There are many ways to live a healthy life. The Health Diaries is a weekly series about the habits that keep notable people living well.

Figure skater Adam Rippon, 28, won the bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and won over Americans’ hearts at the same time. He became the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics, and his comedic interviews made him a cultural icon. (When asked how excited he was to be at the Olympics, Rippon quipped, “On the spectrum from Reese Witherspoon to Elmo, I’m, like, excited at, like, a Meryl Streep.”) Off-season, Rippon is maintaining a busy schedule of media appearances and near-constant travel. He spoke to Medium about how he stays well on the road and the sheet masks he wishes he applied more often.


Every morning I wake up at about 7 a.m. I have to use an alarm clock, because if I were to wake up naturally, I would probably wake up around 8 a.m. and close my eyes for five minutes and wake up at 11 a.m.

The first thing I do after I wake up is go back to bed. I usually have an alarm set for 7 a.m., 7:15 a.m., and 7:30 a.m. I usually get out of bed at 7:30, and I try to go to the gym around 8 a.m. That’s my goal.

My eating habits have evolved a bit. When I was competing, I would eat really clean and really healthy, because that was my focus. I’d have tons of vegetables, and I’d throw some protein in there and eat carbs to recover from all the workouts I was doing. When the Olympics were over, I was eating whatever I wanted, because it was like I had 18 years of pent-up aggression toward anything that had fat in it. I was having a little of everything.

In the past two months, I’ve been trying to find a happy medium. You feel so much better when you eat well. I also take a daily multivitamin.

One awful habit I’m trying to break is sometimes I won’t eat anything all day, and then I will just eat candy. It’s bad, but it’s delicious.

I’ve stopped worrying about having perfect days. I used to think, “Oh well, I fucked up this day, so I might as well just go to McDonald’s and start tomorrow.” I realize it’s okay if your day is not perfect or you didn’t do everything you wanted. You don’t have to wait until the next day to start over. You can eat the doughnut because you want it and not feel like the day is ruined. I used to think I was off-track because I had one doughnut, so I’d have the whole box. I am sort of an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

I’m trying to get better at drinking tons of water, which I don’t do. I don’t know how I am not at the hospital dehydrated. I also have a goal of “I want to do a sheet mask so my skin is glowing.” But then I will fall asleep on my hotel room floor with makeup on. So it doesn’t always work out, but the intention is there to have a more elaborate skin care routine.

To get exercise, I try to go to the gym. I skated last weekend for the first time in a while and almost dropped dead. I am trying to go to the gym every chance that I get. I started doing a lot more weight training. As a figure skater, I was really avoiding anything upper body, because to have that sport-specific body, you needed to be really lean and really tiny so you can jump high, skate fast, and be as light as possible. Now that’s not really the focus. Now I go to the gym and focus on things I feel are going to make me really like my body. I can focus on aesthetic goals, which is fun.

My nightly routine is as soon as I get home or back to my hotel, I try to take a shower, brush my teeth, and wash my face. Because I love to procrastinate and go on my phone to look at Instagram and Twitter, I try to do all of that first. Then, when I am inevitably playing Candy Crush in my bed, I will at least have done everything to feel good the next morning.

A wellness trend I’m into is the sheet masks. I love them, and I love those gold under-eye patches. I think they are magic. I put them on and take them off and am like, “Oh my God, I’ve lost weight in my face.”

A ritual I do weekly or biweekly is make a list of things that I want to accomplish, whether it’s do a five-minute meditation three times throughout the week or write two emails to someone. I get so much satisfaction from having a checklist and checking something complete. I might write down “take out the trash” — even though I am about to do it — just so I can check it off.

It took me a while to gain confidence, but I try to put my doubts about myself aside and go into situations knowing that I will be myself and be funny and personable. People will like me, and if they don’t like me, it’s not my fault. I try to remember that whenever I am meeting new people.

The best way to handle nerves is to embrace them. Throughout my competitive career, I used to be afraid to be nervous and think, “God, I wish I didn’t feel this way.” Even at the Olympics, there were moments where I felt like, “This sucks, and I feel like I am going to have diarrhea.” I’ve learned that those nerves are good. They mean you’re alive and you’re present. The nerves are just adrenaline, and adrenaline helps you step up your game to do something you can’t normally do. It’s like your superpower.

When it comes to social media, I’ve always taken a day or two off, even before the Olympics. I don’t want to be glued to my phone all the time, but it’s something I really love, and I always want to make sure I have fun doing it. I post things I am passionate about, and it’s always truly my voice.

One of the best ways to deal with body-image issues is, for me, writing things down. I always have a notebook in my backpack. I think you can write things down that you like and that are going to make you feel better. Write down things that you like about yourself and focus on them. There’s no one in the entire world who is perfect. I mean, sometimes I say I am, but I say it to trick people. I suggest people do that, too.