“So what do I decide to do? I decide to go to a trampoline park. And they had this American Ninja Warrior Course.” Hough had completed the course during the actual competition, but at the gym he fell. “I landed weird on my foot. I basically sprained my foot.”
Luckily, Hough is a world class athlete and has since bounced back. Yet, even though he’s only 34, injury remains a serious threat for the dancer.
Hough fights professional fatigue by working out five times a week, incorporating yoga, strength-training, and cardio. He also mixes in some outdoor biking, boxing, swimming, and MMA. Of course, dancing itself is a workout, and so you won’t see Hough hitting the gym when he’s traveling and performing. Still, he wants to stay conditioned all the time.
“People say, ‘oh, there’s a shelf life for an athlete.’ [But you should be] defying the odds or creating your own destiny. Not just falling into the habit of: I’m getting older now, I gotta [stop].”
And so Hough’s current goal is endurance. He knows how brutal dancing can be when he’s not cardio ready. “The eighth round of a 12-hour day and it’s the final dance and I’m dying. All your technique and all your hours of training go out the window and you’re just surviving. And that’s a terrible feeling. It’s a terrible feeling when you’ve worked so hard and all this technique and nuance goes out the window when you lose that energy. So for me it’s about energy.”
Energy also means consistency in the kitchen. It’s a “very LA-looking fridge” full of oat milk, celery juice, avocados, pickles, and kombucha. It’s a “pretty boring” diet of chicken, fish, and vegetables. But Hough needs the consistency: every day on the tour will have a menu consisting of quinoa, chicken, and sweet potatoes.
Of course, there will be plenty of temptation in Vegas. (Hough is a sucker for movie theatre candy.) But he can rest easy knowing, at least, that there won’t be any slopes in Sin City. He won’t be snowboarding for some time.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health