Having trouble keeping your fitness resolutions? Anna Kaiser has got you covered.
Kaiser, the founder and CEO of dance fitness studio AKT, says that it’s better to focus on consistency than results. “I wouldn’t focus on: ‘I want to lose ten pounds’ or ‘I want to fit into these jeans,’” she said. “I would focus on saying: ‘I want to get to my workout three times this week.’ And then schedule your workout in like a doctor’s appointment.”
Kaiser, who has worked with Shakira and Karlie Kloss, will soon be teaching TIME readers fun (and challenging) workouts they can do at home in a new video series launching next month. The mom of one has made a fitness a priority for almost all of her life, and if you can’t make it to one of her studios in New York, Los Angeles or Connecticut, her upcoming videos for TIME will give you a taste of how she regularly whips celebrities into shape.
When did you realize you loved fitness?
It was in high school. I created a summer program for my friends and their moms because I was in a very challenging dance department and I wanted to just make dance fun. So I created a new dance fitness class to have fun, sweat and burn some calories. It grew to be a really big group of 20 to 25 people who just loved being in a room together — and I experienced a high from teaching a class like that.
Dance classes are not designed to be workouts — they’re designed to teach skill. So I remember finishing that class and coming home and just sitting for two hours because I was so exhausted. But I loved it. I gave everything inside of me, and I got an incredible high from giving that to everyone around me.
What are your best tips for someone who wants to work out more in 2018?
The most important tip is to find a workout that you love — one that you’re excited to go to. And do it with a group of friends. That’s one of the reasons I created Happy Hour. It’s effective, but it’s also really fun to dance together under a disco ball. You’re learning the skills, but you’re also getting more comfortable with your body. You’re not just spinning your wheels and burning calories. You’re having a good time, which is important if you’re spending time and money.
Make it a scheduled activity in your calendar so you can hold yourself accountable. I love giving myself and my clients gold stars every day that they’ve completed a workout — it feels really good. I do that with my client Shakira, and when she was potty training her son, she would give him a gold star every time he went to the potty and she got a gold star every time she did a workout. It was a nice way for her to bond with her child.
How can you keep yourself motivated to meet your workout goals?
Don’t think about it. You know you have to wake up in the morning to work out, so just do it. Make yourself a great playlist and put your workout clothes next to your bed, so in the morning you know you’re going to get up, grab your stuff and get out of there. Make it really easy for yourself. You’re going to do it. You have to begin with that mindset the night before so you’re really making that commitment.
Another thing is to set up rewards for yourself after you workout — whether it’s a chai tea latte or $20 in a jar to go toward your next awesome piece of workout apparel.
What else do you do to maintain balance and lead a healthy life?
Workouts for me are more about stress relief and having more energy to do the things I need to do. That’s a much healthier way of approaching exercise. All of those other things will come if you commit to it. It really is about being a happy person. When you spend that time on yourself for yourself, it makes you a better person to the people around you.
Everyone has a different fitness recipe that works. I love exhilarating, high intensity workouts with amazing music, and I love doing them with a supportive community of women who are also in that headspace.
I also think it’s important to restore. I’ll take a beautiful citrus epsom salt soak. I’ll go and have a facial. I’m starting a meditation practice, and I’m trying to do that once a week. I have also found that if I don’t eat well, I’m not as productive and happy. So I tend to eat lots of protein and greens, and make dinner my smallest meal.
I need time with my husband and I need time with my baby, but most of all, I need girl time. It’s just so restorative to my spirit when I get to go out and have an hour with my girlfriends just laughing and not thinking about work.