Working Out With... Tina Thompson

Tina Thompson just completed her 11th season in the WNBA with the Houston Comets, one in which she averaged 18.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and a career-high 2.8 assists per game. How did she celebrate the end of another All-WNBA campaign? By joining up with the USA Basketball Women's National Team at the FIBA Americas Championship in Chile, where she led the team to a gold medal, earning the U.S. qualification to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Thompson also has a 2½-year-old boy named Dylan, who she takes nearly everywhere.

So how does the 32-year-old forward/mom stay in such remarkable shape? With a strict diet and fitness plan, of course. Want to read more? caught up with the four-time WNBA champion recently to discuss her offseason training regimen.

Q. What's your favorite exercise for lower body?
"I am big into the EFX machine. It is one of those elliptical machines that you can get on and work on every muscle of your body depending on what kind of program you are on. I do a lot of leg curls and straight leg lifts to support my knees. Jumping and running as much as we do in basketball, it is important to keep that patella tendon intact as well as the muscles surrounding it."

Q. What about for the upper body? What's your favorite exercise?
"I'm not a big weightlifter, so I use some of the machines. I definitely do some work with dumbbells and curls. But nothing as far as extreme bodybuilding."

Q. What's your favorite cardio exercise?
"I stay away from the treadmill and the bike as much as possible. I try and get on the elliptical as often as I can. I do a lot of abs because the core is the center of your body. With a good core, the rest of your body just falls into place."

Q. What will you do to stay in shape during the offseason?
"I am on the elliptical maybe five times a week depending on how my workout is going."

Q. What's the toughest thing about your fitness routine? Is there something you see as being a real challenge?
"Lunges and squats. I absolutely despise them. Every day that they are in my routine, I just think to myself, 'Oh gosh, I can't believe I have to do this today.' "

Q. Is there a song/type of music that you listen to while you're working out?
"I love music. We listen to music all the time. The stereo is always on. I like more up-tempo music, typically rap or something like that. It's very different from what I listen to off the court, which is a lot of R&B and more old-school stuff."

Q. Is there a fitness product on TV that makes you laugh?
"I don't know the name of it, but it's a machine that folds up and you put it under your bed. But you can do EVERYTHING on it. A bench press, curls, ab work, leg work. It's just metal and strings. And if you do eight minutes a day, you're the fittest person alive. I think that is absolutely unbelievable, because I have longer and tougher workouts than that on a regular basis and I am not in the shape of some of those people on the commercials. It's too funny."

Q. Is there a certain meal that you like to eat before games?
"Usually, the night before or in a pregame meal, I'll have pasta, chicken or fish. And definitely vegetables. I don't eat red meat or pork, so it's something like poultry and pasta for the carbohydrates."

Q. Is there a fitness accomplishment you're really proud of?
"Yes, but not from a perspective of how much or how high I can go. It's more about maintaining my strength. Many of my teammates keep track of what they can bench press, but I'm not into that."