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How to train like a world class athlete (Or at least dress like one)

Chances are, if you’ve ever watched pro sports or the Olympics, you look at top athletes and think they have something you don’t. Granted, they have hours to devote to daily training and you may be pushing it to squeeze in 45 minutes.

Woman in Workout Clothes

I spoke with Mark Verstegen about the system he’s perfected with world-class athletes revealed in his book, Core Performance. Finding time to workout, much less begin a regime designed for elite athletes may not be high on your priority list. The good news is that Mark details an abbreviated workout for the time-crunched in his book which you can order at

Core Performance is written so that aspiring athletes and everyday people like you and me can quickly achieve fantastic results working out less than an hour a day. It works those key areas we all care about so much: butt, thighs, and stomach and most importantly, these techniques prevent the kind of injuries than almost every active person I know suffers from time to time. No matter what level you’re at, there’s a starting place for everyone with his program. Please read on to learn about the special three-week interactive training program Mark has generously offered to readers.

Get ready to work out in the Relaxed Pant and Basic tank by Jockey. I can vouch for this amazingly comfortable soft cotton sportswear which has taken me gracefully through yoga class, around town to do errands, and made it through some grueling workouts with Billy Blank’s new Ultimate Bootcamp DVD. Relaxed pant $32 and Basic Tank $22, available at Don’t miss Jockey’s special offer for readers at the end of this article. Ultimate Bootcamp available at

Mark Verstegen has trained world class athletes such as WTA tennis player Meghann Shaughnessy; soccer star Mia Hamm; baseball’s Nomar Garciaparra, Roberto Alomar, and Vernon Wells, plus a list of NFL, hockey, and NBA stars too long to mention. Tennis star Mary Pierce attributes the techniques she learned from Mark Verstegen as being key in the most memorable moment of her career–beating Martina Hingis in the semis of the 2000 French Open before she went on to win the doubles and singles titles. When Mark trains an athlete, millions of dollars are at stake. He needs to bring clients to peak performance as well as train them in a way that will keep them from getting hurt. These are techniques that apply to everyone.

Keep Cool
If you’re in the mood for sporty racing stripes try out this Double Dry cotton blocked tee by Champion. One of the original sportswear companies–remember those great thick hooded sweatshirts? Champion has reintroduced them in re-engineered fabric that avoids shrinkage along with a new line of tees, tanks, jackets, and bras made from their Double Dry fabric which draws moisture away from the skin into a second outer layer where it quickly evaporates. Check out their Intense, Active, and Moderate Activewear at

When it comes to staying dry and avoiding perspiration stains, Dove’s new Radiant Silk goes on clear and provides outstanding protection. For more information go to

On their first visit, most of the top athletes that visit Mark Verstegen’s world renowned Athlete Performance centers in Tempe, Arizona and Carson, California, find that they have at least one muscle group that’s completely shut off. The rest of us can be sure we have a few muscle groups that aren’t being used. This means other areas of the body have to compensate, which is what ultimately leads to injury. Mark feels that many of us suffer hip and lower-back problems because we’re not training our bodies for these movements. Luckily, with his Movement Prep Routine, it takes only a day or two to reactivate these inactive areas.

Reactivate your inactive muscle groups in a pair of these fabulous high tech Reeboks with a retro feel. The Premier Competition II racing flat by Reebok is $84.99. Reebok also has an extensive line of great workout clothes including some of my favorite sports bras, shorts, workout pants, tees, and jackets at

According to Mark Verstegen, you don’t have to be Marion Jones, the world-class sprinter, to learn how to apply the same principals that allow her to run at such high speeds. His Core Workout will help you build “pillar strength” by learning to align your torso (your core area), hip, and shoulder stability so that you smoothly transfer energy throughout your entire body. What this means is that learning his techniques can actually prevent workout injuries while you increase your endurance and flexibility.

Build pillar strength in these state-of-the art Reese Receptors designed with an anatomical underfoot construction and a special rubber outsole for sure grip traction in any conditions. $79.95 at

No one has ever addressed why I needed to add recovery times into my weekly workouts until Mark explained to me that “regeneration” or “reload” days actually help your body recover more quickly. Having “active rest” days help you to avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury.

Take an “active rest” day in these wonderful cardio walking shoes by New Balance. Indulge comfortably in retail therapy, shopping for what else–new sportswear, of course! The New Balance Cardio Walker comes in white & lime or blue. To find a retailer near you go to

Warm up and cool down in style with this REI Old School meets High Tech jacket. REI, known for their excellent outdoor wear also has a great line of sportswear including a new line designed for triathalon training. North Face Ryan Jacket $65 at

When I asked Mark how he keeps top athletes or anyone following his regime motivated, he told me, “The majority of people need to understand what their definition of success is. Are they working hard for the right reasons and not just because they want to look better? Instead of being driven from unrealistic expectations from magazine covers, Core Performance is about building a centered self.” I couldn’t agree more. As a special gift to readers, Mark is offering a three week trial period to try out your own interactive fitness training program, weight-loss program, or a tailored fitness regimen. Go to and in the gray Access box, click on “Gain Access.” Insert the special access code: CP-MARYJO. At the end of the three-week period, the program simply ends. No opting-out required. (That’s me in the Duofold hoodie and my favorite all-purpose Jockey bootleg workout pants).

One of my favorite sportswear picks for practicality and style is this lightweight hoodie by Duofold. It’s uses cutting edge technology to keep you dry and has princess seams for a great slimming fit. All Season Hoodie in Orchid at

Almost all of us have experienced working out like a maniac only to ruin the results by eating the wrong foods afterward. If you’re interested in making your workouts count with a diet that’s delicious, healthy, and requires no work on your part other than opening your door each morning and picking up the day’s meals and snacks, then I can’t recommend ZoneChefs highly enough. Stars like Angela Bassett, Lorraine Bracco, Courtney Vance, supermodels, and pro hockey and football players use ZoneChefs, which is America’s only 5 star diet with fresh food delivery service. On average, people spend $20-25 a day on food and usually don’t eat a balanced diet in the right proportions with quality control or door-to-door service! For only a few extra dollars a day, ZoneChefs will make your life much easier and healthier.

When you sign up, your personal concierge will find out your menu restrictions and set up a gourmet meal plan containing a balance of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent favorable fats with a calorie count based on your height and weight. I’ll admit I was skeptical the first day when my meals arrived and I saw breakfast was a lemon poppy muffin; lunch was a Portobello roasted peppers, mozzarella and arugula wrap; the first snack was cheesecake (!); dinner, Segedin Goulash, and the snack to eat an hour before bed was vegetarian fried rice. It all tasted amazing, but I was sure I would gain weight. Fortunately, ZoneChefs meals are created by six top chefs adhering to Zone Diet principles. The average client loses approximately 8 to 10 pounds per month. To sign up or learn more go to or call toll free: 1-800-906-5927.

No matter where you are with your workout routine, it helps to have a miracle motto which I share in my new book, How To Get A Body Like A Rock Star (Without Suffering, Starvation, or Spending A Fortune). Mary Jo’s Miracle Motto is: “Yes, I can do it.” Your job is to stay receptive to all the tools available to you and trust yourself enough to know that nobody’s going to take better care of you than you.

As a special bonus to my readers who want to work out in comfort and style, you can receive 25% off Jockey Women’s Activewear and athletic socks! To take advantage of this wonderful offer, go to and use the Coupon code: SHEKNOWS. Offer good only for Women’s Activewear and athletic socks available only at, operated by Jockey International Global, Inc. (Offer expires July 31, 2005. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid while supplies last. Selection from available stock only. No rain checks. Void where prohibited. Jockey� and� are trademarks of Jockey International, Inc.)

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