The finalists: Fittest LI man and woman
BY JOHN HANC, Special to Newsday
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.


Glenda Bozett, 42, East Northport

A native of Honduras, Bozett began taking aerobics classes soon after she arrived in the United States in 1990. But she never touched a weight until 2000, after the birth of her second daughter. It was love at first lift, and Bozett was soon big and strong enough to start competing as a bodybuilder. Since 2003 she has competed in 15 professional bodybuilding shows, taking first or second place in 11 of them. Bozett says she's a stay-at-home mom for her girls, ages 8 and 11, but she trains every day - one hour of lifting, one hour of cardio on the elliptical machine - at the Gold's Gym near her home. Her advice: "Come to the gym and have fun. Don't be shy, don't worry what anyone is going to say, just come and enjoy it. In a month or two you'll know everyone."

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

26.4% -- Rich Gregory (23847 responses)

32.2% -- Scott DeTore (29083 responses)

Women:
18.2% -- Glenda Bozett (31062 responses)

26.2% -- Victoria Gigante (44793 responses)

37.9% -- Raquel Feder (64754 responses)

 

The women were close, as well.

Feder was tops in flexibility, bone density and V02 max (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight), while bodybuilder Glenda Bozett was the strongest (she performed an impressive five pull-ups), and U.S. Navy Reserve Lt. Victoria Gigante, 24, was first in body composition (she had 16.5 percent body fat, compared to the high 20s for a sedentary female of her age.)

Based on these results, Otto named Feder the winner.

Gigante said she felt "honored" to be among the finalists. "I kind of feel like I'm representing the ordinary person," she said (a modest statement, considering that her fitness levels were outstanding, as well.)

Still, it was Feder who exemplified not only the muscle, but the mind-set shared by all the finalists: a work ethic that helps explain just how these six maintain their super-fitness.

"Tomorrow I'm going into the gym," she said resolutely after the testing, "and I'm going to work on getting better at pull-ups."

 

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