Gus Kenworthy is an eight-time world champion freestyle skier and Olympic silver medalist. He made 32 appearances in the X Games before calling it a career in 2022.
None of the above credentials proved to be much help during his time on the brutally intense Fox reality show “Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test” (airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST through March 1). “It was probably more difficult psychologically than physically,” he says. “A part of me is used to struggling through hard workouts, but the training I do for skiing didn’t translate to what I did in that desert. At least I know how to push through pain!”
Indeed, Kenworthy and 15 other celebrities (ranging from Spice Girl Melanie “Mel B” Brown to reality star Kate Gosselin to baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza) were pushed to the extreme as they gutted through endurance challenges and demanding training exercises — such as pushing a car in the heat and running upstairs in a tower — led by an elite team of ex-special forces operatives. Instead of eliminations, the only way out was through forfeit, potential injury or a forced exit from the agents.
“I was yelled at, not getting adequate sleep and could never relax because we never knew when we might get called out to the parade deck [to start a challenge] with no notice,” he says. “That feeling of uncertainty and angst seeped into everything.” Still, he has no regrets. “I learned to trust the process, and the whole experience ended up being a team-building exercise because we had to rely on another for support.”
By comparison, his regular workouts seem like a breezy stroll on the beach. Kenworthy — who also pops up in the hit comedy “80 For Brady” — makes it into the gym four days a week, usually to do high-intensity light-weight training. “It’s more cardiovascular than how I trained in the past with heavy lifting,” he explains. “It’s nice to mix it up and change what your body is used to. And I’m still sweating a lot.”
Kenworthy took a much-deserved break from all the activity to run down his top workout musts for CNN Underscored.
This simple tool — which is unlike the well-worn rope you climbed in gym class back in the day — brings your whole body into a sweat session. Just swing, slam and shake the durable ropes to ramp up your heart rate, challenge your muscles and burn fat. “They’re one of my favorite ways to finish a workout,” he says. He also likes burst-resistant Bosu exercise balls because “they can be used in a lot of different ways.”
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To make a long description short(s), this apparel is made from super-breathable 90% polyester fabric that wicks away moisture from the body and dries quickly. It’s also constructed with flat-lock stitching to help prevent chafing and features two side pockets and a hidden zipper pocket to stash your phone. Plus, Kenworthy says, “they just fit well and are comfortable.”
Nothing fancy here. Kenworthy is a Nike guy and picks these rubber-soled shoes along with the brand’s Blazer Low ’77 Vintage. “They’re my faves and I just really like them,” he says. For a dressier sneaker, he says he loves anything from Common Projects.
His No. 1 gadget? These popular noise-canceling earbuds. “They honestly fit the most comfortably in my ear, and I’ve tried them all!” His No. 1 music? At the moment, that honor goes to Miley Cyrus. “I’ve been playing her new album [“Endless Summer Vacation”] on repeat — it’s so good!” During his workouts, he adds, he uses his Go to Radio feature on Spotify: “I’ll pick my favorite song first, then somehow Spotify always knows what I need to listen to.”
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Kenworthy puts a lot of thinking into his drinking. First he chugs this 16-ounce sugar-free beverage because “it gives me more energy than other pre-workout drinks but doesn’t make me feel jittery or crash.” After, he crafts a shake with a scoop of Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro-Whey (chocolate flavor), AG1 Athletic Greens and organic PBfit powder. Here’s his specific routine: “If I’m at the gym, I just mix the powders in a shaker bottle with water and If I’m back at home, I’ll do those three scoops in the blender with unsweetened almond milk, a banana and frozen blueberries.”
He boasts that he always gets compliments when he wears these no-slip sports shades, which provide 100% UV protection. “They’re like retro glacier goggles,” he says. “They’re also fun and cute.” Wear them for any outdoor activity anytime — the ChromaPop lenses enhance contrast and natural color to make details stand out in day or dusk.
“This list is going to sound insane and extensive,” he warns of his sunscreen regimen. Ready? OK, here goes. He uses Kiehl’s moisturizer with SPF 20 every morning. But if he’s going to be outside all day, he protects himself with Supergoop!’s Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 or Coola’s Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, as both products “rub in super nicely.” For body coverage, “I’m less picky but I do love the Vacation Classic Lotion SPF 30, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion SPF 15 and Sun Bum sunscreen.” That wasn’t so bad!
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After a long workout, Kenworthy loves to take a dip in a pool or bath. He also lights candles all over his house. That’s where this tangy-scented candle — which features flowery accents of rose and can burn for 60 hours — comes in handy. “I’m a big fan and love the Baies,” he says.