Body Buddies, a Salt Lake City fitness company, changes lives

Story and photos by DAVID FISHER

Working at a desk in an investment firm office was the last thing Kristy Jo Hunt wanted to do for the rest of her life. She decided to take one of the biggest risks she has ever been faced with. Hunt, 28, created her own independently-run nutrition and fitness business known as Body Buddies, without any prior experience in the field of business.

In addition, Hunt was not always a fitness guru.

Three years ago, Hunt was overweight and a victim of binge eating. She also suffers from severe scoliosis. Orthopedic doctors had told her that by age 40 she could be in a wheel chair if she did not change her eating habits and stay active because of her deformed back.

Kristy Jo Hunt poses in the gym after working with a client.

Kristy Jo Hunt poses in the gym after working with a client.

However, she conquered her struggles, gained a newfound interest in the field of health and wellness and worked toward her goals of becoming a professional dancer and fitness instructor.

This new interest eventually motivated Hunt to become a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She made drastic changes to her lifestyle, and wanted to help others make lifestyle changes as well. Thus, Body Buddies was launched in January 2014.

Hunt put together a business plan through watching multiple business startup podcasts, attending start-up business conferences and seeking advice from friends and family. She had to make some personal sacrifices along the way, including quitting her full-time job and learning to live off of $20,000 a year.

Those sacrifices underscored her commitment to seeing the success of her clients and independent business.

“Body Buddies is first a people thing, then secondly a business,” Hunt says.

Education is an important aspect of her business model.

Hunt provides weekly coaching calls and meal plans for clients in Utah. The coaching includes a fat loss and muscle gaining workout regime that clients follow on a six-days-a-week basis for 12 weeks. Each workout plan is individualized based on a survey clients fill out at the beginning of this lifestyle change. Questions include food preferences, any kind of physical ailments and a daily schedule.

Clients who pay a base fee of $50 also have access to 250 power food recipes that are full of protein, replace unwanted fats and increase energy levels. Every recipe is taken from her own published cookbook, The Power Foods Lifestyle.

An example of a power foods recipe is Hunt’s chicken ranch slaw burritos. These are a healthy alternative to any kind of processed burrito that is often found in the grocery store. Many of her recipes are healthy replacements to microwaveable freezer meals.

Chicken ranch slaw burritos are one of the many available recipes Hunt provides in her cookbook

Chicken ranch slaw burritos are one of the many available recipes Hunt provides in her cookbook.

“You are the master of yourself,” Hunt explains. “I provide the base, and you create the results.”

Body Buddies originally started with only 50 clients. It now has more than 1,000 clients. Hunt manages multiple client binders, calendars and daily scheduled emails and lists. She even has clients from around the globe in places such as Africa and Europe.

Hunt provides daily coaching calls to her clients. This is where they truly open up about themselves and achieve the results they want to see. She speaks to the individual over the phone and finds out what is and isn’t keeping them motivated. If clients have any questions about their diet, workouts, or life in general. Hunt is available to provide answers.

Some of the best results Hunt has ever seen came from her client, Amy Bellamy, in Salt Lake City. Bellamy has been a client of Hunt’s for almost a year, and has stuck with the Power foods lifestyle the entire time. Hunt explains that Bellamy was constantly motivated to achieve her goals of having a bikini body.

Amy's amazing body transformation from following Hunt's coaching

Amy Bellamy was able to transform her body by following Hunt’s coaching. Photo courtesy of BodBuds Instagram.

Hunt filmed and produced 100 instructional workout videos for her Body Buddies YouTube channel. It was through this channel that many of her clients discovered her business. These videos create an easy and accessible way for clients to understand how to successfully utilize all of their muscles while working out in the gym. For example, clients learn how to successfully perform a seated row weight lift to activate muscles both in their back and in their arms.

Through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, Hunt has created a successful way to market to a wide audience of clients.  Hunt has more than 7,000 followers on social media.

Instagram is her main method of gaining followers. She posts workout videos, before-and-after result photos of her clients and motivational quotes every day. It is a quick way to instantly communicate to her followers. However, these posts are only previews of what can come from the full Body Buddies experience.

"The Power Foods Lifestyle" is available for purchase on Hunt's website.

“The Power Foods Lifestyle” is available for purchase on Hunt’s website. Image courtesy of Hunt.

By using hashtags such as #FitFan, #CleanEats and #WeightLossJourney, Hunt has gained public attention of her Instagram posts. These are hashtags that people wanting to start their own fitness journey investigate. Clients see her social media posts and then reach out to her to receive her coaching to start their own fitness journeys. She wants to be the person to help change clients’ lifestyles and make them love their bodies.

Instagram user Tyler Griffin, 23, a student at the University of Utah who uses the handle TGriff08, is a client and one of Hunt’s many followers. “Although I finished my 12-week program with Kristy back in September of 2014 as part of a reshaping of my body during the summer, I still follow her to seek constant new ways to work out, discover new recipes and see the success of many other of her clients who went through the same process that I did,” he says.
Griffin had lost more than 15 pounds during the 12-week process and gained a tremendous amount of muscle to his body. When grocery shopping, he is more aware of the foods that are beneficial to his lifestyle so he can maintain that muscle build that he worked for. 
“There were times when I felt like I wasn’t going to stick to this intense 12- week program,” Griffin says. “But Kristy provided a constant motivational push to keep working for my final goal — and I reached that goal, and I felt like a completely new person when I started my final fall semester.”
Griffin has referred multiple family members and friends to Body Buddies so they could achieve the same lifestyle changes that he accomplished with Hunt’s help.
One such friend was Brooke Legeman, 19, of Salt Lake City who started working with Hunt two weeks ago in hopes of removing the freshman 15 that she gained this past year.
“Being a part of the Body Buddies program is something that I want to commit myself towards to start a completely new health lifestyle,” Legeman said in a phone interview. “Kristy is helping me balance school, work and my fitness goals so that I can achieve the success that I want to achieve. I feel like I am in control of my body and making it back into the shape that I once had … or maybe in even better shape.”
Legeman finds herself going to the gym almost every day now, and avoiding all of the fast food that she was guilty of eating during her freshman year.

Hunt has started her own motivational seminars that she calls “Girls Night Out.” These empowering presentations are held at Salt Lake City gyms. Hunt wants to change the way clients think about themselves, and have their bodies reflect the changes that they can see.

“I’m not a feminist, I’m an empowerist,” Hunt says. “Integrity is the name of the game for people in life. Know where your integrity is at, and never let it crumble.”