After years of focusing on fitness, Breckenridge resident Diane Canepa is in running for Ms. Health & Fitness title |

After years of focusing on fitness, Breckenridge resident Diane Canepa is in running for Ms. Health & Fitness title

BRECKENRIDGE — Yes, there’s the obligatory biking, running and weight lifting. But if there’s a secret to Diane Canepa’s fitness success over the past few decades, it just might be vacation rentals.

Yes, vacation rentals.

How so? Those caretaking at vacation rentals often have to move furniture around in between guests. Canepa has been tasked with precisely that at the several vacation rentals and homes for which she’s cared. The 61-year-old credits all of that real-life lifting and moving with keeping her nimble after a career of fitness instructing, including a stint at Breckenridge Recreation Center.

“I’ve been moving furniture in my house and rentals for 20 years or more,” Canepa said. “A lot of time, I move the stuff myself. … But because I work out and do weights, too, I think it all has helped me stay strong and not injure myself.”

For a quarter century, Canepa has lived in Breckenridge. Throughout that time, she’s always focused on fitness, even if it was something as simple as carrying her daughters into the Bearly Big child care center at Breck Rec by the top of their car seat buckets.

“Then I would go upstairs and teach my class,” Canepa said. “So many great memories.”

Canepa transitioned into a life of fitness as a child via her family of tap dancers, an active hobby she taught for many years and still takes part in. These days, Canepa has maintained her fitness by road biking the Summit County recpath, mountain biking Breckenridge’s backcountry trails and, of course, skiing in winter.

It’s all led her to be a part of what’s dubbed “the world’s largest online fitness competition” by Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine. The competition is called Ms. Health & Fitness, and Canepa is in third place in her group during the group stage and in line to qualify in the top five of her group by Wednesday’s 11 p.m. online voting deadline. The group stage will give way to a final stage, where a champion will be crowned.


Go to to see Diane’s fitness recommendations, her thoughts on fitness positively influencing her life and her answer to what she’d do if she wins the $20,000 prize that comes with the Ms. Health & Fitness championship.

The social media competition has a grand prize of $20,000 and features the winner in a Page 2 spread in the magazine, the ultimate reward for a winner selected from thousands of initial entrants. And if Canepa takes pride in anything, it’s that she’s proven competitive against women who are much younger than her.

“I always like to say, ‘I’m probably in the geezer or old farts category,’” Canepa said with a laugh. “I think it’s fun.”

The annual competition benefits former NFL player Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors charity, which has a mission of providing financial assistance and support to injured U.S. military veterans by building and remodeling handicap accessible homes to suit their individual needs.

Canepa said she decided to submit to the competition this year after seeing it in years past as a magazine subscriber.

“I just feel honored to be a part of this,” Canepa said. “The women who are in this competition with me are role models of mine also. And we are all different, all come from different backgrounds.”

Canepa said despite aging and whatever life has thrown her way, she’s never given up on fitness. It’s her dedication to fitness that she says has kept her grounded and happy from one decade to the next.

Canepa said she is so proud these days when she walks into the recration center weight room to see an even split between men and women. Decades ago, Canepa remembers being one of the only women in the weight room. Now, she smiles when she sees all of Summit County’s ladies lifting.

“I’m cheering on the inside,” she said.

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