Irons in the Fire: Betina Gozo sets her Sights on Fitness Stardom
written by Sheila G. Miller
Betina Gozo is the kind of woman you’d love to hate, but just can’t. She has a body to die for, a face to match, and to top it off, she’s a dancer who plays the bass. Come on. But it’s hard to hate someone who is kind and smart and works her tail off for the things she’s achieved.
The Nike master trainer, who moved to Portland from Chicago in September, seems destined for greatness, thanks in no small part to her hard work. In addition to serving as a trainer on the Nike campus, doing one-on-one, athlete and group workouts and consulting with the brand team to develop content, Gozo founded her own training studio, Canvas Training,Betina Gozo sets sights on fitness stardom mind + body in Portland shortly after her arrival. She was recently named one of five finalists in the Women’s Health Next Fitness Star contest.
Gozo came to the fitness world from an unusual background—she played bass in a band for five years.
“I got into fitness so I could keep up with shows, so my shoulder didn’t hurt when I was playing three hours in a row,” she said. “Your body can get broken down if you don’t take care of it.”
Working full-time playing in bars, at weddings and other events, Gozo thought she was in shape. “I could perform three hours with a bass guitar,” she said. “I thought I was in shape because I was a dancer. But weight-lifting? Game over.”
As Gozo got into weight-lifting, and began to understand that it wouldn’t necessarily make her bulky, she became infatuated. “I loved the feeling of taking my body and making it change,” she said. “And I fell in love with making other people feel that. They think they can’t be strong, they think they can never do the things that I can currently, but they can.” The Nike campus is home to a lot of busy people. Gozo’s job: to keep them healthy so they can stay busy. “I train VPs, I train the general population, and my whole philosophy is being able to incorporate tools that will help them lead a better life,” she said. She is adamant that it makes no sense to train office managers the same way she’d train an elite athlete.
“I just want to help someone keep up with life,” she said. “I want to help them be able to keep up with their kids, to de-stress from work because their jobs are so crazy. A lot of trainers want to train athletes, but I feel like one thing I’m really good at is adjustable, scalable information that makes sense to people’s lives.”
Her favorite method of getting people in shape is teaching them high-intensity total body movements that get the heart rate moving.
“I want them jumping off the ground, jumping all over the place,” she said. “That burns the most calories, and it also gives them that moment of success after they’re done. They’re really, really tired.”
Women’s Health announced June 27 that Gozo is one of the magazine’s finalists for its annual contest to find The Next Fitness Star. The contest winners appear in the magazine, get a workout video series through the magazine, and become regular Women’s Health contributors.
Five finalists compete, and the winner is named in August. Gozo pitched a high-impact workout that featured mobility. “Not yoga and stretching,” she clarified, “but movements that will keep you moving properly. If you’re not activating the right muscles you’re not moving the way you’re supposed to, so I try to incorporate movements that teach you to move the way you’re supposed to.” As though that’s not enough, Gozo is in the process of developing four e-books that will help people of all walks create fitness plans for themselves. The e-books will give readers an eight-week plan.
“I want to get people to believe that they can do this stuff ,” she said. “I think a lot of people look up to fitness instructors and think they can’t do that, ‘That will never be me.’ I want them to now that they can do it, they just have to put that work in. But it’s definitely something that can be done.”