Krista Stryker is an NSCA certified personal trainer and the creator of the 12 Minute Athlete app – a workout regimen based on high intensity interval training that has been downloaded by over 120,000 users worldwide. Krista has been featured on MindBodyGreen, CreativeLive, Self Magazine and KTLA-TV, and was recently named one of Athleta’s 100 Women to Watch in Wellness. Her interview inspires us to be patient and consistent in our businesses, to prioritize value creation over monetization and to start delegating early for rapid expansion.
What inspired you to create the wildly popular 12 Minute Athlete workout regimen?
Before 12 Minute Athlete, I used to work as a personal trainer in New York City. At the time, I was working out for hours a day, diligently doing my cardio, weight training and sports-specific training every day until I was over trained, injured, and had little time in my day to do anything else. Even though I was spending so much time working out, it felt like it was never enough.
Then I discovered high intensity interval training (HIIT) and started getting stronger, fitter, and leaner than ever before. It was after my own personal success that I created 12 Minute Athlete so I could share these incredibly effective HIIT workouts with the world and help people of all fitness levels ditch their excuses and get in shape in as little time as possible.
How did you navigate the transition from personal trainer to product developer?
Good question. While I was still doing personal training, I started a different blog that was a complete failure (it was too unfocused and had no hope as an actual business). I learned a ton from the experience, so when I stopped doing in person personal training, I’d had enough experience in the online world that I was able to be much more focused when developing the idea for 12 Minute Athlete.
What were the biggest barriers you initially faced during this transition and how did you overcome them?
Though I had some experience in the blogging world when I first started 12 Minute Athlete, getting an app made was much more overwhelming! At the time, I didn’t know anyone else who had created an app, so most people I talked to about it tried to discourage me from the idea. But I knew it was integral to what I wanted the brand to be so I read everything I could on how to get an app made and eventually figured it out.
Your iPhone and Android apps have been downloaded by over 120,000 users worldwide. What has been your road to success and the most important success factors along the way?
From the beginning, I really made sure to focus on making a really good app that I would want to use, as opposed to just trying to make an app that would make a lot of money. It worked.
Is there a certain strategy you’ve found to be the most effective for growing your audience?
Consistency – seriously, being consistent with your posts, social media, and everything else is the biggest thing that keeps people coming back for more and telling their friends about it. It’s not easy though!
Were there any initial mistakes you made that you would tell a new entrepreneur to avoid?
Hire someone early, even if it’s just a freelancer for 5 hours a week. Trying to do everything myself for so long was not only super stressful, I really believe it kept my business from growing larger sooner since I was so focused on the day-to-day stuff that I couldn’t always put enough time into the bigger picture stuff.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
The best piece of advice I’ve received is probably just to not give up. Things take time to catch on, and most overnight successes you hear about have really been around for 5+ years. So once I had a positive initial response about 12 Minute Athlete, I knew I just had to stick it out until more and more people began to learn about it.
What is your morning routine?
I typically get up around 7:00, make breakfast and work at home for an hour or two before taking a short break and getting my dog out for a walk. I’ll work for another hour or so before working out in my garage or my backyard and having lunch while reading a book or watching part of a course I’m taking. I’ll then pretty much just coffee shop hop the rest of the afternoon.
I’ve found this way of working and breaking up the day a ton allows me to focus in short bursts—anything much longer than that and I can’t focus at all. There are also certain types of projects I just can’t do at all when I’m at home, such as writing or long-term dreaming/planning. I need the distraction of a coffee shop or sunny park to keep me on track.
What is your favorite indulgence?
I love frozen yogurt on a hot day with tons of berries on top. And I’ll never say no to a piece of dark chocolate.
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
I have no idea! Probably some weird fruit that I don’t remember the name of.
Last book you read?
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers.
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Healthy Mexican food! I love the stuff. Especially when it comes with lots of veggies.
What is your go-to breakfast?
Steel cut oats with flax seeds, berries, and a dollop of peanut butter plus one scrambled egg plus three egg whites.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
I absolutely love the freedom of it. I love getting up every single day and deciding what I want to do and to be able to book trips anywhere in the world without a boss to tell me no. It’s not easy, but I couldn’t imagine choosing a different life.
Krista Stryker is the creator of the wildly popular 12 Minute Athlete workout app. You can find out more about Krista and her business at www.12minuteathlete.com.