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American Ninja Warrior Contestant Kacy Catanzaro Has Guts—And Is Going for Glory

Written on July 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm , by

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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10 Awesome Music Videos to Work Out To

Written on January 10, 2014 at 9:37 am , by

vevo playlist with fitness magazine

Check out FitnessMagazine’s #GetFitParty playlist on Vevo.com!

It’s a #GetFitParty all month long for our FITNESS followers and we’ve got the perfect motivation for your workouts this weekend: Hot music videos that are fun to sweat to!

Our Instagram challenge this week has been for you to show us your “workout view,” i.e. what you see while you exercise…and we noticed quite a lot of you are working out at home. We teamed up with Vevo, the world’s leading music video platform, to create this playlist of FITNESS editor-selected videos to watch while you’re planking, squatting, or just going nuts on the treadmill. Enjoy!

Watch the full playlist here: FITNESS Magazine on Vevo

Or cherry pick which one(s) you’d like to watch:

 

Flowchart: Should You Work Out Today?

Written on August 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm , by

Should You Work Out Today Flowchart

Hot Topic Tuesday: Would You Hire A Fitness Concierge?

Written on August 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm , by

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Would you hire someone to schedule your workouts - so you just have to show up? (Photo by Ericka McConnell)

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?

Conquering the Half-Marathon: Colleen Schwartz, Runner to Racer

Written on February 29, 2012 at 10:32 am , by

Colleen picked up her game to start running quickly. (Photo by of Jason Todd)

In our March issue, you’ll find four inspiring half-marathon stories from readers who went from couch to 13.1, from jogger to racer and more. For the remaining Wednesdays in February here on The Fit Stop, we’re sharing more personal stories from women who tested our half-marathon training plan.

Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern

Colleen Schwartz considered herself to be a “casual runner,” but after training for and completing her first half-marathon, she is officially a racer! Although the initial thoughts of running competitively scared her, Colleen was determined to rock the race. After crossing the finish line at 2:03, Colleen has caught the racing bug. “I love getting a runner’s high,” she says. “I wish I could bottle it!”

We caught up with Colleen to find out how she squeezed in extra gym time and what convinced her she really could go the distance.

Conquering Fears
Although 13.1 miles is a tough distance to tackle, the run wasn’t what worried Schwartz most come race day. “What happens if I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the race?” If you’re a runner, you know exactly what she’s talking about. Our advice? Go to the bathroom before heading to the race (leave early!), then make a pit stop at the port o’ potties once you’re there. Often not the prettiest loo you’ll visit, but it’ll be worth it when you see runners darting off course to handle their um, business, while you fly by.

Musical Motivation
We all know music can be a huge motivator and Schwartz used it to the max during long training runs. “Thank God for Rihanna and Beyonce,” she says. “These runs would be torturous without them. I probably spent more time planning my mix than I would spend running to it, but I had every song I could possibly want in the palm of my hand!” When you catch yourself feeling lackluster about hitting the pavement, try creating a new playlist or downloading throwback tunes that bring up happy memories.

And don’t be afraid to use negativity to kick-start your sweat sessions. We all have bad days, and sometimes “a really bad day at work leads to a surprisingly easy five mile run,” Schwartz says.

Read more

Conquering the Half-Marathon: Amanda Casgar, Newbie Runner

Written on February 22, 2012 at 10:11 am , by

Amanda realized she has what it takes to be a runner. (Photo courtesy of Jason Todd)

In our March issue, you’ll find four inspiring half-marathon stories from readers who went from couch to 13.1, from jogger to racer and more. For the remaining Wednesdays in February here on The Fit Stop, we’re sharing more personal stories from women who tested our half-marathon training plan.

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Amanda Casgar, 32, has attended just about every fitness studio in New York City known to (wo)man: Physique 57, CrossFit, FlyBarre, SoulCycle, even a Trapeze class, just to name a few.  But she’s never been able to convince herself she’s a “runner.”  But before she knew it, Amanda went from being the queen of classes to the girl who flies solo to get her sweat on. After following our beginner half-marathon training plan, she crossed the finish line of the MORE/FITNESS half at 2:47.20 time with a huge smile on her face.

We caught up with the new runner to find out what her biggest obstacles were and how she pushed past her fears to cross the line successfully.

Think Positive
Keeping a positive mindset while you’re pounding the pavement can make all the difference. On her first run, Amanda was consumed with thoughts like, “My knees hurt. My hips hurt. I’m only a mile in?” To counteract all the negativity, she sent an email to her running co-workers to find out what they think about for such long stretches of time.  As a result, she put her brain to work by picturing each body part she was using and how running benefits it.  With this new mental ammo, Amanda hit the treadmill repeating “rock hard core” in her head to make time fly by.

Discover Your Passion
Run for you! Running may not always seem like something you can be enthusiastic about, but it can benefit your true “fit” passions.  Amanda’s new “runner” habits improved her favorite fit activity, yoga. “I have super open hips and loose joints that make me born to practice yoga, but I always needed to tighten up and pull my hips backward,” she says. “Running has helped me get fit in all the right places to bring my practice right into the sweet spot.” Try different activities, like Spinning or bootcamp, to break up all the miles logged and keep you mentally in the game.

Stay Social
Amanda’s biggest obstacle was getting out of her own way and ditching the insecurities. She had never been brave enough to head out on a lone run and doubted she could push herself striding solo.  How’d she get through it? “I mentally prepared for my long runs by sharing my plans with as many people as possible,” she says. “Brunch with family and friends was planned with time to push hard and fit in all those miles beforehand.  I’ve never felt more deserving of that first beer!” Incorporating the people around you in your new fit plans will help you stay motivated, and once you hit a new milestone, celebrate with them!

Accessorize!
Having the right equipment can make a huge difference come race day. Make sure you stock up on the basics: A good pair of personally fitted running shoes, energy foods to snack on while on the road and tools for stretching are all must-haves for the serious runner. “Now that I believe I’m a runner, I’ve started accessorizing like one,” Amanda says.  She is now the proud owner of the “The Stick,” a great tool for rubbing out sore legs. “My IT bands never hurt so good!”

Be Proud
No matter what your finish time, you’ve accomplished something many only dream of! Amanda was worried about her pride getting the best of her, but she was also afraid she wouldn’t be able to finish the entire 13.1 running.  “I got great advice about pacing my run with walking intervals,” she says. “The competitor in me wants to run until I can’t anymore, but I wanted to just finish the race even more.”  Amanda’s racing strategy created possibilities for her she’d never expected, like experiencing the city in a whole new way and finishing faster than she ever thought possible. Set goals for race day, but remember to embrace the experience and soak in all of the positive energy from such a major accomplishment.

Now you tell us: What’s your favorite race and why?