Ask an Athlete: An Interview with U.S. Gymnast Jake Dalton

Not a fan of setbacks? U.S. Olympic Gymnast and four-time World medalist Jake Dalton experienced his fair share of them. After withdrawing from the 2015 P&G Championships due to a shoulder tear, Jake plans to come out on top with a vengeance. He hasn't stopped exercising, either. Jake announced that he'll be sharing his workout routines on PumpUp (@jdalton775) over the next few weeks. PumpUp chatted with Jake about training, motivation, and maintaining a positive mindset while on the road to recovery.

What’s it like earning a living as a gymnast? It's definitely not easy, but it also has its benefits. We do not get million dollar contracts like the popular sports, but we do get to compete in competitions like the Olympic Games. That, to me, is better than getting a million dollar contract. We get to travel all over the world to compete with some of our best friends.

Was gymnastics love at first try or did you learn to love it? I've loved gymnastics from the beginning. I'm usually like that: I love anything new. But with gymnastics, I never get bored because there is always something new to learn. Whether it's a skill or perfecting a routine, you always have something to work on.

How much time do you spend training and what's your routine right now? I do about an hour of strength and conditioning in the morning, then about another 2-4 hours of skill work in the afternoon. This is followed by about 30-45 min of strength training again. We work out 6 days a week and take Saturdays off.  In between workouts, I work on my clothing line ( and I also like to engage with my fans on social media.

Tell me about what you eat while you're doing all this training. I usually have the same breakfast every morning. I usually have between three and five egg whites, half a cup of oatmeal and maybe some fruit. For lunch, I like to have something light, like a chicken salad. After my workout, I have a protein shake. By the time dinner comes around, I'm ready for either more chicken or salmon with sweet potatoes or asparagus. I like to eat healthy and it is extremely important during training.

You experienced a shoulder tear that prevented you from competing in the P&G National Championships. What's your best advice for anybody who's experiencing a setback? My best advice is to stay positive and find ways to continue working on the body parts that are healthy. For example, today I did cardio followed by one-arm push ups, one-arm curls, one-arm bench presses with free weights and some other exercises. I just like to stay active and I love the feeling of working out.

Do you get nervous when you compete? How do you overcome mental roadblocks during competitions? I do get nervous, but I like that. During most events, it helps. But sometimes, I need to calm down before I compete. If I have a roadblock, I look back at all the training I did to get there and I just trust that God’s plan for me will work out no matter what happens.

What’s your favorite aspect about the PumpUp community and what you hope to accomplish using PumpUp? I love how positive the community is. Everyone is always positive and helping others on the app and that is the way I try to live: by being polite, positive and helping others.

Who or what is your biggest source of motivation? My family. My family has done so much to help me through all the years of training. When I hit a rough patch, I think about all of the sacrifices they made to get where I am today. That always helps me to push a little more.

What music pumps you up? I like either rock or hip hop during workouts. Anything that is fast and has a good beat.

If you had a superpower, what would it be? I would want to fly. I think that would be the best superpower.

What's in your gym bag? I always have a water bottle for my Advocare pre workout and a shaker bottle for protein after. I also carry a pair of shorts— in the gymnastics gym, you have to have less baggy clothing. I also have grips for gymnastics (we need them during workouts).

Follow Jake Dalton and his Road to Rio on PumpUp @jdalton775 - he'll be sharing workout routines on his account!