Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Florida USA, who was born with spina bifida, scoliosis, says exercise eliminates pain for her

From The Sun-Sentinel in Fla.:

South Florida's Lissette Garcia (pictured) represented the Sunshine State in the 2011 Miss USA pageant this month. A medical student in addition to a beauty queen, she eats lots of vegetables (and chocolate) and exercises up to six days a week, sometimes twice a day. Garcia said she was born with spina bifida and scoliosis, so exercise also helps eliminate pain.

Why do you keep fit?

I enjoy 100 percent eating healthy and working out. It's who I am. If I'm not building muscle, then I'm leaning out for onstage competition.

What's your workout routine?

It varies from month to month. A lot of walking on the treadmill — I don't do the StairMaster — plyometric exercises on the mat. Vinyasa yoga — it's yoga but keeping the heart rate up by constantly moving. I do Pilates. I do circuit training and swimming.

I work out five days per week for an hour and 20 minutes each time, and a week out of a month, I go twice a day. Sometimes up to six days a week if I want to do some extra yoga.

I do have a pageant trainer that's helping me. I used to do a lot of weight training with heavy weights and my body was muscular. But the trainer did a complete 180 on my routine, and now I do more plyometrics and Pilates to keep long, lean muscle.

Are any of your routines for Miss USA or other pageants physically demanding?

Not really, except you have to balance your energy because you're getting little sleep and have to keep it up all day. As well as wearing 6-inch heels. That is atomic!

Do you have a personal fitness motto or philosophy?

In it to win it!

Have you ever considered cosmetic surgery?

Yeah, later when gravity hits!

Do you ever take extended breaks from working out?

It depends. In competition mode, there's no break except on Sunday. I never really work out on Sundays. [Two months ago], I took a week off just to keep the body guessing.

Have you played competitive sports now or in school?

Mostly recreational volleyball and basketball. And I was a dancer in high school.

Does your family keep fit?

My mom tries to keep fit when she sees me working out and getting ready for pageantry. My dad sees the benefits of keeping fit, but like a good Cuban family you can't keep away the Cuban food.