Maywood, New Jersey
Statistics: 31 • 124 lb • 5'6 "
Solo performance: Mindset / nutrition trainer, personal trainer, CEO of Ninjababes, competitor of the American ninja warrior, interpreter of American sign language
Sport has always been a constant for Cara Poalillo. She grew up playing soccer, volleyball and athletics. But never in her wildest dreams would she have thought that her natural athleticism would lead her to compete with NBC's American Ninja Warrior. Poalillo has participated in two ANW seasons. She is currently one of the top women in the country and names Oxygen Coach and ANW veteran Angela Gargano as one of her greatest inspirations. "She's really going about her goals and that pushes me to do the same," says Poalillo.
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Poalillo is currently training for the next season from ANW and has a killer in-home setup with cliffhangers, ropes, grapples and a variety of hanging handles. Out in her garden, she built an expansion tank, a wobble walk and several PVC pipes for agility training. She also goes to the gym twice a week to lift, and she especially loves pull-ups.
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When she's not ninja-ing, Poalillo works as an American Sign Language interpreter and shares her home workouts with the deaf community on her YouTube channel. She also founded Ninjababes, a community of female ninja warriors who helps women and girls build competitive athletic skills and confidence through online and in-person training. "I tell them to just hold out a little longer," she says when asked how she motivates her customers. "You will press that buzzer and complete the course."
Lincolnale, New York
Statistics: 26 • 141 lb • 5 & # 39; 4 ”
Solo performance: Personal trainer and nutrition trainer
Crash and fire
Kayla DeMarco was an avid volleyball player in high school, but a car accident resulted in a serious ankle injury and chronic pain that undermined her ability and desire to be physically active. Her sedentary lifestyle, coupled with poor diet, meant inevitable weight gain, and by graduation DeMarco had reached 206 pounds. Around the same time, she was diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto, mixed connective tissue disease, and Raynaud's.
DeMarco knew she had to flip her health script, and with the help of a trainer, she lost 60 pounds in a year from hybrid and functional strength training. She also made a 180 with her diet, moving from processed junk to clean whole foods – while still eating her favorites in moderation – and monitoring her daily water intake. Today, DeMarco prefers lifting over cardio and uses a wide range of exercise methods in her routine, including barbell and kettlebell work, skipping rope, and tabatas. "I like to keep my exercise plan fresh to maximize results," she says.
Today, healthy living is simply a part of their lives, and DeMarco is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist to help others change their futures in similar ways. She uses Instagram to hold herself accountable and regularly shares her exercise and fitness goals with her followers to model hard work and persistence. "Know that this journey is a lifestyle – there is no finish line," she says. "If I want my clients and followers to do their best for me, I have to practice what I preach."
Statistics: 43 • 108 lb • 5 & # 39; 1 ”
Solo performance: Sales people and property managers
Always on the right track
Exercise doesn't have to be complicated to be effective, a fact Renee Akin knows very well. Akin ran on track and off-road, and she still runs 5 miles a day, seven days a week. "I just need a pair of good shoes and I have a workout that makes me feel good," she says. Free from the limitations of a gym and need for equipment, running allows Akin to explore the world and improve her health on her own terms.
All in the family
Akin's greatest source of inspiration is her family, especially her three sons aged 12, 11 and 9 who are her greatest champions. They also keep her busy and regularly hire her to play basketball, soccer, tennis, ping-pong, and soccer. She also names her deceased mother as her role model, because even during stage IV lung cancer, she continued to swim, play golf and train – "all with a big, warm smile," says Akin.
For Akin, wellness goes beyond exercise, and she focuses intensely on everything from nutrition and hydration to stretching and relaxation. She also nourishes her spirits by writing on her website and blog, where she examines topics such as self-actualization, literature, culture, spirituality, motherhood, and health.
Akin sees herself well in her future and hopes to take part in several more 5K and 10K races in the coming year. "I [also] want to give my abs and arms more tone!" she admits.
Statistics: 19 • 117 lb • 5 & # 39; 4 ”
Solo performance: Gymnastics coach
Sarah Dorough has always loved the challenge and versatility of gymnastics and as she grew up she regularly competed in regional and national championships. "It's so satisfying to be able to balance on your hands!" she says with a laugh. Dorough quit competing with a back injury, but was inspired to follow in her mother's footsteps and get into coaching. Today she runs her own list of gymnastics classes and shares her wealth of knowledge with children aged 3 and over.
mind over matter
Dorough's continued commitment to health and fitness goes hand in hand with an equal commitment to developing mental strength. “Fine-tuning your perspective is the first step, and you need to maintain a positive attitude and learn to stay strong in order to move yourself forward,” she says. Dorough admits that she is continuously working on this aspect of wellbeing herself. If she's overwhelmed, her solution is to focus on her goals, think about how far she has come, and reach out to her supportive group of friends.
Looking to the future
Dorough enjoys pushing her physical limits and incorporating all kinds of exercise into her workout, including weight training, cardio, weight training, dancing, kickboxing, Zumba, and high intensity interval training. "I love fun and creative exercises that keep my heart rate high but don't get boring," says Dorough. Your ultimate dream is to become a personal trainer and online coach who does everything from fitness models to conducting handstand workshops.
Statistics: 36 • 115 lb • 5 & # 39; 5 ”
Solo performance: personal trainer
Michelle Lores can cross a myriad of sports off her list, including basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and martial arts. She has done stunt work in commercials and films such as Catwoman and iRobot, and as a Cirque du Soleil performer in Vancouver, Canada. But Lores has not always been that successful and had to overcome many obstacles to get to her current state of success.
Survival of the fittest
Lores and her family immigrated to Canada from the Dominican Republic, but as a child she was mistreated at home and bullied at school. As an adult, she suffered years of emotional and physical abuse in a toxic relationship before finding the courage to go out with her two young daughters. "I've fought statistics, opposing forces, mediocrity, and oppression every day of my life," she says.
The method for her madness
Lores sees fitness as a way to strengthen the body, but also as an artistic expression. Her workout – which she calls “the method” – is a mix of traditional strength and aerobic training, mind-body exercises, energy payoff, dance and body weight flow. Your regular routine also includes meditation, music, hydra therapy, aromatherapy, and writing.
Lores regularly participates in wilderness survival camps and has learned over the years to raft, hunt, and start a fire. The camps have also taught Lores how to be more resilient and empowered them to take responsibility for their lives despite difficulties. "The only difference between buried and planted is getting up," she says.
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