You may not know her by name, but you definitely know her business, IronPlate Studios. Kristin is the brains, brawn, AND beauty behind this personal training and nutrition powerhouse. Her qualifications and certifications are impressive, her and her trainers will kick your ass (just ask Melissa!), and on top of it all, she's a mama! We sat down with her to chat all about being a mom and running a successful business.
Many aren’t aware, but you are one of the first businesses in the Monroe Center #OG. Tell us about the changes you’ve seen in the Monroe Center and the area in general.
Wow, yes Monroe Center has certainly changed since I opened almost 7 years ago! For starters, we actually have a main lobby now instead of the old rickety freight elevator in the back and a decent staircase instead of using the fire escape! I have to say, in terms of the building, the owners have done a beautiful job with the renovations and I can see why a lot of other businesses in the area are looking to get their foot in the door here. Likewise, it seems like a lot of fitness businesses in particular have gravitated towards this building as well with all the development that has been going on in the west side of Hoboken. This building gets a lot more foot traffic than the old days too. This is all due to how many buildings are going up back here and how there is such a high demand to live in Hoboken and now up in the JC Heights area as well (which is where I lived for the past 8 years).
What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you? What about the worst?
Best business advice I was ever given I'll never forget - was when I first opened my studio in January 2013 and I was terrified. I asked my girlfriend (who was a big motivator for me in getting this place off the ground and is a Life Coach by trade), "What do I do if this doesn't work?" Her response was, "Just make it work." I never forgot that and I live by that every day. There are so many ups and downs as a business owner and during those downs, I can always lift myself back with that mantra.
In terms of the worst, I don't think I've ever been given any because I rarely ask for advice or take any. Every great decision I've ever made in my life has been of my own accord. I surround myself with the right people who steer me in the right direction and I have an excellent team that keeps me and my business safe from drama including my awesome accountant, Sara Laufer, my marketing and design guy (who is also my brother), and my unofficial business confidante, Caitlin Harrington, who also runs our IronPlate Online division from upstate NY and worked in our Hoboken studio for 4 years as a trainer and Studio Manager.
As a former fitness competitor, nutritionist and gym owner, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learn about healthy eating and healthy body image? And how do you teach that lesson to your beautiful daughter?
Biggest lesson I've learned now that I'm 47 years old, had many competitive years as a figure and obstacle course competitor, and 20 years as a Trainer and Nutritionist behind me is that "health" can be defined so many different ways and has many interpretations and it changes over the course of one's life. When I was 27 it was about being skinny and sexy and wearing a certain size jeans. At 47 it's about feeling alive and energetic and able to do the things I love to do like snowboard, yoga and hiking. I don't define myself by a number on the scale anymore because as you get older and wiser, you realize there are so many more important things in life that define "health" and a "healthy body image" and that number cannot be the only metric to define oneself. I also have never defined myself or level of fitness based on PRs. I have loads of clients through the years that can out-lift me. It's never been about that for me.
I have been teaching these things to my daughter since she was small. Sophia is almost 11 now, but she already understands the benefits of healthy eating through example, loves to workout (I train her 2x/week in our garage), loves physical activity especially gymnastics and is an all around well-balanced kid. I simply explain why all these things are important as I would with any of my clients, but by the same token, allow her to have ice cream and treats sometimes too. I've been raising Sophia as a single mom since she was 1, so for better or worse, she was raised coming to IronPlate ALL THE TIME so she learned exercise through watching our clients come through the door all these years. She even knows all the exercises, knows how to put workouts together and has trained her friends in our garage too. I used to tell her when I was really busy with clients to go to the other side of the studio, write out a workout and show it to me when she was done to give her something to do. She put some really cool stuff together!
What are your favorite things about raising a child in Hudson County? (I know you moved, but you WERE here!)
I miss being in Jersey City! I think my favorite thing about having raised Sophia for 10 years in Jersey City was the diversity in the schools and the culture. Soph's friends and teachers have been from all around the world and I love that. At Primary Prep she had amazing art and music classes that were so advanced and progressive and you just don't get that in the suburbs. I had a hard time moving and adjusting to our new town because of these reasons, but the suburbs have their benefits too. Before I was a trainer and nutritionist, I was a musician (my first life) so these things are important to me for her education and up-bringing. I still drive her up to Jersey City on Friday afternoons and in the summer for art camp because her and I love it so much.
We also miss being able to walk a lot of places!
You have found love again, and it is with someone you knew from #backintheday. What is your best advice to the mom who is back out in the dating game, and not sure how to navigate that world with kids?
Oh boy! Good question - I definitely lucked out, I must say that. And it is hard! My best advice is to just persevere. Put it out in the Universe and make it happen! There are good ones out there, you just have to strategize your time wisely. Plan dates out when your child is with the baby daddy, or if you think it will be a worthwhile date, hire a sitter (or get a married friend to help you out). It's definitely not an easy lifestyle and I definitely wasted some nights away from my daughter on some lame-ass dates, but there are decent men out there that are in the same boat. I honestly never thought I'd get married again and boom!... here I am with probably one of the coolest, kindest, sexiest men out there who is also amazing with my daughter and has really taken her on as his own. It can happen!
When you actually do get to leave your mommy and bad ass boss lady hats at home, where are your favorite local spots to unwind?
You could definitely find me catching a yoga class at Jivamukti Yoga in Downtown Jersey City (just took one today!). I also still like coming into this area to go to some of my old favorite places to grab a drink or dinner like the White Star, Madame Claude's Bis, or Taqueria.
Besides endless access to fitness and nutrition and all of that knowledge you possess, what is your favorite thing about your job?
I think ultimately what I love so much about my job is that I have changed so many lives. Someone once told me musicians are healers and I think that's why I gravitated towards both in this lifetime. I love being able to heal people through health and wellness. I have met hundreds and hundreds of people throughout my career and still keep in touch with so many... and knowing that some of them have moved on to careers in fitness, or have made strides in their own health with my guidance or have used health and fitness to get through tough times, really makes me so happy and fulfilled. I couldn't ask for a better career or job and it never feels like work.