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Keith St. Onge Walks on Water

Find out how this barefoot water skiing champ stays fit and handles the occasional 'gator!


What should you do if you encounter a 'gator?
I've been told the best thing to do is to poke them in the eye, but if you just keep your distance you'll be safe. All alligator encounters are usually provoked. Most boats scare alligators away in the first place, because they don't like the noise from the engine.

How can you prepare for barefooting?
I'd say having core strength is most important. Try working your stomach and back by holding the sitting V, where you're on your tailbone and your arms and legs are up in the air. I also do kickboxing because it prepares your body for all the twisting and turning moves you make while barefooting, and loosens up your shoulders for when you're holding the rope. Barefooting is more about explosive energy than endurance. Try punching upper cuts for 30 seconds, and then take a breather. Sprint for 30 seconds, then rest. Stretching is also key because you want flexible hamstrings and quads.

What do you eat to fuel your ski sessions?
I try to eat every two hours because barefooting burns so many calories. Everyone's body is different, but I stay away from white pasta and flour because it makes my muscles sticky. Sugar is my biggest enemy. It goes right to my quads so I have less endurance and feel like I want to collapse. I have the most energy when I'm eating natural, unprocessed foods like salads, fruits, and vegetables. When I'm on the go, organic energy bars save me. I really like Rawma bars from Gopal's Healthfoods.

Have you had to give up anything else?
I gave up drinking cold turkey, and it really cleared my head and made me feel stronger. Like with any goal you're working towards, there's always something you can sacrifice to bring yourself closer to achieving it. If you can't quite get there, find one or two things you can change in your attitude or your life, and quit whatever is holding you back. I gave up alcohol, soda, and milk-I even used water in my cereal!-to detox my body so I could compete better. You have to sacrifice to reach your goals.

Now that you've reached yours, what's you're the best and worst part of your job?
The best part is being outdoors instead of stuck inside all day, and meeting people from all over the world. The worst part is the exact opposite: Cold, rainy weather is no fun, and neither is spending time with negative, know-it-all people. My job depends on the weather, and who is in my boat.

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