Five-Time Olympic Medalist Nastia Liukin on Her Daily Routines, Recovery Secrets, and Plans for the Future

Nastia Liukin, Olympic gymnast, and MOLECULE’s first athlete ambassador knows a thing or two about fitness and recovery. Not only is she a five-time Olympic medalist and a passionate mentor to aspiring gymnasts across the world, but she’s also dedicated to maintaining an active, well-balanced, global lifestyle—which includes a rigorous workout schedule, plenty of emphasis on recovery, and a routine that helps her balance it all. 

Here, she lets us peek into her daily routines, tells us about her current favorite recovery trends, and describes her biggest wish for the next generation of gymnasts.

On her super-early west coast mornings

Nastia splits her time between Los Angeles and Detroit, and because of the time change, her LA mornings are a bit more intense. She describes her ideal morning as follows: “Wake up at 5:00 AM, catch up on emails from the East Coast, meditate, stretch, and drink two cups of warm lemon water.” After hydration, she turns to movement: “Then it's off to the gym with my trainer, Chase Weber, for an hour session before I start my day around 8:00 AM.

In Detroit, her mornings involve one particularly adorable perk. “If I'm in Detroit, mornings are a little slower,” she says, “and they consist of lots of snuggles with our dog, Leo.” 

On how recovery has infiltrated the gymnastics world

Gymnastics has come a long way when it comes to holistic health, and Nastia has noticed one particularly positive trend in the gymnastics world these days: there’s a lot more emphasis on listening to your body. “I'm loving this new wave of recovery-focused training,” she says. “Being intuitive and listening to your body will get you far. There's no doubt that a healthy dose of ‘pushing yourself’ is imperative to achieve a certain level of greatness, but not to the extent of injury.”

On her favorite recovery trends

After a grueling workout, Nastia tackles recovery from several angles. She rehydrates with lots of water and celery juice, focuses on getting in a quality stretch, and spends time in an infrared sauna when she can. And that’s not all: “Tools like the TheraGun”—a heavy-duty massager—“and a heavy emphasis on sleep recovery and sleep quality are trends I'm following closely and incorporating where I can,” she says.  

On carrying on her legacy

Nastia was just inducted into the USOP Hall of Fame and will be in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games as a TV commentator for NBC Sports. And she founded—and hosts—the Nastia Liukin Cup, an annual artistic gymnastics competition that highlights the best young gymnasts around. “I'm so honored to be recognized with some of my life-long heroes,” she says. “It's such a humbling feeling, but also motivates me to keep climbing!”

From the top, she’s hoping to pass along some positive lessons for the next generation of young gymnasts. “My hope for the next generation is to really embrace the mentality that there is no substitute for hard work,” she says. “Only YOU can get you where you want to be. Having ownership and accountability is everything, and I hope to make those beliefs a cornerstone of my legacy. That and just to BE KIND! You never know what someone else is going through. Lend a hand, listen, and be there for each other. Gymnastics is such a one-woman show, but if future generations can be there to support each other and truly be happy for their peers' successes, we'll all be able to get farther in the long run.”

On recovery-focused sleeping 

“My days are long, so a consistent evening routine is super helpful for winding down,” Nastia says. To achieve a quality night of sleep, she doesn’t cut any corners. “I like to do no phones in the evening—especially past 8:00 PM—to distance my brain from the energizing effects of blue light,” she says. “I've also been cooking a lot, especially when I'm in Detroit, which I find cathartic for the evenings. I'll sip on some sleepy tea (the main ingredient being valerian root) or make a Pink Moon Milk Latte with the Poosh x Vital Proteins collab (so delicious and calming).”

When it comes to actually slipping into bed, Nastia makes sure that her bedding is just as recovery-focused as she is. “My MOLECULE sheets, mattress, and pillows are KEY to setting the tone for a good night's sleep,” she says. “As an athlete and former Olympian, trust me when I say I understand sore joints and muscles. And I know how important good sleep is for our bodies' recovery, in feeling our best and propelling us to work and play at peak performance. Sleeping on a MOLECULE mattress makes me feel well-rested, re-energized and ready for whatever lies ahead."

Want to sleep like Nastia? Check out our MOLECULE mattresses, which are Air-Engineered™ to optimize rest and recovery, covered with a microclimate-regulating material, carefully layered for targeted and adaptive support, and designed to keep your core temperature cool all night long—helping you achieve the recovery-focused sleep you need.