Secrets of a Celebrity Trainer ft. Shawnee Harkins

Have you ever wondered what kind of personal trainers coach celebrities? Is one of your career goals to become such a trainer?

Well, meet the guest of the third episode of Real McCoy Radio – Shawnee Harkins. She came in to share her life journey, how she became a firefighter and a personal trainer, how she broke into the celebrity training world and how she created her program Neuro state of mind. She did all of that  after surviving three traumatic brain injuries! It was a tough rollercoaster but Shawnee is here to inspire people and prove that anything is possible.

Shawnee moved to LA when she was only 18 years old and had a dream to become a firefighter. For good or bad, life often has a different plan for us, and on a sunny summer day, she had a car accident, while she was rollerblading.

This is how Shawnee had her first traumatic brain injury at the age of 18. She was in a coma and the doctors’ prognosis was either that she is not going to make it, or that she will stay paralyzed. After a while, she did wake up, quadriplegic.

It took Shawnee one hard year to recover and at some point she felt like there was no way back. She couldn’t walk, so she had to stay in bed all the time. Her friends were visiting her a few times a day to take care of her. As sad and terrifying as this sounds, Shawnee needed to know whether there is reason to keep fighting. She needed a sign that she will walk again, so she can hold on to something.

At this point she was only able to move her upper body, so she said to herself that if she managed to do one single push up, she would keep going. And this is where the breakthrough happened. She fell over her bed and put all of her effort into this single push up. When she did it, she knew that there was hope. She knew that she could make it. After this year of recovery, she started preparing for becoming a firefighter.

The unfortunate circumstances for Shawnee did not stop here, and two years after the first incident, she had a second one. This was a really tough battle for her because she had just won the fight of her life and now she had to deal with a second one. It was mentally and emotionally harder for her to recover from the second TBI but she did not give up and at age 22 she managed to make her dream come true and became a firefighter EMT in LA.

No matter how unlucky this might seem, Shawnee shares that her experience with TBIs has made her much more committed to her work and helped her bult long term relationships with people. She understands what it means to be a caring person, as she had people in her life feeding her and helping her walk again. She also became a personal trainer and carried over this understanding in both of her careers.

As unbelievable as it might sound, a few years later Shawnee had a third TBI. On a rainy day, she twisted her ankle and fell back. Her head hit the concrete and she was back in the hospital on life support. The fall was really traumatic because her brain had already been through a lot but Shawnee was unstoppable again. She recovered from the third TBI and continued developing in her career.

Shawnee found her way from trainer to entertainment industry and appeared on TV for the first time on a reality show in Dubai. Soon after that she appeared on other TV shows in the US, including the dr. Phil show.

With such a difficult and interesting background, Shawnee is definitely a warrior and has learnt many important life lessons. Here are the tips she gives to trainers, who are looking to get into the celebrity training world. These tips could be insightful for everyone.

  • Do your research about the entertainment industry. You need to network, so go to parties, where you can meet directors, producers, writers, artists, actors. You may have something there that you can contribute and that someone is in need of, or vice versa.
  • Identify your goal and therefore your role. Ask yourself whether you want to be famous or you want to contribute? Whether your goal is to become an actor or to be a trainer. And most importantly, ask yourself if this is conducive to your lifestyle.
  • Once you know all of that, create your plan. Understand your Whys and Hows, then create your roadmap to your destination.

Shawnee is passionate about every aspect of her career and her most desirable goal has always been to create a program that can help athletes recovering from a concussion. This is how she created Neuro State of Mind.

Her experience with TBI has led her to developing this program, where she helps athletes with their neural performance through fitness activities. Shawnee describes the program as a safe way to to come back in regards to health and wellness. It’s based on a four pillar program and incorporates fitness, nutrition, regeneration, spiritual wellness.Other trainers all over the globe can get certified in her program as well.

Shawnee shares that the secret to accomplishing all of this is the alignment between her passion and purpose. She says that once you manage to align these two, then you have a product. Being bold and willingness to take calculated risks is essential, in order to find your alignment.

Do you want to listen to the whole interview? You can do this here.

If you want to find more information about Shawnee, you check the following  links:

If you want to find out more about the host Greg McCoy, check out his website and social media, or come for a visit at Hidden Gym.