No Rest For The Motivated: Kira Stokes Joins BFX Studios

Kira Stokes has taught a killer “Stoked” series of classes for years at Reebok Sports Club/LA, the super swanky and expensive UWS gym, developing loyal and rabid fans of workouts that kick your ass from head to toe. The problem was that really only the people at Reebok had access to that awesomeness on a weekly basis – this week that all changed.  Kira joined the new Boutique fitness venture BFX, which offers both monthly membership options and single classes.  This is a VERY good thing.

Kira Stokes BFXInvited to preview week, I didn’t even think twice & signed up immediately for both of her Monday night classes. It’s been ages since I’ve taken even one of Kira’s classes and even longer since I’d tried a double – I don’t know what I was thinking! On Monday nights she’ll be teaching her C3 Barre Max class and her signature Stoked 360.  I’d taken 360 (and loved it) but her Barre class was the wild card, so I knew I had to try it.  In my head I figured it would be just a lot of barre with Kira’s spin on it but that I would be fine.  I was wrong – those 3 C’s stand for Core, Cardio and Conditioning.  In the first few minutes of class, she told us that this class used to be 75 minutes, so really, she just had to make sure that we thoroughly felt it in 60.  10 minutes in, when we were still on planks and pushups, I knew that this double would be much harder then I’d anticipated.  My recent Pilates work made the roll-up/c-curve portions of the class my strongest part. We planked, did multiple variations on push-ups, did mountain climbers on sliders, c-curve pulses with weight, and did a few plyometrics for good measure. It was about at the halfway mark before we even touched the barre, and I knew I was in trouble with this double.  The barre work really consisted of maybe 6-10 minutes, because really, Kira didn’t need that prop to get to every tiny little muscle in your body. I was sweating buckets by the end of that Barre class.

1623678_1494765160740176_5429448453707692703_n I steeled myself for the next class, Stoked 360, and tried hard to regroup. There were a group of us doing the double, mostly Kira’s diehards who would follow her anywhere and trained with for years, and then me, who hadn’t been to a class in ages.  I’d taken it before and knew that on it’s own it is tough, but with all of my training recently, assumed I’d be fine. The idea of 360, is to hit all of your muscle groups with compound movements done in sets, then repeat it three times before moving on. One: first to learn the move, two: to understand it and three:  perfect it.  As Kira would explain each new set, we would jump rope. It was that cardio spike that made it so there were absolutely no breaks built into the workout.  As Kira said in the middle of class “I don’t cue rest breaks”- if you needed one, you had to take it yourself, she wasn’t going to give you the permission.  Stoked 360 is awesome because it hits everything – and is constantly changing so that you are always challenged. Half an hour in, Kira announced, “We have 45 minutes left and we have a lot to get done. Don’t stop now.” I must have looked visibly stunned, since she looked directly at me and said “YES, this class is 1 hour and 15 minutes and I expect you to give it your all.” Everyone hooted and hollered but I literally wondered if I would just fall over before that full 75 minutes ticked down. It was amazing how many people had followed her to her new spot… but really, considering how good Kira is at challenging you in a way few can, it isn’t THAT surprising.

She's Mad but she's magic

Kira’s BFX classes are going to be capped out at about half of the size of some of largest Reebox classes.  They are going to be hard to get into because Kira’s crew will follow her there. That said, now there is at least FINALLY a chance of training with this master in her field – and really is there better fitness news than that?

 

Top photo from Kira’s Facebook page and bottom just a little internet goodness.

BFX Studio: Amanda Butler & Eli Ingram Build A New Option for NYC

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Last week, I got the chance to go check out BFX studio in Chelsea, the new boutique concept from TSI, the company behind New York Sports Club.  BFX is broken up into 3 distinctive sections – “Master Classes”, Spinning and Private Training. They recruited some impressive talent, including Amanda Butler, formerly of the Fhitting Room, and the moment I saw her on the list, I knew it was her class that I wanted to check out.  The classes at BFX are available either individually, in a package or there is an unlimited class option. I chose the  “BFX Build” since it was a class Amanda was teaching and was at a time I could make, even though I really didn’t know what it might entail – my guess, though, was that it would be a HIIT class of some stripe.

It was not.

BFX Instructors

As we entered the studio, a beautiful room with instructor platform and TRX straps hanging from the ceiling, we were told to grab two kettle bells and park ourselves at the TRX station. The kettle bells at BFX are different than the ones I’ve used most places – they are heavy  but look like a playground ball with a handle. My desire to use them like a dodge ball was intense! Thankfully, I kept that under wraps and made my way to my station without incident.  The class was led by Eli Ingram and Amanda – Eli took the lead, explaining the structure of the class and the moves while Amanda demonstrated. The Build class turned out to be a straight-up strength class.

Our “BFX Build” was 3 circuits, each done 5 times through. Eli told us that each TRX move was supposed to be held for a three second count. Before we started, Eli asked if anyone had any knee or shoulder injuries – I tentatively raised my hand since my shoulder has been wonky lately and Amanda noticed right away, miming “which one?” at me. As I pointed at my shoulder she just nodded and from that moment on, she was all over giving me modifications and checking in on me during each move that might be an issue. That kind of injury attention makes me swoon. I was mostly fine on the various TRX moves but it was awesome to be checked on so much. The class FLEW by. When we got to a pushup move on the kettle bell that made my shoulder scream, Amanda was quick to offer up a straight plank on the Kettlebell that was challenging but ok on the wonky shoulder.  We did Kettlebell swings, thrusters with them and overhead squats in between the TRX moves. My favorite set, though, was the last circuit which included a bridge move with our feet in the straps, then we flipped over and did a Pike move with our feet still in the straps.  As someone who is always working on getting better at handstands, the Pike move seemed like an awesome strength prep! We wrapped up with a quick AB section and then it was done. I was tired but felt that killer all body ache that you want from a Strength class.

Amanda and Eli

After class, I went down to the locker room where I had stashed my stuff in one of their lockers. Sadly, I am terrible at those spinning combo lockers so I had to have the front desk lady help me out… but I wasn’t the only one –she was already down there with the master key when I got there!

This first BFX studio is seriously pretty, with a shiny newness and lots of cool “Master Class” options, awesome teachers, a nice spin studio (although you have to bring your own shoes or wear sneakers –eek) and fully loaded personal training studio. BFX offers HIIT classes too but I loved that they also had just a straight up Strength class – those are rare these days!

 

Images from BFX’s Facebook page and their site.