Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso on the Biggest Workout Mistake People Make
Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso is really good at making people sweat. Fast. Your muscles will start burning almost immediately in her 50-minute HIIT class at Project by Equinox in New York, but Godso has such a positive attitude and relatable sense of humor that you can’t even hate her for making you work.
She has a no-nonsense approach to health — work hard and take care of yourself. As a smartwater ambassador, Godso also recognizes the importance of drinking plenty of water to keep your body running smoothly. “A lot of times people get up in the morning and they don’t even put water in as the first thing,” she says. “They start flushing all this stuff into their body and that can really mess up what’s going on in your gut for the rest of the day.” To help with that, smartwater’s newest products — an alkaline and antioxidant water — can help maximize daily hydration, whether you’re running a 5K or just running late for work.
Here is Godso’s other advice on how to stay healthy, inside and out.
On the Biggest Workout Mistake People Make: Godso says that people often struggle to disconnect with everything else going on in their lives in order to actually connect with the workout. Obviously, you need to physically show up to exercise, but it’s just as important to be mentally present.
“We tax ourselves so much by going through logistics all the time — what’s happening, what’s not happening — rather than just being totally in that moment. You’re in a workout. BE in your workout. Leave your phone in a locker. I have a rule: The only thing that comes into my class is water bottles. You don’t need your phone. [You] definitely don’t need your coffee. Like, why is your handbag in here? What are you going to do, put lipgloss on halfway through? You’re fine. Just dial in.”
On Why You Don’t Need a Ton of Time to Work Out: It’s less about trying to squeeze out as much time in your already packed schedule and more about maximizing the time you do have. Says Godso, “If you actually did an audit of people in the gym that are there for an hour, and how much time they’re wasting, it would be pretty revealing. If you have 20 minutes, be like, ‘Yeah, great, I’ve got 20 minutes. Not ugh, I’ve only got 20 minutes.’ Be in it to work, and get the work done.”
On Her Go-To Workout if She Only Has 15 Minutes: Godso says she alternates between two quick workouts depending on what she wants to achieve. For a quick HIIT workout, she says “I would always glute activate, even if that was going to take up five minutes of my 15-minute workout. We want our body to be firing as efficiently as possible, and when our glute’s not warm, that’s when other things will take over, like hip flexors and quads, where we don’t want to feel the work.” She suggests kneeling kicks or side exercises that activate your booty. Then Godso says she’d go into a 10-minute EMOM (every minute on the minute) or go cycle through five drills twice, alternating between 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest. Think burpees, squat jumps, and other forms of cardio to spike your heart rate as much as possible.
The other main workout Godso likes to do, especially if she’s been flying, is something Pilates-related, where she’ll include lying hip bridges and ab work to “pull length back into my body.” And if you have 20 minutes, Godso says you can combine the two to make a “dream team” of a workout.
On Her Favorite Pre- and Post-Workout Foods: For Godso, she will often have half a scoop of whey protein powder or half a banana pre- and post-workout. (She helped create her own whey protein powder, not because she wanted to be another trainer with a product, but because she really cares about what she puts in her body.) But sometimes if she gets up and feels fine, she’ll just drink water before the gym, which she says is an important part of getting your body functioning well for the rest of the day. “I generally try to drink coffee after I’ve worked out because I don’t want it to be sitting in there.” Note to self: Always have a full water bottle handy.
On Her Favorite Thing to Do for Her Body: “I love Pilates, I love infrared saunas. Sometimes me and my friends will just go for a huge walk, just walk and chat. I love to cook with friends. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body so I find that’s a calming thing for me to do, to be in control of my food and my hydration. So much of our day is about everyone else, so that’s just something that makes me calm down. But I do really like to sit in the infrared sauna and put on a podcast and just sit there and drink water and be in quiet.”
On Easy Things to Do to Stay Healthy: “Drink water. When you’re in a bad mood, drink some water. Water is going to be more kind to you than wine the next day.” Godso stresses the importance of being conscious of what you’re putting into your body, whether it’s water or healthy food. “We’re thinking about longevity. We want to be fueling these beautiful bodies. It’s the most expensive thing you own, so please care about it and treat it really well.”
On Self-Care: We often forget about taking the time to relax and recover, and that applies to both workouts and everyday stress. “We’re talking about hydration, stretching, finding time to breathe, finding time to be quiet because we’re in an increasingly noisy and busy world.” Finding “me time” should be an active priority, she says. “You have to be your own bodyguard a little bit. And if you don’t like a lot of the noise that’s coming into your life, then you need to be the bouncer for that. Don’t play the complain game — you’re in control of your life and your body. You’ll be amazed at how much relief you feel when you’re just kind to yourself.”
She gives some simple advice. “Listen to more podcasts than you do to gossip. Drink more water than you do wine. Say more nice things than you say bad things. It makes a difference because that’s what you fill yourself up on.”
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(Photos via Kirsty Godso)
Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.