Photo by James Patrick Photography
For 12 years, Kristen Crowley slept an average of four to five hours a night. Her grind began at 2:45 a.m., she worked from 3:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then spent most of the time left in her day juggling the demands of her active family, including two young children—after-school activities, dinner, homework and bedtime routines all needed her attention. Somehow, despite this grueling schedule, she still managed to fit in daily exercise.
“I decided that I still wanted to focus on my fitness,” Crowley says. “That was my priority. I set aside time every day to go [to the gym] and thank god. It did help. Fitness has always been my saving grace and my sanity.”
Fitness, along with a passion for her profession and a self-proclaimed obsession with “learning everything about everything” all contributed to her successful career as a longtime morning traffic reporter and anchor for WTKR. During her tenure, Crowley gained a dedicated following of viewers and embraced all of the community involvement that came with her job. She appeared completely comfortable behind the camera, despite her claim that she once suffered from paralyzing stage fright.
Crowley says WTKR became her second family over the years, and it was very emotionally difficult to make the decision to leave the station last August.
“I had been thinking about it for years,” Crowley says. “The big factors were health, stress and a lack of sleep. It was a very demanding schedule, and I was starting to become completely exhausted. I decided I was going to invest in myself.”
Thankfully, she noted that all of her colleagues couldn’t have been more supportive of her new journey. Crowley decided to freshen up her focus on a more balanced lifestyle while connecting with the community in a new way—with wellness in mind.
Photo by Dexter Cohen, Internal Expedition Images
It’s not a surprise that Crowley chose to share something with others that has always bettered her throughout the years. She grew up learning from parents who were fitness enthusiasts and amazing athletes—a competitive weight lifter and volleyball player—and grew up on a Michigan horse farm where manual labor was a regular expectation.
She cautions that it hasn’t always been easy. After having her second child six years ago, she battled post-partum depression and combatted it by relearning physical fitness and discovering what actually worked for her. She got her diet in order, started lifting heavy weights and doing hot yoga.
“I fell in love with fitness again,” she remembers. “And I found the real value—not just the aesthetic value. It wasn’t for looks anymore, it was to survive—to get my energy back up and to build stamina.”
Crowley started to become more connected with other fitness and wellness enthusiasts and mentors—locally and nationally—and eventually felt confident enough to take the leap and start WELLFITsocial after her departure from television.
Crowley describes WELLFITsocial as a networking event for everybody who wants to learn about balanced wellness, including physical fitness, mental health and nutrition. This includes personal trainers, nutritionists, physical therapists and anyone who sells wellness goods, but it’s not only geared to fitness professionals.
“This is the most inclusive fitness event I could have imagined,” says Crowley. “People can be intimidated by fitness professionals, but I wanted this to be an event where you can learn something no matter where you are in your journey and feel included.”
The first WELLFITsocial event, held last September, was a hit with the sold-out crowd, so Crowley says the next installment, on Jan. 18 at The Neon House in Norfolk, will double in size. At the time of publication, plans included 20 vendors, six expert speakers and a VIP wine dinner option. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
Besides WELLFITsocial, Crowley regularly writes about cooking and working out on her blog Always On. In 2020, she will begin a book project and a series of exclusive retreats focused on cognitive behavior therapy with the goal of ditching old habits.
It’s obvious Crowley has maintained her work hard, play hard mentality in the last few months since departing WTKR. This go-getter by nature is still quite busy, but says she now gets to “sleep in” until 6 a.m. Of course, she stays committed to daily workouts, currently focusing on weight training and yoga to not only keep her in shape but also assist with relaxation and relieving anxiety.
Crowley advises people who may be intimidated to begin a regular routine to pick something attainable and do it every day. She says a 2020 goal should be maintaining balance—the internal, external and mental parts of physical fitness—not just going to the gym.
“You have to keep it simple,” she says. “Don’t overcommit to your fitness resolutions, and pick sustainable goals. Don’t tell yourself you are going to go to bootcamp seven days a week for three months. You are not.”
As far as eating habits, Crowley encourages everyone to “cut the crap,” choose something realistic you can stick to and consider keeping a food journal. She despises anything too trendy in the world of nutrition.
“We overthink everything in the fitness industry,” she says. “You don’t have to cut calories, count macros or do fad diets.”
Crowley spends most of the her own day avoiding packaged foods and meal prepping but still makes concessions for coffee with creamer and wine.
Photo by View It Do It
“You can still have your non-negotiables,” she says. “There are certain things you can’t live without, and that’s ok.”
In the end, says Crowley, we are all trying to live our best life.
“We all started at the same place. Let go of the fear that people are judging you for where you start. Focus on the fact that they are proud of you for just starting.”
For more information on the next WELLFITsocial event on Jan. 18 or to purchase tickets, visit KristenCrowley.com/WellFit-Social.