The Stoked Trilogy: Kira Stokes’ Primal, Abs & 360 at Reebok Sports Club/NY

It’s been almost a year since I first caught a glimpse of Kira Stokes‘ “Stoked Primal” class and somehow in all of the recent talk about Primal, I had forgotten how HARD I thought it looked. So on Monday night, when I arranged to finally go check it out, when Kira said “Come, but really, you want to do all three right?” – my immediate response was “Of course!”

KIra Stokes Primal PantherThe Stoked Monday Trilogy at the awesome Reebok Sports Club on the UWS starts at 5:30pm with the 30 minute Primal. Described as “an intense 30-minute conditioning class utilizing your own body weight.  Glide, crawl, jump, push and pull your way to a more powerful, agile and toned body.” Based on animal movements, you spend the majority of the class on all fours going back and forth across the room. There were lots of moving variation planks with pushups and low crouching squat jumps onto all fours. As Kira demonstrated each of the successive moves she always looked amazing, strong and graceful. I did not. However, I had a lot of fun trying! It is a class where you really just have to get over how you look while trying out the fun and challenging Primal moves, because for the most part, I never looked once like Kira’s inspiring demonstration! I was ok at Gorilla, Bullfrog, Bear and Monkey, basically any of the least plank-like moves, but anything that resembled a low plank/pushup combo I was terrible at. Apparently, I also lack any sort of cat-like grace since my Panther was a lumbering, gimpy beast! I always think that 30 minute classes aren’t challenging enough to be a class on their own but Primal thoroughly kicked my ass. I do think that some of the moves could benefit from making the class 45 minutes – just so that there was more time to break down the moves into pieces. A little time with some of the set-ups would be helpful, although I doubt even that would have helped my sad panther! The “Primal” moves though, in that quick 30 minutes session, hit every single inch – 15 minutes into the class my legs, core and arms were quivering, I was dripping in sweat and having a ridiculously good time!  Of course by the end, I wondered how I was going to make it through the next two classes….

Next up was Stoked Abs, another short class, this one only 15 minutes. Kira is ripped and this class is filled with her signature Ab moves. For a brief moment I was really excited that we got to lay down for a little while, but I swear, Kira gets even harder when she knows she only has you for a few minutes and we immediately launched into a tough ab routine that killed me. Filled with so many crunch variations, constant unique moves to hit each section of your abs and ending with pike-ups with your feet on gliders.  It was an intense quick workout!

believe you can and you are halfway there

The third and final class of the Monday night Stoked series is Stoked 360. It is a 75 minute, “All-encompassing total body workout. This class combines elements of traditional and functional conditioning, with high intensity cardiovascular intervals and body weight exercises.”  I’ve written about this great class before, here, but once again I thought it was awesome. Kira does every set in this challenging class 3 times – “Once to learn it. Once to know it. Once to exhaustion.” A stickler on form, Kira’s constant attention to what everyone is doing and making sure all class members are doing each move correctly is always awesome to see. Each set has 3 moves, strength, plyo and a stretching/balance version and in each set all the moves are planned so that they flow easily from one into the next. While she demonstrates what the next set will be, everyone jumps rope to keep up their heart rate, which is always my least favorite part since it is hard for me to really focus on what she is showing us without just continually whacking myself in the legs. It is, of course, a meticulously planned class, as all of Kira’s classes always are, and every single muscle is targeted from head to toe.

Each class was fun, challenging and intense and I was ridiculously proud that I made it through all three but I’m really going to have to practice some of those Stoked Primal moves before I go back! My Gimpy Panther just isn’t cool….


Top photo Kira Stokes demonstrating how the Panther is supposed to look from her Facebook page. Quote just a little bit of internet goodness.

The Only Possible Answer Was Yes: The Aquaphor Tri Team

About a month ago, I received an email that totally turned my life upside down – in the best possible way. The email was titled “Invitation: NYC Triathlon – Aquaphor Tri Team” and I gasped as I read it what it was offering me. I have wanted to do a Triathlon for YEARS – for me, it has always been that “I will really be an athlete if I can do that” thing. These days, I feel like an athlete but that thing in the back of my head has remained. To have the chance dropped in my lap to compete in one of the premiere Triathlons in the country, and one that I had completely written off because I couldn’t remotely afford the entry fee, was shockingly awesome. It honestly never occurred to me to not snap up the opportunity. I immediately wrote back to say yes.

In some ways, it is great to not have time to really freak out about it – really, because there is too much to make happen before the race that there isn’t a window of time to panic. Head down and get prepared -mostly what that has involved has been LOTS AND LOTS of swimming. It’s funny, when I was little, swimming was the one thing that I loved.  At every Navy base, there was always a large, magical place of escapism for me at the pool and I would swim laps forever, easily doing a mile a day. However, it has been years since I even had access to a pool, so the very first thing I did was figure out how to change that. To that end, I have been at the amazingly beautiful Reebok Sports Center/NY’s pool 3-4 times per week. The pool is amazing and seemingly never overrun but always filled with serious swimmers of all shape and stripe. There are a lot of people who are obviously training for the Tri too, which is inspiring to see… and has incidentally provided me with swimming tips.  I don’t think swimming is “like riding a bike”, but I have been shocked at how quickly it has come back to feeling natural. I am back up to mile swims and have loved every moment I have gotten to be back in the water. The swim was really the only part that worried me and while a mile swim in the Hudson still seems slightly scary, it no long sounds so daunting. Plus, my wetsuit has been ordered and really, how can you not feel like a superhero getting to race in one of those??

I really can’t wait for the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon and I almost can’t believe it is happening, but as everything starts to fall into place, it doesn’t just feel like a crazy dream. I am so grateful for the exciting and truly amazing opportunity to be part of something so special and when July 8th rolls around, I am going to be ready. Until then, I will be swimming as often as possible…and biking…and running….. so there may be a few weeks before I get back to lots of class reviews!

Top & bottom photos from Aquaphor New York City Triathlon’s Facebook page and the quote in the middle just a really good thing to remember.