Helio Castroneves won the Indianapolis 500 three times and "Dancing with the Stars" in 2007; was named People magazine's "Sexiest Race Car Driver;" and is a husband and father of a 1-year-old. Even though this is racing's off season, he still works out to maintain his endurance and upper-body strength for when the season resumes on March 27.
Why do you keep fit?
You cannot be too muscular because muscle is weight. When you're talking about 3 or 4 pounds difference, you're talking hundredths of seconds in difference. That's why you've got to be fit — not strong like a bodybuilder — but fit, resistant, able to hold for up to four hours. You need to use your fitness with experience, a good car and good mechanics.
What's your workout routine?
I just moved to Fort Lauderdale, which is a best move for fitness. I live at A1A. I come out of the elevator, go across the street to the beach and start working out on my own, on the equipment near the basketball course. You'll see me in the mornings. I really enjoy this atmosphere.
It's hard now for my trainer, Carlos Bailly, to keep up with me [after my move], but when I train with him we've got a long list of exercises, pushing different weights, pushing cardio.
I do CrossFit, which is incredible, twice a week; twice a week I lift weights; and once I do a long run. My trainer is always inventing something. When you get in a groove, it's awesome.
My run varies like five times: a one-minute run with a one-minute rest [between each run] and then 10 Tabatas. What you do [for Tabatas] is 20 seconds of sprints then 20 seconds of rest, 10 times. After you finish, do a 20-minute run to kind of relax. That is one of the toughest workouts. But sometimes, I just do a 45-minute run.
For lifting, I do triceps, biceps, a little back and chest and shoulders — not much different than any other guy doing exercise. Legs are a big fight between me and my trainer. He says half the body is legs so you have to work that half. I'm a little stubborn. I say I don't want to do legs because I don't need it for racing.
What about weekends?
On Saturdays and Sundays, I like to play tennis or exercise for fun, maybe do another CrossFit.
Are your workouts in the off season different from racing season?
After the season, you give your body a little rest. In January, February and March, you really push hard to get back in the best shape you can. And from there you maintain.
How were practices for "Dancing with the Stars"?
I really enjoyed them. I didn't lose much weight, just a pound or pound and a half, but I discovered muscles in my legs that I didn't know about. And I didn't just work my legs but every muscle in the body. It was unbelievable.
I had a lot of fun practicing six to 10 hours per day. I didn't know it would take that amount of hours. But it's also about choreography. We're ordinary people who did not know how to dance. Some people learn fast, some don't. I recommend for couples to try and dance. Not only to lose weight, but for health, entertainment, fun, your brain. I was recording a lot of numbers, so my memory improved.
Do you feel pressure to look good due to the whole People magazine "Sexiest Race Car Driver" thing?
I'm not a vain person, but I certainly like to look good. I wish I was 6-foot-2 with broad shoulders and big biceps, but I know my limits. For a race car driver, my stature is good.
Has your body changed as you age?
Now that I'm 35, recovery time is more important. You gotta push it, but also rest. I drink some protein, Endurox, to recover the muscles quicker.
Does your family keep fit?
My wife, Adriana, likes to exercise — today she did CrossFit with me. She took a year off after the baby's birth. The baby exercises by crawling all over the place!
What's your typical diet?
I do not have a typical daily. No restricted diet. I don't eat red meat or pork. I don't drink soft drinks. But I love cookies. I have a sweet tooth at the end of every meal.
You have to moderate. I try to eat every two to three hours a small portion. Breakfast is the only time I eat a lot: egg whites, orange juice, cereal, wheat bread, toast. I don't drink much coffee. Maybe a slice of cake. I go full out.
Get fit like race car driver Helio Castroneves
People's 'Sexiest' and 'Dancing with the Stars' champ incorporates CrossFit into his workout regimen.
Darrell Ingham, Getty Images