Kiya Knight lives out of suitcase, traveling the world as a trainer for Escape to Shape, a fitness retreats company that has you doing push-ups in Marrakesh or planks in Vietnam, so you satisfy your travel itch while you shape up.
The peppy and passionate fitness pro is also the creator of Weightless (she spells it “WEightless”), a fitness method that blends isometric exercises with a focus on the mind, body and breath connection.
“I feel like what you’re thinking is going to determine what’s happening in your body,” she says. “That cyclical pattern—think, move, breathe—causes us forward momentum in our physical goals and really everything in life.”
Knight’s holistic perspective extends from her workouts to her (almost) vegan diet. “Natural is a key word to everything I do. Natural movements, natural thinking, natural breathing and food in its natural form,” she says.
Although she technically calls Arizona home, Knight will be in New York this summer to teach classes at Destination Detox, Escape to Shape’s homebase in Hudson, and at SLT in New York City. This fitness travelista showed us what she keeps stocked in her fridge, that is, when she’s not circling the globe.
I see you have sunflower butter, and not peanut or almond butter. And do you have a favorite use for the spread? We try to do sun butter or almond butter more than peanut butter. Peanuts are rancid when they come out of the factory. Peanut butter can also cause low levels of inflammation. My favorite dessert is a big scoop of sunflower butter mixed with raisins, pecans, and a little bit of honey. I just make a big peanut butter ball in a cup and that’s my dessert. It’s so satisfying. And it takes a while to chew, so you get a lot of satisfaction.
You have a tube of polenta on the top shelf. How are you using that? I’m gluten-intolerant like a lot of Caucasian, red-head, blue-eyed women. It’s pretty standard with us. So I try to substitute any kind of wheat and bread with polenta.
Interesting that you’ve detected a pattern of gluten-intolerance. I’d never heard that. Okay, those are some beautiful greens laid out on the top shelf! What are they and how are you going to use them? Those are from the farmer’s market down the street. They have about five different kinds of kale, like rainbow kale and red kale. So usually what I do is I’ll grab a huge bunch of Swiss chard, a big bunch of whatever kale they have that week, and then I use the chard, kale, and spinach as a base for all of my juices.
Your juices sound great. I notice you have some packaged deli meat in the bottom drawer. What do you look for when it comes to meat? That’s actually my husband’s. I don’t eat much meat. But we do make sure it’s hormone free, free range, and he usually gets chicken or turkey. What we have in there comes from a happy place.
So where do you put yourself on the carnivore–vegan spectrum? I’m 80 percent vegan. That’s naturally where my body likes to be. I believe in humane treatment of animals. I believe in protecting the planet. But there are also instances in my life, like cultural situations, where it would be very rude not to partake in food for ceremonial reasons and for the experience of life. So I leave myself that 20 percent window to live in the moment and just really enjoy life.
I could see how food means different things in the various countries you visit. But given how you like to eat, you’ll probably have no problem with the vegan diet at Destination Detox this summer. I’m going to enjoy that a lot. But the one thing looming over me is that it’s actually a caffeine-free week too, so no coffee. That’s going to be a new challenge!
I hear you! You’ve lived in some amazing places, like Tulum, and now you travel around the world with Escape to Shape. Do you find it difficult to maintain your nutrition while traveling? I think it’s all about balance. My rule is that I just look for foods that are real. As long as I’m eating real food, my body responds in a real, positive way. —Amy Eley