In her first season in San Antonio, Becky Hammon averaged a career-high 18.8 points and was second in the MVP voting.
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Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon just completed her ninth season in the WNBA, but many would argue that, at age 30, she's just entering the prime of her career.

How does the All-Star stay in such phenomenal shape? Hammon spoke recently with about her fitness regimen.

Q. How important is fitness and exercise in your life?
"It's what we do most of the time! We are working out all of the time, either playing the game, working out and lifting or teaching others how to play or lift. It's a full-time job. You don't get to take off the nine months out of the year when you are not playing (in the WNBA)."

Q. Let's get into some of your favorite exercises. What's your favorite exercise for the lower body? What results does this exercise help you to achieve?
"My favorite exercise for my lower body is lunges. It helps me tone my hamstrings and quads. It doesn't matter how much I work out, lunges always make me feel sore, so I know they're doing something."

Q. What about your favorite exercise for the upper body?
"Everyone always goes for the muscles that they can see - the biceps and triceps - but I like doing a lot of shoulder exercises to get them strong. There are a lot of shoulder injuries in basketball."

Q. What's your favorite cardio exercise?
"I just like to play basketball… pick-up and such. I will get on a treadmill and run if I have to, but I'd rather play ball for five hours than run for 20 minutes. I do like the elliptical machine, though."

Q. How do you work out on your off days during the season?
"Right now, if I get a day off, I'll take it. Most of the time I'll try and practice, get in a little upper-body and lower-body lifting. During the season, you just want to maintain and build (your fitness) gradually over a long period of time."

Q. What do you do to stay in shape during the offseason?
"You can hit it a little bit harder in the offseason: lift a lot heavier and try and improve your strength. If you want to get ripped up, you do a lot of reps at a lower weight. If you want more power and strength and bulk, do less reps with more weight."

Q. What's your toughest fitness challenge?
"I don't like doing abs even though I know you have to do them. They take up time. So I usually do it at the end or periodically throughout. But there are times when I've been at the gym for two or three hours already and I just want to leave, so sometimes I'll skip it."

"We are working out all of the time," says Hammon, "either playing the game, working out and lifting or teaching others how to play."
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Q. Is there a fitness accomplishment you're most proud of?
"No. I just go at my own pace and do what works for my own body. Different bodies react to different stimuli. It's just a matter of going along, maintaining and getting stronger."

Q. What music do you listen to while you're working out?
"I have an MP3 player, but I don't typically wear it to work out. I mostly listen before games or on long road trips. When I'm in the gym, whatever they have in the radio is fine. Unless it's really slow and classical."

Q. Is there a fitness product on TV that makes you laugh?
"The EZ Rider. You sit and go in a motion, up and back, and have the hands on the handle bars making a thrusting motion back and forth. I have no idea what it does or what it is supposed to help. But it's funny. I think they call it that because it looks easy to ride it."

Q. Is there a certain type of meal that you like to eat before games? Do you have any healthy snacks you like to eat?
"Chicken and pasta. I know every athlete says that, but it's important that you get some protein and carbs before a performance. I like to eat three to four hours before game time and then snack right before a game. I'll eat whatever I can get my hands on, usually an energy bar and a Coke. I am a cola addict."

Q. When did you start playing basketball?
"I've played basketball my entire life, so that has meant a lot of working out. But I actually started lifting weights in college. Now they have programs in high school, which is good for women, but my generation didn't have that."

Q. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into better shape for playing basketball?
"When you are young, you can be involved in a lot of different sports. Track and soccer help build up cardiovascular development and people are starting to lift weights at a younger age. I'm not against that, but you just have to be careful because your body is still growing. Do that with supervision. But really, play a lot of sports, figure out what you like and go with it."

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