These Curls Move
As an instructor at boutique fitness chain AKT, Megan Niles is an inspiration to her clients—and she does it all while maintaining some seriously great curls. We asked her to share her best tips and tricks.
What’s a workout like at AKT?
At AKT we try to use full spectrum of fitness, so it’s not just strength or speed, it’s everything. We do everything from high intensity circuit training to weight training, flexibility, yoga, Pilates.
How do you typically wear your hair while teaching a class?
I wrap it up in a top knot. When I’m drenched in sweat, the hair tends to stick to my shoulders or stick to my face. I’ve found putting it all the way up, trying to keep it as dry as possible, works best.
What’s your haircare routine like?
My hair is very dry and thirsty, so I wash it twice a week with a co-wash. Every morning, I use a leave-in. I’ve been using Ouidad’s Curl Quencher Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream, and it’s amazing because I can feel how moisturizing it is, but it’s not heavy—it’s nice and balanced.
What are the top 3 tips you share with your clients?
1. Set a goal that’s more tangible than “getting in shape”: train for a 5K, or work toward doing 10 full pushups or pullups. If you set a goal, it can help push you past that point where you want to stop.
2. Pay attention to your body and take a rest day when you need to – don’t feel guilty. Stretch, get a massage, take an Epsom salt bath.
3. Sleep, water, and food are super important. A lot of people want to work out and not do the rest, but fitness, health, and nutrition are all combined, and we have to take care of our bodies.
On Megan, we created a two-tier ponytail: The second elastic helps minimize bouncing during high-impact workouts, which means less stress on fragile curls. We used our Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment to add moisture and shine.
TRY THIS: Good Morning Workout
“You can finish this workout before your coffee’s done brewing. Your heart rate will be up and you’ll be awake and ready to start the day,” Megan says.
Perform this workout as a circuit – do one set of each exercise, then repeat the sequence 2-3 times.
1. Downward Dog Triceps Pushup with Leg Raise
Go into the downward dog position, pressing into your hands. While bending your elbows out to the side, do a pushup, aiming the top of your head in between your hands. As you press all the way up, squeeze the glutes to lift the leg up and bring it back down, keeping the hips stable.
Do 10 reps total, alternating legs.
2. Lunge Trio
A) Lateral lunge: Step out with the right leg, putting the weight in your heel as you sit down. Press back up to a standing position.
B) Reverse lunge: Step back with your right leg, making a 90 degree angle with both legs. Press through the front heel to come back up.
C) Curtsy lunge: Step the right leg behind you at a diagonal and sink down. Press into the front heel to come up.
Repeat 10 times on the right leg; 10 times on the left leg.
3. Squat Jump with Twist
With your weight in your heels, squat down. Keep your chest up as you rotate your right hand down to the floor between your feet. Then jump straight up, extending the legs fully. As you land softly (toes first, then ball of foot, then heel), put your weight back into your heels and twist to the opposite side, bringing your left hand to the floor.
Repeat 10 times on each side.