Buon appetito.

The Paris 2024 Olympic Games are on the horizon, and I just love seeing people at the top of their sport compete to be number one in the world. It’s exciting, it’s intense, it’s emotional, it’s raw.

While any Olympic Games bring excitement, I especially enjoy the summer games because they include my favorite sport, gymnastics. One of the gymnasts I’ve always been a fan of is Shawn Johnson East, who, at 16 years old (the age most of us are just trying to get through high school), won four Olympic medals. The discipline it takes to perform at that level—especially at that age—is unbelievable.

I recently worked out with Johnson East in Nashville, where she led a 17-minute workout to promote the new Barilla Protein+ pasta, which has 17 grams of protein per serving. (FYI: Our handy protein cheat sheet can help you reach your daily protein goals in no time!)

After the workout, I spoke with Johnson East about how she tackles her at-home fitness routine now and how different it is from training for the Olympics.

“Post-gymnastics, it’s just been a wild roller coaster of ups and downs of trying to figure out what fitness looked like,” she says. “I feel like right after gymnastics, I was really obsessive about trying to stay in Olympic shape, so I’ve been on this journey of trying to figure out what is ‘normal’ fitness and not Olympic-level gymnastics fitness.”

Johnson East has lived a life full of elite competition, but now as the mother of three young children, her fitness goals are all about staying strong and healthy for them.

“I took everything to the extreme, because I needed to, at that high of a level. Now, being a mom and a wife and just living a normal life, I try to just stay healthy in a very wholesome, holistic way. Not super, super fit. I don’t try to tip the scales anywhere,” she says.

“I feel like right after gymnastics, I was really obsessive about trying to stay in Olympic shape, so I’ve been on this journey of trying to figure out what is ‘normal’ fitness and not Olympic-level gymnastics fitness.” —Shawn Johnson East

The athlete mentality is something Johnson East has had to work on taming, post-Olympic career.

“I think the last time I truly did a workout was three weeks ago, but I’ve been chasing three toddlers around, and you know what, that’s totally fine. I don’t have to work out six hours a day to be healthy. That’s actually not healthy,” she says.

Since competing, she’s obtained her personal training certification and studied nutrition and psychology to learn how to approach health and fitness in a healthier way.

When it comes to working out, Johnson East is a fan of lifting weights, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and anything fast- paced. Just don’t put her down for cardio.

“I really dislike cardio, but I’ll get it through weightlifting,” she says.

She her husband, former professional football player Andrew East, tackle some tough workouts in their home gym—and she even designs many of them, like the one below.

Try Shawn Johnson East’s at-home workout for yourself

Don’t worry if you don’t have a gym at home, you can still work out like an Olympian. Grab a resistance band and mat to try Johnson East’s at-home workout.

It’s inspired by her time as a champion gymnast and informed by her personal training certification. She created the workout to show that no matter how busy life can get, there’s still time to show love for yourself through an active lifestyle. You may not be an Olympian, but you can definitely train like one!

1. Squat

Photo: Barilla Protein+
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and extend your arms out in front of you.
  2. Slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to lower toward the floor, as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as far down as you can comfortably go).
  4. Pause for a moment, then push through your feet to return to standing.
  5. Complete 10 reps.
TIP

To kick this move up a notch, you

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