Age and experience has brought about a certain wisdom in forward Nykesha Sales. Going into her seventh season with the Connecticut Sun franchise (formerly the Orlando Miracle), Sales takes her fitness and personal health very seriously both during the season as well as in the offseason.
Q. Do you have a favorite exercise for lower body and what does it help you achieve on the court?
I definitely love working on my legs. I always enjoy working on them because I think it is the strongest part of my body. It's easier to ham it up in the gym when you are around the guys. The kinds of exercises like squats and the floor press are my favorite. They help with explosiveness, minimize fatigue on shots and help me get up and down the floor.
Sales has been an All-Star in all six of her WNBA seasons.|
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My favorite exercise would have to be the chest press. I enjoy the bench press and the incline. Those exercises help with a little bit of everything. Good, strong passes and not being knocked around as easily.
Q. What's your favorite cardio exercise?
I am definitely a track girl. I like doing 200's. I hate running for 30 minutes and working out inside. I just can't do that. I hate the treadmills and stairmasters, but I love to run sprints on the track as well as do stairs and hills.
Q. What do you do to stay in shape during the offseason?
I stay in the gym, obviously, but I also eat well and don't start pigging out. Usually when you are resting, you like to rest on your diet. My main focus is that I eat even better in the offseason because we burn more calories during the season.
Q. What is your toughest fitness challenge?
I think the toughest challenge is doing it everyday when you don't have to. During the season, you have to go out there whether you want to or not. In the offseason, you don't have to do anything if you don't feel like it, so it's your responsibility to catch up. The more you do it back-to-back days, the easier it is when the season starts.
Q. Is there a particular fitness/exercise that you have to force yourself to do or just can't stand?
I hate when we do 5-on-0. Like six trips. It's a conditioning drill and I can't stand it. You're playing by yourself and there is no defense and you're just trying to make stuff up. It's just a lot!
Q. Is there a fitness accomplishment you're most proud of?
When I was in college, I was pretty bad at running time-outs. Since I have graduated, I have been able to get my time down from seven minutes to six minutes and thirty seconds. I was slow, but now this is great for me.
Q. How would you describe the role/importance of fitness and exercise in your life?
Not only does it help you physically, but it helps you mentally. A lot of people don't realize that it does make you feel better about yourself. You have a lot more energy. You feel better, you look better and you get more confidence.
Q. Is there a song/type of music that you listen to while you're working out?
Usually not. I'll listen to whatever they have playing in the gym. I told myself that I should start bringing my iPod to the gym. But for some reason, I kind of like slow music. I don't have a problem working out to any music. That might be weird because everyone likes to work with the loud music pumping. I can get in there and really concentrate with the slow music, too.
Q. Is there a fitness product on t.v. that makes you laugh the most?
There is one machine, I think it's for your thighs, and you get in there and just row. Please. Like I am going to sit there and do that for an hour.
Q. Is there a certain food/meal that you like to eat before games?
I love baked chicken and I try and throw a pasta in there and a vegetable every time. I stay away from fried food and lots of carbs. You need a little bit of protein and a little bit of carbs. It's healthy to have a balance.
Q. When were you in the best shape of your life?
Definitely at this point in my life. The longer I play, the more I learn. I know it's easier on me and my body when I am in shape. I perform better and get a lot more done this way. I'm probably still not in the best shape that I could be, but for now, this is the best shape I have ever been in.
Q. When did you start working out?
A good three or four years ago. It took me at least two years in the league.
I would lollygag and thought I was in shape, but now I really understand a lot