Professional race car driver Helio Castroneves dishes on his healthy lifestyle

The handsome and healthy Helio Castroneves
The handsome and healthy Helio Castroneves at The Detroit Grand Prix

Two words: Helio Castroneves! The Brazil native is a three-time Indy 500 winner and the driver of the No. 3 Team Penske IndyCar. Not to mention — this is one of my favorite fun facts about him — he is the season five champion of “Dancing with the Stars.”

If you have ever wondered what a professional race car driver does to stay healthy and fit, read my interview with Castroneves to gain some insights.

A Healthier Michigan: Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Helio Castroneves: Yes – I spend some time by myself and stretch, relax as much as possible, and try to focus in my mind on the race and what I need to do.

AHM: Do you eat anything or do anything in particular?

Helio: Two hours before the race starts I eat something light like pasta or fish — enough to eat something healthy but not too much to feel full. I also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated because we lose a lot of fluids during the race.

AHM: Many people probably don’t realize how important it is to stay fit and exercise as a race car driver. How do you train for a race?

HC: When I train I try to use the muscles that I’ll use in a race car as much as possible to help me prepare. My upper body is the main focus, but the legs are also important. I work out every day for at least 90 minutes.

AHM: What is your favorite type of exercise to do now? And why?

HC: I love to do cross-fit training. It’s fun and not boring at all and it’s high intensity workout for a short period of time.

AHM: What is your favorite healthy snack (or healthy meal) and why?

HC: Granola bars are my favorite healthy snack. Because it’s low calorie, tastes good and it holds you until the next meal.

AHM: Do you have a guilty pleasure food? What is it?

HC: I have to admit, I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. I really love cookies.

AHM: When you were a kid what were your favorite exercise activities to participate in?

HCI loved to play tennis ever since I was a kid. I still play today as a matter of fact.

AHM: What do you love most about racing?

HC: The connection of the human being working together with the machine is what has always fascinated me about racing. I love that challenge.

AHM: What is the one thing that you think keeps you healthier?

HC: Exercise is the most important thing. If you maintain a consistent level of fitness that is a huge benefit to being healthy. You also have to remember the old saying…everything in moderation. ♦

Thanks so much to Helio for answering our questions and inspiring us to live healthier.

Photo Credit: Detroit Grand Prix and Mike via Flickr

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