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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I've been hitting the gym -- and the slopes

By Johanna Long

Johanna Long
Johanna Long took up CrossFit training, a demanding workout that combines several exercises, including sprinting, rowing, weightlifting and flipping tires.

Hi, guys, Johanna Long here!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year. For those, like me, who are eager for the NASCAR season to get started, we have exactly 24 days to go. I can’t begin to describe how excited I am to get to Daytona International Speedway for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener. I’m so pumped up!

To pass the time over the offseason, I’ve been hitting it hard in the gym and eating pretty healthy. I’ve also been spending time in the shop with my team -- ML Motorsports, based in Warsaw, Ind. -- and I’ve enjoyed some downtime with family and friends while trying to take up a new hobby: skiing! All in all, it’s been pretty eventful, but I’m ready to put my helmet on and get back to work.

I get the question, “What do drivers do during the offseason?” pretty frequently. So here it is: We get “race ready.” Over our two-month break, it’s all about getting prepped mentally and physically for the new season. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

 Johanna Long
During her two-month break from the track, Johanna Long found another place to go fast: the ski slopes.

For starters, I’ve taken up a new workout regimen called CrossFit training. For those who don’t know a lot about CrossFit, it’s an intense and demanding workout that consists of combined exercises such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting, carrying heavy objects and many body-weight exercises. It’s basically torture, but it will be totally worth it once the season rolls around.

On top of CrossFit training, I’ve completely changed up my diet. I’ve taken on the paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet. This plan basically follows the principle of eating like our ancestors. Anything you can hunt for or find, including meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables and seeds, is suitable to eat. For a Southern girl who loves fried foods, bread and sweets, this diet was not an easy transition. I still sneak in a few sweet treats, but everyone deserves a cheat day every now and then, right? I think so too! =)

I’ve also made some time to hit the slopes with family and friends in a quest to learn how to ski. I have a newfound respect for all of the professional skiers out there, because it is not easy. I definitely have the speed part down pat; I just need the form and control to go along with it. I will say, though, after taking several licks and face plants in the snow, you start catching on pretty quickly.

I can’t wait for the season to begin on Feb. 23. I’m going to have a blast this year sharing my experiences with each and every one of you as I travel to more than 20 tracks, racing against some of the most talented drivers in the sport. I hope you will enjoy my blogs as much as I do and find them to be interesting, inspirational and encouraging.

Get ready for my next post because it will be all about Daytona. So buckle up and get ready for the ride!