Meet Healthy LAdy: Kodi Kitchen
What happens when the glitter of Hollywood begins to fade? When women who once pursued the limelight realize that the entertainment industry might not be able to offer everything they need for fulfillment?
Well most ladies (myself included) dig deep and figure out what really makes them tick — how they can do something to make the world a better place, while also tapping into their talents.
About a year ago, my friend and fellow fitness-lover Kodi Kitchen did just that.
After years working as a model and actress, Kodi made the switch from actor to active-living inspiration, starting her own fitness studio in West Hollywood, Best U.
Now Kodi spends her days motivating women to embrace their bodies, and become the best person they can be — inside and out.
For her incredible energy and inspiring spirit (not to mention her sick fit-style), Kodi is today’s Healthy LAdy!
Q: Tell me a little about Best U Studio and your philosophy.
“Best U Studio was launched with an intent to create a place honoring the best version of yourself. This means not only not comparing yourself to others, but also not comparing the person you were yesterday to today.
Somedays we need to push ourselves hard, work hard in all capacities and fight through some stuff. There are other days where what’s important is being kind to yourself, allowing simple movement and community — applauding yourself for the little things.
The other side is to allow for laughter. Allow for mistakes, humor, and just having a good time. The “U bars” came from this idea.
My co-founder is one of my closest girlfriends. When we decided to open the studio she came up with the idea for a U bar. The bars go on the wall in lieu of a ballet barre, and then come off for use as a free weight and added core resistance. As of now they come in four different weight options, although who knows what the future holds!”
Q: What made you decide to switch from acting to a career in fitness?
“I was on General Hospital for awhile, but my contract ended much shorter than I had anticipated. That loss of control forced me to really do some soul searching and figure out what it was I really wanted out of my life. I always knew there would be something other than acting, I was just unclear as to what it was. All I had ever done was model and act, aside from my booming career at the ice cream store growing up — shoutout to Ojai Ice Cream!
Back to the question at hand — I have been active all of my life. My dad is a cowboy and rode bulls, and my mom is a huge hiker and yogi. That combination equated to an active upbringing.
Someone once asked “How do you want to spend your days?” I thought that was such an incredible question. So simple yet so often overlooked. I believe there is an abundance of incredible women in this town and what better way for any of us to spend our days than getting movement, doing something positive fun and fulfilling for our bodies in a room full of incredible humans!?
Q: What is the hardest part about staying healthy in LA?
“I think more so than anything else it is the pressure we put on ourselves. The comparison to others is an individual’s detriment, which goes back to best U philosophy of being the best version of U.
I was told everything when I was young. From being encouraged to remove a rib to constantly being shunned for being so short —I say I am 5’4 although my fiance keeps saying that is a slight exaggeration. I am holding strong to 5’4!
I would consistently lose jobs due to x or y, so eventually you start to feel inadequate. Once you truly believe that you are just you and that is AMAZING, the world is a much better place. It is far more fulfilling to just work on building your best self instead of everyone else’s.”
Q: So it sounds like there were times in your career where you felt pressure to look differently? How did you respond?
“So often! When modeling, I lost big campaigns that could’ve paid my mortgage for months due to a crooked finger or more often than not my height. I was once told in a meeting, “Your body is too athletic for your face.” What does that even mean!? Naturally your mind runs of what it COULD mean.
My parents have always encouraged me to not identify with your aesthetic appearance, so the more I cultivated my passion for life the better I felt about myself. I felt in control of being me and less affected by others opinions.”
Q: What do you personally do to stay fit? What does your weekly exercise regimen look like?
“I teach often, so that is definitely part of it. When I am not teaching, I do tons of workout videos. I love the Tone It Up girls, and seeing what else is out there. My body craves different things, so I am having fun finding different yoga studios, and not to mention the sheer bliss of being outside on a hike cannot be beat.”
Q: What are your favorite studios besides Best U?
“I love Training Mate, which is right up the street from me. Also a big fan of Barre Belle on La Brea. It was started by a dear friend of mine and is amazing. Xtend Barre and Moda Yoga are two others I enjoy. So many good options in this town, which is so fun seeing people pursuing their passion!”
Q: We all know exercise is only half the battle in staying healthy, what is your diet like?
“I am a huge fan of moderation. Also of breakfast. I have a green smoothie nearly everyday.
I am someone who needs a pre-workout bite, so I tend to have piece of toast with almond butter and sliced bananas about 1 1/2 hours before I workout. Otherwise, I will do a greek yogurt with berries.
Often dinner tends to be fish, vegetables (asparagus addict) and an overall clean diet. So if I happen to wander down the street on a Sunday night for my absolute favorite fried chicken and mashed potatoes I will relish every bite because it is a treat.
My eating beliefs somewhat coincide with my Best U philosophy, which is honoring what you are doing and being guilt free. I am a beginning cook, I love your recipes so thank you!”
Q: What are your favorite healthy snacks?
“Ants on a log — aka celery with almond butter and raisins. I mean, does that ever stop being delicious?
Also a huge fan of fresh fruit, smoothie addict, and an ak mok cracker with almond butter and dates for a sweet tooth. Okay, if I am honest, sometimes I add a few dark chocolate chips on there too. Half healthy?”
Q: Favorite healthy fall comfort food?
“I have an absolutely amazing crock pot tortilla soup chicken recipe. So easy and delicious. I replace some of the canned elements for fresh, but nothing beats a good soup and a cozy blanket. Maybe an episode of Nashville in the background, a good night indeed. That comfort food just got me carried away!”
Q: What are your favorite healthy restaurants in LA? Is there a specific dish you love somewhere?
I love Crossroads and Agave Maria. Being from Wyoming, I grew up with a huge love of beef. I still do love it, but I eat it sparingly. There’s that occasional savoring again. Those two restaurants are vegan and have created both an atmosphere and food that are heaven, totally satisfying down to your core.
I also love the sushi bar at Sushi Park, light rice. All of the fish is so clean and pure, they don’t even allow rolls.
Q: What are your current health & fitness goals?
“I am a certified personal trainer, but would love to get certified in yoga. I really enjoy the mentality behind it, follow your breathe and allowing the release. One of my best friends is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, so to be able to have even more knowledge of how to safely get the movement back in her body would be incredible.”
Q: Who is your celebrity “fitspo”?
She may be a cliche response, but I recently got The Body Book and absolutely love it. She seems to have such a passion for life, always being active and exploring. She eats, she has wine, but she has a huge awareness of what it is to be healthy. Balance.”
Q: You’re incredibly stylish and everyone always wants to know where you get your awesome duds, what are your three must-have pieces for fall?
“For a dinner, I love statement jewelry with a simple outfit. Leenabell is a jewelry line I absolutely love.
Clothing-wise, I definitely mix pieces up. I like Natalie Martin for her amazing fabrics and easy to wear casual dresses and Indah for their rompers. For shoes, I am a huge fan of Reed Krakoff, Celine, and a great pair of cowboy boots.
Q: You recently got engaged – how do you and your honey stay fit as a couple?
“He is a wonderful man, and we actually got engaged while on a long hike in Bug Sur. We have surfboards, although we don’t go quite enough together. During winter, he skis and I snowboard. We try to go as much as possible.
We have found that just doing things together is a fun way to live.
Although if I am honest, I am a horrible runner. I can do a workout class or hike for hours, but running is tough for me. So although I am not hugely competitive this is the one time it is hilarious because I simply cannot keep up. I trail behind panting and frustrated. Maybe a marathon should be added to my healthy goals?”
Q: What’s the number one fit tip that you swear by?
“Move your body everyday. It doesn’t have to be 2 hours, just move! You will never regret it.
I am constantly doing a 2-minute plank while reading a magazine, doing leg lifts while waiting for my toast. The little things add up.
A big thanks to Kodi for chatting with me and sharing her healthy living advice with us. Follow Best U on Instagram for daily motivation and head in to the studio for a super fun, butt-kicking class with Kodi!
***Mention you heard about Best U on LDLA and get two for one pricing on your first class with a friend. First-time customers only.***
And be sure to check out all the other inspiring Healthy LAdies of LDLA >>
I loved this! So real and inspiring! Thank you!!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says:
Nice interview! It is so great to see someone start a new career in such a positive way.
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West says:
I want to learn more about that U-bar, sounds awesome. She is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing her healthy philosophy and new life focus.
Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner says:
That was really interesting. I can only the imagine the pressure of living in that world. She seems so happy in her new business and I love the saying, :”be the best you”
I love that Kodi said the key is to move every day – that is my thought, too!! Those little things really do add up!!!
Dale Janee says:
This is so inspiring especially coming from an actress in LA where I think it must be so competitive as she mentioned and it sounds like modeling gave her a thick skin. I love that she opened her own studio and her advice has such a healthy balance to it. I can definitely relate to her dislike of running, I never seem to get into it.
As someone above already said, I love her honesty throughout the interview! Kodi’s honesty actually makes her even more beautiful than she already is. I will have to check out Best U. A very inspirational article. Oh, and I hate to run as well!
I recently met Kodi when I took a class at Best U! Such a positive, strong woman! I would love for you to read my post about the class: http://sweatandrepeat.com/2014/11/04/best-u-at-best-u-studio/
Let me know if you want to check out an LA fitness class together! I’d love to meet a fellow blogger in the area!