Olympian Nastia Liukin's Favorite Exercises For Staying In Shape

Closeup of Nastia Liukin with side-parted wavy hairstyle
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Health & Lifestyle
Fatima Araos

Nastia Liukin may have switched careers from elite athlete to businesswoman-slash-Instagram influencer, but her gymnast figure is still very much intact. That’s because she follows a strict workout routine, although it looks a bit different from what she used to do when she was competing.

Talking to The Cut about her retirement from sports, the 32-year-old Olympic gold medalist said, “I felt so lost for a good year. I gained probably 10 to 20 pounds, because when you stop doing something and just go cold turkey your body doesn’t even know what to do.”

How did she get back in the groove? Read on.

'Found My Rhythm Again'

Liukin eventually bounced back, saying “I finally feel like I’ve found my rhythm again. It takes time to figure out what your body needs and what’s best for you both in nutrition and also fitness.”

That said, starting a gym routine was a bit of a shock. “I remember walking into a regular gym, not a gymnastics gym, and looking at the equipment and thinking, ‘What are these things?’” she recalled. “I had no idea what to do and how to use this equipment because my whole life was so structured.”

Her Favorite Exercises

The star gymnast’s post-retirement routine was different in that she was finally in charge of it. “I followed a strict plan for 22 years so as soon as I was done competing I was like, you know what? I’m gonna do what I feel like doing,” she said.

That includes barre classes, hot yoga, boxing with her trainer, and Pilates, which “really elongates you,” she said. “[B]ut it’s also important to do some kind of cardio,” and that’s why she also runs and takes spinning classes.

'Changing It Up'

Liukin doesn’t follow a specific workout schedule, saying, “Some days that’s just getting in 20 minutes of some kind of workout, maybe it’s in my hotel room or my apartment or going for a quick jog. But for the most part I love changing it up. I also think that my body responds to that best. When you do the same thing over and over your body just gets used to it.”

'Find Something You’re Passionate About'

As a lifelong athlete and fitness fanatic, Liukin knows the value of loving what you do. “It’s important to find something you’re passionate about so you don’t feel like you’re being forced to go work out,” she said. “I love going to Pilates and I feel great after it, and yeah, it might be hard to wake up some mornings but at the end … you know that feeling, and it’s worth it.”