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Fitness rings a (kettle)bell for Stamford woman

Published 9:37 am, Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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Robyn Blosio Bova doesn't come across as someone who likes to toot her own horn. In fact, you'll see her biggest smiles when she's talking about her family and friends, or the people she's gotten to know through her real estate career, her many years as a dance teacher, and her love of fitness.

A Stamford native, she and husband Paul are celebrating their 20th anniversary this July and have three children ranging in age from 14 to 18. Their oldest, Paul Jr., has enlisted in the Navy, which gives HealthyLife magazine's July/August cover model another title, one she wears with pride -- Military Mom.

At 42, Bova stays fit by changing up her exercise routine and focusing on a healthy diet. "Monday through Friday afternoon I'm very careful about what I eat -- a lot of protein, healthy carbs and a lot of fruits and vegetables," she said. "I drink a lot of water -- no coffee, no juices, no sodas."

Bova avoids flour and processed foods, especially if they're labeled "no fat" or "low-fat." But on the weekends, she eats what she likes, including their family's Sunday Italian dinners. "My husband loves to cook, so if I want some of his homemade bread or a piece of cake or a bowl of pasta with his bolognese, I'll have it," she said.

Bova chatted more about her approach to wellness during a recent question and answer interview.

Q: Have you always been physically active?

A: I grew up with three brothers and sports were a big thing. I started dancing at 2 and a half, first with ballet and then eventually tap, jazz and then later in life I actually brought street dance -- now called Hip Hop -- to my dance school (Dancer's Loft in Stamford, where she first took lessons and eventually taught and became part owner before the school closed a few years ago).

Q: You've also been a personal trainer. What led you to that?

A: I was training while I had the dance school. I'm a certified kettlebell trainer and a fitness kickboxing instructor. I always had people coming to me for advice on how to stay fit. It was my love of helping people that prompted me to start (training others). I got into the kickboxing training because I was actually taking the class and the owner came to me because he was looking for help. So he trained me and I started taking over the classes.

Q: How did you get into kettlebells?

A: My husband originally brought them to my attention. He's been involved with martial arts since he was a child and learned about kettlebells through his training. They're different from hand weights because their center of mass is beyond the hands. They burn a lot of calories and actually incorporate cardio, weight training and flexibility all at the same time.

Q: You wrote a book about kettlebells. How did that happen?

A: After years of Paul and I training with them, we were watching the popularity grow here, but what we saw were a lot of people starting to get hurt because of incorrect use. So we went and got certified and then decided we wanted to create a simple booklet to help people train without getting injured. So we started Body Strong, which was us training a few friends for free, but then it grew into training new people and making new friends. We loved it and had a good run, but then it started to interfere with our children (and Paul's full-time job). We stopped training people but we still take on some of our friends. But our booklet and video, "Body Strong: Kettlebell Blitz," still sell worldwide.

Q: What are your favorite ways to exercise?

A: It's always a combination. I don't do the same things all the time, but feel that we continually have to change things up, so different days will bring different things. My husband and I get up at 5 a.m. and go to Underground Fitness in Stamford where we do free weights. Or we'll stay home and do kettlebells and sandbags, circuit training, and running or walking. And we still do some kickboxing. But after a few months we'll change it up. Your body gets used to whatever you're doing so if you're looking to make changes (in your body) you have to keep changing what you're doing.

Q: How do you spend your spare time?

A: (My family likes) to travel when we can, but during the warmer months we like to spend time on our boat. I'm also part of a group called Backyard Humanitarian. It was started by my friend Angela with local people and all we do is help people in this town, whether it's a coat drive or we're serving breakfast to the homeless. We cleaned up Cove Island Park when Sandy came. It's been incredible and my whole family gets involved.

Clothing and accessories provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, Stamford Town Center, 140 Atlantic St. Hair and makeup by the Christopher Noland Salon & Beauty Spa, 124 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich; Ewa Marcinczyk, stylist; Zuzana Mizerova, makeup. Photographed aboard the Kialoa V at Stamford's Harbor Point Marina.

rhaynes@hearstmediact.com; http://blog.ctnews.com/haynes