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How Professional Dancer Derek Hough Stays So Fit

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Feb. 18, 2020

So what do I decide to do? I decide to go to a trampoline park. And they had this American Ninja Warrior Course. Hough had completed the course during the actual competition, but at the gym he fell. I landed weird on my foot. I basically sprained my foot.
Luckily, Hough is a world class athlete and has since bounced back. Yet, even though hes only 34, injury remains a serious threat for the dancer.
Hough fights professional fatigue by working out five times a week, incorporating yoga, strength-training, and cardio. He also mixes in some outdoor biking, boxing, swimming, and MMA. Of course, dancing itself is a workout, and so you wont see Hough hitting the gym when hes traveling and performing. Still, he wants to stay conditioned all the time.
People say, oh, theres a shelf life for an athlete. [But you should be] defying the odds or creating your own destiny. Not just falling into the habit of: Im getting older now, I gotta [stop].
And so Houghs current goal is endurance. He knows how brutal dancing can be when hes not cardio ready. The eighth round of a 12-hour day and its the final dance and Im dying. All your technique and all your hours of training go out the window and youre just surviving. And thats a terrible feeling. Its a terrible feeling when youve worked so hard and all this technique and nuance goes out the window when you lose that energy. So for me its about energy.
Energy also means consistency in the kitchen. Its a very LA-looking fridge full of oat milk, celery juice, avocados, pickles, and kombucha. Its a pretty boring diet of chicken, fish, and vegetables. But Hough needs the consistency: every day on the tour will have a menu consisting of quinoa, chicken, and sweet potatoes.
Of course, there will be plenty of temptation in Vegas. (Hough is a sucker for movie theater candy.) But he can rest easy knowing, at least, that there wont be any slopes in Sin City. He won't be snowboarding for some time.
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