Author, Personal Trainer, Coach
Athlete at Heart
Learning to live with heart disease
and find joy again
Kristina is an athlete, personal trainer, and endurance coach, whose life is turned upside down when she’s diagnosed with a rare, genetic heart disease. Doctors warn her to stop exercising or risk dying. Forced to make drastic lifestyle changes, Kristina must also find answers to some fundamental questions: How will she continue her career and generate an income? How will she maintain her relationships when they all revolve around sports? More importantly, if she is no longer an athlete, then who exactly is she? Kristina shares her journey through the shock and denial at her diagnosis, the anger and grief at the realization that her life is being forever altered, and finally, the discovery of true inner strength as she learns to embrace and build on her new normal. Today, Kristina is loving life again and savouring its many gifts.
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“Kristina, the athlete whose heart threatened to give out, is an inspiration. Stripped of her athletic superiority and medals-winning stamina, she became an even more relevant teacher and advocate for joyful, healthy living. Whenever I’m around her, I think of the line from When Harry Met Sally, 'I’ll have what she’s having.'”
- Walter Sutton, Author of Leap of Strength, CEO Coach
“From being a high level competitive athlete, Kristina Bangma's book, Athlete at Heart, takes the reader into the tortuous world of medical diagnosis, through the emotional turmoil of acceptance, and finally to the transformative world of recovery. Written with personal experiences, intuition, frustration, and humour, her story is one that will be appreciated by anyone whose life is suddenly disrupted by an acute medical condition. ”
- Martin Hosking MD,
“Athlete at Heart is a raw and powerful journey of an elite athlete who is diagnosed with a career altering heart rhythm condition. Personally, I have cared for, and have been intimately involved, with hundreds of families dealing with life altering heart conditions. Kristina’s memoir opens the door of one woman’s amazing journey by sharing her path of emotional, spiritual, and physical recovery. Her journey is compelling and significant for any person who experiences a profound personal loss.
- Connie Ens, Clinical Nurse, Cardiology