Chris Linehan Freytag ’87
Chris Linehan Freytag ’87’s first aerobics class at the UW, which she took back in the ’80s, inspired a lifelong passion for exercise — and that has led to an online fitness empire. Freytag is the founder and CEO of GetHealthyU.com, a digital publishing company based in the Minneapolis suburbs. It encompasses a website, blog, newsletters, social media, and a subscription-based workout service that reaches more than 2 million women a month.
Although Freytag’s first job after college was in direct-mail marketing, she never left fitness far behind. Getting certified as an aerobics instructor was quickly followed by becoming a personal trainer. Soon she was working for Lifetime Fitness in the Twin Cities, where she still teaches everything from yoga to cardio and strength conditioning.
After developing a strong following from her classes, Freytag began selling her own workouts on VHS tapes (remember those?). Before long, she had partnered with Rodale Publishing, producing dozens of fitness DVDs and serving as a contributing editor at Prevention magazine. She gained further exposure with appearances on the Home Shopping Network and a Twin Cities morning news program.
Then came her website, which is when things exploded for Freytag. Despite her success, the former journalism major — who composed her first stories on a typewriter — hasn’t always found the digital world easy. “I’ve had to teach myself how to create a digital presence,” she says, “everything from selling online advertising to working with brands.” It also doesn’t hurt that her three full-time employees are millennials, “digitally savvy and with so many ideas for execution.”
A streaming subscription workout series called GetHealthyUTV is Freytag’s latest project. “So many people today don’t have time for the gym,” she says. Her fitness series is currently bringing what she calls the “power of the group” into 10,000 homes.
Many of GetHealthyU ’s clients are middle-aged, like its founder, and for them she has some advice:
- Start at any time: you’re never too old.
- Begin slowly so you don’t get injured. (Don’t start with CrossFit!)
- Consistency is key. The quick fix no longer works in your 40s or 50s.
- Aim for moving your body and eating right 80 percent of time. You don’t have to become obsessive.
- Learn to love your body. And stop looking at magazines full of 20-year-olds.
Published in the Winter 2018 issue