Keoni Hudoba: Early Rising to the Occassion

The Barry’s Bootcamp Chief Instructor began transforming lives and bodies with his own.


he term “high-performance” isn’t just for titanium Serottas, superhumans who go heliskiing every other week and Laird Hamilton. What about all the guys who rise before dawn to get to the gym, cliff jumpers, the mid-winter NYC runners shivering to get that extra mileage in, and the trainers who start with the man in the mirror? Guys like Keoni Hudoba, Chief Instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and the co-founder and Creator of Cyc Fitness. Hill City makes technical apparel for all of them, but they kitted out Keoni for a day spent doing what he loves.

That was a wake-up call for me and one which was extremely hard to swallow.

We asked a few high-performance humans we admire to show us their perfect days and talk about redefining high-performance. That’s where Keoni comes in.

Keoni Hudoba’s days typically start while visions of sugar-plums are still dancing in your head.  Hawaiian-born Keoni has lived in New York City for more than 12 years, where he helped bring Barry’s Bootcamp to the City as a founding instructor. His ideal day, which starts around 4 a.m.—no snooze—is spent teaching classes back-to-back and taking a class, too, “to show love and support to the other trainers.” Then a run outside, taking in the City air, and back to the Bootcamp. He says, “The best part of my day always is being able to do what I love, and having a purpose in life!”

Hill City supplied some of the gear and the thought bubble asking what would you do on your perfect day? Keoni spent the day limbering up and moving in the City he loves.

You’ve said your first client was yourself. How did you handle your own transformation and what was the motivation to get started?

Keoni: My own transformation was one that took many years, but was mainly that of acceptance. Of acknowledging and owning my authentic self, a proud member of the LGBTQ community. I knew I was living a double life and once I owned who I was I could actually start the discovery of unveiling that person. The actual motivation of starting was I simply was overweight, depressed, unsure, and most importantly, unhappy. At that time I wanted to be a performer and it wasn’t until I went to an audition and the director asked me to stay for the movement call, and I felt like I was having a heart attack moving anywhere. Afterwards he asked what I wanted to do with my career and I replied with, “Perform,” to which he said, “Then you have to lose weight.”  That was a wake-up call for me and one which was extremely hard to swallow. I stayed focused and started my journey of transformation.

Most dramatic transformation you’ve seen a client make?

Keoni: I am so blessed to witness, on a daily basis, clients make incredible goals reality. The biggest transformation to date would be a client who, like myself was obese and is now a six-pack machine! She delivers every time and is often in class two times as day.

What does being the Chief Instructor of Barry’s Bootcamp entail?

Keoni: When Barry’s launched the Chief Instructor Role, I was one of two for the entire company, which was an incredible honor. The Chief Instructor is someone who exudes everything Barry’s is about to “work hard and be nice.” I was one of the founding instructors in NYC, and since it’s conception in New York City nine years ago I’ve witnessed all the amazing growth. I’ve been able to travel all over the world to guest instruct as well as mentor the new trainers, which is one of my favorite parts of the job. I love being able to instill what I’ve learned throughout my fitness journey to those who are just beginning in the health and wellness field.

Cyc Fitness, which you co-founded and created, calls itself “beat-based cycling.” How did it come about and how is it different from other spin studio systems?

Keoni: When I created the Cyc Fitness Method, I wanted to created something that was all inclusive, challenging, fun, and music driven. We started with our first studio in Madison Wisconsin, on the campus of UW, followed by Austin Texas on the campus of UT. All of these millennials had access to boutique studios when they were at home, but when they went to college had no access to any studios, which is where we came in.

What’s your sport or activity of choice outside the gym or studio?

Keoni: I love anything and everything outdoors. In the city I would have to say running or biking in Central Park or, to be honest, around the entire City. Being here for 12 years I still find myself amazed at all this city has to offer.

What’s your favorite quick escape from New York for a day of activity?

Keoni: My favorite quick escape from the City would be upstate—West Saugerties or Palenville area. It is so incredible, being surrounded by fresh air, the mountains, and all the nature. I love hiking and exploring what upstate New York has to offer.

Did you guys get a laugh out of the SNL skit this season? Any similarity to actual trainer tryouts?

Keoni: I was asleep when it actually ran, the 4 a.m. daily wakeup will do that to you. But when I woke up Sunday morning I couldn’t believe the overwhelming response from friends, family, clients. When the actor said “aloha” I said “Well, I know where that originated from.” [Laughs] The skit was amazing, and it was incredible to have an icon like Jennifer Lopez play a part in it. As for tryouts, we see everything, but no Amber alerts just yet [like the character in the skit].

How many things can “aloha” mean?

Keoni: Aloha is most commonly used as “hello” and “goodbye” but can also have many meanings. Ranging from love, compassion, and peace.

Three things we need to do next time we are in Hawaii?

Keoni: Must stops:

  • Oahu: My favorite workout is the Koko Head “Stairs of Doom” followed by a hike down to the Makapu’u tide pools for some sun and fun.
  • Kauai: Waimea Canyon also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” followed by a boat tour of the Napali Coast.
  • Hawaii: The Big Island of Hawaii has an amazing cliff jump into the ocean called Ka Lae, also known as South Point, which is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

Three things that are high-performance?

Your Mind: when you have clarity and a vision anything is possible.
Your Body: you have one vessel to live in so protect it, nourish it, and use it.
Your Soul: when everything is in alignment nothing can stop you.

Photos: Mark Supik | @marksupik_