Whether you’re a weekend warrior or new to fitness, Anna Kournikova wants to help you make 2012 your healthiest year ever.
The 29-year-old former professional tennis player and certified personal trainer recently motivated The Biggest Loser’s over-50 group to lose weight and improve their health on season 12. She also underwent her own transformation after retiring from the tennis circuit in 2003.
“When I competed professionally, I consumed 5,000 calories” a day, Kournikova says. “I used to play tennis for six hours each day and my shape was a lot bulkier.”
Today, the Russian native concentrates on her overall health rather than worrying about her dress size or the numbers on the scale.
“Fitness and good nutrition should be a regular part of your life, not just something you do to lose weight,” Kournikova says.
If improving your health and getting active are among your New Year’s resolutions, Kournikova shares these tips for making your goals a reality:
Get moving. “You don’t have to join a gym to exercise,” Kournikova says. “Walking is a great activity. Take a walk around your local school’s track or climb the stairs at home or outdoors. If the weather is bad, try working out to a DVD or even playing an active Wii game.”
Plan ahead. “I usually take yogurt, fruit, peanut butter or hummus with me when I know I’m going to have a busy day,” Kournikova says. “It allows me to have a healthy snack and not just grab something on the run. I also try to eat more fresh whole and unprocessed foods and if I know I’m going to have pizza for dinner, I fill up on veggies and protein during the day.”
Don’t give up. “A lot of people want to lose weight quickly and get discouraged or even give up if they don’t see immediate results,” Kournikova says. “Set small realistic goals, such as walking for 15 minutes a day or to initially lose five pounds. If you encounter a setback, get right back into your routine, and tell yourself you can make this happen and your reward will be more energy and better health.”
Master portion control. “I don’t believe in restrictive diets,” Kournikova says. “If you forbid yourself to have carbs or sweets, you just crave them more. Instead practice balance and moderation—if you reduce the size of your meals you can lose weight without making a lot of drastic changes to your lifestyle.”
Find a support system. “On The Biggest Loser you can see how having a buddy system helps motivate contestants to meet their health goals,” Kournikova says. “Find a friend who also wants to improve their health and can offer you encouragement, or join an online or in-person support groups to meet others with similar goals who can help you to stay on track.”