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Kristi Yamaguchi's New Pilates Body

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How Kristi Got in Shape for Dancing with the Stars

But before even going on the show, Yamaguchi wanted to tone up and get better conditioned for the eight-hour days of rehearsing. She turned to Pilates, the strength and stretching method she first tried when she was 12 and in rehab after surgery. "The dancers with the San Francisco Ballet were using it, and since ballet and skating are similar in that you need flexibility and lean muscles, my doctor recommended it," Yamaguchi explains. Over the years, she added Pilates to her regimen. "It's about building your core, getting it strong, because everything radiates from there. But I've found that you can use it to work all the muscles in your body. And since you're not doing a lot of reps, you're maintaining a lean look."

In Raleigh, North Carolina (her husband was playing for the Carolina Hurricanes at the time), Yamaguchi worked out at Smart Body Pilates with instructor and co-owner Missy Grant two times a week. Putting in 60- to 90-minute sessions for six weeks got her DWTS-confident. "I felt it was good training not only because it's a great overall body workout but also because Pilates incorporates some body-awareness and dance-type moves, which was perfect for me," she says.

 

Perfect, as in perfect score of 60 -- her number both going into the finale and coming out the champ. During the 14 weeks of rehearsing and competing on TV, Yamaguchi says she got the body transformation she'd been hoping for, though hers was slightly different from others'. Her weight didn't really change -- she lost maybe a pound -- but her muscle tone and cardio strength radically improved. "My calves especially got firm from dancing in heels," she says.

Since capturing the mirror-ball trophy, Yamaguchi is doing a better job of sticking to her three-times-a-week exercise routine, having found a new Pilates instructor, Joy Petrash, closer to her present home in Northern California. She also sometimes joins her husband, as she did when they first got married, in his strength-training workout. Her winning streak lives on.

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