Vicki Tri: Of Health and Helping - 405 Magazine

Vicki Tri: Of Health and Helping

A conversational give and take about Oklahoma’s friendliness, finding time to exercise and an innovative way to aid animal shelters with personal trainer and pet rescue advocate Vicki Tri.

Maybe It’s The Halloween Candy That’s Still Stuck To Our Dental Work (Mom should always test the Snickers and 3 Musketeers for “safety reasons”) or maybe it’s because we’re face-to-face with the two highest-calorie months of the year. Whatever it is, we’ve developed a sudden interest in working out since our conversation with Vicki Tri.

 With enough energy to power an entire city, Tri moves like the Roadrunner throughout the metro, coming to the rescue of computer-bound sloths like us to change our wicked ways through her boot camp training business. But when Tri takes things a step further by combining her passion for fitness with a passion for rescue animals, we’re especially thankful.

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What’s your hometown?  Oneida, New York.

What brought you to Oklahoma?  My husband, Brian, was stationed at Tinker before he retired.

What about Oklahoma makes a couple of Northeasterners decide to stay? The people are so nice here! There’s a small-town feel that’s very comfortable, the economy’s good and I don’t want to live through another winter in the Northeast.

You have a list of personal training certifications (for humans!) a mile long. How did Boot Camps 4 Paws come about? When I started the boot camps about six years ago, the economy was in a downturn and people were starting to give up their dogs because they couldn’t afford to take care of them. I wanted to help these animal shelters that struggle all the time to provide food and necessities for the animals they rescue, so Boot Camp 4 Paws was a way to combine a great workout with a great cause.

How does a Boot Camp 4 Paws work? The boot camps are generally scheduled around holidays – I always say, “The workout before the pig out!” I usually have anywhere from 30-60 people who come with donations for the rescue shelters – dogs are invited, of course – and we have a great workout at South Lakes Regional Park (SW 119th and Meridian). The workouts are adapted to any level of fitness and afterwards, we donate the food and gently used supplies to local animal shelters. And donations are welcome, even if you don’t participate in the Boot Camp. 

How many pounds of pet food have been donated so far? More than 7,300 pounds. My goal is to reach 10,000 pounds.

Your entire career is focused on physical fitness. If you weren’t doing that, what would you be doing with your life? Working with animals. Somehow, somewhere, I’d be rescuing them and taking care of them.

Do you have any rescue pets at home? Yes. I have five rescue dogs.

What’s the best part of being a fitness professional? Seeing people smile when they’re working out. That’s when I know they’re succeeding – it shouldn’t feel like slave labor.

Is that a motto of sorts? My motto is the way I live. I live what I preach and I never ask something of anyone else that I don’t do or haven’t done.

I’m sure you’ve heard every excuse people have for not working out. I’ve been working on a list of them my entire life. Whyyyyyyyyy is it such drudgery? A lot of people say they don’t have 30 minutes to take a class somewhere. I say, just get in 10 minutes in the morning. Take the stairs at work and get in 10 more minutes during the day. Then, take the dog out and get in 10 minutes after dinner. 

How do you make it happen for that person who sits at a computer all day? I work with companies to teach their employees how to incorporate chair yoga into their workday. It’s important to build and maintain strength in the core and spine if you’re staring at a monitor all day. You can also work in some weight training at your desk. For women, especially, strength training and rebuilding muscle mass is where it’s at! Everybody can do something and even if it’s just for a short amount of time, it’s better than doing nothing.

How do you define happiness? Being happy with who you are as a person and not by what you do.  

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Boot Camp 4 Paws

The next Boot Camp 4 Paws will take place from 8-9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day at South Lakes Regional Park (4210 SW 119th St., OKC). To participate, please bring a donation of dog or cat food, or any of these necessities for local animal shelters:

► Gently used blankets, towels, pillows or pet beds


► Gently used pet toys


►Bleach and/or cleaning supplies for the shelters


Dogs are welcome at Boot Camp 4 Paws, as long as weather permits an outdoors event. In case of rain, the party goes indoors (but the pups do not) at Antioch Christian Academy (3616 SW 119th St., OKC).