Picture your average 17-year-old. You're probably imagining a kid who just got their license, is applying to colleges and spends their free time hanging out with their friends. You probably aren't picturing an Olympic gold medalist, best-selling author or Mirrorball trophy winner, but that's exactly what Laurie Hernandez is. At just 17 years old, Laurie Hernandez has accomplished more than most people can only hope to achieve in a lifetime. She earned multiple medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, won the 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars and recently became the New York Times best-selling author of I Got This: To Gold and Beyond. And somehow, she even found time to join us at the BlogHer17 conference last summer for an unforgettable panel discussion with other extraordinary female athletes.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Hernandez, and she gave us all the details on her healthy lifestyle, family traditions and thoughts on Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
SheKnows: What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Laurie Hernandez: I stretch and think about the day ahead while listening to music and then eat a healthy breakfast.
Typically, I check my phone to make sure I don't have any missed calls or important texts!
SK: Do you meditate, journal or have any other sort of emotional wellness routine?
LH: Absolutely. My meditation consists of just listening to good music and being outside. Prayer plays a big part too. I keep a journal to remember the many experiences, emotions and opportunities that I am so gratefully blessed to get to meet and experience.
SK: Everyone knows your favorite motto, “You got this.” It’s such a simple, yet powerful positive affirmation. Do you have any other positive affirmations you like to use when you’re not training or performing?
LH: I can use "I Got This" for anything really! Whether it's that extra mile in the gym or having to do something I don't like, I'll say words like this to myself.
SK: What’s your go-to healthy breakfast?
LH: I'm in love with egg whites and wheat toast! That's been my go-to lately.
SK: What is your preferred way to eat eggs? Scrambled? Fried? Hard-boiled?
LH: I'm a big fan of scrambled eggs, but boiled eggs are great for on-the-go. I’ve teamed up with the American Egg Board and one of my new go-to recipes are egg pops! They are delicious and so easy to make. Plus, one large egg contains 6 grams of protein, so it’s nutritious too!
SK: What’s your favorite healthy snack?
LH: My favorite healthy snack is definitely apples, peanut butter and boiled eggs.
SK: You have spoken a lot about your Puerto Rican heritage. Is there a Puerto Rican dish that’s especially meaningful to you?
LH: My favorite is definitely my mom’s Spanish rice with an egg on it! She would make this dish especially for holidays, so I have great memories associated with it.
SK: Any dishes/foods you absolutely can’t stand?
LH: I'm not the biggest fan of olives and mushrooms. Ever since I was a kid, they've been my least favorite.
SK: What are some of your favorite Puerto Rican traditions that have been passed down to you from your parents?
LH: The biggest tradition is playing music, dancing and getting together with family over the holidays. We've kept that tradition for years and hopefully for many more!
SK: If you had to describe your family in three words, what would they be?
LH: Loving, caring and grateful.
SK: You've been a big supporter of Hurricane Maria relief and individuals have been donating their money to try to help Puerto Rico. How do you feel about the U.S. government's response to the disaster?
LH: I think in tough times like these, we as people and especially as Americans need to come together and help one another in any way shape or form.
SK: You have accomplished so much at a young age — more than most people can even dream of. If you could give young girls one piece of advice you wish you had gotten when you were younger, what would you tell them?
LH: My advice would be to go for your goals! Sometimes they might seem scary and out of reach, but it's absolutely worth it when you succeed. You'll never know until you try.