Where: 24 Hour Fitness, 153 East 53rd St., New York, NY
Drenched with Keoni Hudoba-Midas: Everything He Touches... Er, Teaches... Turns to Gold
My love continues to grow for this one. As a caveat, Keoni knows me, and knew I'd be in class. But to give a perfect example of why I love him so much - after class he goes, "I want you to be 100% honest. I want to know what you think. Don't hold back." Not that I need to be told to "not hold back"... but an instructor who welcomes constructive criticism is an instructor whose trajectory will out-pace his colleagues'. Period.
[Click here to review Keoni's class yourself, or check out his RateYourBurn profile here.]
"THIS CLASS IS CALLED 'DRENCHED', NOT 'LIGHTLY MOIST'! WORK HARDER!"
The dude just has it. I really think he's on his way to being the next big thing. I would love to see him replace Bob Harper on The Biggest Loser. As an aside, I was so disappointed this week - after being a huge Bob Harper fan - to see this in a magazine.
Seriously? Peddling diet pills? Dude just lost every ounce of his credibility to me. Shame on you.
Keoni is just an inspiration. He's got the look, the story, the voice, the cuing, and the energy. And of course, he asks about injuries and provides useful alternatives.
On the class.
To describe DRENCHED, in terms of other classes I've taken:
- The choreographic build-up of intenSati (plus the mirror steam-up!). Keoni has crafted a class where the movements are cumulative, eventually strung together and repeated like a workout dance. That said, the actual moves aren't "dance-y".
- The movement influences of Forza (chopping motion), kickboxing, and other martial arts practices
- The use of light weights - in this case, hand-held sandbags - for an arms sequence occasionally reminiscent of Lotte Berk
- The lighting of a SoulCycle class (not candles - but Keoni has a lamp thing that he puts at the front)
- The crowd of a celebrity trainer
- The energy of Keoni
In our interview with Keoni, his advice to young instructors was to "take as many classes as you can." He clearly lives his mantra, and has picked his favorite things from the fitness universe and packed them into one sweat-tastic hour. Plus a little Keoni sparkle dust. Never underestimate the power of the sparkle dust.
- The class started out with a cardio warmup and some arms
- Soon we moved into the "martial" sections (the choreographed movement segments).
- Around minute 10, we took a killer strength interlude, which almost wiped me out - burpees, planks, planks with knee to elbow, planks pushing up from elbows to hands, elbow planks with feet shifting back and forth, and pushups. We repeated this sequence "suicide style", doing a few fewer reps each time. HARD.
- Went back to "martial" choreography, and finished up repeating the full set in tandem.
The coolest part about this class was that although I was certainly "drenched" at the end, the last 20 minutes didn't even feel like work. That's the beauty of these choreographed classes - you work to learn them, and once you "get it" it's like a game that you want to play over and over.
Neat-o. Biggest loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward was there to play. Love it!
Photo courtesy of RAMMIMAGERY
- The room was PACKED. I would say it rivaled Patricia Moreno's IntenSati HCB class for most packed class ever. Keoni doesn't have a tribe; he has a medium-sized village.
- Due to the crowded thing, I smacked my neighbors a few times. They weren't super happy.
- The dude in the front was honestly the highlight of my class. He was a larger man who stood so close to the mirror that if he stuck his tongue out he could lick it. Which he may or may not have done. Multiple times. (I nicknamed him Marty the one Man Party.)
A note on jumping.
There is a lot of jumping in this class, which as you may know is a trigger point for me. On top of the jumping in the sequences, there were jumping jacks between every set of choreographed work.
My one criticism: I'd like to see Keoni demo the closed-chain/low-impact versions of the jumping exercises, as well as take a minute to show proper form on the kick. This class is a pod of energy - so it's easy to get caught up and do what everyone else is doing even though your body knows you shouldn't be (eh em, me).
Let's get physical
Keoni has created an environment in this class that is high-energy but simultaneously super sexy. I attribute this to a combination of factors:
- The dim lighting that silhouetted us. Especially in the arms section where poses were very powerful-looking.
- The choreography - remembering a sequence is empowering.
- Keoni's constant reminders to "LOOK AT THE FREAKING MIRROR". I love the encouragement of self-love.
- The eventual sweat-fog. Titanic. Duh.
Keoni is the full package. He cares about form, he's adamant about intensity, and his class feels like recess. #winning.
Photo courtesy of RAMMIMAGERY
From Keoni’s website: Take a trip with me back to 2003, I was 21, a successful student in performing arts school and struggling with my weight. I was the stereotypical funny fat kid in school, but behind the humor was an eternally frustrated and downbeat young man, hiding his emotions behind his smile and 327lbs.I knew something had to give; castings routinely ended with comments such as “"you have an amazing voice and stage presence, but you’re not right for this part".” I knew my weight was holding me back in more ways than one. I made the choice to transform my life, change my eating habits and commit to becoming healthy. It was a hard journey, spanning almost two years, with the inevitable pitfalls of falling back into bad habits, but determination and drive pushed me through and I achieved my goals, slimming down to a healthy 180lbs.Fitness and healthy living has truly transformed my life. I've taken my performing background and adapted it to group exercise and personal training, motivating others the way I motivated myself to achieve my goals. I teach a numerous clubs in NYC and am in the process of establishing my own brand, KEONIKINETIC "Forces That Move Your Body".In terms of health and fitness, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. Training others has helped me to train myself, improve my fitness, and motivate not only my students but also myself to the next level of body conditioning. Yet behind the motivation and fitness there remains the realization that falling back into bad habits is an everyday challenge, but a challenge that I can overcome. The key is to understand your own body and finding what works for you. I feel my role is helping my students obtain this knowledge and utilize it so that they can achieve their goals.My biggest frustration is that a lot of people adopt the attitude that a healthy lifestyle is a luxury limited to a small portion of the population. I believe everyone and anyone has the ability to transform and improve his or her lives.
Find out more about 24 Hour Fitness at www.24hourfitness.com
Find out more about Keoni Hudoba on his website
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Check out Keoni’s video channel here
Read more about Keoni in our Barry's class review here and in an interview here