“Complicated” is not a word we like to use to describe most things—mostly in relation to our dating lives or daily Sweetgreen orders. But in the case our workout routine? Therein lies the answer.
“I wanted to take what I think may be a more complicated route, but also a much more comprehensive route,” says Anna Kaiser about her cult-favorite AKT workout. “You’re going to see more studios offering hybrid workouts in the future."
Kaiser, who shapes and sculpts the likes of Shakira, Sofía Vergara, and Kate Hudson, takes a different approach to working out—one that might seem appear more complicated at first by combining elements of different workouts in one routine, but might just be the key to getting you closer to your Lily Aldridge #abgoals. Her classes are your favorite dance cardio class on steroids, with dashes of Pilates, HIIT, barre, and more thrown in the mix. Bored is the last thing you’ll feel—trust us (this editor has taken one, and can firmly attest it kicked her butt… hard).
From February 23–27, she’s bringing her signature five-day fitness intensive to Los Angeles, allowing you to totally transform your body just in time for the Academy Awards. Meal deliveries, nutrition sessions, facials, and gift bags are included—you can learn more and sign up right here. In honor of the occasion, we caught up with Kaiser and asked her to share her workout secrets (mostly in relation to Shakira’s abs and how we can get them, please and thanks).
Keep scrolling to see what she said!
BYRDIE: Tell us a little bit about AKT and what someone can expect from a class.
ANNA KAISER: Well, first of all, my workout is not always dance. It’s a dance-based interval workout, so you get cardio, strength, yoga, and more in an hour instead of three hours. It’s a functional, well-designed workout with the personalization of a personal trainer and excitement of a group workout class.
BYRDIE: What inspired you to this type of “hybrid workout”?
AK: What I’m really trying to do is to get people to experience the workout on many different levels so they don’t plateau. They’re engaged and excited to work out—they’re excited to get to the results. We are not a combination of parts. Our whole body should be working to support our whole body so that we create a really proportionate figure that works to support our spine.
BYRDIE: So—Shakira is one of your clients. Her abs are awesome. We want them. What can we do?
AK: Well, cardio is just as important as strength training. In order to see your abdominals, you need to do a good combination of both. You need to get rid of the layer of fat on top. You really need to keep your heart rate elevated, and doctors recommend it keeping it elevated for at least 30 minutes a day. Use a heart rate monitor, and start tracking it during your workouts.
BYRDIE: Good to know. Anything else?
AK: A lot of times you can be eating what you’re allergic to, which can cause you to bloat. And that will inhibit you from seeing changes in your abs. I always recommend getting an allergy test or being sensitive to what you’re eating and isolating it. Say, for example, don’t eat anything for two to three hours, then just have wheat, or just have dairy, and see if 30 to 60 minutes afterward you feel really lethargic or bloated. You may want to avoid that food, especially mixed with other food.
BYRDIE: If someone is focusing on toning their tummy, what foods should they eat?
AK: I would recommend eating real, natural foods that come out of the earth and then the occasional animal or fish protein. Really good, fresh food; nothing out of a box, no sugars (though there are always exceptions). Just to eat food that is organic and coming from the earth as much as possible. I don’t even remember the last time I ate something out of a box. A good test for yourself is to go two weeks without eating anything that sits on a shelf.
Keep scrolling for some of Kaiser’s favorite ab-sculpting moves!
>In a plank, jump both legs toward your left hand, then jump toward your right hand. That’s one rep. Repeat, jumping from side to side, trying to lift your hips into the air in between landings.
>Supine Swiss Twist
>Start by placing a Swiss ball (stability ball) between your legs and lay on your back, legs extended toward ceiling. With your hands out in a T position and keeping your legs straight, lower your legs toward the floor about halfway, rotate the ball to the right, rotate back to center, and lift the legs back to the starting position. Repeat on the left. That's one rep.
>Jackknife With a Twist
>Start by stabilizing in a plank position, with your shins on the Swiss ball. Press down into the ball with your shins as you lift your hips toward the ceiling and bend your knees toward your chest. Aim your knees toward your left shoulder (twisting in your mid section) as you finish bringing your knees toward you (feeling your obliques kick in!). Then, return to plank. Repeat on the right. That's one rep.
>Start in a plank position on the floor. Tap your right toe out to the side at a 45-degree angle (keeping your right hip parallel to the floor). Then, bend your knee and tap your right toe as close to your right shoulder as possible. Return to plank. Repeat on the left. That's one rep.
>Lay on your back, arms extended straight overhead on the floor by you. As you come all the way up to sit on your booty, lift your right knee toward your chest and twist toward the leg as you come into the seated position (arms come out to the side, spine straight). Lower back down. Repeat on the left. That's one rep.
>Side Passe Dip
>Position yourself in a side plank, supporting your body with your left arm. Anchor your right foot on the floor, bend your left leg, and hold your left foot to your right knee (in passe!). Maintaining that position, try to dip your left hip to tap the floor and raise it back up again. That’s one rep.
>Anna's instructions: "Pick three of the moves and do 10–20 reps of each one. Do them in succession, and do that circuit three times. Do this three days a week to see results!"
>To sculpt your body AKT style in the comfort of your own home, Kaiser’s Happy Hour DVD ($25) will help. Or, try this free workout from her channel: