If you’re as deeply invested in ABC’s Live! talk-show franchise as I am, you know a few things to be fact: 9 a.m. EST is the best time of morning, Josh Groban would have made an excellent co-host, the coolest way to win a vacation is by answering random trivia questions on the phone, and Kelly Ripa? She might love working out more than anyone else on the planet.
People are downright obsessed with her appreciation and dedication to fitness — considering the fact that she reportedly trains five hours a week, has three kids, and runs a hugely successful national daytime talk show, I get it. As an exercise and endorphins enthusiast, I’ve long admired her stamina and commitment. So when I got the scoop on her go-to workout, AKT in Motion, and found one studio, conveniently located in my neighborhood…
I had to give it a shot.
Founded by Ripa’s personal trainer Anna Kaiser, the method, which is available in New York City, East Hampton, and Connecticut, combines choreographed dance and functional training like circuit work, body strength exercises, and band work. It was created to bridge the gap between boutique studios that commonly only offer one type of workout (think yoga, cycling, or barre) and the gym, where you can focus on weight training, core work, etc.
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“She [Ripa] is extremely busy and AKT is super efficient as well as effective and crazy fun,” Kaiser tells me. “We have such a blast together and she can get everything she needs, strength, cardio, power, stretching, in one place, instead of running to different boutique studios trying to fit it all in. Plus, the music is everything. We are both obsessed with finding the best music. It really drives the workout.”
The class, which is either 45 minutes or one full hour, is offered in four different formats to hit all the tiers of fitness. The first time Ripa tried it, Kaiser told me she was so exhausted that she went home and slept for two straight hours.
Clearly, things have gotten easier, as Ripa works out with Kaiser four to five times a week. To get the full Ripped with Ripa experience, I put all four class formats to the test, plus a mixer class that incorporates small portions of every format.
Before I get into the breakdown of the classes, you should know that Kaiser choreographs every single class offering herself, so anyone that pops into a studio (AKA, me!) is getting the same exact workout her celebrity clients. While Kelly Ripa will do all of these classes in one week, life responsibilities got in my way, so I carried them over to a week-and-a-half.
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Class #1: AKT Dance
The first class I tested out was AKT Dance, which is a 60-minute choreographed cardio dance class. The class content, regardless of the format, stays the same for three weeks, so clients are able to physically feel and even see their progress. Unfortunately for me, I rolled into this class on the very last day it was being offered, which means everyone else in my class knew the dance and I was just running around a studio looking like a chicken with her head cut off. Regardless, I was drenched in sweat, I could barely move the next day, and the instructor was incredibly encouraging despite my lack of coordination.
Class #2: AKT Bands
Next, I moved onto AKT Bands, which utilized high-powered cardio moves and resistance bands hung from overhead bars. This was by far my favorite. Thanks to repetitive small movements with medium resistance, the class left my tiniest, hard-to-target muscles (like my triceps and my inner thighs) incredibly sore.
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Class #3: AKT Tone
The next day, I stopped by AKT Tone, which was more of a barre-based class, with non-impact, toning exercises. I got in a damn good workout, but I wasn’t that sweaty, so I skipped the shower and went straight to brunch.
Class #4: AKT Circuit
Kaiser says that Ripa finds the most challenging class to be AKT Circuit, which uses cardio moves and weighted props. It’s Kaiser’s take on traditional circuit training. Personally, I thought that AKT Dance was much harder, but I definitely don’t have as much rhythm as Ripa. I actually like lifting weights, so I love that this class taught me some easy moves to do with dumbbells at the gym.
Class #5: AKT Mixer
Finally, I got to the AKT Mixer, which I loved because it incorporated a little bit of everything — AKA I only had to dance for about 15 minutes. I targeted tiny muscles, got in a solid cardio workout, and even lifted some weights. It was truly a full-body workout. Getting up at 6 a.m. was tough, but the high-energy playlist helped me through even the hardest of sets.
After completing all of Kaiser’s badass classes, I can admit that I was perhaps a bit too cocky talking into the studio. I exercised muscles that I never pay attention to. For two to three days, I couldn’t even sit down on my office swivel chair without wincing and letting out an “ouch” under my breath. I got the fulfillment of working out with other people, a caring instructor that corrected me in my motions, and hardcore weight training in just one studio.
I know that practice makes any type of workout easier, and Ripa has been conquering Kaiser’s method for 10 straight years. Maybe if I give it another 530 weeks, I’ll be on her level. Maybe.
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