Beautiful Bodies

Beautiful bodies  

The Karate Kid

Danielle Orsino, 32

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BRIEF PROFILE: Danielle Orsino is a Mount Kisco resident who owns, an online fashion and beauty boutique. She’s married (she met her husband at a martial arts tournament—while collecting her trophy, of course). 

Workout: “I’m in wushu class [a combination of gymnastics and self-defense, which Orsino studies at the Chinese Martial Arts Education Center in Pleasantville] for an hour, two to three days a week. Another two to three days a week, I do seventy-five minutes of kung fu, and two forty-five-minute cardio kickboxing classes a week.”

Diet: “I underwent two heart procedures in my twenties and was put on a lot of medication that made me feel horrible, so I read up on healthier eating to see if that might help. Now I avoid processed foods, red meat, and sugar. Reduced-fat peanut butter and a Golden Delicious apple is my favorite afternoon snack, and a diet hot chocolate with a squirt of whipped cream
is my nightcap. I’m now completely off the meds.”

Challenges: “Currently, I’m the oldest beginner wushu student at the school, and I’m probably a little sorer than the teenagers.”

Motivation: “I love being pushed to my limits. It’s a very powerful feeling as a woman to know that you can run
with the guys and not just keep up, but teach them a   thing or two from time to time.”You don’t have to be a professional model, athlete, or personal trainer to get the body of your dreams. Find out how these strong, slim, sexy residentsovercome everyday obstacles to stay in top shape.

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The Renaissance Athlete

Chad Phillips, 26

BRIEF PROFILE: Chad Phillips is a married freelance photographer and carpenter living in Croton-on-Hudson.

Workout: “During the warmer months of the year, I go running outside on the road, track, or trails about two or three days a week. I take a boxing class three to four times a week. I also thank my wife for introducing me to Pilates, which I thought was more for women until I tried it and realized how hard it is.”

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Diet: “I know they changed the food pyramid to some other shape recently, but the old one still works pretty well for me. Every day, I eat fresh fruits and vegetables as well as chicken, turkey, and fish. When I eat bread, it’s whole grain. The only foods I deprive myself of are those that I don’t have to get out of my car to buy, namely fast food. Still, I try not to be too religious, because if I deny myself something for long enough, I’m eventually going to snap, and I’d look pretty silly passed out face-first in a chocolate cake.”

Challenges: “I do get sore; however, there’s a big difference between being good-sore from a strenuous workout and bad-sore because you’re out of shape.”

Motivation: “I’m not going to lie: it’s nice to look in the mirror and see the fruits of your labor. And there’s also something to be said for being able to touch your toes and run up a flight of stairs without being short of breath. It really is amazing how far the benefits of living healthy reach into your daily life.”

The Comeback Yogi

Irene Ginsburg, 65


BRIEF PROFILE: A Dobbs Ferry resident, Irene Ginsburg is a retired nurse and grandmother of seven. As a young woman, she suffered from a heart condition and couldn’t even walk the length of her driveway. But when Ginsburg was in her late 30s, friend and professional tennis player Jerry Aleyne offered to teach her to play tennis. Tennis lessons gave way to running lessons and soon trainer Robert D’Agostino was coaching her on weightlifting. In 1983, she won a 10K race in her age group.

Workout: “Monday through Friday, I train with Zezor DeForce of Mind N Body Fitness in Dobbs Ferry. We do an hour of weight training and ab moves twice a week. Following that is an hour on the stationary bike, and then an hour and a half of yoga.”

Diet: “What experts advise now—eating real foods—is not new to me. My mother had a heart attack at age thirty-nine, so we always ate healthy growing up. I avoid high-fructose corn syrup and anything with too much salt. I don’t like cookies or cakes, but I do love crunchy bread. If I have some, I put a little fat on it, like butter or oil, which helps lower the glycemic index, so that the carbohydrates don’t cause as much of a spike in blood sugar.”

Challenges: “I had Lyme disease, which made me terribly stiff—I couldn’t even touch my knees. But eleven years ago, I embraced yoga, and now I’m like a pretzel.”

Motivation: “When you’re in good shape, you can carry your shopping bags, pick up a suitcase, and lift your grandkids without thinking twice about it. Exercising has made everything in my life easier. Everybody my age says, ‘I can’t.’ But the worst thing you can do is think negatively.”

The Long-Distance Runner

Stephen Chemlany, 25


BRIEF PROFILE: Originally from Kenya, Stephen Chemlany left Kenyatta University in Nairobi to attend Iona College on a track scholarship in 2003. Now a grad student, he’s still running competitively. Among his recent accomplishments are winning the 2007 Hartford Half Marathon and running the New York Half Marathon in 64 minutes.

Workout: “I train twice a week for about two hours. The first workout is on Tuesday. I warm up for twenty minutes and stretch for ten, and do a thirty-minute cool-down afterward. The actual workout depends on what race is coming up; I might do some track sessions like four-hundred, six-hundred or eight-hundred meters, or, for road races, I run mile repeats at the Rockefeller Park trails in Tarrytown. It’s a nice, flat dirt surface, which is better than harder surfaces for preventing knee injuries. My second workout is a group session on Saturday with the Westchester Track Club.”

Diet: “It’s full of carbohydrates and proteins like beef and milk. I tend to avoid cheese, candy, French fries, and McDonald’s. Sometimes I have a glass of tea with milk and sugar and maybe two slices of bread and call it lunch. If I do more work, I reward my body by eating heavily, just not on a daily basis.”  

Challenges: “I have a lot on my plate: school and work as a graduate assistant. But I’ve learned to manage my time. I feel bad if I find myself doing nothing!”

Motivation: “The key to success is focusing ahead with determination and no room for regret. I run for no other reason than to please He who gave me the talent. So I never regret one day.” 

The Rookie

Rachel Stern, 42


Brief profile: An attorney with three daughters, Rachel Stern of Purchase recently ran her tenth marathon—though she “got serious” about running only two years ago. She won last year’s Westchester marathon in her age group, and finished first among all women from Westchester.

Workout: “I run three to six miles before work on most days and do my long runs—eight to twenty miles—on weekends, averaging about forty-five miles a week when I’m in peak training for a race. Once a week I work out with my trainer, Charlie DeFrancesco [at The Club@800 in Rye Brook and Greenwich Sports Medicine in Greenwich, Connecticut], using weights, medicine balls, and resistance bands.”

Diet: “I don’t eat much red meat, and I try not to eat after eight pm. A nutritionist told me that loading up on calories at night is like tanking up your car to leave it in the garage. But when I’m training hard, I love that I can eat lots and still maintain my weight. I carry Swedish Fish with me during marathons, and after workouts I love smoothies made with fruit and nonfat Greek yogurt. There’s no such thing as unhealthy food; what matters is how much of it you eat.”

Challenges: “I hate lifting weights by myself.”

Motivation: “I want to do well in any race, and I don’t want to disappoint my trainer or running coach. When my motivation flags, it’s usually a sign that I’m burned out,
so I change my route or my music, or take it easy for a few days.” 

The Contender

Toni Mafes, 28


Brief profile: Toni Mafes, a mother of one and part-time customer-service associate, lives in Yonkers. In February, she competed in the 2008 Daily News Golden Gloves amateur tournament, a little more than a year after seriously taking up boxing.  

Workout: “I practice boxing five to six days a week and teach a children’s fitness class on Saturday mornings, which is a workout. I also chase my toddler, Olivia, around—she’s a wild one! And instead of driving everywhere, I strap the baby in a stroller and walk.”

Diet: “I eat whatever I want in moderation. I don’t eat red meat or pork, I drink only water, and I hardly ever dine out since I know I’ll want something bad. I snack, but anything I don’t want to eat too often—like brownies, my guilty pleasure—I don’t keep in the house. Cravings are all in the mind; to stay healthy while I was pregnant, I would think of a Subway sandwich all day and, by lunch time, that’s what I wanted.”

Challenges: “I take stress management and sleep really seriously. If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t get a good workout, which is how I relieve stress. I schedule exercise into my life as if it were a doctor’s appointment or something else that you wouldn’t just miss. When life gets hectic, it’s the first thing most people cut out.”

Motivation: “Looking in the mirror.”

The Jet-Setter

Allyson Serrao, 42


BRIEF PROFILE: An international flight
attendant since 1994, White Plains resident Allyson Serrano used to work out spor-
adically at best. Between meal services one night, a coworker suggested she take up running, since all you need to fit in your luggage is sneakers and a pair of shorts. She decided to start by running in the World Airline Road Race 10K in Prague—and “found out the hard way that you need to train before competing in races!” The following summer, in 2005, she joined the Westchester Track Club (WTC) and slowly increased her workouts to get where she is today. Last year, she competed in seven races, including the World Airline 10K.

Workout: “I run twice a week when home and once during my layovers, when I also use the gym for forty-five minutes of cardio and twenty minutes of light weights. I also train twice a week with coach Mike Barnow and the WTC.”

Diet:  “When traveling abroad, I choose dishes that are typical to that country regardless of calorie content; I stay away from anything fried unless it’s one of the local specialties. At home in White Plains, I don’t bring any junk food, soda, TV dinners, or fast food into the house; I keep a variety of nuts, dried fruit, and apples on hand for snacking, as well as chick peas, black beans, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, multi-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, eggs, and milk for meals.” 

Challenges: “It’s hard keeping a lot of healthy foods in the refrigerator without them spoiling while I’m away. So I buy only as much fresh meat, fish, fruits, and veggies as I can eat in the next three or four days.”

Motivation: “Fitting into my uniform from fourteen years ago, placing in races, and defying the myth that you have to be overweight in middle age.”

The Varsity Athlete

Lisa DeBiase, 32


BRIEF PROFILE: Now a high-school Italian teacher, this Hawthorne resident wasn’t always in varsity-level shape. But at age 21, she offered to tutor a friend’s son in exchange for some amateur personal-training sessions using his mom’s StairMaster three afternoons a week. She started to notice more muscle tone and definition throughout her entire body—and that she actually enjoyed exercise.

Workout: “Three days a week, I run three miles. After that, I do strength training with free weights at the gym, alternating between working my arms and legs on different days. With the run, it works out to about two hours. I also enjoy spinning class and Pilates every now and then, and in spring and summer, I do a lot of walking and swimming outdoors.”

Diet: “I eat lots of fresh produce, chicken, and fish, very little red meat, and no fast food, although ice cream is my guilty pleasure.”

Challenges: “I have a huge Italian family, so parties and holidays are really hard—there’s always tons of food. I try to limit treats to Sundays rather than every day.”

Motivation: “When I need an extra boost, I try to work out with a friend or change my routine: instead of running,I’ll use the elliptical trainer, or head outside and walk around the Kensico Dam.”

The Biker

Roger Billharz, 48


Brief profile: A Sleepy Hollow resident, electrical contractor,
husband, and father of two daughters, Roger Billharz finished
second in his age category in the Hudson to Highlands Mountain Bike Cross Country Series, and won the 909 Halloween Night
Race for his age category.

Workout: “I ride my mountain bike three to five days a week, twelve months a year, rain or shine. Right now, I’m preparing for the Bethel Criteriums, road races that are just like NASCAR, but human-powered; the course is about a mile long, with up to eighty competitors in a tight pack going twenty-five miles an hour. It’s a very good workout! I also play in an ice hockey league one night a week, and use free weights in my basement once or twice a week.”

Diet: “I’m currently on a modified Atkins diet to keep the weight off while getting ready for the spring Crit Series. But I do eat a regular dinner with all the food groups.”

Challenges: “It’s a juggling act, for sure, to balance work, family, and riding. So I go whenever I can fit it in. That could mean a
five-thirty am road ride or an eight pm mountain-bike ride. That’s why I prefer biking to the gym; any time, I can jump on and get
a great workout.”

Motivation: “The reward is doing good at the races and knowing that all that suffering paid off. Also, beating my riding buddies up the hill and being the first to the top!” 

The Fighter

Gerard Donnelly, 35


Brief profile: Dobbs Ferry resident Gerard Donnelly is an area sales manager for a large medical-device company. He’s also single.

Workout: “I take Muay Thai [a Southeast Asian form
of kick-boxing in which competitors fight using their hands, elbows, shins and knees] classes at Belmars Martial Arts and Fitness in White Plains twice a week. The first thirty minutes is circuit training consisting of three-minute rounds of kicks and punches. For the next thirty minutes, the coach pulls from a deck of playing cards that determine what we do; for example, if he pulls a ten, we do ten push-ups or squat thrusts or sit-ups. We go through all fifty-two cards—it’s very intense. Next, we spar with rotating partners for three minutes at a time, getting a feel for fighting people of different size, speed, and power. I also take a two-hour jujitsu class once a week where we train for more ‘real-life’ attacks. On top of that, I make it to the gym three days a week to strengthen my legs and core.”

Diet: “Breakfast is very important: I have a high-protein shake, orange juice, and an egg-white sandwich. For lunch, it’s usually a grilled-chicken sandwich, protein shake, and green vegetable, then chicken, fish, or sometimes steak for dinner, along with a small bowl of pasta and a vegetable. I don’t eat past nine pm, and I only have alcohol and sweets—like my favorite vanilla cupcakes or cheesecake—on special occasions. There’s a healthy alternative for every food, like choosing baked potatoes over French fries.”

Challenges: “At the beginning of the day, I make my exercise plan and stick with it—it’s just like going to work, except the payoff is my health rather than my salary.”

Motivation: “When you have a partner, it’s harder to slack off; I live with my girlfriend who also enjoys exercise, so she keeps me on track. I like to push my training to the maximum. It’s rewarding to always look and feel strong.”


Keith T. Cheatham, 44


BRIEF PROFILE: Ossining resident Keith T. Cheatham is president and CEO of a real estate company and the father of four boys under age six—including 18-month-old twins.

Workout: “Three days a week, I do strength training—alternating between
working my arms, shoulders and back, and legs—preceded by thirty minutes of cardio, like the elliptical machine or spin bike at a moderate pace. After all that comes four hundred to five hundred reps of ab work, then stretching. Another two to three days a week are dedicated to cardio. During the winter months, I usually run four miles, but I  recently began road cycling again with a goal of riding one-hundred miles per week. Years ago, I dabbled in competitive cycling; I’ve also done a number of fund-raising rides for the Leukemia Society and MS. Other recent additions to my regimen are kinesis training [a cable-and-pulley system designed to condition the whole body through three-hundred-sixty-degree movement] and a bit of yoga and Pilates.”

Diet: “I don’t really restrict myself from eating anything—I even enjoy a big steak on occasion. But I do try to stay away from sweets and fatty snacks like chips. I recently added oatmeal to my diet, as I’ve been trying to reduce my white flour and sugar intake.”

Challenges: “I have a rather stressful position at work and fatherhood is equally demanding. I sleep five to six hours a night, complemented by fifteen- to twenty-minute power naps during the day. My workout is my stress-relief opportunity. Most days, I wake up at four thirty to get it done early.”

Motivation:  “Preserving my health, maintaining my weight, and looking good both at the beach and in my clothes. My four boys now add an additional
incentive to stay in shape, so that I’m able to run with them when they’re older.”

The Home Body

Lisa Ward, 36


BRIEF PROFILE: A math teacher from Ardsley, Lisa Ward is a married mother of two children, ages two and three.

Workout: “I exercise at home four to five days a week. I do mostly elliptical training, kick-boxing, and plyometrics, and train my abs every other day. I’m a chump for infomercial products. I’m now testing out the most rigorous one yet—a collection of twelve DVDs called P90X.”

Diet: “I have cereal and coffee for breakfast, a whole-grain sandwich for lunch, and chicken or salmon plus a green vegetable for dinner. I try to avoid heavy desserts, high-fat snacks, and high-sugar drinks. But I’m a big-time cheater! I always have
a small bag of jelly beans in my car, and my husband and I often share a pint of Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt on the weekends.”

Challenges: “Staying away from my kids’ leftovers. I don’t think I’ve ever had the willpower to not have at least something! But I’ll work that much harder at my next workout. Time is also my enemy. I tried exercising at four thirty am before work but hated it. Now I do it at night when my kids finally go to sleep.”

Motivation: “No matter how difficult it is to start my workout, I know how good I’ll feel once I’m done. I love looking fit and
feeling younger than I am.” 

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Put down those Doritos and click here to see a video montage of these beautiful bodies in action.

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