Even though she was the second overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, Mystics guard Alana Beard has lived up to all of the expectations. As a rookie, she led her team to the 2004 Playoffs by turning up her play down the stretch. She was then an All-Star in 2005 and named to the 2005 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team. This past season, she averaged 14.1 points per game and increased her numbers in virtually every statistical category after a stellar rookie year. She is on the short list of players who will be considered for the United States team in the 2006 World Championships and 2008 Olympics. So just how does this top athlete keep her body in shape?
Beard will be returning to play in Korea during the offseason.|
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"I would call it the physio-squat, where you use the physio ball [against a wall] and weights - dumbbells - at your sides. I think it's very light on your knees but it's very effective, more than squatting with the bar."
your favorite exercise for upper body?
"Definitely anything dealing with the arms because you always like your arms to look good. So, I like to do curls and bench press. I do everything with dumbbells; I don't really use the bar that much. So, anything strengthening and defining my arms helps."
your favorite cardio exercise?
"I don't do anything for cardio. Just kidding. I get a lot out of just running up and down the court. I get a ball and I just run; I do sprints up and down the court. I think that's the best way to get cardio. And then if I need a little extra I'll jump on the treadmill or go outside and run. I love running outside, doing two or three miles here and there."
How do you work out on your off days during the season?
"Coming in and working out with my trainer and getting a lot of shots up."
Q. So now
that we are in the offseason, what will you be doing to stay in shape?
"In the offseason, [I do] basically the same thing. I do weights at least four times a week and take a day off in between those two days - one day is upper body, one day is lower body. A lot of conditioning with running. I get a lot of conditioning out of, of course, playing pickup [games] and then running miles every day. But, other than that, that's it.
Q. Is there an exercise you don't like
doing or have to force yourself to complete?
"It would have to be the running the miles. Getting out there and just running. I don't [listen to] music; it's hard because the earphones keep falling out of your ears. You try to pick up speed and they fall. So, I just run and I hate it, but I've got to do it."
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into better shape for
"You have to be consistent. You can't do it one day and not do it the next, especially when you're first starting out. It has to be consistent. A lot of people say, 'Take time off,' but if you're just getting started with basketball, you've got to be consistent every day. Then as you progress with your training you can then probably take days off. Being on the court and getting the extra conditioning in is important."
Q. When did you first start
taking fitness seriously?
"When I got to college. It was the summer before I went to college because that's when I got my summer workout from Duke and they said, 'This is what you need to do.' So, I did every single thing they said, every single day. I felt really good going into freshman year. It wasn't a shock to my body but the fact that we had to do so much and so many new things was a new experience for me."