Miami Heat dancers support the team — and keep a pretty intense physical regimen.
Four-year dancer Taryn Dawn has three hours of dancing followed by one hour of conditioning, four days a week. Performances during games are bonus workouts.
The best way to stay motivated? She recommends having a workout buddy. In her case, her sister's also on the squad.
Q: How tough is it being a Heat dancer?
A: Dance practice is from Monday to Thursday, if we don't have a game, from 7 to 10 p.m. The whole time we're there, we're dancing full out. Feels like we're running a marathon. And then we usually work out from 10 to 11 on top of that.
We get the best workouts from dancing, using our neck muscles, legs, arms, abs, entire bodies.
Q: What do the workouts include?
A: We all warm up together. Each girl takes a turn warming the girls up, then we go across the floor with kicks, leaps, things we work on from the time we start dancing. That gets our hearts pumping. And we stretch.
My favorite workout is in intervals. I like to mix it up with 15 minutes of stairs in the arena, all the way up and down. That'll be three times up and down, then three times up and down skipping a stair, and then it gets tougher.
Then from there we'll switch to a more muscular workout like abs or squats and then back to the stairs.
Sometimes we do different stations. We'll do 15-minute sequences of weights and then 15-minute sequences of suicides (runs) up and down the court. Then lunges, bear walks.
Q: How do you condition in the off-season?
A: Our trainer will send a routine of exercises to do. I'm lucky my sister is on the team this year. She helps me keep motivated, and we exercise together and get ready for photo shoots. I like cardio, especially stairs. I usually don't lift weights on my own.
Q: Where did you dance before the Heat?
A: I went to Florida State University and was a Golden Girl for their basketball team for four years. Before that, since I was 8 years old, I've been competing in dance competitions. Jazz is my favorite style.
Q: What's your typical daily diet?
A: It differs from day to day because I like to change it up. When we have something important coming up like a photo shoot, I'll be more strict.
In the mornings, I have breakfast right away: coffee and a piece of toast, maybe a muffin. For lunch, either a light sandwich like turkey or maybe some chicken or broccoli and some other vegetables. Dinner, I try to have a salad. I try to eat the carbs during the day.
The hardest part is coming home after practice. I'll eat egg whites or frozen grapes. Put the grapes in the freezer and it makes you feel like you're eating a dessert.
Q: Ever cheat from your diet?