Alice Vitiello, Box/SUP/Snowboarder (OH)

May 26, 2017

Alice Vitiello, Box/SUP/Snowboarder (OH)

Alice Vitiello - Box/SUP/Snowboarder (OH)

 

Your Age: 38

Weapon(s) of choice: i.e. snowboard, skis, wakeboard, wakeskate, wakesurf, snowmobile, dirt bike, skateboard, bmx, fmx, parachute, HD video Camera, Still Camera etc. Let us know what all it is you are into! Boxing gloves, SUP, snowboard, longboard, snowshoes, hiking boots, handgun and fixed blade (I enjoy shooting and combatives)

What’s an average day for you like? I’m a single mom and I work full time, so my average days are jam packed! I either wake up before work and train in my basement, or I hit the gym for boxing class and sparring. I work days at the VA Medical Center, and in the evening if I’m not boxing I’m doing something outdoors with my kids, like visiting the beaches of Lake Erie or building a bonfire at the park. On weekends, besides hitting the fight gym, my kids and I take bigger adventures, like going paddleboarding, camping, or visiting pow-wows and rodeos!

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The easiest? I think that the most difficult thing about boxing for most women is that we have been raised our whole lives to be non-violent and gentle. You have to get over that and learn to feel comfortable unleashing your power! The easiest part is getting in shape. You focus so hard on the boxing skills you’re developing that getting in shape just naturally follows. It’s such an incredible workout!

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport?The best thing is showing the guys what women are capable of. The worst thing is that it can be tough to find opponents sometimes, because there just aren’t as many women in boxing as there are guys.

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes?

I would just like to see more women taking boxing seriously and competing! Cardio boxing classes are cool and all, but people who call that “boxing” are delusional. There are no real world takeaways from those classes other than toned arms; the “skills” you learn in cardio boxing classes are basically just bad habits that you have to unlearn before getting into the ring. The real rewards from the sport of boxing come in the form of the stronger mindset that real fight training requires you to cultivate. I would like to see more women actually walking into fight gyms and committing themselves to a training regimen. The “boxing is sexy” theme in advertising bugs me—I see interviews where Victoria’s Secret models or these Gigi Hadid types claim that they box to stay in shape. Sorry, but if you’re not getting hit in the face, you’re not really boxing—and if you’re a model, I’m pretty sure you’re not getting hit in the face. Sorry to sound harsh, but there’s a sense of pride in the battles—win or lose--that fighters go through to get to where we are. Real fight training is hard, gritty, dirty, sweaty, painful, and sometimes bloody. There’s nothing pretty about it, but the real thing is deeply rewarding and empowering. You’re not going to get that from a cardio boxing class were you leave your jewelry on and don’t break a sweat.

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? Um, maybe like a cross between a honey badger and Eric Cartman? Kidding! How about “sexy tomboy?” I like torn jeans, off the shoulder tshirts, hoodies, and baseball caps. Stuff in simple body conscious shapes that feel comfortable to move in. Lots of camo, denim, faded black, olive green, red, yellow in the palette. Cowboy boots always! I basically just own lots of boots, flip flops, and 2 pair of killer heels. Lots of chunky turquoise, silver, and leather jewelery. I love a jewelry designer out of Montana named Daphne Lorna. Lots of nature themed stuff. And I do spend time on my hair and makeup. I always have a better day when I feel like I look good! Yes, I wear eyeliner and mascara to the gym. Don’t even judge.

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? I like everything Nike for workouts, and Victoria’s Secret sports bras are key. I can’t live without jeans and cutoffs from American Eagle Outfitters. They make everything look soooo good. Total game changers!

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? It’s critical! If you feel good on the inside, why not manifest those feelings on the outside? I say express yourself! Don’t try to be someone else or play a role (been there, done that). Just do YOU, and you will shine. I 100% guarantee this. Wear makeup or don’t; do your hair or don’t. Whatever you do, just own it and feel comfortable in your own skin. I’ve spent so much time over the years hating my body. For what? I’ve always been an athlete! 38 years and two kids later, I’ve learned to be proud of my body. I’ve never been as comfortable in my own skin as I am now. As far as I’m concerned, critics don’t get a vote on how I look. As females in action sports, the women in this community are all in a position to create a healthier and more positive example of body image for women. It’s up to us to say, “I’m a badass, and THIS is what a badass looks like.” It’s not the other way around. People who aren’t in our world doing what we do don’t get to tell us what “badass” looks like and then hold us to those fake standards. Hollywood people, fashion people, they’re not the ones who get to tell us what we should look like. We’re out there crushing it in our sports, and we get to define that. Look at athletes like Jamie Anderson, Ronda Rousey, and Lindsey Vonn. Their bodies inspire me so much: powerful, functional, feminine, strong, and authentic. You develop that kind of a body not through self-loathing (i.e. starvation and plastic surgery), but through self-love (i.e. mindful training, solid nutrition). We in this community are in a powerful position to change that rhetoric for our daughters, and I think in many ways you can see the rhetoric already changing in the way that the millennial generation has started to really embrace the body positivity movement. I’m glad that’s the world my daughter is growing up in.

How dangerous do you really think your sport is compared to what people do in their regular activities? I’d say that getting punched in the face is fairly dangerous. Haha!

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. Ooh, I wrecked myself so badly snowboarding when I was in college. It was the year 2000, so some of y’all were probably infants at the time. Back then, especially at Wintergreen resort in Virginia where I was riding, the parks were not nearly as well maintained as they are here. There was a jump in the park I had been hitting the night before with no problems. Well, it warmed up significantly during the day, and didn’t realize that all day people had been hitting that jump and riding down on their heel edge, scraping off layers of the landing. By the time it froze up again and I went back the next night, I hit it going way too fast as I had the night before. The only problem was that the landing was gone, so I cleared the landing and crashed straight down onto the hill. I broke the tail of my snowboard off (It was a K2 Morgan Lafonte—old school!), and broke my hand and screwed up my hip. Ugh. I like to say that my board took one for the team—if my board hadn’t taken the brunt of the force and broken in half, imagine what other body parts I would’ve messed up! LOL! It was gnarly, to say the least.

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport?  I don’t know what gets people hooked on fighting, honestly. I’m still trying to figure that one out. It’s different for every person. I believe that most fighters have some baggage that affects them on the inside and makes them feel the need to fight. We’re all fighting to get something out of us, or empower some part of us. Whatever it is, it’s deep enough to fuel the passion to keep going even when it’s painful and scary.

What is your favorite trick? In boxing, I like to get inside and attack the body. I don’t really have any other choice because I’m pretty short for my weight class (5’3” and I fight at 152), so I’m usually at a reach disadvantage. That means if I stand too far away, an opponent with longer arms will continue to punch me in the face until I move, get inside their long arms, and hit them in the body until they shell up to block those blows. Then I can attack the face.

Do you own any other toys? I’m a mom of two, so I own TONS of toys. Way too many, actually! LOL! But my vote goes to Gibson guitar autographed by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, my iphone camera, a curling iron, way too many books than anyone should ever own, and an extensive collection of makeup.

What gets you pumped up for the day? Good tunes, coffee, and my BFF’s podcast—The Chaos Cast. I’m a huge fan. It’s run by my friend Jeff; he’s a former Navy SEAL and now he coaches people on leadership and performance. I seriously wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He’s going to be so embarrassed that I called him “BFF.” Haha, that’s so girly! I’m pretty sure he likes his goats better than me, so it’s kind of a one sided friendship.

What are three things you could not live without? My babies, bonfires, and eyeliner. Can I say whiskey, too? Ooh, and aviator sunglasses, cowboy boots, turquoise jewelery, and Tom Ford perfume. Dang it, add sports bras and sunscreen to the list. And Kukui nut oil. Definitely conditioner, too. That’s more than 3.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? I always expect to win, even when the Vegas odds would have me getting my booty kicked. I’m like a little dog that really thinks it’s going to take on the Rottweiler. I never say never!

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My babies, my family, my amazing boxing coach Tim, my gym fam at GriffonRawl MMA Academy in Mentor OH, my ski team besties from college, my friend Dudley who taught me to SUP, and that dude Jeff with the podcast and the goats.

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter (photo/video)? My favorite professional fighter is Canelo Alvarez. As far as snowboarding is concerned, I’ve always been a Shaun White superfan. I’ve followed his career since he was a little kid, and I respect his dedication as an athlete. And I’m a huge fan of my friend and GriffonRawl teammate Nikolai Gionti. He’s making his pro MMA debut on May 20. I’ve learned so much from watching his fight journey and the dedicated way that he trains to advance his career. His approach to fighting is so smart and clean that it’s practically surgical. Being around someone like that, I can see firsthand what it takes to be great.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? Every spare moment I have, I spend it with my babies! My son is 4 and my daughter is 6. They are like little miracles to me, and being divorced from their dad makes me treasure each moment that I have with them.

How about in the off season to stay in shape? There is no off season in my sport! It’s more of an issue trying to figure out how to squeeze in SUP training in the summer while I’m still boxing, because I have all of my SUP races in late August.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? My biggest goal is to make the GriffonRawl official fight team. That only happens when I win my first officially sanctioned USA Boxing match. It will happen. I’m hungry for it.

What do you do to prep for a competition? We call it fight camp. You dial up the training for a month of two before the fight, and focus hard on the things that you know will be important in that fight. The nutrition is dialed in, sleep and recovery are prioritized, and pretty much everything else falls by the wayside. Cutting weight, staying hydrated, and making weight for the fight are all critical. The toughest part of this is keeping your mindset right and staying positive, passionate, and focused. There’s a lot of sacrifice involved, but it’s all worth it. Win or lose, the fight is only a few minutes of your life. The fight camp is months. That’s when the changes occur to your mind, body, and spirit that nobody can take away from you. It’s in pushing yourself to new limits in training that you reap the greatest rewards. Winning a fight is amazing reinforcement of the skills you’ve gained, but it’s not everything.

What competitions and other awards have you won? In boxing, I’ve fought twice and I’m 1-1, but like I said before—I learned this from a teammate of mine—there are only wins and lessons. I’ve learned more from that loss than anything else I’ve experienced in boxing thus far; I could write a whole article on that alone! You don’t really learn anything from winning; it’s just positive reinforcement that you’re training is on point, plus the accolade and bragging rights. I’ve come in first place in my last 3 SUP races; two of them were six miles on my surf style board out on Lake Erie (brutal!), and the other was a sprint race on an inland lake in PA that had us using their race boards. The best part about that race was after I came in first among the women, they had all of the winners in each category compete against each other at the end. I beat the winner of the men’s category! BOOM! Oh, and I was an All-American snowboarder in college in Giant Slalom and Boardercross.

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? I love to just free ride and enjoy the wind and the mountain vistas. I’m mostly focused now on introducing my children to the sports I love, so I spend a lot of time working with my kids on snowboarding and paddling. I’m not so much into the tricks and stuff anymore, but I will hit up a NASTAR race course any day of the week .

Favorite conditions? First tracks on corduroy first thing in the morning. Paddling out on a lazy, still summer day where the water is glassy and the air is thick with humidity and sunshine; hearing the bugs along the edges of the lake. Snowshoeing through the forest in the thick of a snowstorm. Sunset in Montana. Sunrise in Wyoming. Thunderstorms in a Utah canyon. Starry skies over Joshua Tree National Park. Camping with my babies on the beach—either Assateague National Seashore with the wild ponies, or First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? Honestly, I’m happy wherever I am. If I’m riding or fighting or doing whatever it is that I love, it doesn’t have to be any place special or particular. My hometown of northeast Ohio is amazing; we have gorgeous beaches, lively forests, and bald eagles that nest here and soar out over the water. I’m grateful for what I have!

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? Ooh, awesome question! For boxing, “Red Nation” by The Game always gets me going. “Daylight” by Yelawolf motivates me to do almost anything. Riding in a heavy snowstorm, there’s this live version of “Covered in Rain” by John Mayer that, for some reason, just does it for me. When I paddle, I love some Bob Marley or Jack Johnson on the drive to and from.

What turned you onto your sport? All of my sports—snowboarding, paddling, boxing, even shooting—the turn-on was the same thing: a sense of freedom, power, exhilaration, and self-expression. Nobody telling me what to do, staying poised in the present moment, acting from an instinctive gut level. Feeling empowered, free, strong, and brave.

Any new tricks you’re working on? I’m still working really hard on getting inside in boxing. That basically means using my defense to get closer to a person and get out of the range of long jabs and crosses. Just working with my short-armed body type and trying to play to my strengths. It’s an ongoing thing. There are lots of tiny details that I’m constantly working on fine tuning; trying to make my twos more powerful, trying to get the footwork right for to slip and throw body shots, trying to straighten my punches, trying to parry less dramatically, trying not to be too predictable…there are always SO many things I’m working on!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? I don’t know! Is partying with Shaun White cool?

What other extreme/action sports are you into? I like to watch motocross and rodeos, but I’ve never competed in either one. I’ve never met an action sport I didn’t like. My 4 year old son is obsessed with monster trucks, and I can even get stoked about Monster Jam. It’s all good!

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? Haha! That would be the saddest world ever! I would probably still be playing field hockey. Coaching, at this point. I LOVE field hockey.

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? I still have my early ‘00s Victoria Jealouse pro-model Burton Snowboard. Call me old school; I just never got into the whole rocker/camber/magnatraction whatever buzzword is the latest thing in snowboard engineering. My background is in alpine racing, so when I get on the snappy little lively boards, I wreck myself—hard. Like, break your teeth and your goggles in half hard (that happened in Steamboat). My board is like a freaking tank. Like a giant, heavy Cadillac. It’s long AF, heavy, and stiff. I can charge hard and fast through any crappy icy east coast conditions imaginable while still feeling under control. I love the thing. That’s one of the perks of being a 155 lb female; I’m heavy enough that with my body weight I can control/flex a heavier/stiffer board.

What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself? Um, if you find out, please let me know. Just kidding. I’d say there are two critical factors: visualize and commit. If you can’t visualize yourself doing something and literally feel in your mind’s eye your body going through those motions, you’re not ready to do the trick. Maybe you don’t understand it yet and you need to break it down into smaller parts, but visualization is key. Equally important is commitment. Once you hit that feature, you must commit to executing exactly what you visualized. If you don’t follow through, and bail in mid air, you’re going to wreck yourself much harder than you would’ve otherwise. Better to get a solid landing and then skid out or flip over or whatever; just let that gnarly stuff happen once you’re already on the ground.

How would you describe your riding style? I’d say my riding style is alpine influenced. I don’t think I have a SUP style. And I’ve been labeled a bit of a “brawler” in boxing.

What would you say is your signature trick? Balancing motherhood, a full time job, and still making time for my passions.

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding/shooting?  In general, it’s always whiskey—Jack Daniels or Tin Cup. Slopeside but indoors by the fire, a dark local craft beer. Slopeside but relaxing in the sun, one of those lighter wheat beers with an orange slice in it or something. I love trying drinks from local breweries in a ski town or vacation spot. Every morning it’s coffee from Black Rifle Coffee Company. And I follow up the early early training sessions with green tea & Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. BCAAs throughout the day during training.

What do you want to be when you "grow up"? I want to be someone that younger girls and women can point to as an example of someone who refused to follow the “rules.” You don’t have to be proper, or appropriate, or fit in. You do have to be kind, rad, adventuresome, awesome, loving, generous, brave, passionate, and strong. That’s how the world gets changed.

Any of your own web pages or social media buttons you want links to? Youtube, Vimeo, FB, Instagram,Twitter etc. etc.

Instagram @AlicinaV

You can listen to me being interviewed on The Chaos Cast at www.jeff-boss.com/34-alice-vitiello-boxer-phd-and-single-mother-of-two-on-discipline-is-learned/

And you can read my recent online interview with NEO Sports Insiders at http://www.neosportsinsiders.com/boxing-q-a-with-rising-star-alice-vitiello/



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