There's no stopping gymnast Gabby Douglas — in fact she's defying the odds. After her show-stopping performance in the 2012 Olympic Games, she's got her eye on a new prize: making Team USA for a second time. While it might not seem odd to us — Gabby's only 20, after all — in the competitive gymnastics world, being past your teens is akin to retirement.
"When I stood on the podium at the 2012 Games and lowered my head so the gold medal could be placed around my neck, I reflected on many things," Gabby told us. "I thought about all the sacrifices that had to be made, all the obstacles, and all of the time spent in order for me to achieve my dream. I thought to myself, 'It was all worth it.' It was also in that moment that I knew my goal of making it on the 2016 Rio Olympics team was possible."
With only two months until Rio (August 5, to be exact), Gabby says that the excitement is palpable and the work is intense. Given her focus, talent, and determination, we can't imagine her not making the team once Olympic trials are underway in July. "I am stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I'm training hard so that I can make my dream come true again," she said.
"I am stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I'm training hard so that I can make my dream come true again."
There's no way to truly understand the hard work that goes into the making of an Olympic athlete, but having a peek into their daily schedule is a start. Not for the faint of heart, here is Gabby's rigorous training schedule as told in her own words.
- I wake up at 7 a.m. every day. Practice starts at 8 a.m., so I have an hour to get ready, have a good breakfast, and spend a little time with my grandmother — I lovingly call her Miss Carolyn. I prefer to eat a small breakfast before training. I do a lot of twisting and turning, so you can imagine why I like to keep my meals light, especially first thing in the morning. Today, I'm having a small cup of steel-cut oatmeal, and a cup of Miss Carolyn's special tea. I grab my gym bag, water bottle, lunch, and keys and head out the door.
- 8 a.m.-12 p.m. — This is what we refer to as morning training. Four straight hours of grueling, nonstop action. Even though it's really hard work, I love what I do. I'm putting the finishing touches on my new floor routine and perfecting my new skills on beam, vault, and the uneven bars.
- It's noon; that means it's time for my two-hour lunch break.And this is a good thing, because I'm hungry after exerting so much energy! I scoop up my lunch bag and head for the mats to sit, eat, talk, and laugh with two of the other girls in my training group. Of course, I also use this time to relax and jump on social media. Lunch for today: a small spinach salad with avocado, eggs, grilled chicken breast, and Thai peanut dressing. Again, I don't like to eat too much since I have to go back to training at 2 p.m.
- The afternoon training is two and a half hours. I focus on two events during this time while also incorporating more conditioning and stretching. Conditioning includes: climbing the 12-foot rope without using [my] legs, push-ups, lots of leg lifts, sit-ups, and different types of squats and squat jumps. I also work on stretches for my back, shoulders, and legs.
- I head home around 4:30 p.m. Between the sweat, chalk, tape, and sore muscles, the first thing I do when I get home is take a nice, hot shower! Every few days, I also do an ice bath, which is extremely beneficial.
- I like to catch up with my family before dinner. I almost always FaceTime my mom, my two sisters, and my brother. We are all so busy now; between the preparations for Olympic Trials, our new show, Douglas Family Gold, working on my leotard line, my new Gabbymoji keyboard, and a few other projects in the works, I'm so grateful to have this time to spend with them. I miss being home, but I know they are always by my side and are my biggest supporters. Tonight for dinner, Miss Carolyn has made delicious salmon and sautéed veggies over pasta. I'm so thankful for my grandmother. She takes such good care of me.
- I enjoy getting into bed early. I love kicking back for a bit, texting my friends and family, and just listening to music. Every night, I meditate, and sometimes I will just lie quietly visualizing my routines. I get about eight hours of sleep every night. Then I wake up and do it all over again. But for now, it's time for some much needed rest and sweet dreams of Rio!
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit Team USA. The Rio Olympics begin August 5 on NBC.