On Monday evening, I trekked over to the Upper West Side to check out Kira Stokes and her “Stoked” series at the Reebok Sports Club. I was planning on going to all 3 of them that were scheduled that night, but my slowpoking it out of Brooklyn didn’t let that happen – which was probably a good thing. I arrived on the UWS just a few minutes before the first class was going to start and headed over to find the gym.  It turns out that the Reebok Sports Club is a HUGE, gorgeous gym.
I took the elevator up to the reception desk and when the doors opened, I was surprised to see the super fancy, but very sweet concierge who greeted me.  After a brief once over of the interloper who obviously didn’t belong (sigh, I never remember to dress up to GO to the gym,) the Jeremy Renner look-alike found my name on the guest list and proceeded to turn on the charm. It was such a fitting introduction to the fancy gym – and holy moly, was it FANCY.  The nice thing was that, because I was a little late and missed the first class I was aiming for, I was able to take my time in the locker room and get up to the studio. The locker room was open, immaculate and pretty, which is rare – and the women in there were chatty and friendly. It felt a little like I had entered the other side of the looking glass.

After passing through all of the beautiful floors of shiny equipment, checking out their climbing wall (belay only, phew – something I didn’t like!) I finally made it up to the studios where I got my first glimpse of Kira Stokes. Now, mind you, I had seen pictures of Kira, looking all fitness-competition-fit but I had sort of assumed that isn’t what she walked around looking like. You know the type you see in Oxygen magazine and tell yourself  “they don’t really look like that.” Kira really looks like that in real life. As I sat there watching the class I had planned to be in “Primal Stoked”, I was floored at how hard it looked – and what a sight it was to behold. Kira was doing all of these crazy moving-across-the-floor plank variations. The people in that class were all in great shape and it was fun to watch everyone push themselves. The next class on the menu was “Stoked Abs”, a 15 minute ab intensive. It was fun, hard and full of weird variations that completely fried my abs in that one little quick session. When I had gone in with all of the teaming masses (this is a wildly popular class and the studio was packed to the gills,) I didn’t really think about where I was, I just made sure that I had a clear eyeline to Kira and staked out my space for the longer class. I really should have paid a little more attention, since it turned out that durning the long class, I was directly behind her – and in HER eyesight for the class I had really come for “Stoked 360” (see a theme here?). Which meant there wasn’t even a moment of slacking that was going to be allowed for the next 75 minutes. Kira has been a trainer for 18 years and is a stickler for form. Really, she isn’t going to let you get away with anything, and had I really thought it through, I would NOT have positioned myself right behind her! As Kira handed out jump ropes to a few of us, and yes, I did try to hide from that, she explained to us that we were to keep moving throughout the whole class.

Each segment was made of 3 moves that were done 3 times – once to learn it, once to know it, and once to failure. All were done to push our endurance. They were all compound moves that were challenging but really fun – lots of plyometric moves and changing directions. She corrected me a lot which I loved, but I wasn’t the only one by any stretch – when she said she was a stickler for form, I should have believed her! In a class that large, to really be so passionate about form in everyone, was awesome to see.  She kept the rowdy guys in the corner in check and still kept a keen eye on the inspiringly fit pregnant woman in the front. It is no wonder that Kira has such a following – she loves what she does, creates a hard, fun, challenging class AND keeps an eye on you? You really can’t ask for much more.

Now if I can figure a way to sneak back into Reebok Sport Center, I am totally trying that “Primal Stoked” class…plus, maybe that “Stoked Abs” again…but I now know that a third one on the same day would be the death of me!

(Image of Kira Stokes from her website. Bottom image from ESPNW’s Facebook page)

6 thoughts on “The Stoked Method: Kira Stokes & her massive following…

  1. Kira is AMAZING. I trained with her for years in Boston through my first pregnancy and was devastated when she left me for New York. I was almost incapicated after an hour I can’t imagine three.

  2. I just took her class today (Stoked At the Barre) and I am always impressed that she knows so many people by name and really doesn’t allow any slack. Great trainer, great inspiration, great classes. And, you’re right, Reebok is a pretty awesome club. My husband and I have been members for over a year and we love it.

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