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5 Questions for Dominique Dawes on 'Get Moving' Challenge

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Dominique Dawes
As a three-time Olympian, she inspired an entire generation of young girls to reach for their dreams. Now at age 34 she’s still the go to girl for inspiration; but this time she’s inspiring women and families across the country to ‘Get Moving Now!’

As Co-Chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Dominique Dawes, joins iVillage and President Obama in challenging you to get moving and get healthy.

ESSENCE.com spoke with Dawes about everything from top tips on losing weight and staying healthy, to keeping your hair looking fly in the gym.

ESSENCE.com: It’s so exciting to see you in the public eye again. Tell us about this new appointment by the President.
DOMINIQUE DAWES: As the co-Chair of the President’s council on fitness health and nutrition I have been out speaking to a number of people on the importance of physical activity and on proper nutrition. What I was telling a number of different people is initially I just assumed the people knew the proper amount of physical activity time or they new what were healthy food choices. I realized that people are not privy to that knowledge and so its about educating and engaging families and making sure they know 30 minutes of physical activity for five days a week for 6 weeks for the PALA [Presidential Active Lifestyle Award] for adults and 60 minutes for kids is a good amount of physical activity per day.

ESSENCE.com: How did you get involved?
DAWES: I have a number of mentors who are close with the first family. When I got the call from the White House saying that the President wanted me to be the Chair -- at 30-something I think about things -- I don’t just say yes because. So I thought about it, I wanted to know exactly what the expectations were so that I can really look up to what they were looking for.

ESSENCE.com: Is there anyone that you look to for inspiration when it comes to fitness and health?
DAWES: Throughout the years that I’ve known the First Lady, each and every time I get to see her she looks beautiful. But it’s amazing how she always finds a moment to jump rope with me, or run and jog or do these activities with kids. I love that she’s not just talking the talk but she’s really walking the walk.

ESSENCE.com: Speaking of First Lady Obama, like many women she is a working mom. What can working moms do to get fit even if they don’t always have time to workout?
DAWES: Obviously, mothers can be quite busy, but don’t ever starve yourself or not eat because [you’re thinking] ‘I’m not going to work out so I’m not going to consume any calories’ -- because that’s the easiest way to put on weight, because your metabolism slows down and your body hoards all the fat and the calories you ate before so it can utilize that later on. Make sure on other days you can find time to workout. If we can find time to watch our favorite shows -- I love “Law & Order” and I will watch it for large amounts of time. During this time I could be working out. During the commercials, I always encourage people get up during those commercials.

ESSENCE.com: What is your best advice for women of color?
DAWES: For us the biggest thing is about the hair, but we need to make sure that our focus is on our physical health and living healthier lives. We need to make sure we find a good hair regimen. If it means for the first part of the day your hair looks fly and the second part of the day you’re slicking it back because you’re focusing on our health, so be it.

And Ms. Dawse is much more than talk. As if her flawless body isn’t enough proof, Dominique is taking the challenge. Whether you’re a working mom or a busy entrepreneur, you can do it. Take the challenge at ivillage.com/getmoving
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