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Fitness model adopts more balanced approach to workouts

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
May. 9, 2014

Rita Catolino. (Supplied photos)


It was akin to Cinderella leaving her glass slipper at the ball.

Well, sort of.

When Rita Catolino left her translucent high heels in Spain last October, she was decidedly taking the next step in her fairytale fitness evolution.

At the time, the 35-year-old London, Ont., native had just earned a Top 10 finish in her height class in the “bikini fitness” division at the 2013 Arnold Classic Amateur IFBB Championships in Madrid.

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“That was my last show,” she recalls in a recent phone interview. “I didn’t decide (to retire from competition) until the show was over.”

Catolino’s impressionable and inquisitive daughter was a major factor in her decision to call it a career.

“My daughter’s seven now. She was starting to ask questions like: ‘Why’s mommy in a bikini onstage?’ There’s that fine line in the fitness world and I’m just wanting to make sure that I’m creating that moral compass and moral foundation that I want to raise my child with.”

Catolino explains that she started competing in the first place for several reasons, including garnering the necessary complacency-busting motivation to fuel her weight training. So walking away wasn’t an easy decision.

“I was always scared before to say no and stop competing because I thought if I did, then I had no place in the fitness industry,” explains the certified trainer and motivational coach. “But as I’ve evolved, I’ve seen there’s more than enough space for me here in so many other ways and in so many other avenues that I don’t need to keep getting onstage and prancing around in a bikini to prove anything to anybody.”

Still, the deliberate act of leaving her competition heels in Spain was a momentous occasion on a deeply personal level.

“I bought them for my very first show and it was kinda like a ritual — a physical reminder, a physical statement that I won’t be getting back up on any stage. … It was neat. It felt good,” adds the in-demand Canadian fitness model who has competed 15 times in the past seven years.

So where exactly did she leave the shoes anyway?

“I left them with a good friend of mine in Spain. She wanted to keep them as a souvenir, so I said, ‘Here you go.’”

With her competitive days now behind her, Catolino has more time to devote to helping other women transform their bodies and ultimately their lives.

Among the many personal training services she offers, Catolino has teamed up with three other London mompreneurs to offer an “uplifting transformation program” for women.

The innovative program is called Four Weeks to Fab.

First, Catolino helps clients shed those stubborn last two to 10 pounds via online training and nutrition instruction.

Then comes the primping and pampering.

Working their magic are salon owner Dina Mansour, a certified expert in custom air brush spray tanning and eyelash extensions, and Florencia Taylor, a makeup artist and skin care specialist.

And finally, photographer Paula Tizzard captures the completion of the four-week transformation with a celebratory photo shoot.

The looming fact that the program culminates with a photo shoot helps to hold clients accountable, Catolino says.

The end result is a major confidence boost.

“My confidence started with lifting weights and it’s something that trickled into every other part of my life,” she adds. “To share that with people, it’s such a blessing.”

Catolino, who still works as a fitness model, isn’t pumping iron quite as much as she used to, however.

She admits that she has tweaked her fitness regimen in an attempt to create more balance in her body now that she’s no longer competing.

“I’ve spent the last six months focusing more on meditation and yoga, and being aware and being present and other things that have helped balance me out because at the end of the day, it is about balance,” she explains. “You can’t veer too far to one side or the other.”

Catolino, a guest host for the wildly popular bodyrock.tv website, has cut back on her own weekly weight-training workouts. She now lifts four times a week — down from the six to seven she used to do.

And instead, she does yoga two to three times a week.

“For me, it’s not about having a six-pack anymore. It’s about having a healthy body that gives me enough energy to get through my day and get through my business. Training will always be a part of my life, but I don’t feel like it’s a race now.”

 

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