Written on September 20, 2013 at 11:09 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Songwriter, producer and Warner Brothers exec Kara DioGuardi was living in Manhattan playing Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical Chicago when she saw a life-changing (and arguably life-saving) news report. It was WABC-TV New York’s Stacy Sager’s story that struck a familiar chord with Kara, as the journalist discussed her breast and ovarian cancer family history and the proactive test that determines carriers of the hereditary gene mutation. (The same exam Angelina Jolie made headlines with back in May—which positive results led to her preventative double mastectomy.)
“I tested positive for BRCA2—which meant I had up to an 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer, and a 40 percent chance of ovarian cancer—and subsequently underwent a complete laporoscopic hysterectomy last December  to reduce my likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer by fifty percent,” Kara recently told us. In January, the former American Idol judge plans to further lower her risk by having a prophylactic mastectomy.
“I feel great,” she says. “I had a great doctor and support system who mentally and physically prepared me for the surgery. I urge anyone with breast or ovarian cancer in their families (mother or father’s side) to get tested. As cliché as it sounds, knowledge is power.”
Now a healthy mom of eight-month-old Greyson (she and husband Mike McCuddy turned to surrogacy following five years of fertility issues), Kara is back in the swing of things teaching for a second year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, running her publishing company, Arthouse, and finding new talent for her Warner Brothers affiliated record label.
Her best sweat secret to finding fit time between all of the juggling? “I recently started P90X and if I hadn’t, I am not sure I would be able to lift my big boy as easily,” she reveals. “I love it because it has taught me exercises I can do anywhere at anytime—even getting 20 minutes in a day is enough!”
Besides following Tony Horton’s regimen (and her upper body workout of a son), Kara is now gearing up for the inaugural Run for Her New York Walk on October 27 in support of ovarian cancer research. Lucky for us East Coasters, the popular Los Angeles walk’s growth sparked the organization of this year’s New York City event to continue raising funds for advancing medical discoveries and treatments, alongside awareness of the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
“This event is very important to me as it brings the ongoing battle of ovarian cancer to the forefront,” Kara says. “I will run in honor of my mother, Carol DioGuardi, who died of ovarian cancer at 58. She was not given the option of genetic testing. It may have saved her life. Although running has never been my strong suit, I plan on completing the 5K for all those women out there who have been affected by this insidious disease.”
Sign up now (early registration costs only $35!) to join Kara at the Hudson River Park and support the Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. West Coast gals, be sure to get moving for the cause in L.A. November 10.
More from FITNESS:
- Angelina Jolie’s Brave Decision for Her Health
- Help Fight Cancer By Joining a Coast to Coast Relay
- How You can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
Written on September 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm , by Samantha Shelton
When was the last time you ran one mile? Just one mile, nothing else. For many, it dates back to high school when you were required to run a timed mile for gym class. But 11 staffers at FITNESS laced up their sneaks last weekend to see how quickly they could pound the pavement in New York City – straight down 5th Avenue, famously known as Museum Mile.
Eight from our editorial staff and three from our advertising team donned black “FITNESS” T-shirts and bright bottoms to step into the gorgeous fall weather Saturday morning for New York Road Runner’s 5th Avenue Mile race. We sprinted the street during the media heat, where we competed against other fun staffers from Runner’s World, Live with Kelly and Michael, and more.
When you’re running only a mile, there’s very little time to develop a strategy. Looking for the mental mindset many of us followed? Follow these tips to run your best mile:
- First 400 meters – Run at 85% effort. You feel tired, but like there’s a little more to give.
- Second 400 meters – Run at 75% effort. Catch your breath and get ready for the second half of the race.
- Third 400 meters – You’re halfway, so it’s time to sprint! Run at 100% effort.
- Last 400 meters – Give it everything you’ve got. Your chest may or may not feel like it’s going to explode, but it’ll be over before you know it.
After glancing at our official finish times, it looks like the strategy paid off! We have some speedsters on staff – four finished in under seven minutes! We had such a blast running this race, and encourage you to set up your own mile-long race in your community. After all, every mile counts!
Now you tell us: When was the last time you raced a mile?
Written on August 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm , by Samantha Shelton
SIN Workouts, a fitness concierge service, launched this month in New York City. The services scored? A personal scheduler who creates a fitness calendar tailored specifically to you, books appointments and even provides an early bird wake-up call to ensure you don’t miss those 6 a.m. sweat sessions.
Founder Vanessa Martin began SIN Workouts (Strength in Numbers) when she realized there was a money-making opportunity in things she was already doing for friends – giving class recommendations and joining them to ditch the gym-skipping tendencies. Under SIN, she finds hard-to-book spots in busy classes (front row at SoulCycle, anyone?), and tags along if you need that extra motivational push to get the most out of your workout.
So do you choose which workouts you want for the week, or does Martin? Well, that’s up to you. If desired, Martin will get to know what workouts you enjoy, evaluate what your goals are and then provide your picture-perfect workout. No thinking (on your part) required.
Right now, the new service is only available here in the Big Apple, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this branch of concierge services started popping up across the country. While the service isn’t cheap – there can be a triple-digit monthly fee, but exact prices are determined on a client-by-client basis – it certainly blows the “I don’t have time” excuse out of the water.
Now you tell us: Would you hire someone to schedule your entire fitness routine? If not, what keeps you motivated to squeeze in your workouts?
Written on September 12, 2011 at 10:55 am , by Samantha Shelton
Yesterday we honored the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, a day many of us remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt as we learned about the attacks. Although it was a time of tragedy and loss, hope was also born. In the last ten years, no country has bonded like America has, and we are all proud to celebrate NYC and the strength necessary to overcome the pain many have experienced. In remembrance, we put together a playlist all about why we love this city. Check out the favorites that never fail to make us feel like proud Americans:
- “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z, featuring Alicia Keys
- “New York City,” John Lennon
- “The Rising,” Bruce Springsteen
- “I Love New York/ New York, New York,” Glee Cast
- “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child
- “Walk On,” U2
- “New York, New York,” Frank Sinatra
- “I Love New York,” Madonna
- “New York, New York,” Ryan Adams
Now tell us: What songs fill you with pride? Any other NYC favorites?