Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The finalists: Fittest LI man and woman

Newsday continues in the journey to find the fittest Long Island man and woman. The votes have been tabulated. Now it's time to start counting push-ups.

Over 200,000 votes were cast by readers to determine the finalists in Newsday's Superfit contest. The six top vote-getters -- three men, three women -- will now be tested for cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition at the Adelphi University Human Performance Lab, to determine the fittest man and woman on Long Island.

The finalists:
MEN: Buddy Casimano, 37, a gymnast and former Broadway dancer-turned-aerobics instructor and personal trainer; Rich Gregory, 42, a top local triathlete and distance runner; Scott DeTore, 41, a physical education teacher and former NCAA wrestling champion.

WOMEN: Glenda Bozett, 42, a competitive bodybuilder and mother of two; Raquel Feder, 36, an instructor who has appeared on two nationally distributed exercise DVDs; Victoria Gigante, 24, who overcame a heart condition and asthma to become a runner, cyclist and yoga practitioner.

"The finalists are clearly a goal-oriented group… varied in their skills and dedicated to their fitness," says Jill Oppenheimer, group fitness manager for Equinox Fitness Clubs of Roslyn. Oppenheimer was part of a panel of judges who selected 16 semi-finalists from 80 original entries to the Superfit contest. From those 16, the six finalists were selected by online reader vote.

The fittest man and woman will be announced in Newsday and on Newsday.com on May 8.

Voting breakdown:
26.8% -- Buddy Casimano (24167 responses)

26.4% -- Rich Gregory (23847 responses)

32.2% -- Scott DeTore (29083 responses)

18.2% -- Glenda Bozett (31062 responses)

26.2% -- Victoria Gigante (44793 responses)

37.9% -- Raquel Feder (64754 responses)

Name: Glenda Bozett
Age: 42
Height: 5'0"
Weight: 125
Training Regimen: Weight train 6 days/week; 1hour of cardio 5 days/week; 45 minutes streching 3 times/week.
Fitness Achievement: Active bodybuilder competitor for 6 yrs.

Victoria Gigante
Name: Victoria Gigante
Age: 24
Height: 5'8 3/4"
Weight: 126
Training Regimen: Cardio 6 days/week (Run approx. 30 miles/week or cycle approx. 100 miles/week); Yoga 4-6 days/week; Push-ups and sit-ups/crunches every day.
Fitness Achievement: At 16, a week after having cardio-ablation for a heart condition I had since birth, I started to run and was able to overcome 16 years of asthma, proving to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (I graduated in 2004) and the United States Navy (I am still in the Navy Reserve) that I am fit to serve; Once I started running and getting healthy, I never stopped and have been improving in my level of fitness ever since.

Name: Raquel Feder
Age: 36
Height: 5'2"
Weight: 112
Training Regimen: I train approx. 25 hours/week. I teach 10 Cardio classes/week (dance, kickbox, cardio cross training, cardio core), 5 strength training classes and 5 Core fusion/pilates classes. I am currently training with Kettlebells 2 hours/week and weighted samurai swords 2 hours/week. I cycle 1-3 hours/week.
Fitness Achievement: Being cast as the lead instructor for 2 fitness DVDs, which are currently being sold nationwide!

Nina VassalloName: Nina Vassallo
Age: 40
Height: 5'2"
Weight: 102
Training Regimen: Weights, resistance bands, yoga, pilates, cardio kickbox and train American Tai Kenpo Karate-2 times/week.
Fitness Achievement: Proudest of work with others, helping them to achieve a fit body and mind.

: Jacqueline Heise
Age: 46
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 130
Training Regimen: Weight train 3 times/week,cardio 5 times/week, play tennis and/or platform tennis (competitively) at least 5 times/week.
Fitness Achievement: Qualified for USTA Nationals Team Tennis Tournament in Arizona.

: Janelle Gallo
Age: 29
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 125 (in season); 160 (off season)
Training Regimen: I lift weights 5 times/week, perfom various cardio exercises (elliptical, spin, kickboxing, step-mill) 1-2hrs 5-6 times/week and take a weekly Pilates mat/reformer class.
Fitness Achievement: I have competed in 9 bodybuilding shows where I have won NY State, National (5th place) and World titles.

Judge Bios

Jill Oppenheimer:
Jill Oppenheimer has been involved in the fitness industry since 1985. An award-winning aerobics competitor and teacher, Jill later became general manager of Equinox Fitness Clubs in Woodbury and is currently Group Fitness Manager at Equinox in Roslyn.

Dr. Robert Otto:
As Professor and Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Adelphi University for the past 25 years, Dr. Robert Otto conducts applied research. He is co-editor/author of the ACSM Guidelines, as well as over 130 other papers/presentations. He is an active triathlete and runner.

Bob Phillips:
Bob Phillips has been a personal trainer for 22 years on Long Island, and is the creator of CompleteStrength.com, as well as The Body Tutorial strength-training exercise video.

John Hanc:
John Hanc, a long-time Newsday contributor, also writes for Runner's World and AARP Bulletin. Hanc, who has completed 22 marathons, has been lifting weights and running for almost 25 years. He added yoga practice to his regimen three years ago. His seventh book, "Jones Beach: An Illustrated History" will be published in May.


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