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Kristal Espitia
Certified Personal Trainer - World Instructor Training School (WITS) at UT Center for Professional Education

Hometown: Round Rock, TX

When and why did you come to Austin? I moved 20 minutes down I35 when starting my freshman year at UT to study bilingual education. It was easy to fall in love with Austin over the course of my four years at the university, and I stuck around to start my teaching career in 2016.

What is your background? How did you get into personal training? I practiced Kung Fu for 13 years growing up. Then I went to college and was quickly introduced to the freshman 15 (and then some) in all its glory. I gained weight, horrible eating habits, and a list of insecurities. My “doing something about it” was an extremely low-carb diet and Pinterest workouts in my dorm because I was too embarrassed to go to the gym.

Everything changed when I started implementing small habits that compounded over time. I found myself spending more time in the gym and healing my relationship with food. Instead of doing my workout in my dorm, I spent 15 minutes on the elliptical and then ran upstairs to do my workout before I was comfortable enough to do it in the gym. The first nutrition habit I changed was dipping my fork in dressing before each bite rather than dumping all the ranch on my salad. These small victories made me successful and allowed me to take bigger risks outside of my comfort zone. 

Teaching was my dream forever, so when the thought of being a trainer came to mind in college I quickly brushed it away. I finished my degree, graduated, and started teaching. I became more serious about my training and have continued to see the positive effects in other areas of my life. I got certified in order to help others feel as confident and powerful as I do. I saw my life transform in the gym and want to help others change their lives, too.

Tell us about your current fitness goals and training. First and foremost, my fitness goals are to stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. My goal is to intentionally move my body everyday, while increasing strength and building muscle. My goals and training will soon be more targeted as I start preparation for my first physique competition in late 2021! 

What is the most common fitness myth you work through with your clients? “Lifting weights makes you bulky.” Wrong – lifting makes you strong, and strong is beautiful! No matter what someone’s fitness goals are, strength training is a critical component to the recipe for success. Lifting is empowering!

What do you want your clients to take away from each training session with you? I want my clients to feel stronger and more capable than they ever thought possible. We will work hard, push limits and have fun. My former 4th graders know they are imparable, or unstoppable, and I want my clients to feel the same. 

What sets you apart from other fitness professionals? My teaching experience has provided a unique perspective on setting and achieving goals. I understand that everyone has different areas that “glow” and areas where they can “grow,” and that may not be shown directly on paper. As a coach, it’s my responsibility and pleasure to guide people from where they are to where they want to go. Fitness (just like education) isn’t one size fits all, and my experience as a teacher and technical knowledge of training compliment each other and make me a unique trainer.

How do you, personally, define success? Success is defined by the ability to set and achieve goals, which looks and sounds different to everyone. Sometimes accomplishing the simple goal of waking up and making the bed is a success. Other times it may be running a marathon. Regardless of the goal, one is defined by the work put in every day to achieve it.

I’m a complete beginner, and to be honest was a little intimidated to join a gym. All that went away when I met Kristal Espitia, my trainer! She’s been able to help me push my limits while still understanding I need to take it slow on some things. She’s incredibly encouraging and I feel so strong after every workout.

Jill Dickinson