There are morning people, and then there are “stoked to get the cardio party started before the literal crack of dawn” people. Jenna Garofalo is one of the latter.
A new Torontonian (she moved here from NYC this spring), Garofalo regularly wakes up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 A.M. to teach the 6 A.M. “Rooster” class at SoulCycle King (435 King Street West). She also spins her wheels at the new Soul in Yorkville (55 Avenue Road).
So, how does she rise and shine that early? Read on for our interview with this rare bird.
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What’s your backstory in health and fitness?
“Before SoulCycle, I was a personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist. I got into that after a year spent on the stage in bikini bodybuilding. I’m never able to sit still, which is probably why I can jump out of bed! Also, my favourite part about working out for a living is being able to eat whatever I want. In moderation of course…even moderation. SOUL BECAUSE BURGERS.”
What die-hard sleep rules do you follow?
“At least five hours every night. This might not seem like enough for what we do, but that’s because I’m also a professional napper. After every 6 A.M. class, I’m in bed again by 7:30 A.M. for about an hour. Only when I’m really tired do I take what I call a ‘no-alarm nap.’”
Insomnia: how do you deal?
“Unlike most people my age, I really have no trouble falling asleep! It’s definitely a gift—I’ve always had a talent for falling asleep the second my head hits the pillow. Crazy, I know.”
Let’s say you had a bit too much fun and wake up hungover. How do you fake a good night’s rest?
“Of course I just moved to a new city, so there have been fun nights exploring Toronto. My go-to when I have an early class is Gatorade. It saves me. Also, if I can get my hands on some bacon.”
Are you a “but first, coffee” kind of girl or a green juice loyalist in the A.M.?
“I’m one of those weirdos who don’t drink coffee. Before my 6 A.M. classes I make sure to drink an entire Smartwater and fill it up again before class. It wakes me up like no other. After my Yorkville classes, I go to Whole Foods and grab a fresh pressed green juice. My favourite has kale, apple, pineapple, cucumber, parsley and mango. It’s delicious.”
What’s your breakfast of choice to fuel your day?
“Since I have my alarm set for 4:30 A.M. on my 6 A.M. days, I find it hard to eat a real meal so early. But before every Rooster class, I have a chocolate chip Clif Bar.”
What other morning rituals do you consider essential?
“I always lay my clothes out the night before and sleep in the sports bra I’ll wear to class. (Anything to get those extra few minutes of sleep!) Then it’s a splash of cold water on my face, Laura Mercier lotion, and straight outside to take my dog out. I find going outside right away and walking around really helps get me going.”
Do you have a morning wake-up playlist?
“Since my job is such high energy with loud music, when I’m home I tend to keep either silence or a mellow playlist I wouldn’t use in class. Some things I’ve been playing are ‘Battle Sirens’ by Knife Party, a fun mashup of ‘500 Miles’ with Sia vs. The Proclaimers, and ‘All Night’ by Chance the Rapper.”
How do you fire up all the drowsy people in your 6 A.M. SoulCycle class?
“I always recognize that it’s early and they should be proud for being there. That’s why we give our early mornings a special name, ‘Roosters.’ It’s an accomplishment. Also, I have them set an intention for how they want to feel in 45 minutes. Then I just try to be as fun and high energy as I would be in a class at 6:30 P.M. It’s always a party once you walk through the doors.”