9 Questions With Celebrity Trainer Kira Stokes

If you want a body built to strut on the beach with confidence, Kira Stokes can help you with that.

The celebrity trainer, who has two decades of experience whooping people into shape, uses Instagram to share her expertise with the masses. If you’re in need of daily workout tips, she offers up her “Stoked Move of the Day” on the social media platform, not only explaining the move in text but showing its proper execution in a video.

Stokes teamed up with athletic standout Brooks this week to make media members — and fans watching via Facebook Live — sweat through a tough training session. But before getting people’s heart rates up, she spoke with Footwear News about her favorite Brooks sneaker, how to get a beach body fast and how social media has changed her career.

What is your favorite Brooks style to run and train in?
Kira Stokes:
The Brooks Launch. I actually wear the Launch both for running and for all my classes. I find that they’re super stable, even for lateral movement. Some people will tell you not to wear running shoes for cross-training workouts, but I’m fine with it, and most of my clients wear them, as well. They’ve got a nice wide toe box, they are super supportive, and they have the right amount of cushion; I like to feel the road beneath my feet, so I like cushioning but I don’t like to feel like I’m on a cloud.

Brooks Launch 4
CREDIT: Courtesy of Brooks.

Brooks Launch 4, $100; zappos.com

Why is Brooks a go-to brand for you?
I honestly have been a dedicated Brooks wearer for 10 years. Over the past few years, they’ve got more stylish; I feel like three years ago, I was running in them and was like, “If they only had something a little bit cooler.” Now, I really feel like they go with everything with the style that I have.

How important is it to have the right footwear when working out?
It’s huge. How your foot is placed and how it is supported during your workout could change the entire workout. It’s the difference between you waking up the next day and having ankle pain or pain in the arch of your foot or not having it. Buying a shoe just because it looks cool is not going to get you anywhere in terms of functionality. 

What are some tips to get that summer body fast?
The first thing I tell people is that even if you have a short amount of time, set a plan — even if you only have 20 to 30 minutes a day to commit to work out. Every Sunday, look over the time you have each day and devise your plan based on that. If you have 20 minutes, you’re going to do a fast run. If the next day you have a longer amount of time, maybe you do a slower run with some intervals. And cross-training is key. Whatever seems routine, step outside that box and try something different. Find the thing you love, find the thing that scares you, and run to both of them.

Kira Stokes Brooks New York City
Kira Stokes leading a Brooks media workout in New York City.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Brooks.

What types of workouts are you always excited to do?
Anything that I’m teaching I’m excited about, and I’m a big runner. I truly go to bed at night and think about (a) my coffee in the morning and how much I love it and (b) when am I going to be able to get my run and workout in. I love to be outside, so anything that I can take outside and make the environment my gym — anything outdoors I get excited about.

What workouts do you dread?
I can’t really say there’s anything I hate, but I’m trying to enjoy swimming more. I like it, but I think the reason I haven’t been so attached to it is you don’t feel the sweat that you feel, and I love to sweat. When you’re swimming, it’s not the same drenched sweat you get when you’re outside running. And if someone told me to run hurdles, I would run in the other direction.

Kira Stokes Brooks New York City
The Brooks media workout with trainer Kira Stokes, held in New York City.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Brooks.

What’s on your workout playlist?
I love to move to the beat, so beat-based music is important to me. When I’m running, I have a specific playlist that I run to, which is between 70 and 80 rpm, which would be between 140 and 170 bpm, and you could run about an 8-minute mile to that. Moving to the beat is really important, and what works best in a class setting for me is remixes of different dance music or pop tunes that are important — but always a remix, never the original; always something that’s a bit off-the-mark for people. During my workouts, we jump rope a lot, so I have specific songs that have a massive beat drop — and when the beat drops, you speed up the pace of the jump rope. I like everything: I like hip-hop, I like dance, I like pop, I don’t discriminate. 

When you got into fitness, did you think becoming a worldwide influencer was possible?
At the time I started, it wasn’t even on my radar. I hoped I would be successful, but social media didn’t even exist, and that has completely changed the nature of the industry.

When I started 20 years ago, this industry was so different. You truly got into it because you wanted to help people; I was passionate about changing lives and helping people achieve goals. Now, I call the industry “entertraining” instead of entertaining. You’re going to stand the test of time if you’re in this industry for the right reason. If you’re in it because you’re all about standing onstage in front of people, you’re going to have a short-lived career.

What impact has your social media success had on your training career?
It used to be if you couldn’t get in the studio and take a class with me, you had no way to be in touch with me. Now through Instagram and me giving the “Stoked Move of the Day” every day, it’s been amazing, because I feel like I’m helping more people on a daily basis. I’ve used the platform as a way to educate. It’s not about taking selfies and what I look like. When people ask how have I’ve got and maintained followers, it’s because I’m providing information.

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