Overcomer Series Casey Burkes

Our Overcomer Series is from a joint partnership with our good friend Whitney Wiser-Savage and her Nashville Fit Show.

By: Emily Stokes

Casey Burkes has been chasing a IFBB Pro Card for 11 years now. Despite her battle with alcoholism, she has fiercely worked towards achieving the ultimate title of IFBB Pro. 

“I know I can do it,” Casey said. “It’s just a matter of it being my time. I know that if I had taken a different path, I might have had my pro card sooner. I believe that God is using me to inspire other people and I don’t know if that’s why it’s taking me so long, but I’m just here along for the ride.”

And inspired she has. Nearly nine years ago, Casey fell into a battle with alcoholism. Her whole life turned upside-down losing her well-paying job, her car, and her apartment. She began making strides towards recovery after she had hit “rock-bottom.” She mentioned, “everyone’s rock-bottom is different, but mine was when I had lost everything.” 

“I lost literally everything, but the biggest thing I lost was myself,” Casey said. “I would look in the mirror and I didn’t know who I was anymore and that was probably the saddest thing I think a person can experience.”  

Soon after her lowest point, Casey admitted herself to a treatment facility. Once she completed her treatment she transitioned to a recovery community where she was required to get a job. Casey found a job at a gym nearby due to its convenient location to her residence. She began building up her clientele and after six months, she was recruited to Lenox Village to be their fitness manager.  

“Alcoholism actually helped me do what I love,” Casey said. “If it wasn’t for that, I would not be in the fitness field. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m actually supposed to be doing, which is helping people get their life back on track.”

Today, Casey owns her own private fitness studio, Brave Training Studio, only one street over from her old recovery community. Nearly 60% of her clientele are in recovery and she helps her clients use fitness as a form of release. She parallels her sessions to therapy sessions, noting that fitness affects so much more than physical, it changes people on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. 

From the start, Casey had always known she wanted to compete, but now fitness and competing mean so much more. “Having a drive and determination for fitness also helps me have a drive and determination to overcome the alcoholism and to be consistent in my road.” She draws a comparison to recovery and fitness by stating how they both take consistency to achieve results. She says it’s all about prioritizing your time. If you want it bad enough you will make the time for it. 

She has made competing a top priority for the last 11 years because she has fallen in love with the process. Casey said, “The feeling of my first show and that sense of accomplishment and every year when I get off stage, I feel that sense of accomplishment over and over and it’s a feeling that can’t be described unless you have done it before. I think the reason that I’ve kept going is because I love that process and I love that feeling of accomplishment. It gives you a feeling that if you can accomplish this, you can accomplish anything.” 

We are looking forward to watching Casey compete at the Nashville Fit Show on August 19, 2023. To learn more about the Nashville Fit Show check out their website: https://nashvillefitshow.com/#athlete