CAN,” instead of, “You can’t.”
Outside of SweatBox, how do you spend your time?
I’m an avid traveler, hiker, reader, explorer, and beginner photographer. I usually take several international trips a year to hike and adventure. My job has become a large part of my identity, so you can also find me on college campuses all over the world helping students find their dream careers.
If you could travel to anywhere, where would you go?
Always a tough question! A place I’ve been dreaming about in recent years is Sri Lanka. And actually, my company is sending me on a yoga and wellness retreat there in 2019 as part of an award. I couldn’t be more excited (and grateful)!
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
Given how “on” I have to be at work, my perfect day would involve waking up naturally (no alarm), devouring several chapters of whatever I’m currently reading (which right now is American Pastoral by Philip Roth), taking a 12 p.m. SweatBox class (although I’ll take morning classes if I have to, my preference is 12 p.m. or evening classes — I’m not a morning person), then set out for a local solo hike. I truly revel in the silence and peacefulness of nature, and wish I had more time to spend in it.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t asked?
“Do YOU want to be a SweatBox instructor?” Yes! In fact, it’s something I’ve been mulling over in recent months — I’d love to help others achieve their fitness goals in the same way SweatBox has helped me achieve mine.
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