I got the chance to conduct an interview with no other than Jake Dalton.
Jake is a professional American gymnast who has already won 4 medals in World Championships. Above that, he proudly represented the United States at the Summer Olympics 2012 in London. Without doubt, Jake’s skills are outstanding. Let me show you YouTube movie in which Jake Dalton demonstrates his expertise:
As Jake is active on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, he entertains and motivates thousands of sports fans and his audience is constantly growing. In his posts he does not only share general fitness advices and tips on how to develop gymnastics skills, but he also covers topics like diet, recovery, supplements and his non-fitness related hobbies, which are cars and bikes. His wife, of course, is also often mentioned and shown on picture, and not to forget his dog. As a professional gymnast, physical fitness, weight management, a proper diet and recovery are indeed very important. In fact, Jake used his knowledge to get certified as Personal Trainer. Let’s find out how Jake stays in such good shape and how the Olympic athlete fuels his body to perform at such a high level.
How much time do you spend in the gym on a weekly basis?
I usually spend most of my time at the gym. I will do about an hour of conditioning in the morning then we go back for more of a gymnastics workout in the afternoon for about 3-5 hours. So it depends on the day and the training period we are in, whether we are doing routines or just skills. So probably anywhere between 30-40 hours a week probably
How does a regular day in the gym look like?
An hour of strength in the morning includes a circuit done for cardio and strength. Basically a HIIT workout based on gymnastics skills. Then in the afternoon I will spend about 3-4 hours practicing the other events/skills or routines. I usually end with some more specific strength on rings and then I like to have a protein shake when I stretch at the end of workout too.
Which one is your favorite event and why?
My favorite is probably floor. Although I like different events when I am learning a new skill but floor is probably my favorite. There are just so many variations of skills and combinations you can put together so it makes it really fun.
You’re in great physical shape. Is that all coming from bodyweight moves or do you lift weights on regular basis?
It started from all bodyweight. I do more weights now just because I want to get better at rings so I am trying to utilize weights for rings as well.
Would you say your aesthetic physique is a byproduct of your performance or do you sometime work out for aesthetic reasons?
I think my physique started from my gymnastics performances and workouts but over the last three years I have started really enjoying working out for a aesthetic reason. I love being in good shape and it can only help my performance in the gym so why not continue.
Working on certain muscles without getting too sore the next day seems to be a challenge. What actions do you take for recovery?
I like to think that nutrition has a big factor in recovery. I usually try to get either food or at least a protein shake in right after I workout to fuel my body. I also think sleep is very important. I cant really remember the last time I was up past midnight. I usually am in bed around 10 and get up about 7. Sometimes we have to get up for 6am workouts so I make sure to be in bed around 10 for that too.
How do you keep your flexibility while gaining strength at the same time?
Flexibility is like anything else. As long as you work at it and you’re consistent with it then it will improve. It is hard the more muscle you try to build but as long as you stretch everyday it will help.
Could you tell us what you eat on a daily basis?
- Breakfast: 4 egg whites, strawberries and ½ cup of oatmeal
- Snack: 2 hard boiled egg whites on a small wheat toast
- Lunch: 4-6 oz chicken or ground turkey, brown rice
- Snack: protein shake
- Dinner: salmon/chicke/steak, salad and sweet potato
- Snack: beef jerky
My diet does change a little in off-season. I allow myself to have some more treats. When I am in training I really dial it in and stay on track.
I know you’re an ambassador of AdvoCare. What is your supplementation like and what do you like about them?
I love that they have their products tested by informed choice. It is nice to know what you are taking is safe. I take muscle gain for their protein, omega plex for fatty acids, spark for pre workout, and bio charge for BCAA’s.
Not a long time ago, you had a shoulder injury. What was the reason for it and what actions to you take to avoid injuries?
I had a cyst that was pinching a nerve and it was caused from a small slap tear in my labrum. The cyst is just something that happens and they don’t really know why it appeared other than the fluid from the labrum. I really try to stretch before I workout to keep my body loose. I also use a foam roller to roll out my muscles.
In Calisthenics and street workout, full planche is considered as the most powerful skill. What advices do you give to someone who wants to learn the planche?
For something like that I would say you just have to build a foundation of strength. Start in a tuck planche and hold that. Build up how long you can do that and also doing the push ups. I like the idea of maxing out then repeat it a few times. This helps you challenge your max number and build it up.
What are the most common mistakes people do in terms of training and diet in your opinion?
They over look the nutrition side of things. You cannot outwork a bad diet. You have to have nutrition on point and be consistent. You have to focus on nutrition and workouts. They go hand in hand. Also HIIT workouts are great for burning fat.
Jake, you’ve started gymnastics at a very young age. Let’s imagine someone wants to start gymnastics with age 25 or even older. What routine do you recommend to them? How often should they work out, and what exercises should they do regularly to become the strength that is needed to be good at gymnastics?
I would say start with the very basic skills. Things like handstands against a wall, chin ups and push ups and planches. A lot of bodyweight work. You have to learn how to use your bodyweight and balance it all at the same time. It is a very different kind of workout doing gymnastics and it can be very dangerous. Stretching will be another key factor.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. More interviews with other athletes are already on their way. Feel free to leave a feedback in the comment section.
Martin Blättler, Founder of GymPerformance