Former host of NBC’s ‘Motivational Mondays’ tells us what she’s learned along the way
Chris Freytag is a certified personal trainer, TV personality, author and motivational speaker. She has been sharing the message of healthy living for 30 years while teaching fitness classes, writing books, creating workouts and sharing her knowledge in magazines and online. She is the founder of Get Healthy U, a free website with fitness and nutrition advice, as well as Get Healthy U TV, which is a workout streaming service where members can stream workouts from any device, at any time. Smart Lifebites fans are familiar with Chris. We’ve featured her 10-Minute Total Body Firm Up Workout. She also did a nutrition segment in which she explained what the added sugars in Halloween, Fun-Sized Candy Bars do to your body. Most recently, she showed us how to do a 10-Minute Foam Rolling Recovery.
You teach 5 live group fitness classes a week at LifeTime. How do you keep it fresh and your class energized about your workouts?
I am an extrovert and I love the energy of groups; that’s what keeps me going. Some people have been coming to my class for two decades. I like variety and I’m constantly trying to change up workouts to make them interesting, no matter if it’s a total body workout or kickboxing.
Tell us a little about the 14 years you did Motivation Mondays, a weekly morning segment on NBC 11 KARE in Minnesota? What was that like?
I’d suggested a news health segment to the local NBC station after I’d see I’d seen it on the Today Show. I came up with the segments on topics such as how to eat healthier, how to move your body and other newsworthy trends in health and fitness. I always love broadcasting and sharing my message of health and fitness.
Have you changed your workout emphasis over the years–changing the ratio on cardio to strength training as you’ve gotten older? And if so what do you recommend for others as they age?
Being in my 50s, I’m definitely more aware of recovery. I still love high-impact workouts, but I’m aware of adding in more low impact. My workouts have changed from 20 years ago when there wasn’t cardio and strength together. Now group classes are very strength-oriented. For instance, 20 years ago at LifeTime, there were only 5 lbs and 8 lbs. weights in classes, now there’s 15 lbs., and more in classes.
Favorite cardio, and why? Kickboxing. I find it to be so stress relieving. You get your heart rate up and iIt’s fun and rhythmic.
Least favorite cardio, and why?
I hate swimming–probably because I hate being alone when I work out.
At what age do you recall fitness becoming important to you and why? Did you have a role model?
I always loved being active and participated in sports in school, but I wasn’t doing it as a workout. Back in the ‘70s, you might go running, but nobody was going to the gym. I got started wtih Jane Fonda. I loved that whole fitness craze and it was then I realized this is totally my thing.
Describe a typical day in terms of how you build a workout routine into it.
I start the day with an early morning–usually a 5:30 a.m. workout. I started this routine because I was raising a family and working full-time, and it was the only time I could be consistent. After that I run an online business and am online all day. Working out that early clears my head and works best for my schedule. But do what’s best for you and your body.
Favorite Workout tunes: I love music with a driving beat. I’m one of those people who stays up with the music world–my son is a musician–so I like to play current tracks.
You allude to the fact that working out all the time isn’t realistic. Do you have any recommendations for how people can maintain balance?
I always tell people: “It’s not what you do once, it’s about consistency.” We’re such a black and white society. Maybe you have a goal to work out 5 days a week, but keeping it to a perfect schedule isn’t realistic. You have to allow yourself the grace to miss some workouts. It’s about the consistency of working out over the course of a year and if you make it a habit, then falling off the horse is not going to be as overwhelming to get back into a routine.