Her favorite race is the perilous Dipsea. She came in 2nd among women in the Headlands Marathon in 2007. She’s cycled the 130-mile Death Ride. For her 35th birthday, she ran 35 miles, and her 30th birthday present to herself was doing Ironman Canada. You could say Kristi Dowler is hard core.
Kristi has been into fitness since she was 14, when she asked her mom for a membership at the local gym. By 17, she knew she wanted to own her own fitness company. Most of us eventually forget what we once wanted to do with our lives. Instead, Kristi created one of San Francisco’s first boot camps for women. “Time spent wishing is time wasted,” Kristi says. That’s how she feels about fitness goals, too: “Take action now, or you’ll never get what you want.”
Kristi grew up in Springfield, Mo. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1994 with a degree in psychology and communication, and she worked her way up to become a store planner at Gap. Her career there brought her to the Bay Area in 2000. But she found herself spending more time with inventory data than with people. And she was letting her workouts slip.
For a kick in the butt, Kristi took a part-time job at Gorilla Sports, where friends encouraged her to teach a spinning class. That did it. In October 2002, at age 31, she quit corporate life and became certified as a personal trainer. A year later, she co-founded Bay Area Boot Camp. VyAyr Fitness was born in 2006.
VyAyr — from “vitality” and “air” — combines Kristi’s love of the outdoors and her belief that fitness gives people the energy to live their lives. Kristi’s main goal? To positively impact people’s lives by teaching them that fitness is an essential part of one’s lifestyle. Kristi has coached hundreds of people of all ages, many of whom return because of her upbeat energy, fun coaching style and personal attention. “I’m honored that so many people trust me to guide them through their fitness journey,” she says.
Part of Kristi’s skill is to synthesize for her clients the daunting amount of information about exercise and nutrition. “When I started in this business, I was looking for balance in my life, and I began to realize that my clients really need that, too,” Kristi says. She is continually educating herself, whether it’s an anatomy class, nutrition studies or training to teach yoga, integrating the knowledge into her boot camp and personal-training programs.
Favorite thing besides fitness: Great concerts
Baby: Sky-blue VW Bug convertible, top down
Swears she’s giving up: SUGAR!!!
On a sunny day, she’s: At The Grove with a Berkeley Bowl salad