Dancer and choreographer Kimberly Wyatt just went from a press-up to downward dog and is now stretching out by effortlessly easing into the splits. Meanwhile I’m sweating it behind her trying and failing to touch my toes. She’s just led us through a diverse dance class that took in everything from traditional ballet positions to African inspired moves to loosen us up and a lovely series of squats, lunges and other strength moves. Did I mention she’s not quite at her usual level of flexibility owing to the fact that she’s pregnant? I’ve just witnessed her doing a jumping handstand (technically called a ‘tik tok’) and am feeling more than a little inferior.
In truth, however, I left Kimberly’s masterclass feeling pumped. She managed to make an 8am dance workshop on a shop floor slick, fun and decidedly non-cringe, despite musical malfunctions and collision potential with a sale rail. Then again, you’d expect nothing less from the Got To Dance judge, Celebrity Masterchef winner and now, fitness wear designer. Her work ethic has always been strong, but she’s excelled herself with her new women’s and girl’s range for affordable fitness wear label Zakti Activewear . Zakti, incidentally, translates as ‘positive energy’ in sanskrit, which seems about right.
With 42 pieces including leggings, bomber jackets, flattering sports bras and longline vests, ranging from size 4 to 18 for women and with a junior line for girls, Kimberly’s first collection for Zakti is dance-inspired, with the likes of grippy studio socks and beautifully cut bodies featuring high on the dance essential list. Given that Kimberly doesn’t limit herself to dance, the range translates just as well to yoga classes, running (the airflow allowed by the Mesh Printy Leggings , £40, is particularly welcome) and HIIT, not to mention post-workout coffees. The range has been thoughtfully designed for the female form in all shapes and sizes, with the likes of high-waisted leggings and loose knits enhancing fit and comfort, while seamless fabrics and clever cut-out panels keep silhouettes sleek.
After being put through my paces in the workout gear (I can testify that it withstands some testing positions), Kimberly let us in on her greatest loves in life, from coconut oil to workout wear, her toughest moments, and how her routine changes during pregnancy.
The three words that describe me...
“Determined, passionate and caring.”
My big break
“It’s definitely seen as The Pussycat Dolls, but I got that because I moved to LA and worked my butt off! I went to tonnes of auditions but there was also an element of being in the right place at the right time. The rest is history”
My secret hobbies
“I’m surprisingly good at knitting. I knit babies’ blankets and I do really good scarves at Christmas. It’s my hidden talent. Not a lot of people know about that.”
Adapting my job to pregnancy
“Performing wise, I’m now a little less flexible because I’m pregnant. The relaxin hormone that’s released moves your hips around quite a lot. Everything feels quite a bit tighter. I’m just trying to find ways to embrace where my body is at now and work with it. I got that advice from a gorgeous choreographer I know called Mia Michaels. Working with what you’ve got and enjoying it so key to performing well in any area of life.”
The job lows
“The toughest thing I’ve ever had to cope with is life on tour. You sacrifice everything for your job. I absolutely wanted to be the best at what I did when I was in the Pussycat Dolls, but that did mean that I didn’t have a life outside of that.”
How I workout
“The workout that works is the dance class we just did- that was pretty killer! I do love yoga. I see it as similar to ballet- it really works when it comes to developing core strength and retaining flexibility. When I’m not pregnant I’ll jog too. It keeps my stamina up and helps any extra weight I’m carrying to melt off. Regardless, I work out minimum three times a week, maximum six.””
My new fitness wear range for Zakti Active
“My priorities when designing the line was to really accentuate the female form. Personally I don’t have an hourglass figure, but I like to pretend that I do, so I create that by lifting the waistband a touch to give the impression of that shape. I also really love working with mesh fabric. On stage and being a dancer, cut outs really enhance the figure and the shapes that the body makes without giving too much away. It’s got an edge and it feels cool- in every sense! I’m running around to meetings, I go to the gym a lot, I’m a mum, and like most women I’m really busy. I just wanted it to work for everything I’m doing during the day. I wanted to find a way to create a line that I could dress up, dress down and adapt to whatever’s going on. If it’s multifunctional, it works for me!"
How I got into dancing
“I originally wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. I was really inspired by the Olympics when I was younger. I started gymnastics and then discovered a dance centre that offered lots of different styles of dance. I fell in love straight away. Between watching Olympic figure skaters and gymnasts I decided that I really wanted to be able to move as they did.”
My daughter’s following in my footsteps...
“My daughter dances. She loves it. She’s already doing her arabesques, pliés, tours en l’air and relevés. She really loves it.”
Staying fit during pregnancy
“My fitness regime has changed quite a bit with pregnancy. I don’t run when I’m pregnant, I don’t like the feeling of running with the baby. I’ve brought what I’d normally do down a level, but really it’s about adapting as I’d normally do and making room for the bump. If there’s days when I’m tired I really listen to my body and try to stay in tune with what’s going on.”
“The best advice I’ve received about pregnancy is that ‘it’s not an illness- it’s a baby.’ I’m very laid-back when it comes to health in general- I’m no hypochondriac.”
My morning routine
“In the mornings the first thing I do is get the baby dressed, change nappies and get her downstairs. Hopefully somewhere within that I’ll get myself dressed. Then we make breakfast together. Usually eggs - she loves to stir them with a whisk. She’s my little kitchen helper. We’ll have toast and spinach too, and we both love blueberries so they normally come in somewhere."
My sleep habits
“I sleep best when my husband’s in town, without a doubt. I feel more rested when I’m with him.”
What I eat
“My signature dish at the moment, given it’s spring, is making lots of cauliflower couscous. I’m trying to cut back on meat too so I’ve been doing a lot with Quorn. I use the mince to make spaghetti Bolognese. My real speciality is my smoked chicken though. I use rock salt, tea and woodchips in a steaming pot and put the chicken in a steamer on top of it. It’s so delicious and you can do it indoors.”
“Otherwise, we’re really trying to get our little girl to eat more vegetables. That’s the current mission. Carrots are the focus right now. I’ve been cooking them in every way imaginable, just to encourage her to eat them. My next target is cauliflower. She eats a bit of the cauliflower couscous, but I want her to enjoy veg in its natural state without hiding it. We live next to a farm so I’m trying to show her how food is grown and get her interested in that with the hope that that translates to the table. She’ll love it more then right?!"
My health and fitness inspiration
“I get health tips here, there and everywhere. I definitely don’t have a guru that I follow. I am really inspired by people that do animal flow and calisthenics so I’ll find stuff like that on Instagram, along with dance and ballet. I love watching posts by the American Ballet and other companies from around the world.”
Looking after my mind
“My secret to staying sane is by having wellness activities in my life. Knowing who I am- that comes more easily when I meditate or write in my journal. I also love using essential oils, angel cards, going for long walks in nature and generally spending time outdoors. I just moved to Surrey so I feel a lot more balanced and can spend more time with family.”
“Also for me, yoga is key in terms of reminding me to breathe and be mindful. Yoga helps me to focus on my head in a good way and maintain my emotional health.”
I always say yes to...
“I always say yes to new experiences and opportunities. Give me a good challenge and likelihood is I’ll say yes.”
I always say no to...
“I say no to anything that feels off or not authentic to me.”
The beauty product I rave about
“The product I tell everyone about is coconut oil . I use it for everything. In the kitchen, to remove makeup, to moisturise, in my hair. I make my own products at home so I use it in body scrubs, lotions and deodorants. Coconut oil is the foundation of so many things in our house."
My budget budget buy
“That would be coconut oil again. I mean I can even use it on my baby’s bum. You can’t ask more than that. Just obviously don’t use the same tub that you use on the baby’s bum for everything else. No one wants that..."
My biggest health and beauty extravagance
“In terms of spending on health and beauty, my biggest expense is hands down Charlotte Tilbury makeu p. The Magic Cream is just gorgeous, the foundations and concealers are incredible too. The lipsticks are just insane. I try to stay budget on everything else."
My current obsession
“The new find I’m most excited about at the minute is an app called Gaia , or the website. It offers all different styles and types of yoga for all different ages, and because I now live a bit further out and I’m not in London all the time, I love to be able just to tune in to a yoga class when it suits me. I really want to do the same with a dance platform in the future.”
Explore Kimberly’s new collection for Zakti Activewear here
Follow Kimberly on Instagram @KimberlyWyatt , Zakti @Zakti_Active and Anna @annyhunter
This feature was produced in partnership with Zakti Activewear