Celebrity trainer Kira Stokes knows a thing or two about sweat. A leader in the fitness industry, and creator of the Stoked Method, UNDO sits down with Kira to talk pushing boundaries, smashing limits, and how she got those abs!
Undoordinary: You created the STOKED METHOD. What does it mean to GET STOKED, both as a fitness methodology and lifestyle brand?
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As a lifestyle brand, getting STOKED is about living life to the fullest through a commitment to fitness. It is about making fitness the focal point of your life and creating a lifestyle that revolves around it. There is no finish line….just an unwavering commitment to strive to be a better version of you every day. The sense of community that has naturally evolved from the bond forged in sweat is truly life changing for STOKED Athletes.
U: Take us through an average day for you, from teaching classes to eating to getting in your own workout.
KS: My typical day begins around 4:45am. The first hour or so of my day is my “Princess Time.” I love the peace and quiet in the early morning hours. I use this time to prepare for my day, plan my strategy for each client or class I am going to teach, answer my email, begin my social media posts for the day, and I might even get some on-line shopping done!
I usually leave home around 5:50. If it is a city day, I jump on the train and head in. During the train ride, I continue my social media posts and messages, answer emails ,and generally just chill a bit because the minute I hit the city, I am running full speed.
On Mondays, I get into the city around 7am and either train a client or grab a quick hour of cardio. I then teach classes all morning before heading to Central Park for my STOKED Fit Camp at Bethesda Fountain. Bethesda Fountain is one of my favorite places in the entire city. We are usually the biggest tourist attraction going. People are taking pictures, screaming things at us like, “holy shit, never seen so many ripped women in my life!” or they just stop and stare. It is a trip. I love it.
After Central Park, I head back to the West Side to train two of my celebrity clients at their home gyms. It’s always nice to have an entire gym to train a client in private. It keeps my client focused on working his/ her butt off! No distractions, no excuses… just pure work.
I then head back to Reebok and get a solid workout in. Usually my workout involves a mix of intense cardio, often in the form of a run followed by STOKED Circuits (jump rope, plyo’s, etc.) and weights/functional training. However, no two workouts I do are the same. I am a cross-training machine, always challenging my body in different ways. I also love my personal workout time because it allows me to create new moves for my classes. I am my own test athlete!
I then finish up the day with three more classes at Reebok. My last class ends at 7:30pm. I race to Grand Central to catch the 8:10pm train home (if I am lucky). Long, long day but – oh so exhilarating!
I eat when I get a free moment, more often than not on my way to and from a destination.
I pack STOKED Snacks the night before so I am never left empty handed. My meals are more like snacks than actual “meals.” Ranging from 150-200 calories at a time. But, I pretty much have something to eat every 90-minutes or so. You must feed your metabolism to keep it running at an optimal level. I need quite a bit of quality fuel to keep going at my max.
Some examples of STOKED Snacks:
- Quinoa with mixed vegetables (often first thing in the morning)
- Grilled chicken breast
- Hard-boiled eggs with hummus (take most the yolk out, it’s like a healthy deviled egg)
- Oatmeal with almonds or walnuts
- Egg white omelette with spinach and avocado
- Kale salad
- Protein smoothie. I’m obsessed with Vega Sport Performance Protein Powder. Both vanilla and chocolate. I use 1/2 unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 water as a base, a couple strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, chia seeds, and macca powder. I have a protein smoothie religiously within 30-minutes of every one of my personal workouts.
U: Your abs are next level. What’s the number one thing people can do to tone their core?
KS: People need to cross-train their core performing dynamic movements for what I consider the powerhouse of the body. Crunches alone will not get you results. I teach clients to always mind your muscle. Put your brainpower into the muscle groups you are focusing on. This very much applies to the core as often times people just go through the motions of abdominal work rather than truly allowing their body and mind to connect. Planks (and variations of planks) are an essential at strengthening the core, as are c-curves static holds. Our core is involved in every single movement we perform, even standing still. So, draw the navel towards the spine all the time!
U: What’s the most common mistake you see people make in spin or STOKED Series classes, and what’s the best thing you see people doing?
KS: In general, I notice people taking breaks not necessarily when they need them, but when workouts get super challenging, often times out of habit. Those are bench mark moments in a STOKED Series class. When you think you have nothing left to give; that’s the good stuff. That’s what changes your body and wakes up your spirit. Embrace the challenge and get uncomfortable with your workout. Another general mistake, as I mentioned above, people just going through the motions rather than really engaging.
One of the best things I see people doing is – showing up! When I see athletes really watching their bodies as they workout and making the form adjustments I always give during class. I often say, “take the cues I give and apply them to your body, rather than just hearing them.”
U: What do you do for your own fitness needs?
KS: I really and truly love to workout. Although I know I should, I really never take a day off from getting my sweat on. I feel extremely lucky that I’ve been able to turn what has been a passion of mine, since I was a little girl, into a successful career. My work is my passion. Every day my schedule is different as I split my time between Westchester and the City. Although I would love to be able to crush my personal workouts first thing in the morning, that is prime time for clients and classes. I have learned to enjoy working out at all hours of the day. 2pm may not be the time of day when your body necessarily wants to workout, but it’s all mental. I consider it another challenge of the workout to make it happen and give 110% effort. As a fitness professional, if you can’t motivate yourself, you have no business motivating others. I also feel changing the time of day when you conquer a workout is another way to keep the body guessing and shock it into stellar shape.
My last meal on earth would be pizza or pasta…carb up.
People would be surprised to know that I was a rockstar clarinetist from 4th grade on; once I hit Boston College I sadly put that talent to bed. However, I put as much time and effort into developing my skill as a musician as I did being an athlete growing up. One more fun fact, I grew up with an obstacle course in my backyard. My father literally turned nature into a playground/gym in the woods behind our home. He built balance beams that ran from tree to tree, some parallel to the ground, some ascending/descending. Shipping rope connected trees and a real trapeze allowed me to set my sights high and reach for the stars! My love of bodyweight training (now STOKED Primal) was born in my backyard.
Number one track on my iTunes playlist is:
This is a tough one as there are many I use to pump myself up for a workout. “Sirius” by Feenixpawl vs. The Alan Project, is one that folks may not know about that gets me fired up. My forever favorite, “I Will Wait” by Bloombox and Sam Feldt remix, takes me somewhere amazing on a run. “Pumpin Blood” by NONONO, is no doubt perfect for a workout, “Hangin On” by Sigma Remix, helps me nail sprints.
Get Stoked 260 on kirastokes.com
Follow @kirastokesfit for daily inspiration