Peloton's Kendall Toole Is Sharing Her Go-To Pre-Workout Morning Routine
Peloton's Kendall Toole has already made a name for herself as a loud and proud mental health advocate and one of the fitness platform's most fun, fierce, and multifaceted instructors (her 2020 Metallica ride is rated 9.4 on a 10-point difficulty scale but she also has a major soft spot for low impact classes set to the sounds of Sam Smith). And now the busy California native is adding a new gig to her already-impressive resumé as she joins the X2 Performance team as a partner and shareholder.
Coming on board as the company's first female partner wound up being a perfect fit for Toole, but the decision to join the team took some thoughtful consideration and several months of vetting X2's line of energy drinks and pre-workout supplements, she explains. (Related: Is Dry Scooping Pre-Workout Bad for You? Here's What Experts Say About the TikTok Trend)
"I'm a pretty straight shooter — I definitely don't love B.S.," Toole tells Shape. "I truly feel like [Peloton members] are my friends, and I would never want to rep something or promote something that I didn't one hundred percent, wholeheartedly believe in."
Toole says that while the growing Peloton platform has afforded her partnership opportunities in the past, the X2 union was the first that made perfect sense to her. "When it comes to supplements, I've had a very sordid history of trying stuff and hating it or feeling like I'm going to jump out of my skin," she says. "It was always a battle of trying to find the right supplement, especially when it came to energy because I'm not a coffee drinker. The opportunity with X2 came into my field of vision, and I was first super inspired by the fact that it's [made with] clean ingredients. I thought, 'oh my god, I can pronounce every single [ingredient], and I know what every single one is.'"
The ingredient list — which includes items such as green tea and natural, pure honey — was intriguing, but Toole admits she still had some skepticism. "The next thought was, 'there's no way this could work,'" she says. But then she started sampling the brand's Pre Intra-Workout Powder during tough rides by mixing it into one of her water bottles on set. "For quite a few months, I had two water bottles during my classes — especially my really hard classes — because I was always trying it out, and I was shocked. It feels like I got eight hours of sleep, even though I often don't because of my night-owl ways and my early morning class times."
Another selling point for Toole was the brand's existing roster of celebrity athlete partners, including the LA Clippers' Kawhi Leonard, NY Giants' Saquon Barkley, and Tampa Bay Bucs' Lavonte David. "They're very stringent about what they put in their bodies," she says.
Toole says it was ultimately the opportunity to do more than just speak on behalf of the product that sold her on the job. As a shareholder and equity partner in X2, she'll act as a liaison to everyday athletes and women, two demos she can clearly relate well to.
"Historically, in the energy and supplement space, it's been kind of toxically masculine," says Toole. "And it's unfortunate because women need energy as much as men. We need that lift, especially with juggling so many things in our lives. I think of the moms that ride with me and the multitude of challenges COVID brought to us. We all need that help and support, but we also deserve a seat at the table." (Related: Peloton's Robin Arzón Is Taking Her Postpartum Recovery Routine Very Seriously)
The new partnership also allows Toole to tap into some of the skills and ambitions she's had since even before joining the Peloton family. "A lot of people think I was born on the bike as a 28-year-old woman and that's where my life began, but I had a whole life before!" she laughs. "Getting a business degree and a film degree from USC — I always wanted to be in the entrepreneurial space. It always went back to storytelling and wanting to empower the lives of other people in what I do. Being a facilitator is really important to me and part of my purpose. Having this opportunity was the best marriage of both worlds to start to develop and evolve in this business space and learn from incredible people, but also say, 'hey, I want to see more of a focus on women and we're sitting here raising our hands, too.'"
Kendall Toole's Seize-the-Day Morning Routine
Even before her life got even busier with the new responsibilities at X2, Toole — an avid boxer and former pro cheerleader in addition to being a badass cycling and Pilates instructor at Peloton — had to master the art of an efficient morning routine. Every day looks a little different, but she says Sundays can be particularly tough since she often teaches live Peloton classes at 8 a.m. To that end, take a few cues from Toole on how she gets out of bed and psyched to take on the day:
Score some extra Zzzs...even if you have somewhere to be: "I'm not proud to say it, but I'm a snoozer," says Toole. "I really try not to, but waking up in the morning is a process. The eye mask comes off, the light-boosting wake-up alarm with the beautiful bird sounds goes off [Toole loves this one from Hatch]. Then I have the emergency alarm on the phone — you know, the stressful one that you're like, 'oh shit.' It has a message on it like, 'you really need to go — now!' So, my alarms and I have a nice little exchange."
Check all the stats: "One device I use that helps me track my sleep and my fitness is my WHOOP — I wear it all the time," says Toole of the high-tech wearable that offers insights on everything from sleep quality and efficiency to respiratory rate and more. "Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge I have about my recovery and my rest is definitely helpful."
Never skip the skin-care essentials: Toole swears by a simple, three-step daily morning skin-care routine that includes a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. "I love my skin-care routine — it's really simple, but I never skip that." Toole says she's a fan of products from Paula's Choice and The Ordinary but calls True Botanicals the "holy grail" that helped clear up her adult acne and has since become a staple every morning.
Create a musical vibe for the day: "My alarm is [set to] 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' because if you're starting your day being upset to that song, you need to go back to bed and try over — it's impossible to be upset with that song on," says Toole. "'September' by Earth, Wind, and Fire is also a happy, getting-ready-in-the-morning song. There's a Bassnectar remix of Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good' — that has a great build-up. And lately, if I need to just get hyped and ready to go, it's between something from Megan Thee Stallion or the Italian band that won Eurovision — Måneskin. Their music is awesome — 'Zitti E Buoni' is epic."
Go for quick canine adventure: Toole fans are familiar with her ridiculously adorable pup, Bowie Bonham. After she drinks a big glass of water, the instructor says she and Bowie hit the streets of NYC for a morning walk. "The second his paws are on the ground, he is off like a little lightning bolt tornado and is just a bucket of fun," she says. "We usually hit the dog park or just do a quick jaunt around the block."
Set an intention for the day: When it comes to motivating mantras, Toole is holding firm on her usual Peloton class sign-off. "It's actually something I've used in previous fitness studios, and it's something my dad told me from childhood: 'They can knock you down, but they can't knock you out,'" she says. Who or what is the "they" in this scenario can change from day to day, she adds. "It could be the voice in my head if I'm not mentally on my optimal level that day, it could be frustrations in life, it could be literally the fact that a car sped by and honked at me, whatever. It's always my touchstone and what I go back to — I hear my dad's voice whenever I say it."
Sync your style with the vibe you want to create: You may be surprised to know that Toole and her fellow Peloton instructors do their own hair and makeup for most classes. So, as soon as she arrives at the studio, Toole says she sets up in front of the mirror to do her thing — and fast. "I've gotten it down to about 10 minutes!" she says. "And the higher my hair, the more intense the class." When it comes to choosing the perfect workout outfit, Toole has an arsenal of color-coordinated pieces. "I have a few brands I really love," she says. "I really love the comfort and functionality of Vuori. It's so soft like a hug! As far as colors, I feel like orange and yellow give me a little kick. Brights definitely help me get there."
Mix up a must-have energy booster: About 15 minutes before her live class officially starts, she stretches, fills up two bottles — one with plain H2O and the other with X2 Pre Intra Workout Powder mixed in with water — gets mic'd up, and then it's go-time.
When she's done in the studio, Toole refuels with a healthy meal and is off to the next meeting, photoshoot, fitting, interview, or whatever might be on tap next. Her days are full, but she says she wouldn't trade the chaos for anything. "If I looked at the life plan I had at 20, I would have never thought any of this would be possible," says Toole. "You can always continue to defy expectations. It's really about being humble enough and open enough to be willing to learn and raise your hand."