Get-Fit Tips from the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team

These ten stars are ready to take home the 2011 World Cup trophy. Let their fuel-up, kick-butt tips help you meet your own goals this summer

June 22, 2011
women's soccer players celebrating
1/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com

They might just be the fittest female athletes on the planet. The players of the U.S. Women's National soccer team, which is gearing up to take home the 2011 World Cup, are subject to hardcore runs, grueling sweat-sessions, and even more ruthless spectators.

So when it comes to getting--and staying--fit, it's obvious these women know what they're doing. Here, the team's must-have get-fit tips to help you reach your own goals this summer.

Related: More workout secrets from Olympic athletes.

Christine Rampone
2/11
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Christie Rampone

The last time the U.S Women's National team won a World Cup championship, she was a 24-year-old sub. Now, 12 years later, the mother of two is the captain of the young team ready to regain the title of best women's soccer team in the world.

Power Plays
The defender stays fit off the field by squeezing at least a little exercise in every day. "It doesn't matter what form, anything to raise the heart rate a little bit or get my muscles firing," Rampone says. "I like going on walks with my kids, Rylie and Reece, and our black lab, Tiger," she says. "We just got a paddleboard, which is a blast at the bay. For my workouts, though, I love kettlebells and CrossFit." (See 10 secrets from the nation's top trainers!)

Foods for Fuel
To keep her engine humming, Rampone is all about integrating healthy carbs and proteins into her diet. At dinnertime, she prefers a plate of pastas (always whole grain!) and lean proteins, like chicken. At game time, it's back to basics with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Nicole Barnhart
3/11
Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com
Nicole Barnhart

She has the most stressful position on the field: goalkeeper. The last line of defense, she's keenly aware that just one slip-up can mean the difference between a win and a loss for her team. On the field, she's a perfect example of discipline, so it's no surprise she's just as controlled when she heads home.

Power Plays
She plays nice with her muscles and joints by avoiding jolting workouts and opting for low-impact ones like swimming laps, jogging in the pool (without an aqua belt!), and rowing herself down an invisible river on the rowing machine. But whenever she can escape from the gym, she does. "I just love being outdoors, so I pretty much enjoy any outdoor activity," says the road biking enthusiast. "I also love going on hikes whenever possible." (Find out how to tap into your inner athlete with these all-star moves.)

Foods for Fuel
Organic and clean foods keep Barnhart's mind and body fresh. "I don't eat processed foods. I only eat fresh foods, most of which I make for myself," she says. To get her foods as fresh as possible, she visits local farmer's markets and takes her finds home for fun evenings re-imagining traditional recipes. "It's really nice knowing what's going into your body," she says.

Ali Krieger
4/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Ali Krieger

The 26-year-old defender is making her World Cup debut this summer, but what she lacks in experience on the field, she makes up in energy (and lots of it). "My mantra is 'healthy body, healthy mind,'" Krieger says. "I surround myself with good people who make me feel great and give me positive energy."

Power Plays
When it comes time to train off the field, Krieger is all about yoga, and actually avoids the treadmill at about all costs. "I know it sounds crazy, but in order to run I need something to chase after," she says.

Foods for Fuel
"I fuel up every morning, no matter if it's with a shake or a breakfast bar on the go," Krieger says. "I eat well, but I have my cheats. I eat cookies, chips, and have a Coke, but only on days that start with S." (Try these 25 superfoods for your body.)

Lori Lindsey
5/11
Lori Lindsey

She's spent the last 10 years on and off the national team, training hard (and wishing even harder) for her chance at the World Cup. Today, with a body that's even fitter at 31 than it was at 21, this girl's obviously got the determination--and the strategy--to stay in stellar shape.

Power Plays
The midfielder's dedication is also evident in her choice of workouts, especially the Airdyne bike. "It's low impact, but incredibly challenging," she says. The bike, which increases its resistance the harder the biker pedals, is often used in sports like mixed martial arts to teach athletes how to push through the pain. "It keeps me fresh for when I do short interval workouts," Lindsey says. "I really don't like the long slow jogs, they're just too boring." (See how to shed fat fast and get your hottest body ever!)

Foods for Fuel
"I've always loved food, so finishing everything on the plate was never an issue (and still isn't) but now I try to supply my body with better-quality foods," Lindsey says. "More greens has been something I've been trying to implement in my diet recently."

Amy Rodriguez
6/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Amy Rodriguez

You have to be a pretty good soccer player to share the nickname "A-Rod," and Amy Rodriguez definitely owns it. Arguably America's next soccer superstar, the 24-year-old forward has already scored 62 international appearances and 15 goals for the team.

Power Plays
"I do a lot of low-impact activities like swimming and hiking," Rodriguez says. "I also love to wakeboard and snowboard when it's not soccer season."

Foods for Fuel
How does she do it? "Carbs!" she says. "Every athlete needs to keep her body fueled to perform. I always focus on getting healthy carbs, especially before and right after a hard training session or game." While A-Rod thrives on carbs of the healthy variety, she also makes room in her belly for the occasional peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. (Get the most nutritional value from these power pairs.)

Heather Mitts
7/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Heather Mitts

A key component of the 2008 U.S. Women's National soccer team, she's easily one of this World Cup's star players. From playing soccer to watching the latest nutrition documentary, she's a round-the-clock lean, mean, healthy-living machine.

Power Plays
Mitts knows that to stick to any workout routine, you first have to enjoy it. "I find the machines at the gym I like to use and stick to them four days a week for 30 minutes," the defender says. "Outside of that, I love interval training. It's great for burning calories."

Foods for Fuel
"When I'm away from the team, I typically only eat locally grown or organic foods," Mitts says. "I've read The Omnivore's Dilemma and watched Food, Inc., so my awareness of food has been heightened. I'm trying to avoid hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified foods and hope to live a longer and healthier life."

Print it:  Try this agility workout to fine tune your coordination

Heather O'Reilly
8/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Heather O'Reilly

A force in the midfield for the U.S. squad, she's scored 28 goals in 141 international appearances. Even more impressive are her fancy footwork and ball-handling skills, which allow her to fill the crucial gap between offense and defense. And she shows no signs of letting up--on or off the field.

Power Plays
"I love to play squash with my fiancé," O'Reilly says. "It's great cardio, and it also keeps you on your toes."

Foods for Fuel
"A coach once told me, 'If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!'" O'Reilly says. "I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go and it's surprising how much better I feel." (Think coffee will leave you parched? Think again! Don't be fooled by these common myths about hydration.)

Lauren Cheney
9/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Lauren Cheney

One of the youngest players on the roster, the 23-year-old has made a big impact in a very little time on the team, having scored 13 goals in only 38 starts. The 5'8" forward believes moderation is the key to her success.

Power Plays
Making room for fitness in her day-to-day routine is one crucial way Cheney stays balanced. She walks her errands and, sometimes, even walks to soccer practice. The Indianapolis product also enjoys a quick abs workout before bed -- a routine she says actually helps her sleep better. "To see results, you can't be extreme either way," she says. "Working out too much can cause negative consequences just the same as eating too much. Balance is key."

Foods for Fuel
"I love chocolate!" she says. While she admits it's not always the healthiest dining option, a small chocolate fix now and then keeps her sane in an often-grueling soccer season.

Burn more calories with these superfast body sculptors.

Abby Wambach
10/11
Brad Smith/isiphotos.com
Abby Wambach

The leading scorer on the U.S. team, she's a powerful and creative striker, having scored 46 of her 117 team goals with her noggin'! This will be her third World Cup tournament.

Power Plays
On the field, Wambach is nothing short of a land shark, but when it comes to the water she's less predator and more prey, "I'm a sinker," she says. "But I am trying to learn to paddleboard, which is a great whole-body workout."

Foods for Fuel
She says that the fuel for games and at home has changed since she realized that "self-sustaining communities are a more socially conscious" way to organize her diet. She says she's an all-or-nothing type of athlete, but that she's been working on creating moderation. "It's the hardest thing for me to remember, but I know in moderation I can achieve balance," she says.

Fuel your day with these healthy breakfasts.

Becky Sauerbrunn
11/11
Photo: Rick Osentoski/isiphotos.com
Becky Sauerbrunn

How did the formerly unheard of professional athlete get herself on the World Cup roster? Enthusiasm and one heck of a well-thought-out eating plan. One of the least internationally experienced players on the roster, Sauerbrunn's approach to healthy living is actually amazingly mature.

Power Plays
The former Virginia standout (In college, she started every single game and only missed 10 minutes of playing time in four years!) is into just about every sport, be it kickboxing, basketball, or hiking--but not running. "Give me an obstacle course or throw a soccer ball in there, but please don't make me just run," she says. On low-impact workout days, she focuses on swimming or biking. "They are exactly what I need to get my heart rate up but not stress my muscles and joints," she says. And her newest love? Yoga. "I've tried it a couple times and love how different it is from soccer, it might be something I really get serious with after I stop playing soccer," Sauerbrunn says. (Get started with yoga today with this plan! Learn more.)

Foods for Fuel
Sauerbrunn is serious about feeding her enthusiasm with the right mix of foods, "I always make sure I have three things: liquids, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. Even when nerves are lowering my appetite it's important for me to consume a large amount of these foods about three to four hours before a competition," she says. And don't forget the liquids! She loves limeade (think lemonade but with lime instead of lemon) and, for a while, soda, but has since found a healthier fizzy substitute: "I've started to love is splashing tonic or soda water with 100-percent grape juice or cranberry juice. I get the carbonation and the sweet taste without as much of the bad stuff."



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