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Date: Sep 15, 2011
“The Biggest Loser” Trainer Speaks at Hofstra
NBC Reality Show Trainer and Golden Gloves Champion Cara Castronuova ‘04 Speaks to Incoming Freshman
Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. – Don't let the lean stature of Hofstra University alumna and Elmont, N.Y. native Cara Castronuova '04 fool you. While she may stand less than 5-feet-5-inches tall, Castronuova, a two-time New York Golden Gloves winner and NBC reality show trainer, is plenty tough.
Recently, Castronuova, a former nationally-ranked boxer turned certified personal fitness trainer, health writer, boxing commentator and journalist, actress and judge on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, returned to her alma mater to speak to freshmen about healthy living, overcoming obstacles and making the most of college life.
"Hofstra provided a great foundation for me to push myself to do better things in my life," said Castronuova, who graduated with a degree in communications. "It means a lot to me to meet students and give them strategies for fulfilling their potential because I was in their place once. With all the changes occurring for freshman, fitness and exercise can help you adapt and keep you physically and mentally strong."
The event was part of Hofstra's annual Welcome Week, which consists of a variety of academic programs, trips, guest speakers, social and educational activities designed to cultivate relationships and immerse new students in the Hofstra community.
Castronuova first served as a judge for "Hofstra's Got Talent," a student talent show held at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse. After, she led students on a half-mile walk to the Hofstra Fitness Center where she demonstrated boxing basics.
"A student's entrance to college represents a time of profound transition," said Sandra Johnson, vice president for student affairs. "At Hofstra, we have employed an array of student services to offer opportunities for learning that augments the didactic learning of the classroom. Bringing Cara, and her enthusiasm, to campus provides an example for our students regarding the importance of making healthy life choices and the impact of these choices on future successes."
Her role as a celebrity fitness trainer and boxing prowess isn't all that qualifies Castronuova to mentor students. Much of her motivation to succeed and help others stems from challenges she faced in her own life. Her father, who fought obesity and introduced her to boxing when she was five-years-old, died when she was a teenager. Later, her mother died in a car accident, leaving Castronuova care for her three younger brothers and a disabled elderly aunt.
After winning the second place prize at the Golden Gloves competition in 2004, Castronuova returned in 2005 to win her first Golden Gloves Championship at Madison Square Garden. Soon, she began competing nationally and earned the ranking of second in the nation among women by USA Boxing. She went on to place in national tournaments and win numerous titles, including the New York Amateur Boxing Championship (NYABC) and the Empire State Games before winning her second Golden Gloves title in 2006. Castronuova is a certified personal fitness and boxing trainer at popular sports clubs in the N.Y. area, including the Chelsea Piers and Gleason's Boxing Gym in Brooklyn.
Aside from her training experiences, Castronuova has worked as a reporter, fitness writer, announcer and sports commentator, careers which match the aspirations of some Hofstra students.
Andrea Ordonez, an aspiring media professional, interviewed Castronuova for The Chronicle, the Hofstra student newspaper.
"It inspires me that as a woman and a minority, she managed to break into the communications field," Ordonez said. "That's something that is incredibly difficult to do. Not a lot of minority women, particularly of Asian descent, exist prominently in the field. Cara utilized Hofstra's resources and combined them with her own fighting spirit to become what she wanted. I feel like I've been doing the same, so hopefully one day I'll get my break also."
Ashley Freeman, also a communications major, shared that sentiment.
"Because of all the issues in the economy, I worry everyday about getting a job that can allow me to live comfortably," said Freeman, who interviewed Castronuova for WRHU, Hofstra's on-campus radio station. "Being able to interview Cara gave me some hope for the future."
For more information about Castronuova, visit caracastronuova.com.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from 140 undergraduate and 150 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied health services, honors, as well as a School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.