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Healthy and fitness coach, Chris Freytag

An Interview with Health & Fitness Expert Chris Freytag

An exclusive interview with health & fitness expert, Christ Freytag. We chatted about all things food and fitness, and she shared incredible tips for creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Healthy and fitness coach, Chris Freytag

Do you know who this gorgeous woman is?

Well if you aren’t familiar, her name is Chris Freytag–a woman who I look up to for many reasons. Chris is a health and fitness expert, author and national speaker…. oh, and my group fitness instructor!

Chris has been teaching fitness classes and personal training for over 20 years and is currently a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine; the fitness contributor for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis; and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Exercise. Chris has authored 5 books; has created dozens of fitness DVD’s; and sells her signature line of healthy kitchen and fitness products on QVC.

Ummm… what hasn’t she done!? And course because she doesn’t have enough going on already (kidding here), I asked her to do an interview for my blog. I’m thrilled!

Yoga pose on a mountain

Yoga on the mountain 

If you’ve been reading Ambitious Kitchen, you know that I believe finding a passion you love is something incredibly important. I can’t emphasize that enough! Whether it’s yoga or cooking, I try to do something I’m passionate about every single day. Chris follows her passion for healthy living and exercising by encouraging others to do the same. I think it’s very inspiring.

Now besides cooking massive amounts of food and grocery shopping all the time, I thought you might find it interesting to get a glimpse into my health lifestyle a bit more. First off, I believe in being active and eating healthy (most of the time).  I try to work out 6 days a week which includes a mix of kickboxing, yoga, running, weight lifting, and cycling. Mixing my exercise routine up is important otherwise I get bored too easily. My favorite way to de-stress is to run, but I also love a relaxing mind-body vinyasa yoga. Some of my best workouts are the mix of kickboxing, plyometrics, and weight lifting — with good music obviously!

I especially love working out with others, I’ve found that it motivates me to push myself to work harder. The picture below is of my group fitness class.

Group fitness class

I met Chris about a year ago at Lifetime Fitness in Minnesota while taking one of her cycling classes. Chris teaches various group fitness classes including: Hot Yoga, Cycling, Strike! (basically kickboxing with a bar weight), and Total Conditioning. She’s one of my favorite instructors not only because she encourages me to step outside my comfort zone and challenge my body, but because she is incredibly fun to work out with! 

After chatting with Chris, I realized we have a lot in common including a love for healthy living and pumpkin pie, but also sharing our passion with others. I asked Chris to put together some healthy living tips to share with all of you. These tips are some of my favorites because not only do I apply them to my personal life, but I believe that they can be beneficial to many of you–helping to make a huge difference in the way you think, exercise, and eat!

Chris Freytag’s Healthy Living Tips

1. Plan ahead.

Use Sundays as prep days to eat healthy all week. Get enough produce and staple needed for the week. Make double or triple of your meal, and freeze the extra for future use. Grill up extra chicken breasts and use them in salads and one-pot dishes for the rest of the week. Make a batch of brown rice and keep it in the fridge for easy lunches, burritos, and stir fry.

2. Aspire to eat clean.

Focus on eating things that come mostly from plants and trees, sometimes animals, and eat less from boxes, bags, and take-out containers. Try to get the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, minimally processed whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds and lean meats and fish.  Clean eating minimizes the presence of preservatives, chemically altered fats, extra sodium and artificial ingredients.

3. Cook at home more.

We all know the portions served at restaurants are huge. Plus, you don’t always know what they are putting into your food. Escape the hidden calories and make your own food instead from fresh ingredients. Check out Chris’s recipe for her

4. Find a healthy substitute for your most tempting food.

I love ice cream, but most of the time I will substitute it with Greek yogurt sweetened with a little raw honey and I add berries and dark chocolate chips or walnuts.

5. Don’t start and stop, just keep going!

One great way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your fitness regimen. It’s common for people to get psyched up and dive into working out only to drop it altogether when the craziness of life intervenes. If you start overly ambitious, you are less likely to stick with your routine. If exercise is new to you, start off slow and aim for a few workouts per week and then increase as you go.

Choose This! book cover by Chris Freytag

In addition to being active Chris believes it’s important to eat healthy, but realizes that it can be tough; which is why Chris wrote a cookbook to help others.

Choose This! offers incredible, FUN, easy recipes that have kept me coming back for more. Whenever I want something quick and healthy to eat, I pull out this cookbook–even for dessert ideas! The book also offers calorie counts on recipes and nutritional information, which I find very appealing.

Green smoothie

Now I drink A LOT of smoothies, so I knew this book was destined to be on my shelf when I saw an entire chapter devoted to them.

One of Chris’ favorite breakfast recipes happens to be her Green Machine Smoothie. It’s made with frozen bananas and pineapple, almond milk, coconut extract, kale and spinach. This smoothie has vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients–it’s now my go-to breakfast! You can find the recipe on her websithere.

Now last but not least, I asked Chris five questions that were on my mind:

1. Where do you find your daily fitness inspiration?

  • Like Zig Zigler said, “People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last and I tell them that bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily”.  That’s why I love group fitness; it’s an appointment to exercise with a whole bunch of fun people and I can’t cancel. When I teach I class I try to inspire the participants to work hard and they also inspire me! I also meditate and do my yoga breathing daily for mental clarity and strength. I LOVE any motivational saying and I save them all on my computer and share them on Facebook with my fans.

2.What is your eating approach (Low carb, low sugar, balanced, etc)?

  • Eat for health, less calorie counting for myself and more about nourishing my body with real food. By eating more fruits, veggies and salads, etc.,  you naturally get less calories, less chemicals, and less preservatives. I try to avoid fake sugars and fake foods. I call myself a flexitarian, mostly vegetarian but I eat chicken occasionally and fish. I also try to eat meatless on Monday.

3. What advice do you have for women who are looking to lose weight or begin an exercise routine?

  • Lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action. Get started and begin with baby steps; strive for progress not perfection. It’s a journey so do be so in a rush for a quick fix. Start moving your body and start trying some healthy food options. The bottom line is in order to see a change you have to GET STARTED!!!  I also advice having a support system –whether friends, a spouse, a virtual group, a trainer–support is a key component to success.

4. What is the one thing you are the most proud of?

  • My children hands down are my most prized possession. No athletic race or product is more satisfying than seeing your children grow up and make good choices and be loving healthy adults.

5. What’s your favorite snack or treat?

  • Oh well I don’t have just one! I love sweets so I have to be careful, but I love to make healthy desserts. I love ice cream and pumpkin pie the most so one of my favorite indulgences is Arctic Zero Pumpkin Spice:  It’s like a protein shake in ice cream form, and it satisfies my sweet tooth. I love to try healthy dessert recipes and find lots of good ones on the internet or from friends.  For snacks I eat homemade hummus and carrots and celery sticks.

Connect with Chris at

Find her on Facebook:

On Twitter @ChrisFreytag

What are your healthy living tips? Share in the comments below!

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