Not too long ago I first had the opportunity to meet and photograph Kiya Knight for a cover and spread of Scottsdale Health Magazine. She had such a strong and positive energy on set as well as fantastic and inspiring back story. I’ve since had the opportunity to work with her again on her upcoming e-book project and also chatted with her about the peaks and valleys of her journey and the launching of her company WEightless – and yes, the E is capitalized.
James Patrick: You began by training for fitness competitions; but shortly left that industry. What was the reason?
Kiya Knight: I got a lot out of competing and working in the bodybuilding industry. It taught me how to push myself mentally and physically to achieve my goals. I learned about sacrifice for a bigger dream and the people are incredibly supportive. I still have great friends from this time. I learned about who I am and what I stand for. I’ve always been a tough girl with a loud voice so bodybuilding gave me an incredible opportunity to flex those muscles so to speak.
I never intentionally left this industry but after graduating from college I began traveling and studying movement in a variety of cultural settings. During my travels I connected with powerful women who share similar struggles with weight loss and deep self- acceptance. I turned my focus toward developing inspired programs geared toward women involving movement and whole food. Most of the women I work with are recovering or pulling themselves out of a state of disease or injury caused by a lack of balance in their lives. The programs I teach now and do myself have a more holistic and sustainable approach than the bodybuilding lifestyle. I always say WEightless ends with less because I believe that everything we need to be our most ultimate selves over the long run is already within us. We don’t need to max out our joints and connective tissues with heavy weights every day to develop and amazing physique. I don’t believe we need to pollute our bodies with fake food like products to enhance our natural abilities. These practices may create a short term illusion of what we want astatically but in the end they can send us crashing and leave us drained, depressed, over aggressive and out of whack mentally and physically.
JP: Describe the founding of your movement WEightless and how that came to be.
KK: After 13 years in the fitness industry I wanted to create a unique workout philosophy geared toward empowering women. I was working at a bootcamp on the beach in Mexico after college. Every week I worked with another group of empowered women who in moments of honesty would confide in me exactly what they felt was missing in their current fitness programs back home. A lot of it sounded like a need for more joint focused movement, inside out training and coaches who could work intuitively with their clients instead of prescribing one size fits all workouts. I began to design take home programs with exercises that could be done anywhere. I encouraged women to go home and get outdoors to workout with natural objects in a way that would bring them closer to nature and closer to themselves. When I met my husband who was managing a hotel and working as a private chef I realized his skill in the kitchen and with hospitality complimented my knowledge of human movement. We both have a desire to make the world a better place as warriors for wellness and role models to our friends and family so we teamed up to host wellness events and retreats worldwide. WEightless describes the sensation of well-being and balance that occurs when we move and eat in a natural way, drawing energy and power from a deeper place within us.
JP: What does the WEightless brand represent?
KK: “WEightless” is the evolution of mind body fitness and a holistic approach to becoming your most ultimate self. WEightless Workouts focus on developing inner strength through the bodies deep lines. Mental skills training are a component to each WEightless class or activity. When you’re stong in your mind, you’re strong in your body. When you’re strong in your body, you’re strong in life. WEightless is about meeting yourself at the edge mentally and physically and asking what next? How can we come together as a community and push it higher.
JP: You’ve spent a great deal of time traveling the world and integrating various cultural aspects into your company. Can you talk a little about your influences and how it shaped your company?
KK: I’ve had a lot of epic mentors during my career in the fitness/wellness industry. When I first arrived at Club Med in the Dominican Republic at 19 years old I knew I was in for an epic education in life.
I like to think of those younger years of travel and adventure as my time spent at the School Of Hard Knocks. I learned foreign language, how to communicate without words, how to perform and entertain. I realized that there were many philosophies for living and that no way was the one right way but that by learning to be open minded and respectful of those around us, we have an opportunity to become an epically strong and progressive world community.
After 4 years and 4 countries I went back to college to earn a degree in Sport Science. I couldn’t wait to get back out into the world with my new training and business skills. I felt like I had seen something during my time of wanderlust before I went back to school that when combined with my education would revolutionize the way we trained our bodies and minds.
I spent another 4 years post-graduation studying women’s world movement and honing my WEightless protocol in Mexico, New York, Costa Rica and Washington D.C before stopping in to Phoenix, Arizona to begin the process of having my WEightless philosophy published and taught and shared with friends, peers and coworkers in the United States.
I want to share the energy of living a “lighter” life. Getting WEightless is about surrender to our intuition and moving from a deeper more peaceful place within. It’s amazing how much power and strength we can maintain over the long term when we come from a deeper place inside.
JP: Discuss what the WE in WEightless means.
KK: The big WE is symbolic of the power of collaboration. As kids we’re taught the importance of other people’s needs and feelings within the group and the strength in numbers, working together for something bigger. Most of my biggest successes have come out of epic collaborations with powerful, forward thinking people. I never want to forget why I do what I do. Teaching and practicing WEightless movement is about maintaining a level of support and respect for ourselves and for others. When we live this way we become the change and shift in consciousness is possible.
JP: Can you share about a few of the projects you’re working on now and what your goals are with them?
KK: I plan to have my first e book finished by the end of summer. It’s called WEightless Foundations and covers the basic WEightless science and philosophy. I have developed a deep core movement pattern which has the power to enhance the ease and enjoyment of all the activities you currently participate in. It is the ultimate supplement for all workouts.
My goal is to film the WEightless movement concept and create take home workouts that can be downloaded from my website so that as many people as possible will have the chance to feel the power of these exercises.
My husband WEightless James Lockwood is working on his first cookbook and continues to develop the Men’s programs geared around the same WEightless philosophy that I teach.
WEightless Worldwide is headed to Destination Detox in Hudson, NY this summer for a life changing cleanse with the world famous traveling spa, Escape To Shape.
WEightless will also be featured with the team at Destination Detox in Todos Santos, Mexico November 2-9, 2013 and Escape To Shape in Kyoto Japan April, 2014.
I will guest star as the face of the 15Love boutique fitness clothing company’s fall line.
Kiya Fire line of bohemian style fitness tops just released by Off To Rio Casual Couture.
Summer classes hosted at SLT Studio in Manhattan July 15-September 5.
Also we are doing fall classes exclusively held at CoreBalance Studio in Phoenix, AZ.
JP: What motivates you to motivate others?
KK: I am an incredibly sensitive person. For most of my life I tried to hide this from myself and others. It wasn’t until I hit a wall physical, mentally and emotionally that I was able to surrender and move from a place of constant fighting, denial and repression to a space of acceptance and deep inner peace. I see a common thread in the women I work with which often manifests as a need to let go, lighten up and re-energize their lives authentically and naturally. My motivation comes from hearing my client’s, friend’s and family’s success stories. Watching powerful women evolve inspires me and gives me hope that anything is possible and keeps me believing in miracles both for myself and others.
Special thanks to Kiya for being a part of this feature!