Cara Rosenthal

Cara Rosenthal, right, competed on TV's "The Amazing Race" with Jaime Edmondson. (Monty Brinton/CBS, courtesy / February 16, 2011)

Cara Rosenthal is an ex-Miami Dolphins cheerleader who has competed in two seasons of CBS's "The Amazing Race." After being kicked off during an episode that aired in March, Rosenthal has kept in shape — working out five days a week in Boca Raton and Davie. A lifelong dancer, she says she needs mental stimulation to balance her physical workouts. Although she hits the gym three days a week for weight and endurance training, she takes dance classes twice a week for her muscles, cardio and mind.

Why do you keep fit?

Mostly to stay healthy, and also to make sure my clothes fit right!

What's your workout routine?

Usually I train with a trainer three mornings a week. With him, I do a combination of weight training and resistance bands typically. And then cardio. He'll make me power out 30 to 35 minutes. I push it because I don't like cardio, truth be told. I find the elliptical or treadmill boring. I [weight train] 45 minutes, then 30 minutes cardio.

On my alternate days, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to pick up a ballet class or a lyrical dance class for an hour and a half. I trained in dance my whole life, was a dance major in college, was a Dolphins cheerleader. For me, that's the best form of cardio. In terms of a workout, dancing is equal or better to the treadmill and mentally far more interesting.

Any dance class is a full-body workout good for muscle and cardio. And a mental workout. I find that my muscles tone up faster and better and stay in the right place when I'm dancing a lot. At the gym, you're doing the same motion in repetitious cycles. In dance, movements are different, always put together in a different way to music, which I find elicits an emotional response.

Every night, I stretch for 10 minutes.

Where do you work out?

I train at the Youfit gym in Boca and dance at a studio down by Nova called University Center [for the Performing Arts]. Sometimes I run outside, which I prefer to the treadmill. I stretch at home.

Do you ever take breaks from your workout routine?

Absolutely. The two weeks around finals are null and void. I just don't have time, and I'm so exhausted.

When I finished cheerleading for the Dolphins, I took off for about five or six months, which is typical of a lot of the girls; you get a little lazy. A lot of us feel, "Wow, I've been going so hard for so long, now I'm enjoying having my evenings back." For the Dolphins, you're dancing every night for four hours.

Is "The Amazing Race" physically demanding?

It's extremely demanding in the physical sense, and the mental and emotional. You're tasked with extreme circumstances in every way. You're completely depleted in terms of food, sometimes going days between eating a proper meal. You're tasked with physical challenges, a lot of running. Even on the show they don't show how much running between one task and another you do, sometimes multiple miles. And you're running in a hyper-tense, nervous state, which makes it more difficult. You then have physically demanding tasks. And when you finish, unlike with a gym routine where you can go home and relax, with "Amazing Race" you were running 3 miles to your next task.

What was one of your hardest tasks on the show?

We had a challenge when I had to dive through a shark tank with a weighted belt and no flippers. So I had to propel myself up and over these obstacles to find a compass that was waterlogged and weighed probably 50 pounds, and I had to [swim] back. Then we had to run a couple miles to prepare ourselves to get on a skiff that we sailed through an obstacle course through the waters of Australia, then we probably ran 4 more miles to what we thought would be the pit stop, and then were told, 'Run 4 more miles back that direction.' And we hadn't had much food in a few days.

But it was the experience of a lifetime in every way. You challenge yourself. You overcome each challenge they present you with.

Were there any physical requirements to get cast in "The Amazing Race"?