Fitness: Squash with Rebecca Marino

The tennis star may have put down her racquet, but she hasn’t stopped competing.

A year ago, Rebecca Marino was an elite tennis player ranked in the top 50 in the world. For someone who had dedicated her life to the sport, she should have been elated, but she wasn’t feeling it. Stressed by the rigour and relentless competition on and off the court and missing her family, she hit a wall. “I was feeling very lonely and disconnected from the real world and became depressed — I needed to come home and start over.” This year she’s back in the game, but the rules have changed and so has the racquet.After a hiatus from physical activity, Marino turned to squash. “It’s purely recreational so I don’t worry about my level of play, although I’m still super competitive on court.” Next up? Getting in shape for her first tournament in May in Whistler. “There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from learning something new and working toward goals.” Outside of the demands of school, Marino works out three times and plays squash two or three times a week. “I wish I could include yoga in my routine, but my school schedule is full this semester — mental and physical health are equally important; you can’t have one without the other.”PRO TIPSSet realistic goalsGet active every day to jump-start your metabolism and stimulate endorphins for a happy, calm mind. “I stopped exercising and eating healthy after I stopped playing tennis, which led to my 50-pound weight gain. I’ve recently started a 60-day wellness challenge, which combines fitness and good nutrition.”Eat low-fat proteins and lots of fruits and vegetables, and reduce sugar and simple carbs. “I’ve already lost 10 pounds!”SQUASH CLUBSBring GrandmaGood squash courts are hard to find so we’ll let you in on a little secret. If you don’t know a member at the Vancouver Racquets Club, call and ask for local squash legend Steve Lawton, who will offer group lessons for non-members (if you mention Vanmag). 604-874-0242. Vrc.bc.caBring FriendsThe Bentall Athletic Centre’s renovated facilities boast five top-notch courts and coaching by pro Andrew Lynn. Drop-in day passes grant all-day access while membership offers entry to box leagues, tourneys, and assessments with pro Giselle Delgado. 604-689-4424.