Queens buddies compete on ‘Amazing Race’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of CBS
Photo courtesy of CBS

Friends Joey Lasalla and Danny Horal from Queens compete on this season of "The Amazing Race."

Joey “Fitness” Lasalla and Danny Horal anticipated the trip of a lifetime.

But first, they needed to find somewhere to pack their club attire and a few extra cans of Axe Body Spray.

The best friends snagged the ultimate journey, competing on the most recent season of CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” Lasalla and Horal lasted until the sixth leg of the race, when they opted for a “fast forward” and were subsequently dismissed.

Seven years ago, Lasalla, a Whitestone personal trainer who also owns a supplement company, and Horal, a Long Island nightclub promoter, met while bar hopping at the Jersey shore. Their friendship continued, and the two hit the gym and clubs in Las Vegas and Miami together.

Years later, the pals decided they wanted to do something other than party. They wanted to see the world.

Auditioning for “The Amazing Race” proved easier than Lasalla and Horal expected. Assisted by a wave of social media, the two created a video about themselves, depicting why they would make excellent candidates for the show. The buddies flew to Los Angeles for a second round of interviews before being selected by the show’s casting director.

“It was surreal,” said Lasalla. “We were so excited. We knew this would be an experience we wouldn’t forget.”

In the weeks leading up to their journey, Lasalla and Horal continued their work-out rituals, staying in shape for what they predicted would be a strenuous challenge. Lasalla purchased an old, stick-shift automobile, knowing that most cars outside of the United States have manual transmissions.

Regardless of their preparation, the comrades admitted it is nearly impossible to equip oneself for such a competition.

“You can run on the treadmill for days but there’s no way to train,” said Horal, who had never left the country prior to this experience. “You’re running for days and going without sleep. There’s no way you can train.”

Lasalla feels a balance between mental and physical strength helps contestants succeed on “The Amazing Race,” remarking that age and fitness are only small factors.

“You have to be physically and mentally fit,” said Lasalla. “You have to have endurance and be smart. You have to train everything.”

According to Lasalla, the physical challenges were not where he and Horal ran into problems. It was the lack of rest and adequate sustenance that caused a struggle.

“When you’re on the race, you’re travelling from one country to another,” said Lasalla. “Taking two to three flights in the same day over 20 hours. It takes a toll on your body. You can’t go home and rest.”

Horal joked that Lasalla’s biggest worry was keeping himself tanned, toned and well-dressed.

“He had a hard time keeping his spray tan fresh,” laughed Horal. “The hardest part was staying clean. We used a lot of Axe Spray.”

Regardless of the competition’s hardships, both Lasalla and Horal felt it was more than worthwhile. Lasalla, who wanted to skydive for years, got the chance to leap from an airplane in Argentina. He called it one of the best moments of his life.

While the pair was eliminated midseason, Lasalla hopes they will be able to appear on a future “redemption season.”

They also have a travel show, yet to be pitched to a network, in their sights. Horal says they want to show people that there is more to the world than Las Vegas and Miami.

“[The Amazing Race] opened my eyes to the world,” said Horal.