Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson East Shares the #1 Healthy Habit She Still Swears By Post-Olympics

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As an Olympic gold medalist, it might be tough to think of gymnast Shawn Johnson East as relatable. But these days, the 32-year-old is settling into life as a mom of three and struggles to fit in gym time just like the rest of us. "I’d love to say there’s a consistency for me, but there’s not," she tells Parade. "It’s like, oh, someone has the baby right now, I have 30 minutes let’s just go do something."

Considering East started competing at the age of 12, it's safe to say she's learned a thing or two about healthy habits over the years. In an exclusive interview with Parade, East shares the one habit she still swears by post-Olympics, plus other ways she stays healthy.

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The #1 Healthy Habit East Learned Competing In the Olympics

Believe it or not, competitive gymnasts are given a piece of advice many of us swear by as well: "Everything in moderation."

"I think we live in a world of extremes, especially when it comes to the health and food industry," East says. "It’s not sustainable. Even working with nutritionists when I was competing—they were like, 'Let’s be real, you’re 13. You’re going to eat ice cream and chocolate. You can indulge and have fun. Everything in moderation.'"

This is still a mantra East swears by. "Whether it's athletics, working out or nutrition, 'everything in moderation' is still a great thing to remember," she says.

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When pressed about fitness (she is an expert, after all!) East says that these days, she swears by HIIT workouts. "I went through rollercoasters of trends. I did HIIT workouts during gymnastics. After I retired, I felt like there was this trend where everyone said you had to run to lose weight, and I very quickly learned that was false," she explains. "Intervals and changing up your routine and your workouts is really fun. I went full circle and went back to the gymnastics mentality. I do everything now and it keeps everything stimulating and exciting."

Easton adds that while she aims to get 30-45 minute HIIT workout in a few times a week, she also considers playing with her kids a workout. "We'll jump on the trampoline or go for bike rides," she says. "For any other busy moms out there: Allow yourself to be a kid and know that's also a workout. Going for a bike ride, playing in the driveway, jumping rope. As adults, we live with this mindset that if we don’t go on the treadmill we're not working out. That's not the case."

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East's Go-To Snacks and Meals for Energy

When she needs an energy boost, East says she often turns to a cup of coffee or a piece of dark chocolate. But she also loves a good protein-packed meal, which is why she recently partnered with Morningstar Farms as part of their petition to bring the popular riblets back.

"When companies come to me, my top question is—do I like it? Do I use it, even for my kids? I love the nutrition facts, especially as a mom. I’m always looking for ways to sneak in protein or fiber. I love barbecue, and I love the fact that there was a full-on petition to bring the riblets back."

We know one thing for sure: We're stealing East's fitness and overall life tips ASAP.

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