Kicking Goals with Krista Stryker
Krista Stryker is all about kicking goals. The personal trainer and author saw an opportunity to create a change in the fitness industry.
Growing up in an athletic family, she played team sports simply because it was what everyone did in her town, but found she much preferred reading books. It was her time in college that changed her mindset drastically. “When I went off to college I basically stopped any form of movement whatsoever, gained the classic freshman fifteen and just felt really unconfident about myself in general. My energy levels were low, I suffered from mild anxiety and depression, and I really felt like I was just destined to be this slightly pudgy, weak, out of shape person for life.”
After a comment from her brother about how weak she was, Stryker got back on track and became dedicated to fitness, setting out to share her keys to success with others.
She came up with the immensely popular app “12 Minute Athlete” that creates an accessible and time efficient workouts for practically everyone.
“When I first started 12 Minute Athlete nearly six years ago, I had been working as a personal trainer for a few years at that point while also pursuing my own athletic goals.” Seeing the gap in quick, easy training for people wanting to workout fast and effectively, she put 12 Minute Athlete out into the world and watched it grow. “I felt like there was an opportunity for an app with quick, time efficient workouts that you could do whether you only had access to a few pieces of equipment or no equipment at all. The minimal equipment high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are the basis of the 12 Minute Athlete approach, I knew from the very beginning of my business that creating an app would make the workouts even more accessible for people.”
The app spawned from her own experience with looking for ways to train outside of the gym. “As a personal trainer, I really had no idea how to work out when I didn’t have access to my regular gym. I thought you needed a variety of different weights, machines, and other equipment in order to get an effective workout in.”
With many people unable to get to a gym or access to equipment, Krista's idea was the perfect workout to fit many needs. “The workouts in the app are perfect for people who travel a lot, don’t want to join a gym, or don’t have time to spend 45 minutes or more on their workouts. I’ve had people tell me how they’re able to still work out even when they’re snowed in in their tiny apartment, are traveling the world and fit their workouts in at an outdoor park, or work on a cruise ship and find ways to work out even when they’re at sea for weeks on end. Every story like this makes me so happy.”
It's evident from Stryker's immense following across her social media platforms, that her methods speak to many. Her attitude towards fitness and motivation is a sparkle amongst the often overwhelming sea of fitness influencers on social portals. “When it comes to social media, my advice it to try and follow people who are positive and encouraging. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to the experts we see on social media, but try to use it as a source of inspiration, not as s place to compare yourself to others who are undoubtedly much more experienced than you are right now. You should never feel bad about yourself or put down by social media experts. Remember, everyone had to start somewhere, and wherever you are right now is ok. If you stick with it and don’t give up, you will achieve your goals.”
While diet plays an important part in fitness, it's often one of the hardest factors in common health goals. Krista's advice to her clients are wise. “One of the things I encourage my clients and readers to think about when it comes to food, is to really think of food as fuel for their bodies. If you fuel your body with high nutrient foods like vegetables, whole grains, and protein, you’re going to feel great, both during your workouts and your every day life. That being said, I’m really not a fan of any diet that’s completely strict and encourage people to follow more of an 80/20 approach. This means you’ll be aiming to eat fairly healthy 80 percent of the time while giving yourself a little wiggle room for your favorite foods the other 20 percent of the time. In my experience this results in a much more sustainable approach to food and makes it fairly easy to stick with healthy eating long-term.”
As a supporter of animal rights, Krista has become a loyal advocate to animals. “I have a cat named Fishstick and a dog named Rocket, and they’ve traveled the world with me. I can’t imagine life without having furry friends around.I’ve been an animal lover since I was a little kid. Ever since I can remember I connected with animals more than people. This is what led to me becoming a vegetarian at age seven—once I found out what meat was, I decided to not eat it any more.”
While she feels strongly about her own choices, she doesn't force her opinion on others. “I don’t push vegetarianism or veganism on anyone, because I really don’t believe that everyone is meant to be a vegetarian. However, I do think that a majority plant-based diet is good for the earth, and encourage people to eat more vegetables than they do meat.”
Helping others create goals and a healthier lifestyle has been Krista's intention from the beginning, and it's clear to see the effectiveness of her methods. “Most people focus on weight loss, or looking better in a bikini, or getting more “toned.” But these types of goals can be frustrating and unmotivating long-term, and don’t always fit well with the “food is fuel” philosophy.” Since her approach is focused on long term, lasting goals, many of her clients have posted about their own successes. Stryker's fundamental points are clear. “Creating skill, strength, or adventure goals, on the other hand, can keep you motivated and training hard even when you would have otherwise given up already. They also allow you to track your progress easier—if you go from no push up, to a push up, you’ll know you got stronger. Compare that to stepping on the scale every day, while so many different factors may be causing the weight on the scale not to go down (including added muscle).”
Her final words of advice are authentic and worth heeding. “Most of all, I want people to know that no matter where you’re starting from, you can absolutely get fitter, stronger, more explosive,learn something new, or whatever your goals are. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stick with it, you’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ll make.”
Written by: Mel Riemer
Photography by: Tamara Muth King