We can’t argue that at only 17-years-old, Laurie Hernandez has accomplished more than many of us will in a lifetime. Having competed in the 2016 Olympics and bringing home medals, she’s a role model and inspiration for anyone who dreams of doing big things. Later that year, Laurie also took home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy when she and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, won season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. And now, with the 2020 Olympics and her high school graduation on the horizon, the sky is the limit for her.
Her Campus spoke with Laurie about her involvement with Incredible Egg, how she’s preparing for the upcoming Summer Olympics, where she’d love to attend college in the future and more.
Her Campus: Tell us about how you became involved with Incredible Egg and why this cause is so important to you.
Laurie Hernandez: Back when I competed on Dancing with the Stars, I lived in an apartment with my mom. She taught me how to make scrambled eggs because they are packed with protein. One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein, so my body got what it needed to stay fueled throughout the day. I’ve been an egg fan ever since! Growing up, my parents always supported me and my dreams. Not only did this help me reach my full potential, but it also made me feel special each step of the way. So, I know firsthand that incredible kids should be recognized!
The You’re Incredible Because… Contest aims to celebrate kids engaging in social good projects in their schools and communities, excelling in sports or extra-curricular activities, raising money for those in need and more. Entering is simple. From now until May 7, 2018, if you know an incredible kid, upload a picture of them to Instagram or Twitter with #IncredibleBecause #Contest and a caption explaining why they are incredible for a chance to win $2,500 for the incredible kid and a matching donation to the incredible kid’s school. For more information, visit IncredibleEgg.org/IncredibleBe
HC: Incredible Egg champions the importance of nutritious eating. What goes into your diet these days?
LH: I’m always busy and need something that gives me energy throughout the day. That’s where scrambled eggs come in – they’re one of my favorite meals to make myself. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse with one large egg containing 6 grams of high-quality protein, so it’s an easy, delicious and nutritious way for me to stay satisfied. In addition to eggs, I need a lot of protein and carbs because I burn so much. I focus on making sure whatever I’m putting in my body is quality food. Your body is like a car, so you have to put the right fuel in it to keep it going!
Last year I had the honor of meeting Alex Hart-Upendo, the winner of the @IncredibleEgg “You’re Incredible Because…” Contest. Alex owns his own company, Build-a-Bow, which donates 40% of the proceeds to charity and brings awareness to bullying – talk about INCREDIBLE! I’m so happy The Incredible Egg is continuing the contest this year to find more incredible kids! Parents, share your incredible kid by posting a photo of them on Twitter or Instagram using #IncredibleBecause & #contest with a description of the amazing things they’re doing in the community. Click the link in my bio for details & official rules. #Sponsored
HC: Can you share some tips for those who want to eat a nutritious diet but aren’t sure where to begin?
LH: Your mindset is key. Remember that when you’re eating nutritious food, you’re fueling yourself to be the best you can be, so you can do incredible things. I also try to cut out as much sugar as possible. When I was younger, I loved sweets, but I know now I need to limit them in my diet and incorporate other nutritious foods such as eggs, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
HC: You’re currently gearing up for the 2020 games, what are you doing to prepare?
LH: I am starting to condition more and my eating and sleeping habits are changing to get me ready for gymnastics. I really miss the sport and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and competing in 2019!
HC: Are you feeling more pressure with these games than you did in 2016? Or is it easier now that you’ve done it before?
LH: I would say the pressure is equal. I feel a bit of pressure coming back since everyone is expecting me to perform as well as I did in 2016. However, knowing that I’ve done this before, I’m going in with an open mind and am looking forward to adding more to my routines to give them that extra flair.
HC: What is your advice to young women who are hoping to one day compete professionally like you?
LH: My advice would be to not to give up when things get hard. If you can push through, you can look back and say I made it. It will shape you into a better athlete and person.
HC: You’ve been home-schooled for years, but if you have the chance to attend any college or university, which would you choose and why?
LH: I would love to attend UCLA. I love their program and know quite a few gymnasts out there. Even though it’s so far from my home in New Jersey, my parents support my dreams and are with me every step of the way in any decision I make.
HC: If you weren’t doing professional gymnastics, what do you think you’d be doing?
LH: If I weren’t doing professional gymnastics, I would be a dancer or maybe try out for Broadway because, why not?
HC: What is your next big goal, and what is the mantra you’re using these days to achieve your goals?
LH: I have a few goals: I look forward to getting my driver’s license, and graduating high school since I’ve been home-schooled since the third grade. I also look forward to future gymnastics competitions and college! My go-to phrase before routines is, “I got this.” These words mean a lot to me and I say it before tests or before trying anything new. I think this will stick with me for a while.