Depending on her competition schedule, Olympic sprinter and Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club trainer Hafsatu Kamara trains four to six times per week, doing a mixture of speed workouts, weightlifting, group exercise classes and more to maintain her physique and improve her performance. So how does she manage to stay motivated year-round? For those just getting started, “You have to choose workouts that are not only easy and fun, but also dynamic and effective,” she says. “And one way to do this is through group exercise classes, which are great ways to try something new and stay motivated with the support of others.” Another tip is to set goals and reward yourself. “It’s important to appreciate and manifest your badassery and then set the next goal,” she says. “Always reflect and congratulate yourself on what you’ve accomplished.”
We asked Kamara to share her favorite warmups to help kickstart our health and fitness goals for the new year. Unleash your inner Olympian and incorporate these tried-and-true moves into your next workout.
» SIDE LUNGE Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large step out to the right, lowering into a lunge, sinking your hips back and bending your right knee directly in line with your right foot. Keep your left leg straight but not locked, with both feet pointing forward. Push off the right foot to straighten your right leg and step the right foot next to the left. Return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
» SIDE PLANK Lie on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm, so that your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip. Brace your abs and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Hips and knees should stay off the ground. Return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
» DEAD BUG Lie on your back with your hands extended toward the ceiling. Bring your legs up 90 degrees with your knees bent. Extend one leg, straightening the knee and hip to bring the leg just above the ground. Return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
Be safe! Consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
To learn more about Kamara and her journey from Sierra Leone to Rio de Janeiro to Toluca Lake, read “Hafsatu Kamara: On Her Mark.”