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Not yet a Greek god body, but I do feel great

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Three weeks ago, Warren Dion, a former Canadian National Bodybuilding champion and the new manager of the MaxOut Fitness Center in Hurricane -- through owner Steve Lemmon -- invited me on a 12-week campaign of fitness that has been a true voyage of discovery.

Words like calories, carbohydrates, gym, water and metabolism have since replaced milkshake, Sprite, Cap'n Crunch, ice cream (sometimes at the same time) and Lucky Charms in my active vocabulary.

The tri-weekly stress/junk-food related stomach trauma I'd experienced in the past has evaporated. In the past three weeks, makers of the stomach remedy Zantac will be sorry to learn that sales have decreased in that time by one customer.

The simple process of rehydration with one liter of water when I first wake up, pausing 45 minutes to eat with minimal water, then drinking again in 45 minutes and continuing that process each day has caused carbohydrates within me to expand. Electrolytes -- not to be confused with the Electric Light Orchestra -- have balanced, and the need for potassium has increased.

I'm not starving or eating less, but more -- and eating the right things.

"You never have to be hungry when you diet," Dion said, adding that this process can revert the body's metabolism (fat-burning engine) to what we were in high school. All I'm doing is pouring more fuel into that engine.

This, coupled with weight work for 45 to 50 minutes five days a week, where I target different areas of my body with proper technique and posture while adding 20 minutes of cardio and a tasty protein shake -- all in the time it would take to watch a bad reality TV show and run to the freezer for ice cream -- has shed off a layer of grunge.

"Shock the body with time, intensity and machinery," Dion challenged us with a promise that if we stick with it, "all the (body's) major components will work for you -- your plumbing system and your cooling system."

In my case, Dion was right. I've learned that carbohydrates such as potatoes with skins, yams, high-grade pastas, as well as good fats -- olive oil, Canola oil and nuts of every kind -- are great for preventing disease.

Leafy green lettuce, red meat -- a great source of nitrogen -- and adding salt to everything except fruit is also a plus.

Dion introduced me to two dietary supplements. One is a fiber-rich substance called Chitason Powder that reduces the transit time of dietary fat and cholesterol in the digestive system, preventing the storage of toxins and disease. This powder is mixed with milk or juice to be taken with my largest meal of the day. The other inhibits lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat in the stomach for absorption.

Three weeks haven't changed my sportswriter's mold to Greek-god body status yet, but I feel better and increasingly get more done at the gym and have an added bounce to my step. The tire around my waist is going flat and I've lost seven pounds, of which I'm working with weights to replace in muscle mass.

Continuing the dietary process throughout the day and not missing meals is essential, but nourishing the body through rest, in order to restore the ripped-apart muscle group from that day's workout is also vital. The process repeats again the next day.

The sore that I feel from my workouts, as Dion told me the other day, "is a good sore."

In writing this, I'm not attempting to provide health advice, lay claim to any sort of fitness guru-ship or hope that Richard Simmons sheds a tear in my behalf. The results of the new mental and physical regimen I've applied can be enjoyed by anyone seeking to improve the way they look and feel.

Dion told a group of us three weeks ago that "the brain is connected to the process of the muscles," though my progress shouldn't be confused with proof that I have a brain.

The tough mental war of resisting the temptation, or impulse, to remove the plastic off the frosted cinnamon rolls I see on the counter upon arriving home from work late at night, and dig in, can be won and replaced with a desire to eat right and exercise.

In my mind, I hear Arnold Schwarzenegger yelling at me to "Hu-REEAY OPP! GEEET OWUT UFF DEE-YUR! (Complete English translation: Hurry up! Get out of there!) When the Arnold in me speaks, I listen.

The next time softball fireball pitcher Tiffany Miller stares me down in the batter's box, hopefully I won't look like an easy K ... until she has me whiffing again. The displacement of air from my bat will at least have a healthier sound to it.

Furthermore, the health benefit of receiving a protein shake on successful bets with co-workers can only help me feel -- and be -- better. I can't wait to break a new Spectrum sports reporter in on this concept.

Updates on my progress, and some other important projects Dion has going, will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.


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