"The goal would be to start competing early next year, so that way I can hopefully make that 2020 team," she tells PEOPLE
Laurie Hernandez is back in the gym after some much-needed time off.
The 19-year-old athlete is training for her chance at joining the 2020 Olympic women’s gymnastics team, three years after winning a gold and silver medal as a member of the Final Five.
“After 2016, I really just needed, I think, a mental and physical break from gymnastics,” she tells PEOPLE while opening up about her partnership with Travelodge by Wyndham to launch the brand’s upcoming Adventure Responsibly campaign. “But late last year I decided it was my time to come back, and that I missed it dearly.”
Hernandez says she’s back to training full-time, which for her means six days a week, five hours a day. “The goal would be to start competing early next year, so that way I can hopefully make that 2020 team,” she explains.
The return hasn’t been easy, she admits, noting she’s been starting at ground zero in a lot of areas. “It was really like taking the rust off of me,” the teen explains. “But once we got everything moving, we’re now able to throw some of the bigger skills. And I just, I think I somehow love it more now than I did before.”
Despite the long hours, and the challenges on the world stage, Hernandez admits she has “no regrets” — “my life is so odd and so weird and also so cool … Once I turned pro I never really looked back. I have no regrets. I think that’s exactly where I wanted my life to go.”