Katina Taylor has exercised regularly since she was a child, and at 35 can still do backflips. She enjoys the exercising itself but also likes feeling good afterward. And it lets her keep up with her family, which includes husband Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins and brother Zach Thomas who played for the Dolphins.
A mom of three, she says a healthy lifestyle begins in childhood. "I wish we could motivate parents to motivate kids more and not blame [obesity] on genetics."
Why do you keep fit?
Keeping fit has been a lifestyle I learned from an early age. When I exercise and fill my body with healthy food, I feel tremendously happy. It's one of the best gifts I can give myself. Also, because I direct cheer and dance clubs. I'm 35 and still doing back handsprings, backflips, aerials, those are cartwheel with no hands.
I'd be lying if I say it's not also about looking good. Exercise changes your body. When you look good, you feel good. It's a win-win.
What's your workout routine?
Four to five times a week, but I'm active with our kids seven days a week!
I love to change it up and keep it fun and keep my body guessing. I go to Midtown Athletic Club, give myself one hour, put on headphones and work out hard.
I do weight training with light weights, added with plyometrics and 30- to 60-second cardio drills in between the light weights, like sprints or mountain climbers or hopping over a bench to get that calorie burn and build muscle. For the light weights, I'll do arm curls, shoulders. I try not to go heavy. I like that lean muscle.
I like to change up and go run hills with my brother at Vista View [park in Davie]. Zach and I will run four to five miles on these hills. And we run pretty quick. I work hard.
Occasionally, I'll do spinning or boot camp on the beach. We are too blessed to live in South Florida to not get to the beach every once in a while.
Do you ever take breaks from working out?
I've made my workout a priority. I do miss some times, and that's OK, but a full-on break for weeks? No, it's hard to get back.
You mentioned that your brother, Zach, runs with you. Do you ever exercise with your husband, Jason?
Yes, we like to ride bikes with the kids. He has to work so hard in camps and football, but in the off season he's golfing and he'll Rollerblade and play football in the yard. He's [our sons'] coach for flag football and basketball for the Y in Weston.
Every day is an off day in the off season so we're playing, going to the beach, Rollerblading, whatever as much as we can.
Do you have a personal fitness motto or philosophy?
I like Nike's new motto: Make yourself. It's really inspirational.
Do you have any physical problems that hinder exercise?
Blew out my knee in high school. Had ACL surgery, nine months of rehab. But it's OK now.
I hurt my lower back around Easter, which hindered me from running or jumping for a few weeks. I used to bend myself like Gumby. I could grab my legs, put my head between my legs and stretch, but now I need more time to warm up.
Did you play sports in school?
I was into basketball, track, cheerleading. In track, I was a runner.
What's your typical daily diet?
Breakfast is egg mixed with [additional] egg whites and multigrain English muffin or wheat toast, and sometimes I add peanut butter. Lunch might be grilled chicken with sweet potato and a side salad. I like salads with chicken, tilapia. Dinner is lean meats, fish, veggies. And I'll have a snack between meals, maybe nuts, hummus, veggies, fruit. Every three hours, I'm eating something.
What do you drink typically?
Water. I don't drink alcohol. And there's too much sugar in soda so I say no to that. I occasionally have a skinny caramel latte and a skinny green tea frappuccino.
What foods do you prepare for your kids?
I encourage them to drink water and limit their sugar. They're kids and I let them have fun, but healthy food can be good food. We have desserts, but I limit the soda and juice. It's all about a happy balance.
We can't expect a child to say no to juice, juice, juice, soda, soda, soda, because they're yummy. But they have to be taught by a parent who is knowledgeable that, yes, you can have a Sprite at the birthday party, but tonight we're having water. The sugar can make you wild and crazy and isn't healthy. If you can teach this to your children young, they'll continue with it.
Do you take any vitamins or sports nutrition products?
Multivitamin and fish oils.
Where did you acquire your fitness and nutrition knowledge?
My parents have always been active and my two brothers were collegiate players at Texas Tech. I learned so much just trying to keep up with them.
Do you have any advice for South Florida residents looking to get fit?
We live in sunny South Florida, so it's beautiful here. Get outside and get active.
If you haven't worked out for a while, start easy with walks. There are too many overweight Americans. If we think of average Americans, they're going to get intimidated starting with boot camp. It's going to hurt and be hard. So start easy with walks, get outside and enjoy that fresh air. Then, when that becomes easier, add some squats, pushups, dips on a park bench.