We caught up with Kristin Estes to learn more about her life inside and outside the gym. Learn more about her training, goals, and more.
Our Interview With Kristin Estes
Start off by telling us about yourself and your journey!
My name is Kristin Estes. I'm a WNBF Fitbody and Figure professional, and a mother of an almost two-year-old.
I started off playing sports throughout my childhood — soccer, fastpitch softball, and basketball. During high school, I made the transition from soccer to cross country, and Varsity lettered in all three sports.
In college, I continued my love for running by completing various 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and eventually two full marathons. I also finished a Tough Mudder in 2012.
After incurring some running-related injuries, I was told that I needed to focus more on weightlifting to help treat/prevent some of the imbalances I had. I had taken weightlifting as a class in high school and absolutely loved it, but I was only lifting a couple of times a week, if at all, when I was running.
When I started weightlifting seriously again, I absolutely fell in love with the process of molding my body and becoming physically stronger.
How did you get into fitness?
I think it all stems from playing sports as a child. My family was pretty active and I played sports year-round. After high school, I turned to running to keep me active and motivated toward meeting goals, and then that turned into bodybuilding.
What's your fitness specialty?
I'm currently a natural professional bodybuilder in the WNBF. I have been considering entering into powerlifting in the future as well.
How do you track fitness goals?
For bodybuilding, I keep track of body fat percentage as I get leaner. During my offseason when I'm trying to add muscle, I keep track of weight/body fat gained to make sure that I'm not simply gaining fat.
I also track the amount of weight I can lift for exercises like squat, bench, deadlift, rows, and the number of pull-ups. If you're trying to gain muscle, training for strength is absolutely beneficial for you.
What metrics do you track for your goals?
Weight lifted, number of reps, my body weight, and body fat percentage. I also track calories in versus calories out when I am cutting weight.
How are your favorite workouts structured? By sets and reps? Or sets and duration?
My favorite workouts are structured by body split (upper body push, upper body pull, legs) and then by sets and reps.
Who are your fitness icons/mentors/heroes/inspiration?
My fitness inspirations include Dana Linn Bailey, Erin Stern, Ashley Horner, Lolo Jones, and Katrin Davidsdottir. I also follow Dr. John Rusin, Lee Boyce, and Meghan Callaway for functional fitness exercises and education. You truly never stop learning in the fitness industry.
What is your favorite food?
I have to go with ice cream on this one — or frozen yogurt. I don't have it very often, but I absolutely love it.
What’s your go-to song or artist at the gym?
I don't think I have a go-to song, I have a couple of playlists that I rotate through. NF, The Chainsmokers, Our Last Night, Halsey, and Fame on Fire are in all of them though.
What are three interesting facts about you?
- I won my pro-card less than one year after having my daughter, Ember. I made it a goal to step on stage before her first birthday. I had been competing in the NPC (non-drug tested) for years, but I could never place well enough at Nationals to earn my pro-card because I was competing against girls who used PEDs.
- Bench press is one of my favorite exercises! My personal best is 190 lbs, and I lifted that when I weighed 125lbs. I've never trained for powerlifting, so that makes it even more impressive.
- I don't have a coach or personal trainer. I've done all of my own coaching/training from the start. I became a certified personal trainer, and trained clients for a few years (I don't anymore) and I continuously research and educate myself. While having a coach would be amazing, I could never justify the cost for some of the ones I asked, especially when I have access to all of the same information.
What is your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
My greatest achievement is actually the fact that every goal I've set for myself in fitness, I've accomplished. I made a goal to run a half marathon, then a full marathon, then a tough mudder.
After that I decided I wanted to do a bodybuilding show because being on stage was SO terrifying to me. Once I did one show, I was hooked and then made a goal to become a professional. Thus, powerlifting might be my next goal. We'll see. :)
I truly think that running the full marathon was really the catalyst though. Once I realized how far I could push myself, I knew that I could do anything. If I can run 26.2 miles and be totally fine afterward and carry on about my day, I can train hard in the gym. I can diet down to low body fat. I can lift heavy weight. It was a major mental strength boost.
If you could master one skill you do not have, what would it be?
Cooking. I can cook my meals for meal prepping and for my family, and it's good, but I would LOVE to be able to cook/bake at a higher level. To see ingredients in my kitchen and just know what to make that would taste amazing. I absolutely love watching cooking/baking shows!