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    Posted December 1, 2013 by
    Wimberley, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2014 Triathlon Challenge

    More from Nutrition1st

    Taking My Fitness to the Next Level


    Hello Dr. Gupta & CNN!


    My name is Mark Dreher. I live in the Austin, TX area. I'm a 62 year old nutritional biochemist with 35 years of food and nutrition research experience. I currently have a small clinical nutrition research consulting business.


    However, being a nutrition scientist doesn't necessarily translate into optimal daily physical fitness habits. I want to learn how to take my physical fitness to the "next level" by participating in the CNN Fit Nation: 2014 Triathlon Challenge for the following reasons:


    First, 2013 was a crazy health year for me. I was diagnosed in January with a degenerative disc in my lower lumbar spine, which is know as spondylolisthesis. Between February and June, I had two spine fusion surgeries so I was basically unable to exercise for the first 9 months of the year, except for walking.


    During this down time, I started thinking more about physical fitness and I set the goal to get into the best physical condition of my life and to complete my first triathlon event. Also, I used my nutrition knowledge to provide the right nutrients at the right levels in my diet to help enhance the recovery of my spine.


    A few months ago, I started a progressive physical fitness program. Now my doctor says that my spine is recovering very well and that I should continue to advance my fitness level. So the CNN 2014 Triathlon Challenge comes at the right time to take my fitness to the "next level" needed to achieve my goal of completing a triathlon.


    Secondly, during my recovery, I started actively blogging on health, nutrition, and fitness research. So I would like to continue to advance these skills by sending iReports and blogging about the 2014 CNN Triathlon Challenge activities.


    As lower lumbar spine disc problems are common with aging, I hope to be a role model to demonstrate that surgery is not the end but rather a new beginning especially with a healthy lifestyle.


    I appreciate the opportunity to tell my health & fitness story and your considering me for the 2014 Team.


    Thank you - Mark Dreher PhD

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