Karlie Kloss’ abs are similar to a carrot being dangled on a stick: so compelling, they have the power to spur the six-pack-less to complete one more crunch, even when every muscle in your middle feels like it’s on fire. The same can be said for the former ballerina’s mile-long legs attached to a perfectly toned bum. And while genetics are certainly on the super’s side, Kloss definitely works hard to perfect the total package (look to her Instagram for proof…and plenty of #fitspo), even if it means hitting the pavement and going for a run—her least favorite athletic activity. (See? Supermodels, they’re just like us!) Here, the runway alum and newest addition to the Nike family shares the “old-fashioned” secret to a flat stomach, the power breakfast that fuels her day, and why she still gets called out in Spin class.
—Amber Kallor, Style.com
I imagine if anyone is schlepping a fashionable gym bag, it’s you.
Believe it or not, I don’t have a gym bag. I usually just grab my vinyl coin purse and go. It’s compact and the perfect size. I like to head home if I can to shower and get ready for the day.
Without a bag, I imagine you aren’t toting beauty products.
Sometimes when I work out at Equinox in the morning and have to go to work straight from the gym, I use the products they have in their locker room. I always feel so refreshed.
Makeup at the gym: Yay or nay?
I’m all about going makeup-free. It’s hard sometimes, especially in New York where the gym can be a social event in itself, but it’s important when you’re sweating to keep your skin clean and fresh. I wash my face before and after a workout.
How many days a week do you work out? And how long are your sessions?
I try to work out consistently four to five days every week. I’m constantly on the move with travel and work, so my routine tends to vary from week to week. I think the most important part of working out and living a healthy lifestyle is incorporating movement naturally into your everyday life—walking around the city, taking your bike to the store, or using the stairs instead of the escalator.
Are you an early bird or night owl when it comes to the gym?
I like to exercise and get moving first thing in the morning. Starting the morning off with a workout gives me a burst of energy that helps me get through the day.
Do you eat before or after you work out?
I’ll eat a light breakfast before my morning workout, usually a green juice and Greek yogurt. There’s nothing worse than eating something heavy, being mid-workout, and feeling sick. But I do like to eat a power breakfast after my [session]. It helps me feel strong and energized. My all-time favorite breakfast is an egg-white scramble with avocado topped off with a little hot sauce, and a glass of freshly squeezed juice.
If you don’t have time for a full-blown breakfast, is there a snack that boosts your energy?
I love to make a protein shake after a good workout. I like to use a banana, ice, almond milk, and natural chocolate protein powder.
Are you a believer in juicing?
It’s so important, especially when you’re exercising and moving, to fuel your body and eat healthy. So I don’t do cleanses, but I do love a juice blend of apple, lemon, cucumber, kale, ginger, and cayenne. It’s fresh and full of nutrients.
How do you stay hydrated during a workout?
Water! Gallons of water!
What’s your biggest calorie splurge?
My Karlie’s Kookies recipe [created in conjunction with Momofuku Milk Bar] is definitely one of my favorites. I love substituting ingredients like butter and white flour for olive oil and almond flour or oats. Your biggest calorie splurge, like a chocolate chip cookie, doesn’t have to be unhealthy. That said, I never pass up an opportunity to indulge in my grandmother’s famous peanut brittle.
I love a girl who bows in the face of Grandma’s baked goods. Which classes are you taking to burn off that brittle?
It’s so important to change up your workout routine, so I like to take a range of classes. I love SoulCycle for a fast, intense, and high-energy workout and ballet classes for flexibility and lengthening.
I’ve heard so many people say that their SoulCycle instructor doubles as their spiritual guide. Do you have a favorite?
I am a huge fan of Akin’s SoulCycle class. I love going to his classes to clear my mind and really focus. He encourages the class to push to be the best. There is always room for improvement, and I take his classes as an opportunity to challenge myself both mentally and physically.
I imagine you’re at the head of the class and not hiding in the back row. I’m still working my way forward.
As much as I love to take cycling classes for my cardio workout, I always tend to be one beat off of the rest of the class and the instructor usually calls me out on it in front of everyone!
When you’re not Spinning, where do you work out? And do you love or loathe your trainer?
I’m a regular at ModelFit and work closely with Justin Gelband. He’s an amazing trainer and has taught me to set goals and push myself in ways I never thought possible. Definitely love him! For the Nike shoot, I also had the opportunity to train with Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland, which was a lot of fun.
Is there a workout you hate but still feel is worth doing?
Running. I’m not a great runner, but I’m getting better! It’s such a great way to break a sweat.
I imagine being outfitted in Nike kicks makes it easier. What sneakers are on rotation at the moment?
I love my Nike Flyknit sneakers, but I also love my classic Nike trainers. Depending on the workout, I like to mix up the sneakers I wear.
Who is your fitness icon?
Christy Turlington. She’s so inspiring for many reasons, but I truly admire her commitment to marathon running and supporting a variety of causes in the process.
What is the toughest part of your body to tone?
Everyone’s body is different, but I personally find it most difficult to tone my inner leg muscles. I’ve worked with my trainer specifically to do small exercises to isolate and tighten this muscle group.
Seeing as countless designers covet your amazing legs, how do you keep them in runway-ready shape?
I don’t know about amazing—maybe long or giraffe-like! But because my legs are so long, it’s really important that my strength training and Pilates workouts are also lengthening. After any weight training, I follow up with stretching to maintain length and flexibility.
Do you have any tricks for carving out abs? What about secrets for tightening your bum?
My favorite trick for defined abs are good old-fashioned sit-ups. It’s something you don’t need any equipment or trainer for and you can do anytime. I always throw ankle weights in my suitcase and do a few sets of leg and bum lifts in my hotel room if I don’t have time to do a full workout.
How do you maintain your workout regimen when you are traveling for work?
I travel quite a bit and spend a lot of time staying in hotels in different cities. It’s hard to find gyms and workout studios when you’re away from home and on the move. My solution is to travel with a couple of weights and resistance bands and do a quick 20-minute workout in my hotel room. The Nike Training Club app is also great and helps focus my workouts. Exercising, even when I’m away, brings routine to my life.