My First Year Training with Ido Portal

I flew to Singapore in August of 2013 to work with Ido Portal and his team because I have an insatiable hunger for anything that will make me a better mover and based on some interviews I had seen on YouTube, they understand movement in a way that few do.  (Yes, YouTube inspired me to fly across the globe to work with people I had never met.)


I thought the movement camp would be a memorable experience but I was completely unprepared for how much it would change my approach to “training” and the way I navigate my day-to-day life.


Transformation is funny like that. You aren’t really aware of how grand it is until you have traveled far enough to get some perspective in the rear view mirror.


Despite being in the fitness industry for nearly 2 decades, I could barely do a pull-up when I met Ido. I had absolutely zero capacity for balancing on my hands and greatly underestimated the amount of weight I was capable of using to train my body. I didn’t know what a planche or a front lever was. I had never touched a set of rings.


I had become so specialized in my approach to movement through the fitness industry, that I was no longer really moving in a way that felt exhilarating. I certainly wasn’t playing or exploring outside of my comfort zone. My love affair with movement had been feeling stale for longer than I care to admit.


This past year’s worth of work has been focused on tearing down a less-than-stellar foundation that I spent years building in order to construct a far studier one; one with enough integrity for more movement possibility.


As I am sure you are aware… old habits die very, very slowly. And rebuilding new ones takes bucket-loads of persistence and practice.


Change is no easy task. Which is also why it is so damn rewarding.


Ido’s method reminds daily me that there really is no limit to what I can achieve given wise mentors, a process to follow, a lot of consistent hard work and a big enough reason to keep going on the hardest days.


I am a 37 year old, self-employed wife and mother to a 4 year old.


In the beginning, I had a hard time rationalizing what business I had dedicating time, money and energy to something I would have been more easily able to prioritize when I was younger with less responsibility.


As the training progresses, however, I feel more compelled to continue my training BECAUSE I AM a mother with tremendous responsibility.


I have the monumental task of raising a boy who feels at home with himself more than any other place in the world; who is committed to his passions and clear that the only path worth going down is going to involve a lot of hard work, discipline, obstacles and even failure. It is my duty (and honor) as a mother to teach my son to never stop MOVING his body or his life no matter how challenging it gets.


My son is under my watchful eye, but even more so…I am under his. So, I keep showing up to do the work that lights my own heart on fire with the hopes that he will do the same.


If your life is feeling less like a celebration and more like drudgery, it is YOUR responsibility to MOVE it to a better place and moving your body can, surprisingly, help move your life.


There were MANY days over the past year I could have easily thrown in the towel (and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted). My husband underwent major spinal surgery in April and then contracted Lyme Disease while working on the East Coast for the summer, which has left the right side of his face paralyzed (fortunately his doctor is confident that it will heal over time).


I could have easily rationalized that the training was too much given the medical drama and parenting solo through the summer.   But I didn’t quit  because my training has taught me that I CAN carry the weight, I CAN learn new complex patterns with consistent practice. And isn’t life just one big complex movement pattern?


I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible and Ido’s work is reinstilling my faith in that.


I can follow my bliss AND navigate the beautiful mess life throws my way because I am practicing both daily. And it is my high hope that you are out there doing the same.


For more information about the amazing work Ido Portal and his team are doing, please visit:




  • Katie Surjan says:

    Absolutely beautiful Courtney! Your video touches a heart chord – loved every second 🙂 So many deeper lessons contained in this video xo

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Thank you, Katie! There have been so many deeper lessons in the training that I wasn’t expecting:) So glad you enjoyed it.

  • Joan says:

    Breath taking! Loved seeing you move in ways I could not imagine possible. Loved seeing Liam at the end in sheer delighted mimicry – the joy of movement!

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Thank you, Joan! And yes, Liam embodies “sheer delight” and it is most vibrantly expressed when he is moving. Which is pretty much…ALWAYS:)

  • Eve says:

    Beautiful, Courtney! Love to see both you and L!

  • Gayle says:

    So inspiring! Beautiful on every level. Love you!

    • graceandgritCT says:


      It is so fun to see where our paths have lead us, eh? We are both still dancing our way through movement possibilities:) So glad to have you on this journey, my dear friend. Big love back to you.

  • Tricia says:

    Wow beautiful, the strength is gorgeous, a powerful message and that buddy boy is awesome. lv u

  • Josie Wakefield says:

    Gorgeous and inspiring. Thank you so much for posting. I am also a 37 year old mum who is trying to be the best I can physically and mentally for my children. Taking leaps of faith is the only way to travel through life. 🙂 Thanks again. x

    • graceandgritCT says:


      Posting things like this post can make be feel incredible vulnerable because I am sharing something that means so much to me. Thank you for your comment. If I have inspired or helped one person by doing it…it was well worth it. My best to you!

  • Lynn Foster says:

    Oh Courtney, you continue to amaze and inspire me! However, you blew it by letting Liam close out the video; he completely stole the show! I miss working with you, but I am glad I get to follow along a little with your progress.

  • Neil says:

    Absolutely fantastic stuff. I have two questions about training time…in the thick of it (for the majority of your training), how many hours per week would you say you worked at this? Also, how many sessions per week? I’d love to understand this given the other responsibilities we have as parents and workers, etc.
    Awesome work. And thanks in advance.

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Hi Neil.
      Thank you. Ido’s method works because he is brilliant at breaking down the complexity of movement and because he demands a lot of his students. Everyone’s program is obviously tailored differently but you can expect 2 workouts a day MOST days of the week (each workout varies but roughly 1-2 hours/session). I do set one before my family is up, and my second set later in the day. Hope that helps.

  • Donna says:

    Love this. I follow Ido’s work and am trying to figure out that first exercise….when you are in a straddle stretch with a plate on your upper back to increase mobility. Are there any pictures, videos or explanations of this I can look into. And if it is something I need to purchase that is fine…..just need to learn more and Ido is not teaching in Northern California!

  • Aqeel says:

    You are stunning. Your strength both physically and mentally is inspiring. JUST MOVE

  • Greg Ribaudo says:

    This was an incredible video and very motivating. I am just starting the journey that you had began 1 year ago. I have just discovered Ido Portal and I am on a mission now. I am curious to know more about the training process you did. Is it laid out step by step, when doing the online training? Is it necessary to do the work shop in order to fully grasp and work with trainers online. Any information would be helpful. Truly inspiring!

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Hi Greg.
      Thank you! The online training is very specifically lined out for you. Obviously, it is tailored to meet you where you are at and build you into a better mover with a balance of strength and mobility. I think it was helpful to have an understanding of how Ido works by attending one of his workshops, but it is certainly not necessary. If you are serious about improving your movement capabilities, I cannot recommend his work enough. They are brilliant at what they do and damn good people.

  • Michal Zuber says:

    Hi. I’m after 2 surgeries due lumbar spine fractures of L1 and L4. Bad or good, point of view. I focus on the good from it, now I know that movement is essential. Many thanks that you shared your experiences and especially for the video 😉 Can I ask for some experiences during the workshop, another post? 🙂

  • terra says:

    did you just do a 1 week workshop or internship with him then continue to practice on your own for a year or was there additional resources you used.

    • graceandgritCT says:

      Terra…I went to Singapore in 2013 to attend Ido’s Movement camp and I have been an online student of his every since. I have also attended other workshops of his and an internship with Odelia (one of his primary teachers) this past November.

  • karen says:

    Please can I ask how much time per day did you dedicate in that first year.
    Many thanks

  • Noam Wolf says:

    Very cool! how did you come up with your routine? did you construct it yourself?

  • Rebecca says:

    Incredible and so inspiring! I was especially happy to see your sweet little ginger having fun with you!

Leave a Reply