Could you win the Amazing Race?


by mponto

Posted on November 16, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Jodi Wincheski and Christy pumped up to get ready for the Amazing Race. Image courtesy of CBSThousands of people send in video tapes for their chance to get on the Amazing Race, but only a select few are chosen. Houston's Jodi Wincheski was one of them.

"I also wanted to be on the show since the first episode," said Wincheski.

The cool thing is Wincheski isn't some wanna-be-actor. She's actually a 40-year-old single mom who works as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. In other words, she could be your next door neighbor.

Wincheski said was hoping to do the race with her best friend from Oregon, but it didn't work out because of their schedules. Instead, she decided to audition with 37-year-old Christy Volkmer, another flight attendant.

But the two women didn't just want to be on the show; they wanted to win.

If you have ever seen The Amazing Race, you know that they make the contestants do crazy things. They may have to brave heights, run up hundreds of stairs, or crab-crawl while carrying the biggest chunk cheese you've ever seen in order to get to their destination. The race is definitely not for the out-of-shape couch potato.

In Season 14, contestents will have to participate in this cheesy race. Image courtesy of CBSSo what does it take to compete? Well, unless you are already a fitness fiend, it takes months of training.

"We started training as soon as we heard we were accepted," said Wincheski. "We started in May and the show was shot in November."

Wincheski is a dedicated fan of The Amazing Race and has not missed a season. She told me that no two women have ever won and Season 14 promises to be the most extreme race to date.

"I can't tell you about the race, but I can tell you that's it's their most extreme race. There are extreme temperatures and extreme tasks," said Wincheski. "Christy and I knew that we would be challenged."

Wincheski says they focused on strength training. She worked out four days a week with weights and tried to do cardio on the other days.

You would never know that Jodi Wincheski is 40. She looks great."My boyfriend Eric used to be a professional baseball player, so he put the training program together for me," said Wincheski. "I told him I wanted to put on muscle and lose weight."

Eric came up with a workout which supersets muscles. Basically what this does, is work select muscle groups so that the body is working continuously to get the maximum amount of benefit in the shortest amount of time.

Eric's program had Wincheski working opposing muscle groups on alternate days. So on day 1, she would work her back, legs and biceps. Then on day 2, she would work her chest muscles, shoulders, triceps and abs.

In addition to the training with weights, Wincheski also did other activities including indoor rock climbing and archery lessons. But she also did some unusual tasks.

"My dad had a weird dream that we would need to climb a rope during the race, so we set one up in the backyard. You just never know and we wanted to be prepared for everything," said Wincheski.

Rope climbing was only the beginning of their random fitness tests. To prepare for the challenge, the women did everything from bowling to shooting hoops to get ready for the race. But Wincheski's secret weapon was her passion for beach volleyball.

"Beach volleyball is good for stamina," said Wincheski. "We have a court set up in the backyard."

I checked it out and she was telling the truth. The entire backyard is filled with sand. Very cool and definitely something I may do if I ever buy a house. It was like having beachfront property - without the ocean of course.

Wincheski looks lean, strong and incredible. She said before Eric's workout, she needed to drop a few pounds and didn't have the muscle tone she has now.

"On Eric's workout, I got a lot stronger and I'm glad. There's a reason why guys always win. We had to build up upper body strength," said Wincheski.

She told me that after you watch the first episode on February 15, you'll understand why strength was so important. But until then, here are two of Wincheski's workout moves:

Step 1: Starting with your legs together, step your right leg up onto the chair.EXERCISE 1
Works: Hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes.

You'll need a sturdy chair for this exercise. To increase the challenge, perform the exercise holding hand weights.
Step 1: Start with your legs together beside the chair.

Step 2: Step up with your right leg onto the chair.

Step 3: Bring your left leg up and keep it bent.

Step2 : Lift your left leg up

Step 4: Step down off the chair, with your left leg landing on the ground first.

Step 5: Repeat the move again, beginning with the left leg first.

Do three sets of 10 on each leg.

Building up core strength was also important. Wincheski did four different ab exercises to flatten her tummy, tone her muscles and build up core strength.

Step 1: Lie back on an exercise ball while holding a weight.PHYSIO-BALL ABS
Works: Abs and rotator cuff
Step 1: Sit on a stability ball holding a hand weight. Walk your feet away from the ball and roll down until only your shoulders and upper back are on the ball.

Step 2: Lift the weight over your head. Wincheski uses a 10 pound weight, but if that's too heavy,you can use a lighter weight.

NOTE: If you are a beginner and this is tough, don't use any weight at all and keep your arms at your side rather than over your head.

Step 2: Slowly raise your body to seated pushing on the ball.Step 3: Slowly raise your upper body to a seated position on the ball, bringing the weight over your head as you do.

Try not to use momentum to bring your body up, but use your ab muscles. A way to resist using momentum is to raise your body while slowly counting to four.

In case you're planning to enter the Amazing Race next season, Wincheski says it's not all about strength. Communication is also important.

"Christy and I promised to stay a team and not fight," said Wincheski.

They also studied languages and geography before the show, because they had no idea where they were going to be sent.

"I brushed up on Spanish, Portuguese and Italian and Christy focused on German and French," said Wincheski.

Most importantly, they maintained their friendship and focused on each other's strengths, rather than tearing apart their weaknesses.

Amazing advice, from two amazing women.

You can watch Jodi and Christy give it everything they have in the Amazing Race beginning on Sunday, February 15 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Meet this Season's Amazing Race Cast
Girl About Town finds out what it takes to become America's Next Top Model
Girl About Town goes behind the scenes at Kenny Chesney
Follow KHOU's Girl About town on Twitter