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Vol. LIX, No. 14
July 13, 2007
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OER's Smith Loses Weight, Reaps Big Rewards

  Al Decot   (front, from l) Margaret Dodson, Sparkle Lonesome, Phyllis Byrne and Jackie Brown. At rear are (from l) Decot, Hal Wilkins, Amy Melpolder and Sarah Harris.
Before and after photos tell the story: At left, Carlton Smith in January; at right, in June he won 1st place in a men's novice heavyweight competition.
At 316 pounds with approximately 50 percent body fat in January 2007, Carlton Smith faced a harsh reality. A task leader for program and grants management in the NIH Office of Extramural Research, he realized that if he didn't do something about his weight, he would need to begin prescription drugs to ward off several medical problems. Instead, he decided on a natural approach to take charge of his health: lose weight and exercise on a regular basis.

After about 2 months, results began to show. Smith, however, needed additional motivation to continue. For the first time in his life, he decided to enter a bodybuilding competition. On June 9, he competed in the 2007 National Physique Committee Natural East Coast Tournament of Champions Bodybuilding and Figure Competition. The event was held at the University of the District of Columbia.

Transformation Begins

Although Smith had competed in weightlifting competitions over the years, bodybuilding contests were something he considered but never actually pursued. His regimen to prepare for the competition consisted of rigorous cardio and weight training in the gym for no less than 4 hours daily, 6 to 7 days a week, and a high-protein/low-calorie diet averaging about 1,800 calories.

Training for the contest proved to be just the boost Smith needed to transform his body and improve his health. He used the preparation to stay focused on losing weight and achieving a long-term goal. By the date of the contest, Smith's weight had gone from 316 pounds to his competitive weight of 238, which put him in the heavyweight class. Most important, his body fat index went from 50 percent to between 10 and 12 percent.

Reaping Results

Smith won 1st place in the men's novice heavyweight competition and was up for the 1st place-overall award in the category until his body started to cramp, preventing him from taking the stage for the competition's final pose.

"Despite the results, I feel like a winner in every category of the competition and in my life," Smith said. "I managed to lose a lot of weight and drastically reduce my health risks while competing in something that has been a dream of mine for a long time. I just celebrated my daughter's elementary school graduation a few days after the competition, and believe it or not, I feel younger than her right now. I committed to something important and made life-changing results. I feel like I am 10 years old again." NIH Record Icon

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