AKT is one of the most difficult, heart rate-amplifying cardio classes in New York—it makes sense, considering creator Anna Kaiser is a trainer to the stars. Her A-list abs line up includes Kelly Ripa, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmy Rossum and Shakira. AKT offers a wide variety of classes (nine in total) at two locations. For the most part, they’re cardio based and extremely intense, even for someone who frequents difficult boutique fitness classes.
At a recent Sweat Dream class, Kaiser jumped excitedly for the entire hour, never seeming to lose energy for even a moment. I was in awe of her enthusiasm, as I struggled for breath directly behind her and hoped she didn’t notice my tiny excuses for hops.
The suspension bands hanging from the ceiling were used to propel bodies over boxes while doing choreographed movements and jumping, which is followed by everyone grabbing weights. Unlike most classes, they went for the eight pounders.
The experience was so intense I hid in the bathroom for a moment to catch my breath and attempt to somehow wipe the sweat off, which seemed to be dripping from every part of my body, including my elbows. It was a surprise, to say the least, to find out after class that the impossibly fit Kaiser was also very pregnant (five months at the time). The Observer chatted with the fitness celebrity to find out how to prepare for her cult favorite class.
What class do you recommend people start with if they’re new to AKT? I suggest that new clients start with an AKTease or Sweat Dream class. AKTease is great for those who have never danced before and are interested in trying a dance-based workout. This class introduces them to the AKT movement vocabulary in a fun, easy-to-follow way, while mixing in strength intervals. Sweat Dream is a completely different option based around a box and an overhead resistance band. This workout is more athletic, focusing on functional movement while mixing in circuit training, so they can get a intense sweat and full body burn, yet keep it low impact.
If someone isn’t used to cardio, what do you suggest they do? You can wear a heart rate monitor that connects to our leaderboards (we rent and sell them), so you can track you heart rate throughout class. Over time, you will find that you can push through your cardio segments for longer periods of time, a great sign that your heart is getting stronger.
If someone hasn’t been working out with weights, how do you suggest they prep? Because the content of class remains the same for two to four weeks, you will know what to expect the next time you take that class, so you can steadily start to push yourself harder, use more weight and perform more reps. Private training is the perfect option for clients that want a more personalized program.
Should people use weights at home to prepare for class? Yes, absolutely. I usually recommend my clients start off with a set of three, five and eight pound weights. Once they are stronger, they can add ten, twelve and even fifteen pounds.
How many times a week do you suggest clients do AKT? I usually recommend that clients start with three to four times per week, with a day off during the week, to allow for proper recovery. Our trainer concierge can create a custom combination of classes that will give each client a personalized program based on their strengths, weaknesses, and overall fitness goals.