Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson

Gymnast Shawn Johnson is on cloud nine. The Olympian—who won a gold medal for the balance beam at the 2008 Beijing Olympics—recently married Oakland Raiders footballer, Andrew East, during a beautiful ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee. We jumped at the chance to talk to the newlywed on her most recent trip to NYC, as we are always intrigued to learn about the diet and exercise regimes of elite athletes. When it comes to working out, we often need a little extra push, and nothing is more inspirational than hearing from the best of the best. We chatted with Johnson about her ideal food day, and the best advice she’s ever received. The Dancing With The Stars Season 8 winner also talked to us about what it was like to be on the show, and her current workout obsession.

What are the foods you eat before and after workouts?

Before my workouts I usually drink a protein smoothie with a piece of fruit. After my workouts I eat anything from a PB&J to grilled chicken!

Foods that make your skin feel its best? Its worst?

Clean foods always make my skin feel its best, and greasy foods always make my skin feel the worst.

What’s a beauty mainstay that hasn’t changed since your teen years?

Skincare. I have used many different products since my teen years, but I have always tried to take the best care of my skin.

The new workouts you’re obsessed with…

I love SoulCycle and any NTC workouts on-the-go!

One thing we don’t know about Dancing With The Stars

Everyone truly acts like a family on the show, as we are going through this intense experience together. I still keep in touch with Mark [Ballas], Derek [Hough], cast mates, producers and even hair and makeup artists from my two seasons!

How’d you prepare for it?

Workout, practice, workout! Endurance is key on DWTS, as the farther along you get, the longer the dances are and the more dances you have to perform in one night.

Any new projects in the works? 

This year I am excited to partner with Smucker’s for #PBJ4TeamUSA to help current and future hopefuls achieve their goals. For every tweet using #PBJ4TeamUSA, Smucker’s will donate $1 to the United States Olympic Committee (up to $200,000). Every single donation to the USOC makes a huge difference in an athlete’s training – from providing equipment to travel resources to nutrition.

What stretches are best for you and why?

Gymnastics literally uses every muscle you have. I stretch every part of my body before tumbling in the gym, beginning with a simple cat stretch. Before running I always stretch my hamstrings so that I won’t cramp up while running long distances.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

The best advice was ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ I think everyone means well by the advice they have given me over the years, so I wouldn’t say someone has given me “the worst” advice.

How do you always start your day? What’s your go to breakfast?

I always start my day with a cup of coffee and playtime with my dog, Nash. My go-to breakfast would be an egg white omelet, toast with Smucker’s strawberry jam, and green tea.

What’s your perfect smoothie comprised of? Your perfect salad?

Perfect smoothie: 

Coffee

A splash of Coconut Almond Milk

A dash of Cinnamon

One tablespoon of Peanut Butter

One scoop of Labrada Protein (Jamie Eason Natural Chocolate Whey Concentrate)

1/2 frozen Banana for extra creaminess

Perfect salad:

Spring mix or spinach leaves

Strawberries

Mandarin oranges

Sprinkle of cheese

Flavored vinaigrette

Shaved almonds

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

Los Angeles! LA has the healthiest food stands and cafes. I can’t name just one, I love them all! In NYC, NOBU, Sushi Yasuda, Marea, Brooklyn Diner.

For more articles featuring Olympic gold medalists, read our interview with Lindsey Vonn here, or get inspired with these top quotes from athletes

Shawn Johnson, photographed at Chalk Point Kitchen in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann