Karina Smirnoff's New Year Fitness Plan! (Healthy Hollywood)

“Dancing with the Stars” champ Karina Smirnoff wants to help folks start off the New Year on the right foot.

The professional dancer teamed up with JCPenney to host a dance class in New York City and also celebrate the launch of the retailer’s new workout gear, JCPenney’s Xersion and CityStreets Activewear.

“These clothes are comfortable, super cute and sexy, and fit the body in all right places,” Karina reveals to Healthy Hollywood. Plus, she says her butt has never looked better in the pants.

Somehow Healthy Hollywood doubts this gal has any issues with a less-than-toned tush. After all, she’s a self-confessed fitness fanatic.

“For me, in the New Year, I want to keep my body as healthy as possible because when you feel healthy the sky is the limit.”

Karina tells me she’s not into New Year’s resolutions, but rather likes to set lifelong wellness goals.

“We aren’t getting any younger. So, I think leading a healthy lifestyle, like watching what you eat and having a consistent work out is very important.”

To avoid exercise boredom, she likes to try different workouts and right now is into the Israeli martial arts, Krava Maga. “I’m enjoying kicking the crap out the bag, which I never expected,” she adds.

Yet, her favorite sweat-fest is definitely on the dance floor. “Dancing for me is the best workout. You have fun, you feel sexy and you’re moving. You don’t even realize all the benefits you get from dancing. You get toned, you lose weight, your waistline gets smaller and everything just gets lean. Plus, it’s a great workout for your mind. It releases happy endorphins. I rarely see a person dancing and crying. They’re smiling because they enjoy it or they’re embarrassed, but either way they’re smiling.”

Karina credits shows like “Dancing with the Stars” with inspiring us regular folks to give dance a go. “We have been educating the world on different types of dancing. It’s all about trial and error. You need to find a dance class or style that you like and don’t feel embarrassed to try. I always suggest people try the salsa or cha-cha or the waltz, those are simple dances. And, once you get those under your belt than you can go for something more difficult, like the Argentinian tango.”

As for the forthcoming Season 18 of “DWTS,” Karina has no idea who her partner will be. But, she’s got her eye on New York Giants football star, Victor Cruz, noting, “He does the end zone dances all the time. Plus, he’s cute and has the personality.”

-- Terri MacLeod

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