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I tried celebrity trainer Anna Keiser's workout AKT — and it helped tone my body

Anna Keiser's trendy workout program — called AKT — is a combination of dance cardio, HIIT and toning.
The high-intensity classes incorporate a foam-rolling cool down to help ease sore muscles.
The high-intensity classes incorporate a foam-rolling cool down to help ease sore muscles.TODAY Illustration / Danielle Page
/ Source: TMRW

I'll try any workout that doesn't actually seem like a lot of work, which is why dance cardio has become a core part of my fitness routine. For me, pairing good music with fun moves and an upbeat instructor makes for a workout class that flies by and leaves me feeling great.

So when I found out that the celebrity-favorite AKT — a dance-based cardio workout that focuses on working hard while having fun — was available virtually, I knew I had to give it a try. Little did I know I was in for the hardest virtual butt kicking I've had since the pandemic!

The basics: Cost and equipment

Access to the AKT GO platform costs $19.99 per month and, right now, you can snag a 7-day free trial. There are classes included in the program that don't require any equipment other than a mat, but to really get the most out of this workout you'll want to invest in resistance bands, a variety of hand weights and, most importantly, a foam roller, which will become crucial.

As with any dance workout, you'll also want to find a place with ample space to move around. When the weather is nice enough, I'd probably take this one outdoors so that I could really move without worrying about bothering my downstairs neighbor — or knocking anything over.

Navigating the app

The AKT GO platform is incredibly straightforward. While similar platforms break workouts out by time interval, experience level and instructor, AKT is much simpler. Once you log on, you'll see the workout broken out into Dance, Sweat, Tone and Circuit workouts, plus a "New on AKT" section at the top featuring the latest additions.

In each category, you'll find a variety of time-based interval classes that are 20, 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length. When you click on a class, you'll be able to see a description of what each workout entails. One thing that can be tricky is knowing what equipment you'll need. The instructor typically announces this at the very beginning of each class, but you'll have to click play on each one in order to find that out.

The AKT GO Membership also gives you access to audio content that can be used to guide your outdoor runs, cycling and elliptical workouts, as well as a meditation section.

What the workout entails

The program was created by celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser (in fact, AKT stand for Anna Kaiser Technique). Her method stretches and strengthens the body through a series of interval, dance, circuit and toning classes. The classes are designed to work together and users are encouraged to do the same class content for three weeks to allow your body to learn and master the moves — then switching the content up completely to keep your body guessing.

"Dance" offers a combination of choreographed intervals mixed with strength training to build muscle and endurance. "Sweat" alternates between high-intensity and strength sections and is a true test of stamina. "Tone" focuses on small isometric movements that burn like hell and work every muscle. "Circuit" is a boot camp style workout that focuses on plyometric, full-body exercises (think squat jumps, knee ups, burpees) mixed with weighted strength exercises.

My experience trying AKT

For anyone out there who thinks dance workouts are easy, I'd challenge you to take an AKT class. Having taken plenty of cardio dance classes before, I felt reasonably prepared when I pressed play on my first AKT workout from the dance section. But the constant movement, intricate dance moves and interspersed strength intervals (where you barely catch your breath) had me really struggling during my first class.

So I was surprised (and overjoyed) when the class suddenly transitioned into a 10-minute foam rolling cool down. Foam rolling was formerly something I'd skip out on at the end of class or put a half effort into doing. But for the sake of this article, I put a concerted effort into rolling my body out, muscle-by-muscle.

The next morning, I learned why guided foam rolling is a key part of this technique. While I was definitely feeling sore the next day, it wasn't nearly as bad as I was anticipating given the intensity of the workout.

As I continued with AKT trying the circuit, sweat and tone classes it became clear why the programming stays consistent for three weeks. Each class is fast paced, and though all the moves repeat, it took me a serious amount of concentration to get them all down. The sweat classes were by far the most challenging for me. The high-intensity intervals left me completely out of breath, panting my way through strength intervals that made it feel like my muscles were on fire.

Though not every class incorporates a foam rolling portion, I found myself using mine after each class in hopes that I'd still be able to wake up the next morning and not feel too sore to keep at it. AKT recommends taking the class four times a week. There's no doubt you'd see physical results if you're able to stick with that scheduling pace.

The pros

I learned a lot about my body by trying this workout. For starters, the morning-after soreness I've become accustomed to can be greatly eased through strategic foam rolling. AKT is a hard workout — one that you'll certainly be feeling in the days after you take a class — but making sure I took the time to foam roll made it easier to get back up and try another class.

This program also delivers on changing your body. Over the course of trying AKT, I started to notice more definition in my arms and around my abdomen. My body felt stronger and more muscular, and I saw a significant shift in my stamina. I didn't fatigue as easily as I had when I first started trying this workout, which made me feel accomplished.

For me, there's no better feeling than nailing a challenging dance sequence — even if it takes many, many tries. If that feeling is something you'd enjoy, the dance portions of AKT definitely deliver.

The cons

There's no beginner version of this workout. While the moves repeat often, you really have to be willing to learn by doing. Even selecting a workout that isn't entirely dance-focused, such as options from the tone or circuit sections, are fast paced and challenging — and I'm saying that as someone who works out fairly regularly. If you're looking to dip your toe back into a workout, I think starting with AKT would feel like a total body shock.

I also wish that the platform itself had better navigation. It'd be ideal to have the ability to filter workouts based on length of time or equipment required. I found myself having to shop around a lot before selecting a workout to find one that used equipment I had handy and also fit within my schedule.

I would recommend this workout to:

  • Fitness enthusiasts who love to dance
  • Anyone looking for a challenging new workout
  • Those who have never learned the magic of the foam roller
  • People looking for a significant change in their body