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DeMarcus Cousins’ secret to getting in top shape: hot yoga

USA Basketball Showcase Practice Sessions

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 20: DeMarcus Cousins #12 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team stands on the court during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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When DeMarcus Cousins makes his Olympic debut next month in Rio, he’ll be the slimmest and trimmest of his professional career. Estimates have the 6-foot-11 center around 20 pounds lighter.

The reason? Hot yoga.

Soon after his Sacramento Kings season ended in April, he began attending yoga classes in heated rooms. He’s continuing the routine even while the U.S. Olympic team camp is ongoing in Las Vegas. Cousins let a sports writer join him at a session this week in which the room was “therapeutically heated for 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity.”

“I feel great,” Cousins said afterward. “It’s just that feeling of your body detoxing every workout, so that’s one thing. I feel a lot lighter on my feet. Of course I’ve slimmed down. I’m a lot more flexible, a lot more mobile, so it’s all coming together for me.”

U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski has noticed.

“He’s gotten in unbelievable shape for this,” Krzyzewski said. “He wants to be here and he wants to represent his country, and I’m proud of the progress he’s made.”

The loose and limber feeling yoga leaves him with has Cousins hooked. The next level, which he’s trying but has yet to conquer, is hot sculpting class: yoga, pilates, weights and high-intensity intervals.

“That’s a whole other level,” he said. “That’s tough. I’m still trying to get the hang of that, but I enjoy that as well.”

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