By Chad Ruiz

Big things sometimes come in small packages.  Behind Courtney Farnet’s petite frame is a giant heart.  The 24-year-old Mandeville fitness instructor who oozes kindness, strength, energy and confidence, recently placed in the top three of America’s Most Inspiring Trainer competition

For the second straight year, Well+Good, in partnership with ReebokONE, asked their followers to nominate an inspiring trainer.  After sorting through a thousand nominations, Well+Good selected Farnet and 11 others from different parts of the country, in part, because these trainers teach and empower people to live a healthier and fitter life.

Some of the finalists included trainers who overcame obesity or illnesses and now inspire their clients to do the same, but not Farnet.  Instead, in addition to inspiring clients in the gym, the Franco’s instructor has personally touched (and possibly saved) hundreds, if not thousands of lives through her non-profit Courtney’s Cakes for a Cure program.

“People order cakes, cookies, cupcakes, king cakes or anything for us to bake, and 100 percent of the money goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Farnet said.  “We take the order and you decide how much to pay which will all go to St. Jude.”

Farnet said she’s raised more than $70 thousand dollars thanks to her baking organization and the fundraising skills she learned while earning her B. S. in Kinesiology and Health at LSU.

Choosing St. Jude was an easy decision.

“A friend passed away from phase four neuroblastoma so we donate everything to St. Jude in honor of her.  Also, when my dad started his company, they always wanted to give to two charities.  St. Jude was one of them and it always stood out to me,” Farnet said.

Choosing fitness as a career was also an easy decision.

“I have a burning desire to change lives through fitness and fundraising,” Farnet said.  “The quote I live by is from Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude: ‘Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself.  It’s what you do for others.’”

When she’s not baking and raising money for St. Jude, Farnet, nicknamed the Energizer Bunny by clients, spends her time teaching 21 classes per week at Franco’s gym in Mandeville.  Thanks to her many Les Mills certifications, her classes feature popular workouts like BODYPUMP, BODYCOMBAT, BODYATTACK, CXWORX, SPRINT, BODYFLOW, barre, boxing and kickboxing.

“I want to advocate for young girls who face society’s pressure to be skinny or perfect.  I’m not judgmental and I love to share myself with others to help them through tough times,” Farnet said.  “A lot of the time, physical therapy isn’t just about the workout, it’s about the relationship you can build with the client to help them in their personal life.”

Although she didn’t win America’s Most Inspiring Trainer contest, many would argue Farnet is THEIR most inspiring trainer…and friend.

You can place an order and donate to Courtney’s Cakes for a Cure on Facebook.


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