KRISTI WINDTBERG • BE FIT IN BAKERSFIELD
After leaving a lucrative career in engineering, Kristi has found joy and fulfillment in pursuing her passion in fitness. Learn how this Michigan girl settled in Bakersfield and is excited to bring a new level of fitness-fun to the Bakersfield community.
Kristi Windtberg • LVL Fitness
I moved to Bakersfield about sixteen years ago. I was recruited by Aera Energy, and, while I had never heard of the city, it was November in Michigan when the offer came, so I thought California sounded great. I worked in the oil industry for over 16 years as an engineer and in process improvement, and I always taught group exercise on the side for my fun job. Recently I decided to make it my full-time career.
I opened LVL Fitness with my close friend and business partner Nicole Lazzerini early this year. We’re in southwest Bakersfield across from CSUB. Our classes use the Lagree method and Megaformer™ equipment for an efficient and effective workout. My goal was to bring a new workout that’s available in all of the other major cities across the US to Bakersfield. I want to help provide more variety in fitness to the residents of Bakersfield.
Fitness has been my passion for a long time. I’ve always been active and was involved in dance through high school. After graduation, I turned to dance and fitness classes to fill that void. After a few years of being the front row student, one of my instructors suggested that I get certified to start teaching. After that, I was hooked. I’ve taught several formats over the years, including Pilates, Zumba, kickboxing, barre, boot camps and now Lagree. I love the energy and motivation that I get in a group fitness setting. I push myself much more than when I am working out alone. I enjoy seeing the same people come to class week after week, and I feel honored that they plan their busy schedule around attending my classes.
Although I have dreamed of owning a studio for years, I honestly never really thought I would do it. I had a great career with an amazing company, and I was really happy with my job. Once I found the Lagree workout and actually starting brainstorming ideas with Nicole, though, it was all I could think about. I realized that it was something I was truly passionate about and that this was the perfect time to do it and the perfect person to do it with. My husband was very supportive, and that gave me the courage to take the leap of faith and go for it. Since opening the studio, I have not regretted my decision for even a minute. Seeing clients come in and workout makes me so happy, and I love seeing them get strong and achieve results. It brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined.
I’m inspired to live in Bakersfield with all the growth and opportunity. As a consumer, it’s great to see new businesses opening in our town. There’s so much more variety than when I first moved here. I always love going to the newest restaurant or the newest store in town. And, as a business owner, I think it’s really exciting that the community is so welcoming to new businesses. We have so many people who are wanting to try our workout and telling their friends.
One of the things I love about living in Bakersfield is that there’s a small town feel. Every time I go out and run an errand or go to the store, I always see someone I know from work or school or one of my fitness classes. I love that you always feel like you’re in a small community.
Of course, I also love the proximity of Bakersfield to other places in California. I think it’s awesome to be able to get in the car and within a few hours, we can have a vacation without having to fly somewhere.
There are also a lot of great local options for families. I have three kids myself, and when we can find activities to get the whole family outside and active, then it’s a win. We’re starting to see more kid-friendly places open up in town and more things for kids to do from sports to school activities. Our family loves going to Murray Family Farms in the fall, visiting the Christmas Town and CaLM over the holidays, attending Saturday classes at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and taking advantage of all the summer camp offerings in everything from sports to robotics.
My hope for Bakersfield’s future is to continue to see more activities for families and kids — especially around physical activity. Being outside in the summer isn’t always the best thing, so it’d be nice to have some indoor activities that are family-friendly.
Bakersfield’s fitness community is in a very interesting place. There are several top-notch bigger gyms as well as smaller studios and specialty gyms focusing on a particular type of workout. Whether you’re into CrossFit, yoga, pilates or cycling, there are many options. It’s great to diversify your workout. Whether you like going to the gym, using the bike path for your workout, or visiting a studio, there’s room for all those things, and it’s great that they’re starting to become available in Bakersfield.
Our lifestyle sector is also growing. We’re starting to see more local restaurants pop up that have vegan options or a farm-to-table model.