This entry is part 23 of 30 in the series Faces at the Races

Amanda Csiszar 1Name
Amanda Csiszar

Age
26

Lives
Santa Clarita, CA

Occupation
Account Executive for Classic Cosmetics (a cosmetics manufacturer)

Favorite OCR series
Spartan Race

Favorite obstacle
I would have to say my favorite obstacle would be the multi-rig. I have yet to hit the bell, but each time I fail, it gives me something I need to work on. It is definitely a love/hate relationship!

Least favorite obstacle
In general, my least favorite would be hurdles. I just find them underwhelming and unamusing, but if you are asking me on a freezing cold race day, I would have to go with the dunk wall.

Ideal race distance
My favorite of all the distances are the Supers. It is right in the middle, not too short, not too long, just right.

Favorite previous race venue
My absolute favorite venue I have done would have to be Van Vleck in Sacramento. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I love the cows and the country setting. It is nostalgic to me.

2016 OCR goals
To conquer the Tahoe Ultra Beast.  No matter how long it takes, my goal is to earn the medal!

Brief bio
I am a wife and a mom of a 4-year old daughter. I live everyday with Robbi, my daughter, at the top of my list. She is the light of my life. I strive to be the best person I can be to show her what being a strong woman is.

Social media
Facebook — Amanda Csiszar)
Instagram: [email protected]_spartan)

Why do you compete in obstacle course racing?
Ultimately, I compete because it is fun. It is something I get so much joy out of. My husband, Danny, and I race together. It is an activity we both like to do. It is dirty and challenging. A lot of people don’t understand why “torture” sounds enjoyable, but I always tell them you never know or understand until you try it!

You have raised a lot of money for leukemia and lymphoma societies.  What is the back story behind that?
My reason for raising money for LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) is because I lost my dad to Acute Myeloid Leukemia back in May of 2010. He was diagnosed in August of 2009. He fought a very hard battle. He had many, many rounds of chemo. We were on a desperate search for a bone marrow donor from the day he was diagnosed. This person had to be an exact match to him. He had gone into remission in December of 2009, but unfortunately we still had not found a donor and the leukemia came back twice as strong.

We had decided for him to move hospitals at this time and try a different type of treatment. After many more rounds of chemo, we finally found a match and he had gone back into a remission in early May of 2010, but it was too late. The chemo had killed off every cell in his body. He was given his stem cell transplant (bone marrow), but it was too late. His body was so weak from the toxic chemo treatments that it rejected the new bone marrow. We lost him exactly two weeks from the day he received his transplant.

I lost my dad at only 20. He was/is my hero. The thought of anyone having to go through what my family went through breaks my heart. I feel it is my duty as a daughter to honor my dad and raise money on his behalf. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was so supportive through our entire journey with my dad. It is only right, that I help repay them by fundraising for them. And if it means one less person to lose their life to leukemia or lymphoma, then I know I made a difference.

Amanda Csiszar 3You’re also a weight loss success story.  What caused you to gain so much weight in the first place?
My weight gain stemmed from pregnancy. I pulled the whole “I am pregnant” card and ate whatever I wanted! Everyone told me it’ll fall off when I have the baby and that was not what happened! After I delivered, I was 50 pounds heavier than I was pre-pregnancy. I was not into working out at all at this time, I just figured if I “dieted” by doing Weight Watchers that weight would fall off.

Was there a turning point when you finally realized you needed to make a change?
The turning point for me was when my daughter turned one and I still had not lost my pregnancy weight. It was time to change. I was wearing size 12 pants and I was a size 6-pre pregnancy. I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin again. Heck, I wanted to wear my old clothes again! Once I realized, I needed to lose the weight with physical activity is when I ordered Insanity and just went for it!

Do you struggle with self-image issues despite your weight loss success story?  If not, how were you able to overcome that mindset and stay positive?
Truly, I do not struggle with any self-image issues. I am a pretty confident person. Yes there are things I wish I could change, like having stretch marks, a stretched-out tummy, things like that. But for me, the positive outweighs the negatives. It is so much easier to focus on what I have accomplished versus what I really can’t even fix. I love my body for the way it works and love it for how it looks. I am who I am, and I appreciate it!

How did your family’s view on fitness change once you decided to pursue a healthy lifestyle?
My husband and I started working out together and we kept each other accountable every single day. He has “pregnancy weight” to lose as well. It has been a journey for the both of us together. As far as extended family goes, everyone is ALWAYS supportive of me! While I can’t get any of them to run an OCR, they do support what I do.

So many people lose a bunch of weight after being motivated short-term then again most of it back once the motivation wears off.  What steps are you taking to make sure this doesn’t happen to you?
I have not put any weight back on because I didn’t do a 30-day fix. I didn’t diet. I made a lifestyle change and I stuck to it. Each decision I now make is a healthy and conscious choice. There are days I indulge because you aren’t human if you can’t do that, but most of the time, I eat clean and make good choices. It is really how I am programmed now. I don’t give myself an option otherwise.

How important was diet when it came to turning your life around?  Do you have a go-to meal?
My family is a Whole Foods family. When we buy groceries, all the products are non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, etc. We eat a paleo-based diet. While we don’t claim to be “paleo”, it is what works best for us, plus our daughter LOVES the food we cook, so why not?

Amanda Csiszar 2Was there ever a time during your first race that you thought you couldn’t finish?  Once you did finally cross that finish line, what thoughts were going on in your head?
My first race was Malibu 2013 and it was COLD!! Not knowing what I was getting into, we went hard out the gate. I was huffing and puffing so hard, I literally thought I wasn’t going to make it. I was slipping everywhere because I was in experienced and was wearing Nike Frees! I failed pretty much every obstacle out there (rope climb, monkey bars, spear) so I was drowning in burpees. I wanted to cry because I was so tired and so cold. I kept asking myself “why did I sign up for this”! But then I crossed the finished line and earned my first medal. After that, I was hooked. My husband and I kept reminiscing of every obstacle and all the “fun” we had. And while I thought I was miserable during it, I realized that I had WAY more fun than I thought I was having during the race. The next day, we signed up for the Monterey Beast and it was destiny ever since!

How do you train for obstacle course races?  Do you have a coach, training group, online workout plan, etc.?
My husband is actually my trainer. He is a Spartan Group X coach, strength and conditioning coach, and personal trainer. We have a full gym built up in our garage that he now trains out of. While a lot of people believe that you need to do a lot of running in preparation for an OCR, we believe otherwise. I hardly run outside other than hikes that we like to do as a family. The “cardio” I do is either on the AirDyne or,, believe it or not, from kettle bell swings. These two things are great endurance builders and get the heart rate where it needs to be in order to train functionally. I work on grip strength but doing heavy farmer carries, lots of pull ups, tire flips, all the fun stuff. But the one thing you can never train enough is burpees! Burpees are incorporated into every work out because you always have a 50/50 of having to do that at the obstacles so might as well make the 30 as easy and efficient as possible by doing them at home!

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself still racing in 10 years still. I prefer the dirt and hills to the roads, but I have taken a liking to half-marathons. I see myself still training and being the best athlete/person I can be.

Amanda Csiszar 4What advice do you have for people who make excuses about why they can’t do an obstacle course race?
My advice to people is “you don’t know until you try”. I try to explain that you will see every walk of life out there on the course. I know OCR isn’t for everyone, but I try to encourage others to at least try it out. I have a few people who I have actually convinced to run and others who just talk about it. I tell them you don’t need to be the fittest or the fastest to race. It can be a leisurely hike with obstacles or it can be an all-out run to the finish line. It can be whatever you want it to be, but you just have to try.

Give me a fact about yourself that would impress most people?
Not really an interesting fact, but I did earn my coin last year for the Spartan Race World Champsionships in Tahoe! While I didn’t race elite that day, it was still an awesome feeling to earn that!

Do you have any embarrassing OCR moments?
My best OCR story was from the beginning of this year at the Temecula Super in January. I finished the race with no shoes. It was the one time I actually lost my shoes being knee deep in mud. It was around mile 5 they had us cross the “lake” (aka mud)! People were on hands and knees trying to get through the deep mud and I was doing the same. For whatever reason, my foot got caught up in a suction hole under the mud. I was trying to pull my foot out, but could feel my foot was slipping out of my shoe. My husband came to my rescue and told me to pull my feet out and he will reach in and grab my shoes. So as soon as I pulled my feet out, my shoes were literally swallowed by the mud. Mind you this was a Super and we had at least another 3-4 miles to go! So I Spartaned Up and kept on trudging along with no shoes. Probably the most painful fire jump, but I still crossed that finish line with no shoes!

What is your opinion of OCR TV coverage?
I watched the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge. I enjoyed because of my part in the OCR community, but I think it was hard for someone who doesn’t race to get into. There wasn’t much explanation of the course. It just seemed a bit scattered. I do love the actual NBC series of the races. Those are always fun and enjoyable to watch!

Do you follow any of the top elite racers?  If so, who are your favorite OCR athletes?
My favorite OCR athlete of all time is, of course, Rose. She is sweet, humble, and inspiring. Her smile is toxic. Her positivity shines. She is a bright star in the community and will forever be my favorite racer.

Are you pursuing any achievement this year, like a Spartan Trifecta or running one race from each of the major series?
My achievements for 2016 is a 3x Trifecta, including the Tahoe Ultra Beast. I am also doing BattleFrog Extreme this August and hoping to complete at least 4 laps.

How many medals do you own and what do you do with them after the race?
I have around 50 medals and they are hanging up on a spear in our garage gym.

What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to attend a race (or are planning to travel this year)?
The furthest we will be traveling is to the Dallas Beast/Sprint weekend in October this year.

Amanda Csiszar 5Outside of OCR, what is your biggest passion?
Outside of OCR, my biggest and lifelong passion is horses. I have been riding horses since before I could walk. I competed for a long time in jumping. I currently have a 1-year old horse named Stanley that I rescued.

Pretend you’re a race director for a day.  Describe the course you would design (including pre- and post-race festivals, if you’d like).
If I were race director for a day, I would most definitely allow dogs onto the course! It would be a fun 5k-type OCR that is dog-friendly, as that is one of my dreams to be able to run with one of my dogs (I have four!)

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