You probably recognize Tori Bowie from her podium finishes at the Rio Olympics last year. As the anchor for the gold medal-winning 4×100-meter relay run team — scoring the second fastest time in history along with English Gardner, Allyson Felix and Tianna Bartoletta — she quickly earned worldwide recognition for her speed on the track. (A silver in the 100-meter dash and a bronze in the 200-meter helped, too.)
But you’d never guess Bowie only started training and professionally competing in sprints in 2014. Before that, she spent her NCAA and post-collegiate years dominating the long jump. Then, while watching the 2012 Games with her grandma, the 100- and 200-meter events came on. Bowie examined the women on TV and thought, “I can run faster.” Soon after, she was moving from small-town Mississippi to Clarmont, FL to work with a sprint coach.
Missing the Mark, Finding New Motivation
Bowie’s performance in Rio didn’t go exactly as she hoped. She thought she’d easily snag the top spot in the 100- or 200-meter dash. “I think I was a bit cocky [going into Rio],” says the 26-year-old. “I was expecting to win gold and I fell short. I’m still so proud, but not getting that gold medal has motivated me more than anything in life. I’m almost happy that it didn’t happen.”
Leading up to the Games, Bowie says she wasn’t as focused on training, often dodging her coach to avoid strength sessions. “But now I’ve come back and I’m giving my 100 percent, so I’m really looking forward to this season.”
Looking Toward the Finish Line
One glimpse at her training schedule, and you know Bowie’s a woman of her word. Monday through Friday she works out from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., spending about half the time on the track doing both speed (repeating 80-meter sprints at 75 percent effort, then 100 percent) and endurance runs. (That means about 250 to 300 meters for a sprinter.) On Wednesdays, she’s in the pool for her recovery work — “freestyle is the hardest exercise in the world,” she says — and/or practicing yoga.
Bowie spends the other half of her workouts in the gym, doing Olympic lifts most days of the week. “I finally learned the positions recently, after about a year of working on them,” says Bowie, who’s been mastering power cleans, deadlifts and push presses. She also does core work like hanging leg raises and plenty of planks. Just check out her workout below for how long she has to hold ‘em!
Tori Bowie’s 20-Minute Hotel Workout
Just because Bowie’s on the road, doesn’t mean she can skimp on training. On a recent trip to NYC, Bowie shared her hotel workout exclusively with Life by Daily Burn. Try this workout the next time you’re traveling. Warm-up with about 10 minutes on the treadmill, jogging at an easy, conversational pace. Then kick off this bodyweight routine — no equipment or even much space required. You’ll do as many rounds as possible of each set before taking your 60-second break. And don’t worry, even Olympians love to hate burpees as much as the rest of us.