olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen how athletes train

How Athletes Train: Gwen Jorgensen

Like the rest of the world, we have Gwensanity. Here's how she dominates.

Gwen Jorgensen’s unrelenting performance at the Rio Olympics resulted in the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in the triathlon.

She clenched the unprecedented victory after she surged away from defending champion Nicola Spirig of Switzerland during the final leg of the race in what appeared to be an effortless move. But behind Jorgensen’s historic win is a deliberate daily agenda. It has also steered her to the record for most individual titles on the World Triathlon Series circuit by a woman with 17 career victories.

To successfully navigate the 1,500-meter swim, 38.48-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run requires multiple training sessions throughout the day along with calculated eating. Jorgensen also makes a concerted effort to revive her muscles daily so she can repeat the grind. Below, the athlete gives a glimpse into her daily routine: 

The Training Regimen: I go for a 30- to 50-minute run as soon as I wake up. Then around 10:30-12, I’ll have a group swim anywhere from 3 to 5K. I do another session in the afternoon, sometimes another run and usually a bike ride between an hour and a half to three hours. I’ll also do gym work involving a lot of glute activation and core. I have some dumbbells, but I’m a little shy to tell you the amount—they’re super light. I do a lot of band exercises, and I also use TRX. It’s nice because you can travel with it anywhere.

The Nutrition Regimen: I’m always hungry! But I’m always eating. I’m constantly trying to keep on or put on weight. For breakfast, I’ll have a couple of cups of oats with coconut oil, peanut butter, nuts, fruit and poached egg on top. I love it is because it keeps me full and satisfied through my next workout.

Lunch is normally a huge portion of rice, red meat, vegetables and some sort of sauce or cheese. I stay fueled before my third or fourth training session by having a snack: peanut butter, cottage cheese or full-fat yogurt, no sugar added, and fruit. Dinner is always lighter: potatoes, vegetables, cheese, a big salad, meat, chicken or fish. I’ll have another snack before bed, something with high protein, either yogurt or cottage cheese. I also eat dark chocolate after breakfast, lunch and dinner, but just a little square. I don’t want to restrict anything in my diet so I don’t.

The Regeneration Regimen: I wear compression gear when I travel, but the biggest thing I do for recovery is to get a massage or physio work every other day.

What’s Next: The Island House Invitational Triathlon in the Bahamas (October) before making my marathon debut at the New York City Marathon (November)

Hear from more world-class triathletes: 

How Athletes Train: Non Stamford

How Athletes Train: Timothy O'Donnell 

How Athletes Train: Linsey Corbin