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Contestants already reaping health benefits of exercise, diet
By Kent McDill | Daily Herald Correspondent

Dr. Paul Mikulski is supervising the contestants of this year's Fittest Loser competition.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/12/2010 12:04 AM

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In order to participate in the Fittest Loser competition, each of the five candidates had to meet with two doctors.

Each had to get permission from his or her primary physician, who determined whether they were physically ready for a strenuous upgrade in their physical fitness regime for three months.

Then they had to meet with Dr. Paul Mikulski, who advised the competitors and trainers on how best to approach the physical and psychological demands they faced .

"The main thing I told them is to learn how to do this themselves," said Mikulski, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist with a devotion to applied kinesiology. "Health care has to focus on how we eat, how we move and how we think. The best thing these men and women can take out of this is to learn how to do it themselves."

Before contestants began three months of workouts guided by Push Fitness in Schaumburg, Mikulski measured many variables for the contestants, including body composition, fluid distribution and oxygen saturation levels.

That turned up an oxygen saturation level of 95 percent for contestant Frank Valenti, compared to a healthy person's 99 to 100 percent.

"He was already medicated for high blood pressure and diabetes and high cholesterol. By the time I was done I had to call over to Push and say, 'Hey, you may want to take it easy with this gentleman.'"

Mikulski's warnings were taken into account, and Valenti's workout regimen was adjusted accordingly.

"He told me by doing these exercises it was going to make my life easier," Valenti said. "I went to see my primary doctor a couple of weeks ago, and she's got my cholesterol pill down from 10 milligrams to five milligrams. All of my other numbers, blood pressure and diabetes, everything is going down. She said, 'The next time I see you, I will take some of your pills away.'"

Mikulski was also involved in the 2009 Fittest Loser competition and said the effect from three months of workouts and lifestyle modification was nearly indescribable.

"It was amazing," said Mikulski, who conducts an exit examination of each participant. "I didn't recognize those people the second time. I had to do a double take. You look at the vitality, the coloration of their skin, the energy they are putting off, they are different people. Last year, we had a person who was diabetic, and his (post-contest) values were perfectly normal.

"I expect to see changes in blood pressure, body composition," he said. "They lose fat and gain muscle."

Mikulski speaks passionately about his work and its effects upon the people who seek his advice.

"It doesn't matter what shape, what conditions someone comes in as, what diagnoses they have, but we get them moving because movement helps," he said. "The better we move, the healthier we are going to be. A body in motion stays in motion. You actually double your energy producing machinery by asking your body to make energy every day."