While she didn’t place a medal in the 2012 London Olympics, U.S. artistic gymnast Nastia Liukin, 22, who has since retired from the Olympics, racked up silver medals in 2008 Beijing games for the individual uneven bars and balance bean events, as well as the team — not to mention a bronze medal for the floor exercise and a gold for the all-around.

All that success comes at the price of great discipline, however, as Liukin told Uinterview exclusively when she sat down with us to talk about how she keeps in Olympic shape.

“For me it’s really important to get enough protein in,” Liukin said. “I don’t really eat too many carbs; it’s more proteins and vegetables to make sure I have enough energy to get through, like, a seven hour workout — or, competitions sometimes run long. So it’s really important to always stay fueled, and also to drunk plenty of water. That’s been something that’s pretty essential — to make sure you’re hydrated at all times.”

While Liukin has pretty rigid ideas of what she should be eating, she doesn’t dwell too much on thinking about forbidden foods. “After the competition, I don’t know,” she told us. “I don’t know what I will splurge on … maybe, like, a cookie?”

Two years ago, Liukin was rumored to be dating Olympic figure skater and gold medalist Evan Lysacek, until Lysacek clarified that he and Liukin were just good friends.

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