Nastia Liukin talked to the Cut about cookies, workouts, and how everyone has a gold-medal body.
I like to eat something very small beforehand, whether it’s a banana or a piece of fruit, and I have coffee. It was the same when I was in gymnastics. After my workout I’ll have a bigger breakfast, like an omelet with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and maybe some chicken or something. Making sure to get enough protein in is extremely important for me to this day. It keeps you full longer.
I love boxing with my trainer. I love barre classes and hot yoga. I love Pilates. That really elongates you, but it’s also important to do some kind of cardio and now that the weather’s nice I love running along the West Side. It’s a beautiful view. I take spinning classes, too.
To me, wellness is: I remember my mom telling me at a really young age, “You have to treat your body like an expensive car. What kind of fuel are you putting into that expensive car?” If you’re going to put junk food into your body, then that’s what you’re going to get out of it. As soon as I was able to process that, like when I was 12, it made total sense to me. Of course I ate junk food every once in a while as a kid, but then I would kind of feel it in my body, you know, you don’t have as much energy.
I remember walking into a regular gym, not a gymnastics gym, and looking at the equipment and thinking, “What are these things?” I had no idea what to do and how to use this equipment because my whole life was so structured. My dad was my coach and he always gave me a plan. All of a sudden I’m like, “Wait, where’s my coach?” It was really up to me to kind of figure it out.
On cooking versus ordering: My fiancé, Matt, is actually a really good cook. Better than me, which I’m working on. But I’ve also felt like, living in New York, it’s a little bit challenging to cook here. It’s easier to Seamless or Postmates something. But I’ve been trying to cook a little bit more. We always either have some kind of fish and he’ll make a great kale salad and a homemade dressing. We definitely eat more protein and vegetables, but obviously making sure it’s a well-balanced diet of having some carbs in there, too — brown rice, sweet potatoes, those kinds of things. But I wouldn’t necessarily eat a whole bowl of pasta at night. If I would have that, it would probably be earlier in the day.
On dessert: I also remember my mom telling me, “If you want a cookie, have a cookie.” Because then you’re going to get to a point where just like you want ten cookies and you’re going to eat ten. So allow yourself to have that. Yeah, maybe don’t have a cookie every single day, but if you want one, then have one. It’s all about having that balance and not getting too crazy about it because that’s definitely not good for anybody.