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Olympic Gymnast Jordan Chiles On Nutrition, Recovery & More

Olympic Gymnast Jordan Chiles On Nutrition, Recovery & More

Alexandra Engler

Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

Game On: Jordan Chiles

Image by mbg Creative / JSquared Photography

June 17, 2024

We love celebrating women on top of their game. In our new series Game On, we’re interviewing top athletes about their well-being routines—covering everything from nutrition that makes them feel strong to the moments that bring them joy. 

As an Olympic silver medalist and longtime member of the U.S. Women’s National Gymnastics Team, you may think that confidence is something that comes easy to 22-year-old athlete Jordan Chiles

Just scroll through her Instagram, and you’ll see a fun-loving, bright, strong woman. But as she told me during a virtual meeting recently, that certainly wasn’t always the case. “Growing up, I didn’t have confidence whatsoever—not in my sport, my beauty, nothing,” she told me. 

So what changed? Well, I chatted with Chiles about what it means to be a strong woman, how she was able to build up her confidence, and the ways that she takes care of her hardworking body. 

mindbodgyreen: What does being a “strong woman” mean to you?

Jordan Chiles: Being a strong woman is being authentic in who you are. It’s about finding the beauty and passion in how you want to live your life.

What makes someone strong is finding the confidence to go out and be your best self—whether it’s onto a competition floor or even just into the real world. 

mbg: Speaking of, what makes you feel confident?

Chiles: I think the biggest thing that makes me feel confident is my beauty, whether it is from my smile to the way I’m styling my hair. 

I’m always in the forefront and taking photos, so just having that smile on my face is important. My smile was something I didn’t really appreciate. After using Invisalign, which I was able to incorporate into my life easily, it changed the way I felt about my smile. I definitely enjoy smiling more often. It makes me feel confident.

mbg: What meals make you feel strongest? 

Chiles: I am not a diet type of girl. I had a lot of trauma in the past around that. 

I had to change my perspective around food and incorporate little things here and there that make me feel good. Obviously, I do make sure I put the right food—the right fruits, the right vegetables, good protein—into my body because I lose a lot of calories as an athlete. 

So while those are the main things I focus on, I can say I do have “cheat” meals here and there, whether it’s ice cream or cookies. 

I also love these Too Good & Co. smoothies that I take with me on the go. I love that I can just grab them before I go to practice because I’m always doing other things, like interviews and all that.

mbg: How do you stay mentally resilient?  

Chiles: I think the biggest thing is knowing how much strength I have through my support system, like my family and friends. Obviously, life isn’t a straight road, and there are bumps in it, so just having those encouraging words from people helps.

Knowing that no matter where I go, no matter where I’m at, I can be just who I am. That has a big impact for me.

At the end of the day, the thing I really try to focus on is that no matter what happens and what people see, I am proud of myself. I can look back knowing I did everything I could. I can control my life and what I want to do with it.

mbg: Not only is your sport mentally tough, but it’s obviously very physically demanding. How do you recover—do you have a recovery routine?

Chiles: Other than taking naps, the thing I focus on the most is what I can do to release toxins from my body. For that, I love taking Epsom salt baths.

I also think it’s important to relax and release negativity too. I want to get it all out of my system so I can go into the next day or my next practice with a more positive mind.

For example, you know how some people like to write out their thoughts? Well, sometimes I like to draw my thoughts. It helps with releasing things that I maybe couldn’t talk to people about, but I could at least draw it out. 

mbg: Gymnastics requires so much training, but do you do any physical activities that aren’t necessarily related to training that you still enjoy doing? 

Chiles: I’ll go walk around at a park. I love the outdoors. If I could be in the wilderness for a while every single day, I would do it. 

Other than that, my sport is my sport. And it’s always been my sport. It’s an all-day thing, so I don’t really have that much additional time.

mbg: What was the most intense thing you’ve done in the attempt to optimize your performance? 

Chiles: When I was younger, I did some crazy things. For example, I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning for a cardio workout before going to practice. Or one time, I tried an all-fruit diet. Don’t ask me why I did that. 

Now that I understand a little more about my body, I know what’s good and what’s not good for me. So that’s where I’m at as I get older. 

mbg: What advice would you give your younger self?

Chiles: I would say that as you get older, there’s going to be people who come in and out of your life, but always remember that no matter what you do, just stay true to yourself. Continue your dream and your lifelong goals, because you’ll always know that you gave everything you had. 

mbg: What qualities are you most proud of yourself and why?

Chiles: I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve found this new confident side of me. When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to use my voice a lot in my sports. Or I was always ashamed of what I looked like. So being able to embrace who I am makes me proud. 

Now I love showing off my personality and showing people I’m not just this shy girl who can’t use her voice. I’m actually this strong, independent woman who feels like she can encourage others. 

mbg: Finding your voice is such a powerful moment in one’s life. How were you able to find yours?

Chiles: My mom and my coach. 

My coach was able to give me a lot of confidence in myself. Growing up, I didn’t have confidence whatsoever—not in my sport, my beauty, nothing. So having somebody like her, helped me immensely. 

And then my mother, she always taught me to embrace who you are. “There’s only one Jordan. So just be the best Jordan you can.” At the end of the day, it’s all you can do.

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