Master trainer and self-described “Energy Dealer” Kirsty Godso answers your questions on balancing strain and recovery, nutrition, self-talk, and more.
1. Is Made Of the only supplement you take to ensure you recover properly?
I have always been a very big fan of whey protein isolate and magnesium for recovery! I use Made Of daily to support my training and nutrition and take magnesium each night to help my body and muscles unwind, so I can wake up ready to attack the next day. It's important to find the right protein and magnesium that work for your body and these two brands are my favorite:
2. My sleep percentage is high and my diet is good. Why is recovery inconsistent?
Every day is uniquely different. While we might have good sleep, hygiene, and healthy nutrition, there are many other stressors on the body. Training itself is an added stress, then there's work, relationships, and the constant demands of living in busy cities. We need to be cognisant if too many areas of our life are trying to live in the fast lane at once. I know when my schedule is really crazy with work I have to dial down on my own training to ensure my recovery doesn't start to get away from me. Start to dig a little deeper into your results and take some accounting on the days where your recovery is dropping, so you can make the necessary tweaks to stay on top of it.
3. How do you balance love of training/activity with recovery to keep in the green?
This is a constant fight for me! My days are really long and varied, so usually I have to tone down my personal workouts in order to stay functioning in the green. Especially since I have added running a business to my daily agenda. You'd be surprised how much strain racks up! In order to achieve balance I look at my work days and when they're extra crazy I will opt for a pilates or strength workout as opposed to my lighter days where I will do HIIT or conditioning. Exercise is my favorite thing and I am never not moving, so it's a struggle for me and a discipline I have to enforce to choose wisely so I don't burn out. Whoop has really helped me make calculated decisions, not guess work, about how to best stay in the green. I don't want temporary wins, I want long term wins, so I always keep that in mind when making my training choices.
4. How many times a week/month do you do cryo?
I love cryo! I notice a big difference with my recovery and used it extensively last year to come back from a sciatic nerve injury. I try and go to cryo 1-2x per week, or 3x when I'm injured.
5. What does your recovery routine look like after a tough training session?
I make sure I take time to calm my body and heart rate down through a series of light stretches, and then just lying still for a couple of minutes with my eyes shut trying to take my state back to that of rest and digest. With a lot of my workouts I spend the majority of time in the sympathetic nervous system and I really notice a difference in my recovery when I take just a few extra minutes to calm my state to returning to the parasympathetic nervous system. I struggle a lot with sleep, so focusing on things like this and breath work is a big part of my practice. I might hit a yoga session later that day, or rest my legs up against the wall while answering emails at home, or speaking to my family on the phone. I always use my Hypervolt and lacrosse ball pre and post-workout to help amplify my recovery even more. I'm a fan of a good CBD cream for muscle recovery at night, especially after an intense training session. My favorite brand is Mineral Health.
6. Why does drinking alcohol affect your recovery negatively?
Alcohol affects your recovery negatively by attacking your sleep. Alcohol is actually classified as a sedative. It starts by immobilising your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls our impulses and restrains our behavior, then carries on to sedate other parts of the brain. There are two major ways alcohol impacts our sleep, which is the biggest link to our recovery.
1) It drops you into an alcohol-infused sleep likened to a light form of anaesthesia. It is not continuous and is therefore not restorative.
2) Alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM sleep, our dream sleep state. When we continuously miss this very important part of our sleep, we get a backlog of pressure to obtain REM sleep (you can see your REM sleep stats in the sleep breakdown on WHOOP). As little as one drink can have a powerful impact on this.
Alcohol is a disturbance to our system, so pay attention to your recovery stats on your WHOOP and look at the specific stages of your sleep, including how many minutes you were in each of them to get a good gauge of how it affects your body. I'm currently reading a book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker if you're looking for more info on the power of sleep.
7. Do you have any mantras that you tell/remind yourself daily?
I have many! A few of my favorites are:
- "You get what you allow.” Be responsible for what you let into your life from behaviors, people, habits etc.
- "Don't make assumptions.” This is from The Four Agreements which is a great book!
- "Life is a team sport.” Understand the importance of being able to celebrate other people. Life would be an incredibly lonely (and boring) journey on our own.
8. On your high straining days, what do you typically do to keep your energy levels high?
I'm naturally super high energy, sometimes almost problematically so! But I always look to how I fuel my body to keep my energy not only high, but clean! This comes from good and supportive nutrition, hydration (I drink around 3 litres of water a day), focusing on breathing properly and the words I use not only with others but with myself. Don't underestimate the power of internal conditioning and what words you let run around in your head all day. Exercise is also obviously a big energy kick for me however, on my very high strain days I have to be careful not to exert too much energy in every direction to avoid burnout.
9. Has WHOOP aided your training & body management alongside running your business?
Absolutely! I never really had any idea how much strain I was clocking up by training other people in 1:1 sessions and especially classes. When I teach group workouts where I’m only doing 20% of the workout, my strain will often rank much higher than my personal workouts because I'm yelling and racing around making sure everyone is moving and dealing energy! Take 3 of those group workouts in one day, plus my own training and other work demands such as clients, calls, meetings and running a business, and you can see yourself empty at the end of the day.
My highest ranking day on WHOOP so far was on a low intensity workout day, but my strain ranked almost a 21 where the bulk of it came from cognitive stress when I was working through shipping logistics for my protein powder! Having this extra intel from WHOOP is a good kicker to make smarter decisions for my body and brain so I can keep performing well in all areas of my job. We have to listen (and watch) what our body is saying to us rather than just talking at it and demanding from it all the time.
10. What is your average day strain?
My average day strain is around an 18.5. Sometimes I can keep it around 16, and sometimes it creeps to 21, but I'm trying not to let that happen too much!!