Written on July 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
By now, it’s likely you’ve caught wind of 24-year-old Kacy Catanzaro, the first-ever female to qualify for the finals of NBC and Esquire Network’s sports competition show, American Ninja Warrior. After completing a nine-part obstacle course during the Dallas qualifying round (and making it look like a walk in the park), the former gymnast proves she packs a real punch as an athlete and competitor. And after speaking with her, we’re convinced that this girl really is a ninja—all 5 feet and 100 pounds of her.
Congrats on your awesome run for “ANW!” How did it feel?
It is definitely a lot of pressure stepping out there. There are a lot of lights, cameras, and you know the whole world is going to see it on TV eventually. Before I run, you can see that I’m kind of bouncing around and a little bit anxious. It’s funny: Once they count down and they say, “3,2,1, go,” it’s like a wave of relief washes over me. Then I just kind of take it one thing at a time. After I finish one obstacle, I just calmly take a few deep breaths and get ready to attack the next one.
How has your gymnastics career prepared you for ANW?
I started gymnastics when I was 5 years old and then I got a scholarship to a Division I school—Townsen University in Maryland—and I competed all four years there. So from the time I was 5 until the time I was 22, it was my whole life. Gymnastics really mentally prepared me for the course: being able to take that kind of pressure and not let it affect me in a bad way, but actually use it as fire to get excited and to get out there. And if things don’t go my way, it doesn’t mean it’s over. I just have to overcome them by making adjustments in order to make it happen.
How do you stay in such amazing shape?
I try and strength-train anywhere from four to six times a week, based on where life is taking me or what is coming up. Brent Steffensen—my boyfriend, coach and an ANW veteran—and I train together and do strength-training and bodyweight-circuit training on a regular basis. We do lots of bodyweight exercises in a row—pushups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, lots of abs—to really build strength and endurance. For the obstacle courses, we want to be as light and lean as possible, and doing exercises with your bodyweight is the most efficient way to get there.
What’s your diet like?
I just try to eat as clean as possible—greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and things like that. For my protein, I like fish a lot because it is lighter and cleaner. Definitely stay away from anything that is processed and avoid eating too much sugar. So if I can’t read an ingredient listed in an ingredient label, I try to stay away from it. It’s so important to be aware of what you are putting into your body and what good or harm it will do.
What motivates you to stay fit?
I’ve always had a competitive nature—I love getting out there and competing—but one thing people don’t realize about fitness is that people don’t just work out out to look good. Obviously it’s very nice to look good and to have that body you dream of, but the most important thing about fitness and living healthy is being able to get the maximum out of your life. If you are as fit as you can be, you can do more and you aren’t held back by your weight. I think that staying fit, not being held back and being able to go out and try to accomplish whatever it is that I want is the best part of it.
In case you missed it, check out Kacy’s crazy performance below, and be sure to watch the St. Louis finals tonight at 9 on NBC.
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Written on January 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm , by Christie Griffin
Glamorous gowns, toned bodies, and serious accomplishments. No, we’re not talking about Hollywood’s awards season—we’re talking about pageant season, people! Why you should care: Based on the 2,000+ entries we received for our 2012 Face of Fitness Contest that required essays about your accomplishments, some of you married ladies very well could be contenders for a crown someday.
Curious about the Mrs. America pageant, we chatted it up with Raquel Riley Thomas, a stunning military officer turned pageant queen. Not only is she the Executive Producer/Director for the Mrs. DC America pageant, a preliminary qualifier for Mrs. America, but she is also Mrs. Maryland America 2010-11 and Mrs. American (1st RU) 2010-11. Her accolades would take up this entire post, so we’ll have to skip right to her insights about competing.
On the difference between Miss America and Mrs. America:
The Mrs. DC team likes to say, “Marriage has never looked so good,” but just like the unmarried-girls version, this is not a beauty pageant. It’s a whole package deal. The difference is that instead of a med student standing to your left, she’s a doctor now. And on your right is an attorney. Mrs. America is like the Superbowl of married women.
On competing at the state level:
I can’t speak for the other states, but the reputation of the women in Mrs. DC are that they are the crème de la crème. Not only are they very fit, but they are accomplished in their fields and honorable about their causes. We even have a diplomat in this year’s competition!
On her experience of going from military boots to bikinis:
I love the glitz and glamour, but the service to the community is still there. I just get to do it in heels and beautiful outfits now! Running the Mrs. DC pageant gives me the chance to put a spotlight on some amazing women and say, ‘Thank you for all the hard work you do for the community.”
On her fitness advice for potential competitors:
You have to be really disciplined. Once you have the fitness down, everything else falls into place.
So get to it, readers! We want to throw some roses at you.