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Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Opens Up About 2020 Olympics Training, Shares Nutrition Tips

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Laurie Hernandez is the spokesperson for the “You’re Incredible Because” contest. Photo: Courtesy Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for American Egg Board

By Rachael Ellenbogen, International Business Times

Gymnast Laurie Hernandez has been in the spotlight since winning gold and silver medals at the 2016 Olymics, and then for winning “Dancing with the Stars” later that year, but now the 17-year-old’s ready to balance her training with helping shine the light on other dedicated youth.

Once again partnering with the American Egg Board for its “You’re Incredible Because” contest, Hernandez is helping find kids who are doing good in their communities. From helping their fellow classmates to fundraising for charities and volunteering, the contest wants kids to show how they do good in their area by sharing a photo to Instagram for the chance to win prizes for themselves and others.

“It's really neat,” Hernandez told International Business Times about the contest. “There’s a lot that goes into it and I can't wait to see who the winner is.”

Keep reading to find out more about how she got involved with the contest, what nutritious-eating tips she has and what her 2020 Olympics training looks like.

International Business Times: How’d you get involved with this contest and why was it a good fit for you?

Laurie Hernandez: Back when I was doing ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ my mom had taught me how to make scrambled eggs... and it’s also important, as an athlete, to make sure I’m getting enough protein in my body for my workouts and I know that one large egg has six grams of protein.

IBT: Your mom’s a social worker, has that contributed to your desire to help others?

Hernandez: I think so. Growing up, my mom was always telling me how important it was to help other people and to give back and so, as I’m growing up, I’m still able to do all the things that I’m passionate about, while giving back and while helping other people and it feels good to be able to do that. And I hope I’m making her proud.

IBT: This contest is put on by the American Egg Board, which often works to share the health benefits of eggs. Do you have any tips for people who are looking to start eating healthier?

Hernandez: My biggest tip would be, well I have two of them actually, one would be the mindset and making sure you’re looking at it the right way and whether it’s for yourself, whether it’s for a job or for whatever it might be.

Another thing would be, just to start off by cutting out [some unhealthy foods]. As a kid, I would eat so much candy and as I’ve gotten better, I don’t eat as much of that and so just make sure that we keep that out and replace it with fruits and vegetables and all the things that are good for us.

IBT: Do you find that the way you go about your nutrition differs from how other gymnasts go about theirs?

Hernandez: Everyone’s nutrition is a bit different, just because their bodies handle food differently. For me, I find that eating carbs and eating a lot of protein is really, really good for my body... but some girls can’t eat as many carbs or some girls may need more protein than the average girl. So, everybody’s different, it’s really just finding out what your body needs and what’s best for you.

IBT: Do you have to eat a certain number of calories to keep up with your training?

Hernandez: I don’t really count calories when I’m training, it’s more just making sure that whatever I’m eating is clean.

I am making sure that I am snacking throughout the day and fueling myself with the right things - mixed nuts or oatmeal or hard-boiled eggs or anything like that - but just making sure that whatever I put in my body is good and will fuel me.

IBT: Are you currently in full-on training mode, prepping for the 2020 Olympics?

Hernandez: I’m always in full-on training mode. My eating habits, again, are starting to change, my sleeping habits are changing and actually, the workouts that I do at the gym are starting to change - more geared towards gymnastics conditioning and gymnastics training. So, it’ll be a fun ride. I mean, I don’t believe I’ll be competing this year just because it is a late comeback, but I’m hoping to compete in 2019.

IBT: What does your current training schedule look like?

Hernandez: Well because I’m still traveling a lot, a lot of my workouts are done irregularly, but when I’m at home, I’m typically at a gymnastics training facility.

IBT: With your current training, are there events that you feel are your strongest or that you're trying to work on more?

Hernandez: I mean, right now, I’m saying floor work and balance beam because those are my two favorites and those are two that I love doing. As for the other two, I’m still deciding whether or not to do those, only because I do have a passion for floor and for beam and I love being able to spend my time on there to make upgrades and to fool around on the two of them, so yeah, we’ll see.

IBT: You’ve been balancing training and homeschooling, have you graduated high school or not yet?

Hernandez: Not yet. I graduate around the middle of May, which is awesome.

IBT: Do you plan on going to college down the road?

Hernandez: I would like to go to college. That’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to and, again, education is something that’s definitely enforced in my house... so, I definitely look forward to college in the future.

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Entertainment - U.S. Daily News: Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Opens Up About 2020 Olympics Training, Shares Nutrition Tips
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