Todd Smith looks like he knows something about staying in shape that the rest of us don't. The Omahan captured the Mr. Natural Universe title in the masters division this summer.
But the muscular 47-year-old says there are no secrets to good health. He advocates eating unprocessed, whole foods and exercising regularly. It's a mantra he lives personally and shares professionally with his clients at Todd Smith Fitness, near 76th and Cass Streets in Omaha.
We talked with the bodybuilder and personal trainer about why working out is overrated, his diet and how he indulges.
Question: Why are you so passionate about health and fitness?
Answer: It started for me as a kid. My father struggled with obesity. I saw him consistently try and fail to lose weight. That motivated to be a lifelong learner and find simple answers, so I can help people understand what to do to be healthy and why they're doing it.
Q: How did that lead to bodybuilding?
A: It was a natural progression. I love the challenge of changing not only other people's bodies, but my own. I like having a goal. I like having a sense of urgency. I like working toward something personally, professionally and athletically - that's how I thrive.
Q: What is your exercise philosophy?
A: I'm not an extremist. I tell people to do the least amount of work necessary to initiate change. I work out for one hour a day, four days a week - not two hours a day, six days a week.
Q: What's your diet like?
A: It's important to eat balanced meals and avoid processed foods. No breads or pastas. I eat steak, eggs, chicken, fish, quinoa, sweet potatoes, long-grain rice and a lot of vegetables. I'm pretty bare bones. When I'm training for a competition, I don't eat fruit because even it spikes your blood pressure.
Q: Do you ever indulge?
A: That's where a lot of people stumble - when they have cravings. Eat something that you really want and get it out of your system and move on. I'd rather go to The Cheesecake Factory and eat the real thing than have fat-free, sugar-free ice cream.
Q: How did it feel to win Mr. Universe?
It was fantastic. I'm not genetically gifted; I feel like I'm successful because I'm diligent and focused. I didn't train for four months. It's been a 30-year journey. So it was really rewarding.
Q: What about you might surprise people?
A: I make a living telling people how to work out and selling supplements, but exercise is overrated and supplements can be a waste of money because you have to create the right environment internally. The true catalyst to change is what you put in your body. Exercise and supplements accelerate the process.
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