Chill Chat

The Recovery Practices That Keep Simone Biles Going

The Olympic athlete reveals her go-to self-care rituals.

Simone Biles on her wellness routine and workout regimen.
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In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with stars to discuss all things wellness, from their favorite skin care products to their hacks for getting a good night’s sleep. Here, four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shares her morning routine, favorite podcast, and the one salad topping she can’t live without.

Simone Biles is unquestionably one of the greatest athletes of all time. The 26-year-old is the most decorated gymnast in the world with seven Olympic medals — including four golds — and a total of 30 World Championship medals.

After taking two years off, she added a few more wins to her collection at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, where she also became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition.

To be that good, Biles says she stays completely dedicated to her sport. “I train for six, sometimes seven hours a day and only have Sundays off,” she tells Bustle.

Still, the gymnast finds time for date nights with her husband, football player Jonathan Owens, and she always has energy for her two French bulldogs, Lilo and Rambo. As a big-time dog lover, she’s partnered with dog food brand Nulo for its Fuel Incredible campaign.

Below, Biles talks about her workout routine, the recovery hacks that keep her going, and the sweet tradition she shares with her husband.

How do you like to start your day?

I typically get up around 6:15 and let my dogs out, and then I start getting ready for practice. Practice starts at 7, so I have to be out the door by 6:45. I usually don’t eat breakfast, but if I do, it’s toast or a boiled egg, or I’ll grab a granola bar.

What does your workout routine look like?

I’m in the gym for six to seven hours a day. We just came off the World Championships, so I’ve been training for that. On a typical day, I’ll do lots of conditioning to get ready for competitions.

My workouts are all based on gymnastics conditioning, so it’s a little bit different from a typical gym routine. We’ll do bodyweight exercises, rope climbing, casts, and other exercises that mimic the moves used in gymnastics.

What’s on your workout playlist?

With gymnastics you can’t really wear headphones, so my music plays in the entire gym. If we’re just working out, we’ll put on top hits because there are so many different age groups in there, and we need to keep it kid-friendly. But if I’m getting ready for a competition, then I’ll go for something more upbeat, like hip-hop or rap.

If you had to choose, would you prefer Pilates or yoga?

I’ve tried Pilates about three times with my husband because he swears by it, but he also has a little bit more time to do it in the off-season than I do. We did intense Pilates, which was very difficult, but I did enjoy it.

How do you recover?

My husband and I got a cold tub for our backyard. I haven’t done a cold plunge yet, but once he gets back to Houston, we’re going to get it set up.

I also get a lot of bodywork done, like massages, acupuncture needles, KT Tape — all that good stuff. And I like to soak in a hot tub.

What does a go-to meal look like for you?

I put a lot of focus on fueling my body, so I eat a lot of boiled eggs, toast, granola bars, and fruit throughout the day. For lunch, I’ll eat more proteins, like chicken or salmon. And then the same for dinner, but I’ll add grains, rice, potatoes, veggies — stuff like that.

Do you have a go-to recipe that you turn to?

I make a good lemon pepper salmon with rice and veggies. And if I make salad, I have to have feta on top.

What’s your favorite form of self-care?

I love to get facials. I go to an aesthetician every four to six weeks in downtown Houston who is amazing.

How do you deal with stress and burnout?

To stay grounded and relaxed, and to keep my head on straight, I try to do therapy almost every Thursday. We’ll talk for about 100 minutes. I think that’s really helped keep me centered this year as I’ve been competing again.

How do you wind down at the end of the day?

Every night after practice, I try to sit outside with my dogs for an hour so that they can play fetch and get their energy out.

I also FaceTime my husband, and then I’ll catch up on YouTube videos or podcasts. I like Call Her Daddy.

I don’t have much downtime, so I like to keep it simple. I’ll get home, cook dinner, and then suddenly it’s time for bed — and I repeat the process all over again.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.