Suncoast fitness instructor creates new exercise brand

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SARASOTA - Kelly Atkins has been a fitness instructor 25 years, and she has taught almost as many different disciplines. From all that experience, she created her own exercise, which is now catching on with others.

Like people, your muscles need to be entertained in order to get the most out of them. That is why Atkins came up with her own brand of exercise: Kai. Now she is bringing it to the masses. "In this class we aim towards what's your body's potential. I wanted something that challenged me athletically, but I also wanted something with freestyle balanced with patterns. I love the brain, and this class really integrates the brain with movement."

It starts out slow, to get the muscles limber, but then it takes twists and turns that keep the routine fresh and energizing. “I am a runner, and I ran on my toes often, which brought on shin splints and knee problems. Through Kai and the movements we do in class, I was able to recreate my step and work on my body alignment. I am now pain free," says Kai enthusiast Alicia Cossentino.

Besides the fact that it combines so many different disciplines into one workout, the best part may be that no child is left behind. "It’s a cardiovascular workout, it’s done barefoot, it’s great cross-training for athletes, as well as for grandmothers, mothers, grandfathers, fathers…all different ages and all different fitness levels in one class," says Atkins.

It allows some artistic freedom, and the music helps to get you going -- or calm you down -- depending on the exercise at that moment. One-stop shopping at Kai. "My background includes martial arts. There's lots of dance in it. I have been teaching yoga for many years, so it is a combination of all of those."

"It’s a great blend of everyone in the community, and everybody has the chance to share and bring their unique pearls forward," says Cossentino.