This article is part of CNN Underscored’s “The Reset,” an editorial package featuring all of our articles aimed at giving you the information and product recommendations to help achieve any and all new year resolutions.
Even reading Olivia Amato’s athletic history is exhausting. A New York native, she grew up playing field hockey and lacrosse and was a two-time all-county track star in high school. At Fordham University, her cheerleading team won the national championship.
But when she joined Peloton five years ago and began teaching on the treadmill and stationary bike for members in the main NYC studio and for the thousands watching at home — all while practicing amazing breath control — her regimen ramped up big time.
“I was always an athlete, but taking on these classes was definitely scary for me at first,” she says. “Like, ‘Am I even going to be able to physically do this?’ It took a lot of practice and time to get to where I am.”
Now Amato sweats it out in her home gym about five days a week with a mix of Peloton cardio, strength training, yoga, stretching, Pilates and barre work. “On the weeks where I don’t teach as much, I’ll complement it by taking a few extra classes on the Tread or on the bike,” says the instructor. To enhance her routine, she focuses on Peloton’s “Power Zone” method — i.e., advanced training designed for riders and runners to work at seven levels of exertion. “My fitness level has really gone up since I started at Peloton,” she says.
Mind you, she’s literally a pro. Amato adds that she often hears from frustrated members who exercise religiously without seeing targeted results. “I always say that you shouldn’t be getting on the bike for 45 minutes every day,” she says. Her advice: “Take a more holistic approach. Change it up. Maybe do cardio a few days a week and then add yoga.” And instead of consistently running at the same speed for 30 minutes, try high-intensity interval training [HIIT] for short bursts. “When you change your pattern,” she says, “you increase your ability for change.”
Amato had just finished teaching a 30-minute Tread class when she hopped on the phone to discuss her workout musts for CNN Underscored.
There’s no other way to spin this pick. “If I have 20 minutes to spare, I’m going to do a quick HIIT ride,” she says. “It’s also low-impact, so if I’ve had a really tough week and feel super sore, I’ll just hop on.” (Her go-to instructors include Cody Rigsby, Alex Toussaint, Ally Love and Tunde Oyeneyin). For a thorough endurance workout, Amato runs on her Tread for 60 minutes.
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“I use these for every workout,” Amato raves of these two Tom Brady-approved devices (best for large and midsize muscles). “The vibrations help warm up my muscles, so I’ll roll for about five minutes beforehand. Then when I’m done, I’ll take longer because it helps with recovery. It’s really great if you have a knot in your back or leg.”
Twice a week, Amato strength trains for 10 to 20 minutes. To answer your next question, she uses 10- to 15-pound weights for her lower body and 10-pounders for upper body, such as bicep curls. Dependent on your lighter weights? Drop 'em. “Lifting heavy is good,” she says. “If it’s too heavy, you can always put them down. But you’ll never know unless you try.” She also notes that the new Peloton Guide, a device that uses camera technology to track movements and train alongside the instructors, ensures proper form and technique.
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Don’t tell anyone, but Amato admits she’s “trying to be better” about hydrating during her workouts. That’s why she dumps this flavored electrolyte powder — which includes 15 sticks per pack — into a small cup of water and chugs it pre-sweat session. “I give myself five minutes to take it,” she says. “Then I know that I’m good to go,” she says.
Amato’s beverage of choice post-workout: a DIY smoothie consisting of cookies and cream-flavored TB12 plant-based protein, ice, almond milk and a scoop of Athletic Greens powder. The latter packs in 75 vitamins, minerals and nutrients in one serving — “really, all the greens you need in a day,” she says. The result: “It’s kind of a meal, but it’s also sweet, so it feels like a snack.”
Listen up. Instead of blasting music, Amato uses her headphones to hear her fellow instructors during a class. “My headphones are super important to me,” she says. On a run, she queues up her own Spotify playlist with music that leans heavily toward EDM and dance-pop. “It really depends on my mood,” she says. (But considering she’s a '90s baby, Amato says she eschews bubblegum ‘80s tunes.)
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Peloton doesn’t manufacture its own sneakers (yet), so Amato runs with her beloved Puma Nitro sneakers. Designed specifically for women, these shoes feature a narrowed heel and a lower instep, and they're adjusted for arch ratio. The midsole is made of Puma’s Nitro foam, infused with nitrogen to allow for a more lightweight and cushioned run. And the outsole is made of PumaGrip, which provides traction on multiple surface types.
Even when she’s off-camera, “I want to feel good in myself,” she says. “So I think it’s important to look good too. It makes me feel like I’m physically and mentally ready to do what’s next.” Start with the “cute” Puma sports bra, available in three bright hues. She also picks one of her many pairs of Peloton leggings. “They’re soft and comfortable and come in a bunch of different colors and patterns,” she says.
Amato utters the word “always” three times to emphasize her need for on-the-spot lip treatment. “It’s the worst feeling when my lips get dry during a workout,” she explains. “So I always have ChapStick or a gloss next to me and reapply.” The instructor singles out Hailey Bieber’s compact restorative lip treatment, which is so popular that there’s currently a waitlist. Check out our review of Rhode here.
In case you’re wondering, all the Peloton instructors apply their own makeup before going live. “Your skin looks kind of duller on-camera, so I like doing a pop of color on my lip or something,” she says. Her everyday base is this tinted SPF 40 moisturizer face lotion with hyaluronic acid and broad-spectrum hydrating sunscreen. She wears it indoors too.
Let’s close with hair care. “I find that my hair strands get in my face anytime I do a harder workout, so I like wearing it up,” she says. The Goomee hair ties — boxed in two packs of four — “are soft and don’t cause breakage.” And while she acknowledges that sweat and humidity are kryptonite to bouncy fresh locks, she swears by dry shampoo and a one-second blow-dry. “It’s not perfect,” she says, “but at least it looks wearable for another few days!”