The following is a guest blog post from Teachable creator Courtney Babilya. She is a registered nurse, personal trainer, women’s fitness specialist, and mom of two beautiful boys. As a fitness nurse, she teaches women how to exercise sustainably after diet culture dubiously dismantled our relationships with fitness. Armed with a platform and a voice, Keeping Balance is here to ensure that we are the last generation to collectively hold disdain for self-care.
I can still hear the cries of anguish from those who lost their loved ones too soon. It intertwines with the voices of my Russian gymnastics coaches, shouting at me that I am stupid, not trying hard enough, and eating too much.
The sterile smell of hospital hand sanitizer mixes with the musk of bare feet on a balance beam. The sensation of a hand I held going lifeless is sometimes confused with the searing pain of my own hands, ripped and bleeding under a layer of chalk.
These are the memories of an ER nurse who was once an athlete. These memories would later become the foundation for my fitness platform for women: Keeping Balance.
Finding trust again
In the gap of time between being a competitive gymnast and an ER nurse, I also battled an eating disorder. And I became enemies with the one thing that had always given me peace: movement. I then spent years regaining trust in my own body. Which was, to my surprise, greatly accelerated by pregnancy and motherhood. A body that was once my nemesis became my biggest ally. We worked together to bring new life into the world. In the postpartum phase, paying attention to my hormonal cycles and using them to inform my movement choices felt like the final puzzle piece to my healing process. It was as if I finally felt at home inside my own body.
After months of working as a nurse through the COVID-19 pandemic, my family moved halfway across the country. I was 6 months pregnant with our second baby. I was terrified to leave my job as a bedside nurse. But I felt in my bones that it would be the catalyst I needed to create something powerfully aligned with my values. As the daughter of self-employed writers, I grew up witnessing their freedom to raise a family while pursuing their passion. And it opened my eyes to the possibility that I didn’t have to work hard just to make someone else rich.
But in healthcare, that’s exactly what I had been doing. In the months leading up to my departure, nurses were required to scan every single piece of tape and gauze we used in order to bill the patient. Instead of spending more time educating my patients, I felt like a grocery store clerk in scrubs. I no longer felt like bedside nursing was the place to answer the call to serve people. And my fear of the unknown quickly turned into determination.
Sharing my story
About 7 months after the birth of our son, I felt the strong nudge to share my story. And to share what I’d learned over the years as an athlete, eating disorder survivor, nurse, mother, and now personal trainer. I sat on my bed during our sons’ nap time, ideas swirling. Eventually, I said aloud to myself: “I’m going to change the world.” I immediately picked up my phone and created a social media account that is now known as Courtney Keeping Balance.
The name “Keeping Balance” was a nod to the first blog I ever created. It was originally to chronicle my experience with gymnastics. While it was once used as a play on words, the term took on a new meaning. I finally felt confident navigating the intersection of physical health, mental health, and my life. And I would soon add six-figure business owner to that list of things to juggle.
Becoming a multi-passionate business owner
The hardest part about becoming a multi-passionate business owner was understanding that people want singular solutions to singular problems. And that my job was in part, figuring out how to package up that transformation into a profitable offer. But the one thing I heard from my audience over and over was frustration over consistency with exercise. Something that, as a woman, has an entirely different definition due to the four hormonal phases we experience throughout the menstrual cycle.
Society has taught women to hold themselves accountable to a male standard. But women thrive most when they are allowed to show up as they are. And when they use their varying hormonal landscape to their advantage. The massive response to this framework of movement is why my signature online course was born: The Keeping Balance Method. Through teaching my KBM methodologies, I’ve made fitness more accessible to women because now they are finally on the same team as their physiology. No longer fighting against the tide, but sailing with it. Cyclical fitness, a tool for sustainability, is often the final piece to rebalancing a woman’s relationship with herself.
The joyous celebrations of my community’s newfound love for movement has slowly but surely overpowered the traumatic sounds of my past. The universe has pulled me in many different directions over the years. But in my experience, the key to successful entrepreneurship as a woman is to use those life experiences to keep moving forward.