How to Choose Happiness Every Day with Christi Andringa

March 7, 2024

Julie [00:00:01]:
We have one of my dearest, most important friendships with us today on the podcast, unless you think it’s just because she is my BFF. Let me tell you a little bit about my friend, Kristi Andringa.

She has extensive business and sales experience combined with a vast background in fitness. Actually, that’s how we met. We were both master trainers for a fitness company. And she is funny. She is a mom. She’s a mom to 3 amazing humans.

She really recognizes that and this is why we vibe. Like physical fitness is a marker of good health. And you need that mental fitness. You need that mindset working, that personal growth.

How can you bring the best version of yourself to your life?

How can you continue to step into that version of yourself?

So you’re gonna love this conversation. It is all about habits. It is all about life.

It’s about loss. It’s about dealing with loss. It’s about habits when you’re dealing with loss, life on the other side of loss. It’s about choosing happiness. So listen, sit back, get ready. This is a conversation that might change your life. Welcome to the podcast my dearest friend, Kristi Andreega.

Kristi, I can’t believe you have not been on the Crank It Up podcast before now. Like, you are now a friend of the pod. Welcome to the Crank It Up podcast. It’s amazing.

Christi [00:01:56]:
Yeah. I’m in now. I can’t believe…

Julie [00:01:58]:
I know. So here listen, our camera’s gonna happen. What you’ve happened upon is one of my longest, dearest, most important humans in my life. You’ve just happened upon a conversation that she and I are having.

That’s kind of what’s going on here, because really, when I think about people that I turn to for inspiration, for motivation, for calm, for guidance, for I mean, Christi, you’re it.

It’s you’re it, you’re my person, and I’m just so glad that you’re on here because we’ve been talking so much about habits, we’ve been talking so much about choosing habits, we’ve been talking so much about creating a life on purpose, we’ve been talking so much about breaking up what you want in your life, and I think our listeners are really gonna love your story, they’re gonna love the lessons that you’re gonna share. I know that you won’t hold back.

There could be some things probably that they don’t wanna hear, but they need to hear, and I know that you’re gonna talk about choosing your happiness, which I love to hear you talk about.

So, Christy and I met in fitness as we’re all good friendships actually start. If you can, Truth. Truth. I mean, my gosh, if you could slap someone, then, you can be friends with them. So that feels like it was yesterday, and yet I think it was, like, 20 years ago.

Christi [00:03:21]:
Yeah. I mean, I think that I had just had Dara or so, and she’s 21.

Julie [00:03:28]:
Oh my gosh.

Christi [00:03:31]:
I don’t know. I can’t. I’m terrible with dates. There’s a few dates that stick out in my mind, but in general, that kind of stuff. I just know that it’s been a long time.

We’ve had a lot of different fitness fashions together. I’ve gone through some very, very, very different things. I look back at those pictures. A lot of different hairstyles.

… and even with the kids and where our kids were when we started and where we all are now, that we talk about too. So, yeah, lots has happened between the impetus of this awesome, beautiful friendship to where it is now as an awesome, beautiful friendship. Much has happened in between those….

So we’ve been friends for a long time. You came into my Turbo Kick certification. Correct. And that’s the first time, I think, that we kind of met, and then you became a master trainer in Turbo Kick and PiYo at the time.

And then that happened for me a little bit later, but we were in the same state. So that’s kind of also how we Right.

Christi [00:05:24]:
So we shared a territory that was very loosely defined.

Julie [00:05:30]:
Yes. And you kinda went north, and I kinda went south, and that’s how we met.

Christi [00:05:35]:
Do you remember when they told me that we’re gonna expand your territory a little bit to Alaska? Alaska? Like, this is not okay. I’m finding somebody to go to Alaska. Yep. Oh, you’re in the Midwest? Yes.

Julie [00:05:47]:
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I know. But, like, all of the all of those experiences, my gosh, they so formed who we are today.

There’s not a day that goes by, there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think about something that we were taught, that we learned, that we experienced, that we had to navigate through that helps me navigate today.

Christi [00:06:10]:
I agree with that 100%. We were taught lessons early in an environment where we also had to figure a lot of stuff out on our own.

You know, she was expanding at such a great rate and there were more of us and more of us coming in. So she had foundational things that she knew if we took those, she meaning Chalene, if we took those, then we could figure out the rest of it, which we had to. 

I’m so grateful for the experiences, the friendships, the growth, what that catapulted us into later in life. I mean Right. What a blessing.

Julie [00:06:48]:
Yeah. It’s so crazy. So here we are now in 2023 with all of this, and I can remember, like, yesterday when you called me. I was in Wisconsin at the lake.

That was at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And you called me, you said, I think I wanna be a motivational speaker. I just think I wanna pursue this path of being a motivational speaker. I know exactly where I was.

Julie [00:07:15]:
I know I was walking out in the commentary. I know exactly where I was, and I’m, like, yeah. That’s absolutely what you should do.

And I know that you have some, kind of, some thoughts to share around all that, but there’s been a lot that you’ve done before then to kind of set you up for that.

There’s been a, you know, a large life change in the past few years, So I don’t know where you wanna start to take us up to kind of now, and then we’ll move forward from there, but where do you wanna start?

Christi [00:07:46]:
You know, that’s a good question. There’s something I’m writing right now that’s called before and after.

And as I started writing the before, meaning, is it the diagnosis date that was the after? Is it after that, or is it after he died?

Or was the before was it then you look at all the befores. So maybe we can just go back where I was in pharmaceutical sales. I graduated from University of Wisconsin with a business degree and pursued the natural interviews on campus and ended up falling into pharmaceutical sales both in endocrinology and cardiovascular division.

Endocrinology is type 2 diabetes. That has a lot to do with health. There are genetic factors involved in it, but there’s certainly a lot of personal choice of why we are developing type 2 diabetes.

Stress, nutrition, movement, lack of sleep. So this is where the marriage is gonna come in. And then cardiovascular disease, the same thing.

What I found when I was selling pharma is I didn’t really like science, and I didn’t really want to… there’s a book out right now. It’s called Outlive, and it talks about what we do before.

And I didn’t wanna be in the waiting room waiting for the doctors to give them drugs to treat the patients who are already in the waiting room.

As I was sitting there, I kept thinking, what would it be like if I could affect these people prior to being in the waiting room?

  • What if I could get them to come to my class?
  • What if I could get them to work out every Tuesday night with me with Turbo Kick?
  • What, you know, what can I do before that?

So I quit my full time job in pharma and, with 3 kids.

Christi Andringa: Turning Grief into Growth and Happiness

And I was basically the breadwinner at the time. My husband worked, but he was at a different point in his career. So it was a big deal to quit a full time job with a company car and insurance benefits.

And I said, we’ll just figure it out. But people, I know people do this. And I, you know, you and I have talked about this. If it’s been done before, you know somebody can do it. So I’m like, well, then I can do it.

We can do this. So I ended up founding Candringa Productions. And I remember writing my talk in a notebook, not on a computer. And I did it in a gym and had people sit on the floor.

It was a corporate event, but we worked out, so it was super comfortable for me. I’m like, come to my space. I’ll teach a class for you, and then I’m gonna give you my first talk. If they didn’t know it was my first talk.

Well, I bet they did. I bet they could tell, but I didn’t announce it. And then after that, I just kept writing and writing and morphing, and I did more of the things that were successful and less of the things that weren’t.

So I ended up finding founding Candringa. Happiness as a skill was sort of my schtick, my topic, and I studied I studied happiness as a skill, like, via Aristotle, via, people who had studied happiness in the past, philosophers, scientists, people like us, what makes people our children, marriages, friendships.

And I just started really studying how happiness is a skill. Happy people aren’t lucky, and happiness doesn’t fall out of the sky. Happy people work at being happy. It’s a mindset. So then that morphed into more Okay.

Julie [00:11:10]:
So before you go further, what I wanna highlight are 2 things. Number 1, because so many who listen to this are women, and you and I both know how much women get in our way. Like, we just get in our way.

And you said 2 things:

I’m going to figure this out because other people have, which should be a, ‘everyone should have highlighted that, should have stopped their car if they’re driving, should have stopped walking and gone, let me write that down in my notes.

Because every one of us knows people somewhere in something that we wanna do, and we see that there’s success, and yet somehow we think it’s not for us, but that’s not what you did.

You said, well, other people have figured it out, so therefore I can too. That number 1.

And the second one was, I’m just gonna do more of the things that are working and less of the things that aren’t.

Christi [00:12:02]:
The harder part, the hard part of that, or the where you have to dig, dig, get your hands dirty is you have to figure out what works. And with figuring out what works, you find out a lot of things that don’t work.

And you can feel defeated or exhausted or just tapped out. And I think, okay. Well, that didn’t work. Don’t do it again.

So then when you do something that works, you feel this inflated sense of, like, happy like, this this almost euphoric happiness because it’s such a victory when you’re fighting so hard for something.

But then I thought, well, if I do more of that, then I will have a more authentic feeling of happiness and success.

So it became a habit. Like, okay. That’s off. Do not do that again. There were times where I thought, well, I’ll try it one more time, and I did. And if, you know, if it failed again, whatever that was, don’t do that again.

So the work really and it’s still a work in progress. All of it is to keep figuring out and being mindful and curious and intentional about what is working in your life and what’s not working.

Otherwise, you know, life just falls on us. Whoop.

Julie [00:13:13]:
And I think that there’s like, this could be a whole nother conversation, but there’s also something in, like, for you and I, I mean, teaching group exercise, we could say, oh my God. Like, we had so it was so much joy. It was euphoric. Like, we loved it.

But was it the after teaching group exercise, or was it mentoring and teaching at a greater level?

Was it helping peep you know, was it the connection with humans?

So sometimes it’s that the way you did that specific thing might not be the way to do it, but it’s not that the concept is wrong.

So it’s almost continuing to dig in there and, oh, what is it about that thing that lights me up? Is it teaching group exercise or is it teaching human?

Is it connecting humans with their potential? Is it being on stage and talking to you know, like, what is it?

And I think if you, to your point, continue to get curious, you continue to refine that path a little bit. Yes.

Christi [00:14:05]:
And I think that one thing that I know that after everything that I’ve been through, especially with, and we’ll get to that with my husband’s death, with Rob’s death, is that how do I keep growing?

So if we know how to keep growing, because that’s where we feel happiness when we honor our potential, and I can only keep growing if I do the things that are working.

And so to me, I kind of just kept looking like, okay, I wanna grow this a little bit more. Group exercise. You and I grew our group exercise by becoming master fitness trainers because then we could inspire other people to do what we did, so it was growth.

And then I took that message on the stage in a different light, packaging, and then I can affect an audience of 500 in growth.

So I’m growing by inspiring others to grow, which is and then in our BODi business, you know, we help others grow, and we’re growing at the same time.

So it’s really if I and it’s a simple word. Again, it’s not easy, but just never can stop growing.

Julie [00:15:10]:
So I love that so much. I just want to highlight that because I personally know from talking to you all the time, you’re gonna say so much gets done.

I don’t want anyone submitted. So I’m like, highlight that. I need to highlight that right now.

So you’re speaking. You’re doing your thing. Kinda remember that because I had the shirt. I can’t drink it. I remember all that.

Christi [00:15:32]:
Oh, I made every friend wear the shirt. It was I don’t it was probably under duress. Put the shirt on. Yeah.

Julie [00:15:39]:
We have very strong feelings about what needs to be happening, so that’s like a shirt.

So you’re you’re you’re growing this business. Kids are growing. You’ve moved. You had moved. Yep. Life feels like life is clicking.

Christi [00:15:57]:
Right?

Julie [00:15:59]:
And, I remember the post, but to kind of take us through where what happened and where we are.

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Christi [00:17:24]:
So, gosh, like I said, I’m bad with dates. I believe it’ll be 8 years in May when we moved from Madison, Wisconsin where I met my husband Rob Andringa. Rob and I got married on July 6, 96 and never left Madison.

We raised all 3 kids there, well, up until this move. And I did not want to move. I did not want to move to Stillwater. I did not want to move to Minnesota. I said, you know, our life, we have a great life.

Christi [00:17:53]:
And you know what he said to me? He said, this is the job that I’ve worked my whole career for. And I thought, well, I’m not gonna take that away from him. We’re not gonna move from money.

We’re not gonna move, just for, you know, a change of scenery. But if this is what you’ve worked for your whole life, which he worked very, very hard.

And I thought, you know, I can make friends in Minnesota. People move all the time. I moved my whole growing up.

So we got up to the cities and found a beautiful space. The girls were freshmen and juniors in high school, Dara and Carson, and Jack was a freshman in college. And we were blessed that he went here in the cities to, University of St. Thomas. So we were still a family unit, really.

And then, in December of 2017, in fact, on December 15, 2017, which was a Friday, Rob had been feeling just tired, and he said, you know, I just don’t feel right.

Well, he had a big stressful job, and I thought, well, maybe you have an ulcer. Maybe you’re just fatigued.

You know, who knows? And he just didn’t look right. He looked a little gray if you will. And I was sitting at the kitchen island, and he was on the phone with me, and he said, I just left the doctors.

I’m gonna go to the grocery store and grab some food for, you know, what do we need for dinner?

And I remember we’re having steaks. And all of a sudden, I hung up the phone. My cell phone starts ringing. Maybe 10 minutes later, the home phone starts ringing. His phone started ringing, and the doctor’s office was calling and said you need to come back immediately because his hemoglobin was so low.

They couldn’t believe he was walking. Like, it was 6 point something, and I think the regular normal range is 12. And they said, you should not even be standing.

We found out after the hemoglobin was so low and then the blood loss that he had stage 4 colon cancer with metastasis to the liver and 60 plus lymph nodes.

He’s 49 years old. Because it was 60 plus lymph nodes, it made him inoperable and essentially incurable because you can’t remove 60 plus lymph nodes. You just can’t.

So, and the reason for the blood loss, his tumors were what was called at the cecum, which is at the bottom of the colon.

So the blood dripped very, very slowly over the course of what they believe is 10 years. And he never had any blood in his stool because it was so little. And so in his body, our bodies are beautiful. I mean, our bodies are so powerful and beautiful.

Look at how his body kept adjusting and adjusting. I am getting really tired now. Now I have to but they couldn’t believe he was walking.

So is that before my life before that, or is it after he died? I don’t I don’t know. So much happened during that time between diagnosis and then he died on May 29, 2020.

Julie [00:21:01]:
I mean, I remember when you made that post, and I was like it was like I was punched in the gut myself, you know? And it’s… you just can’t. No one knows what they will do in those circumstances.

Nobody can prepare for that and nobody knows how they’ll handle that. Right, and no one knows how you’ll handle it then moving forward.

And I’m sure we, we all know people who have had those diagnoses, we’ve all been through that, and you watch some people handle it not so well, and you watch some people handle it with grace like you did, and I mean, just just watching you navigate all of that, some of that navigation had to be a little bit on autopilot, had to be a little bit from what you had been doing prior to that. Right. When your life turns upside down, like, what do you do?

Christi [00:21:51]:
Yeah. I called another person that was actually in the fitness industry too. She worked at the club that I worked at in Madison. And I was talking to her, and she said, you know, you’re not gonna wanna hear this.

Don’t take it the wrong way, but you’ve been preparing for this. And she said, you didn’t know that your husband was gonna have terminal cancer, but you’ve been preparing for this for a long time.

And I said, I at first, I thought, well, what do you mean? And she said, well, you study happiness. You study positivity.

You are committed. You have goals. You have a regimented schedule, and you can handle this. She said, it’s not… you’re not gonna like it, but you’re gonna be able to handle this because you’re prepared.

So I’m grateful for the profession that I chose or the mindset, the habits because we wouldn’t… I don’t know how I would have gotten through it with thank you for saying grace, with the grace that we did.

And we had a lot of joy, a lot of love, a lot of happiness, and, certainly, moments of intense, intense struggle. But, you know, we were both very committed to maintaining happiness in our lives.

Julie [00:23:08]:
And… funny. Like, when you would write the updates, I’m like, how is someone funny in this situation? And again, nobody knows whether they’re going to handle something when this presents itself in their life, and, the way you navigated parenting 3 children, taking care of your spouse, and also, by the way, taking care of you, and still finding some joy and some fun in it, and still I even still with talks. I mean, any…

Christi [00:23:39]:
You know, it took me, like, an hour and a half to learn the 1 minute dance, and then I’d be like, I can’t do it again for a month. My brain’s fried. I mean, it was but that’s the only thing.

Julie [00:23:50]:
I would only do the dance like yeah. I can’t do that.

Christi [00:23:53]:
And I’m like, and you’re a really good dancer, so and I look terrible, so I’m taking one for the team on all these.

Julie [00:23:58]:
So when you get this diagnosis and you get into this, you know, in my head, it’s like before, in my head, it’s almost like this separate container of diagnosis up till that till May, and then there’s this whole another chapter that comes after that.

That’s how I am because that’s how I view it with my dad too. You know? It’s like Sure.

This, and then there’s this container, and then there’s this after. I don’t know if that’s something wrong with music, but

Christi [00:24:32]:
Yeah. I agree with that. And that’s one that’s been giving me some… when I’m trying to write about this right now, not right now, but this this talk I’m writing.

And I first entitled it before and after, and then I thought, well, when is that?

So I think that it’s, like, before the capsule of things and then after. And for me, that was two and a half years.

Well, probably longer than that because I had had a little bit of an aftermath, right after and I will talk about that too in health… but I think I think what really kept me sane and on a path was I had studied that commitment and clarity equal happiness in our lives.

If we have commitment and clarity, we can be happy. So I thought, okay, I’m very committed to being his caregiver, not knowing what the hell I’m doing.

It’s not my nature because, you know, our nature well, my nature is, okay, these are the 3 things we’re going to do. I have a lot of love to give. I love to squeeze and hug and get, like, here’s what we’re gonna do.

And then I thought, I don’t know anything about colon cancer or being a caregiver. I don’t wanna be a nurse. I would be a terrible nurse. Right. And I, you know, I’m so grateful.

I was grateful for all the nurses before, but then after really taking their role because of hospice too, like, I had a lot of hands on because we were trapped in the house. He couldn’t go to hospice. It’s I mean, it was it was but, you know, we know this.

Like, just because you don’t don’t know something doesn’t make you stupid. It makes you teachable. And there’s no room for ignorance, but there is room for I don’t know how to do that. And because I can learn that. And if I can’t learn it, I know somebody who knows how to do it.

And I that and, you know, I think I think building kandringa prior to his diagnosis helped me with that thought process because I had to figure out how to be an entrepreneur, how to be a business owner, how to be a speaker, how to both speak, blah blah blah.

It doesn’t matter. And then it was like, Okay. Well, now I’ve got to figure out what colon cancer is. What is chemotherapy? What does he need? And then I need to do it. Or if I don’t know, then I need to ask people.

So I just took that same structure. It was something that’s a lot less fun, but it was as I knew that I could learn things.

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Julie [00:26:50]:
It’s almost like parenting in a way. You know? Like, nobody knows. No. We’ve been parenting for a while, and we still have conversations we have no idea what’s going on. We have to have to get to our 1st time doing this too.

Christi [00:27:07]:
Like, remember how many years you’ve been doing it. Like their first date. We you know, this is our first time having the ages our children are now or last year or the year before.

Julie [00:27:14]:
Yes. Yes. So that’s why, you know, we

Christi [00:27:15]:
That’s why as women, to have those as mothers to be able to have those resources and conversations of somebody’s done it. Somebody’s gonna know the answer to this or give me some wisdom or guidance.

Julie [00:27:27]:
Yeah. It just is on me to ask. And it’s so interesting that you said, you know, ignorance isn’t an excuse because it reminded me of Brendon Burchard, who I know is a mentor of yours as well.

He said recently, no, you can’t say you don’t know people. It’s 2023. Sorry, that excuse doesn’t fly anymore. It’s 2023, and we have social media. You can’t say you don’t know people.

So you can’t say you can’t figure this out anymore, not in 2023, because you’ve got a little friend called Google, and you can figure it out.

Now could other people be so lambasted by this diagnosis that they just can’t figure it out? It’s not there’s no judgment here. It’s just you’re simply saying that my journey was Me. I’m going to figure it out.

Christi [00:28:08]:
Yes. Yes. And, yes, because there is paralysis. I mean, I did learn that. And for me, I had that more after he died where I became very paralyzed. I just couldn’t work.

Well, you helped me out so graciously with my team, and, I couldn’t I could not I just couldn’t. So I know the feeling, and it’s made me a better coach, partner.

And it’s because now I can act when someone says, I can’t, Christy, I can’t get out of bed or I can’t do it. I know that they can, but I understand that feeling. Now I’m like, I know I know what you’re saying. And maybe not today, but you can.

I promise you, you can. Eventually, but it’s just giving me more empathy in that regard.

Julie [00:28:56]:
That’s, you know, that’s powerful too.

Thank you so much for listening to the Crank It Up podcast. If you know a friend who would benefit from this I mean, who wouldn’t? If you know a friend who would benefit from this episode, this conversation around personal growth, will you share this episode with them? I would appreciate it.

Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about personal growth. Let’s get the world, especially women, on an intentional personal growth journey. Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about cranking up your goals, cranking up your dreams, and cranking up your life.

Want more motivation & inspo sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to my Peptalks!

Ready to level up your personal growth & development? Get info on the #1 tool I use on my journey! julievoris.com/growth 

And let’s get connected on Instagram @julievoris and @project100.co

how to choose happiness every day with christi andringa (1)

Christi Andringa

Christi’s passion for health and happiness began when she was a teenager, teaching local aerobics classes. She has remained a student or instructor to this day.

In 2008, she hung up her corporate hat, and pursued her dream as an entrepreneur. Through Candringa! Productions, she reminds us all that we have the strength to shape our own narrative, and live boundlessly on our journey to happiness.

Thank you so much for listening to the Crank It Up podcast. If you know a friend who would benefit from this I mean, who wouldn’t? If you know a friend who would benefit from this episode, this conversation around personal growth, will you share this episode with them? I would appreciate it.

Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about personal growth. Let’s get the world, especially women, on an intentional personal growth journey. Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about cranking up your goals, cranking up your dreams, and cranking up your life.

Want more motivation & inspo sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to my Peptalks!

Ready to level up your personal growth & development? Get info on the #1 tool I use on my journey! julievoris.com/growth 

And let’s get connected on Instagram @julievoris and @project100.co

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