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Kicking Off Dancing With the Stars Season 16 with Karina Smirnoff

Last night, a new batch of stars put on their dancing shoes to do the Cha Cha and Foxtrot on Dancing With the Stars, Season 16. We can't get enough of the glittery costumes and fancy footwork, so we're even more excited to have pro Karina Smirnoff recap each episode here on The Fit Stop every Tuesday! Check out her thoughts on last night's show and get behind-the-scenes info and her fitness tips below.

Written by Karina Smirnoff

Karina with the Ravens' Jacoby Jones

Hey guys! Thank you for tuning in last night and for reading my new Fitness blog! I can't wait to share all the behind the scenes fun as well as give you some of my favorite health/fitness and nutrition tips!

I am extremely excited to have such an  athletic, charming and hardworking partner in Jacoby. I can't wait to dance more with him this season! As most of you know, training and rehearsing for a dance is extremely challenging both physically and mentally. This coupled with the fact we only had a solid week to prep made us have to fast track what is normally 3+ weeks to rehearse. Jacoby had to get knee surgery after winning the Super Bowl and his team of doctors had to clear him to dance. You can imagine my anticipation when we finally got the good news! PHEW! Even though time wasn't on our side, we dug in and gave it our all.

I was thrilled to see how well Jacoby moved his body and especially those hips! Wow those hips can move! I had been doing a lot of visual "training", where he watched me marking the dance and showing him what was to be expected. I think that really helped because once we finally started dancing Jacoby's Cha Cha was pretty impressive. I have to admit, I got excited!

Rehearsals and training for this show and/or any competitive dance is a lot like training for a marathon, you need a good amount of stamina and you have to be focused, so this week in rehearsals I wanted to not only focus on stamina, but also his movement, lines and getting his footwork right. Even though we didn't have the same amount of time as everyone, I knew we had to stay on track and focus, which helped us to get quite a bit accomplished.

Jacoby scored two touchdowns at the Super Bowl--one of which was running an 11-second 108-yard record-breaking TD. So obviously he can move fast; however he keeps joking about the fact that no play in football lasts 1 minute and 30 seconds! When we first started,  he kept saying that he was out of breath or even yelled for a commercial break (LOL). Jacoby isn't just an incredible athlete, he's a competitor, so when he realized what this is going to take from him - the conditioning, the stamina, the focus - he committed to me to give it his all. And to be honest that's the greatest gift in a partner: someone who listens, works hard, and gives it 100%. I couldn't feel more blessed and am grateful to call Jacoby my teammate.

Nutrition and food intake is something I focus on especially during the Dancing With the Stars season. In the morning have a bowl of my favorite Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch cereal. It has 33 grams of whole grains per serving and is delicious. The yogurt clusters have protein, which keeps me satisfied all morning long. For lunch I usually have a nice sized spinach salad with grilled chicken, fish or shrimp. I like to throw in peppers, cucumbers and other veggies. I always keep snacks on hand like an apple, almonds or even a few handfuls of cereal. Staying hydrated is VERY important, we are working out 6-8 hours a day, sweating a lot, so I make sure to drink lots of water, whether it’s plain, electrolyte water or coconut water. It's also important to "eat" your water, so I often have watermelon, kale, spinach on hand too. If I'm craving something sweet, I  have a piece of dark chocolate which satisfies my cravings, is good for your heart, can improve your cognitive function and helps control blood sugar. Not bad for something that tastes oh so good!

After dancing with Jacoby last night, I have to say I'm even more excited about next week and the season ahead of us. We are both stepping outside our comfort zone and doing a Jazz routine, which I'm really excited about. We can't wait to make you all proud and appreciate you voting for us! Our voting number is 1-800-868-3412 - you can call, text, and vote online at and through the DWTS Facebook page.

See you next week!