Coaching runs in the Chryst family

Katy Chryst — daughter of Wisconsin Badgers Football Head Coach Paul Chryst — has found her calling in health and wellness coaching.
Katy Chryst
Courtesy of Katy Chryst
Chryst is the owner of Katy Chryst Coaching

Katy Chryst remembers telling everyone in fourth grade that she wanted to be a football coach. And it made perfect sense: coaching and football run in the Chryst family.

She’s the daughter of Badger Football Head Coach Paul Chryst, who had previously held coaching positions for the University of Pittsburgh, Oregon State University and the San Diego Chargers. Katy Chryst’s grandfather, the late George Chryst, coached high school football and became the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. One of her uncles is a former Mid-American Conference commissioner; another is a former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator. Two of her cousins quarterbacked for Division I colleges.

“I come from a family of coaches, primarily in the sports world and in the football world, so I’ve been around the coaching lifestyle and just how impactful it can be,” Katy Chryst says.

Chryst knew she wanted a career that would allow her to follow her passion, and it turns out she didn’t stray far from her fourth grade dream of wanting to coach — just not on a football field.

“There’s not a lot of coaches for women [outside of] the sports world, and so that’s kind of the mindset I took,” Chryst says.

Chryst became a certified health and wellness coach and started Katy Chryst Coaching in 2020. Her one-on-one programs specialize in helping women through their health journeys in a way that’s kind to the body and the mind — something she struggled with growing up.

Chryst used to think exercise was the only way to change her appearance and be healthy. She didn’t realize how important self-image was in regard to health until completing her graduate program, where she studied body image perception. Now she helps others understand this aspect of health and wellness.

“The goal, really, is to create a new way for women to feel their best and transform their lives, to do more of the personal development aspect of transformation rather than just focused on changing your diet or participating in an exercise routine,” Chryst says. “The goal is to just start creating a community in Madison that is more on the personal development habit implementation, rather than just feeling the constraint to work out all the time and eat healthy.”

Still in year one of her business, Chryst is focusing on spreading the word and using social media to make connections. Already, she’s seen the impact her work can make on a woman’s self-esteem. One woman reached out to Chryst about canceling a cosmetic surgery, all because of one of Chryst’s videos.

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Health and wellness are top of mind for many people this time of year. Among the New Year’s resolutions made in 2019, 48% were related to weight loss, while 59% were about exercising more in general.

Chryst has a few tips for those wanting to stick to a new goal.

“The No. 1 is that it can’t be rooted in appearance. I think it’s fine [if] you want to lose weight and you want to get toned and get strong, but if you want to continue your motivation, it has to be more than appearance-based,” Chryst says.

“So I always tell my clients, if they come to me and tell me they want to lose weight — and I want to help people lose weight — you have to ask, ‘What’s important about that to me?'”

Eventually, Chryst says you’ll reach that ultimate why. For some, that means having more energy to be a better parent or showing up for work. Chryst believes it’s also important to root your goals in your senses.

“What are you going to see, hear and feel?” Chryst says. “But really having an understanding of when I do lose this weight and have this confidence, I’m going to see myself acting a certain way or hear myself talking to myself in a positive way, and I’m not going to look in the mirror and talk negative to myself.”

No matter your “why,” Chryst wants to make sure all women she coaches leave the program feeling empowered.

“I want to be a champion for women and I want to coach women to be their authentic, unapologetic self,” she says.

Chryst offers multiple coaching programs and blog posts on


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