At just 17, Aly Raisman became a household name during the 2012 Summer Olympics as the captain of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team, dubbed the Fierce Five. Raisman went on to become the most decorated American gymnast at the London Games after winning gold medals in the team and floor competitions, as well as a bronze medal on the balance beam.
Now 21, Raisman is gunning for a spot on the team for this summer’s Olympics in Rio, Brazil. The Massachusetts native has been gearing up for the games by training up to seven hours a day and serving as a face of #PBJ4TeamUSA, a partnership between Smucker’s and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Every time the aforementioned hashtag is used on Twitter, Smucker's will donate $1 to the U.S.O.C. in support of athletes training for the Games. “A lot of people don’t realize that Olympic athletes’ training isn’t funded by the government, so it can get really expensive, between traveling, paying for a trainer, and even maintaining a healthy diet. It adds up,” explains Raisman.
Below, the talented gymnast gives us the scoop on her pre- and post-competition routines.
How do you prep for a competition?
I like to take my time getting ready. I do my hair and makeup, which really relaxes me; it’s calming. We usually have roommates when we’re getting ready for a meet, so we’ll put on some upbeat music.
What do you eat to prepare for a meet?
It depends, because sometimes we’re out of the country, so we can’t have a specific meal each time. Usually I try to have carbs before the meet, like a banana and maybe some kind of whole-wheat toast, or granola with Greek yogurt and fruit—something that’s filling but will also give me enough energy throughout the competition, since the meets are typically at least two hours long.
And what about after the meet?
After the meet, the girls and I just want pizza or something! We worked hard so we want to splurge. And cheese is protein! People think carbs are the enemy, but when you work out, you need the carbs for energy. A few slices of pizza isn’t going to kill you.
What do you like to eat when you’re off-duty?
We don’t really have an off-season, but I always try to eat healthy. I’m always tired from training, and when I eat well, I feel better.
What’s on your playlist right now?
My teammates and I like Alessia Cara, especially her songs Wild Things, Scars to Your Beautiful, and Overdose. And we like Jason Derulo’s Try Me. The songs remind us of each other when we’re apart.
Favorite TV Show?
I love Gossip Girl.
What’s your PB&J style?
I’m an open-faced, crust-on girl. I like whole-wheat toast, and then I usually do peanut butter and strawberry jam on both sides. And I weirdly like the end piece of bread—it’s a different texture! It works out because no one else likes it, so I always get it.