Building A Better Body

A new year is almost upon us and with it comes those resolutions to lose weight and keep fit. Meet a man who is the right person to weigh in on how to be successful.

At Smith & Esch Fitness at 109th and Dodge, Todd Smith works on training those to reach their top fitness goals. “Crunch the muscle!” It’s not hard to notice that also crunching the muscles is Smith himself.

"I started off in the teenage Mr. Nebraska. I was never able to win. I competed in the Mr. Nebraska many times and finally won that in 1989 and I always wanted to win the Mr. America or the national championship title and that took me until I was 33."

At age 45, Smith can add Mr. Natural America to the list along with a spread in the January issue of Iron Man magazine. As the magazine chronicles, back in his teenage years was when it started for the Omaha Central High graduate. He became inspired to learn about bodybuilding.

"I was heavily influenced by my family. They really struggled with obesity and being de-conditioned, so I witnessed some of the struggles that they had and it motivated me to not only be healthy myself, but it enabled me to help others."

Throughout the years, Smith has traveled the country learning from top bodybuilders. He says while no philosophy is golden, his is more about feeding the body than lifting weights. "Ninety percent of what I focus on is what I eat."

Smith's list of what not to eat includes pasta and breads, pretty much anything made with refined sugar and refined flour. After so many years of avoidance, he says he can't even eat the stuff because it makes him sick.

"The minute that I take the sugars out of their diet, the minute that I take the refined flour out of their diet, boom, their bodies, they start to lose their stored body fat, they start to get energy, their joints feel better."

Along with his trainees at the gym, he passes along his knowledge of staying fit to his family, teaching his 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son healthy habits.

He's got his own goals, too. "I just want to continue to improve. I want to be healthy, I want to feel fit and I want to be better at 55 than I am at 45."

Smith plans to continue to compete on the national bodybuilding stage and says his physical form today is the best it's ever been. He is already planning for another competition next year and will be in the running for the Natural Mr. Olympia.

He has tips for those who want to learn bodybuilding or just want to get into shape on his Web site.

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