How I train: Louis Smith, gymnast

Hi Louis! How do you stay in shape?

At the moment I’m really busy so I squeeze in a half-hour workout whenever I can, either at the gym or just in my bedroom.

Have you kept dancing?

Only in nightclubs – I might manage the odd tango or waltz there.

You obviously train more intensively when you’re competing in gymnastics. What’s your training regime?

I train six days a week, twice a day. I get up around 10am, have breakfast, then head to the gym for 12. I train until 3.30pm, break for lunch, then train again from 5-8pm.

I start by warming up, then spend 30 minutes on strength and conditioning. I stretch for 10 minutes or so, then spend two hours on three of the six gymnastic apparatus. In the second session, I concentrate on the other three apparatus.

I don’t do much aerobic work; it’s all quite explosive. I don’t like running because it hurts my knees and shins – unless running after girls counts …

You must eat really healthily. What’s on the menu chez Smith?

For breakfast I have oats and fruit. Lunch might be couscous or chickpeas with chicken – sometimes I have steak, but I don’t eat much red meat. I don’t have many carbs in the evening: a typical dinner is steamed vegetables.

So what do you eat as a treat?

I can’t get away with a cheeky treat like crisps or chocolate. Pistachio nuts are as naughty as it gets.

How do you relax away from the gym?

Sitting on the sofa with my PlayStation. It’s tough, being an athlete in your early 20s when your friends are all going out and meeting girls. I stay in to avoid temptation.

Which athlete do you most admire?

The person I most look up to isn’t an athlete; it’s my mum. She did an amazing job of bringing up me and my brother as a single parent.

Can we look forward to your return to competitive gymnastics?

Who knows? I’m a very creative, adventurous person; there are lots of other things I want to do. But I’m still doing a bit of training and I know I could get back into gymnastics really quickly if I wanted to.

Louis Smith is supporting the launch of Danio yoghurt. Find more information at or on Twitter @danioUK.

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