How WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike got that body

What's your go-to workout?

Yoga. I switch it up depending on the day. On recovery, I incorporate slower pace and a bit more stretching. And I do power and core on the days when I want to get something hard in. I do a lot of bird dogs and planks. Dynamic planks are what I work on because I need to work on my back stability. When you do planks, it allows you to develop that.

How has your routine changed over the years?

I don't do as much as I used to. I used to think that you had to do everything to really get the benefits. But everyone's body is different. I learned that my body doesn't need so much. It reacts very quickly to whatever I eat or whatever training I do, so I try to really limit all the extra stuff and keep it simple.

What's an exercise you dread but do anyway?

Pushups. I can't stand pushups.

When you aren't feeling the gym, how do you stay motivated?

When it's hard for me to recover, that's when I need to do more strengthening and maintenance. So when I am dreading to go to the gym, I try to think about that.

How important is rest for your body?

It is vital. If I don't rest properly, I can definitely feel it the next day.

How do you incorporate healthy eating into your diet?

It's easier when you make your own food. I have fun cooking, so finding different ways to cook what I want without using ingredients that I shouldn't is a fun challenge.

What types of food?

I'm really great at making breakfast. I can make pancakes out of anything. I can make buckwheat pancakes, almond flour pancakes. I make really fluffy coconut flour pancakes. Pastries are kind of like my weakness, so I try to find ways to cook sweet things in the kitchen.

Before each workout, Ogwumike first warms up by stretching out.

After each game, she lies in the locker room, legs against a wall, to increase circulation.

Ogwumike comes up with variations of pancakes that will curb her cravings and fuel her for the day.

Nneka's Coconut Flour Pancakes

(makes 2 servings)

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tsp. baking powder

4 large eggs

2 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. coconut oil

After every workout, Ogwumike likes to have fruit or juice that she's made for herself.

Photo by Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa; illustrations by Todd Detwiler.

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