Kickin’ MS’ Booty

Emmy-winning former talk-show host Montel Williams employs an arsenal of nutritious weapons to stay fit and active, 13 years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

It’s hard to believe that the ripped six-pack behind Montel Williams’ as-seen-on-TV Living Well Ab Coaster belongs to a 56-year-old guy whose long-running talk show was once a daytime staple. But it’s far more stunning when you realize that the ever-taut host-turned-health advocate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 13 years ago—when research and statistics he read suggested his life expectancy as an African-American male with the progressive neurological disease would have him checking out right around age 60. “How dare somebody expect me to live down to their expectation,” the decorated former Navy SEAL passionately contends. “Why can’t I live up to my own? Don’t put a number and say, ‘This is your best bet.’ My best bet could be 150.”

If anyone can surmount the odds, it’s Williams. A year before his Emmy-winning series ended its 17-season run in 2008, the father of four and (since his official MS diagnosis in 2000) avid snowboarder began to realize his disease had him “standing on shaky ground.” Recalls Williams, “Until 2006, I was snowboarding almost 100 days a year. In 2007, I went out to snowboard and my leg kinda threw me a bit.” By 2009, his doctor recommended he find a less taxing physical pursuit. So Williams decided to double his time in the gym—goodbye thrice-a-week workouts, hello daily butt-kicking—and get his diet in check with military precision. Late last year, as chronicled on his recent visit to “The Dr. Oz Show,” the astute self-researcher discovered Re-Body SafSlim, a belly- fat-shrinking supplement derived from safflower oil. Williams soon discovered that the elixir helped him lose the last stubborn inch of his waistline—which he now keeps at the same 29½ inches he sported when graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980. With SafSlim part of his fighting-shape arsenal, “I’m not going to get off-track again,” Williams promises. “I’m not in any way, shape or form telling anyone that I’m curing MS, but I’m figuring out how to live with this the best I can every day. And by doing that, it’s improving my quality of life.” Oh, and one more thing: “I’m going back on my snowboard this year. I’m going up to Alaska, and I’m going to do this with the sense I did when I was at my prime.”

wb | You look great. How do you feel?

mw | Thanks. I turned 56 this year. I’m feeling really great.

wb | You seem to be winning the battle against MS with an intense workout regimen.

mw | I want to make sure we get this real clear: I have MS. And I deal with it every day—sometimes 24 hours a day. I suffer from a myriad of symptoms, everything from lower-extremity neuropathic pain to some myalgia and cramping to a little bit of left-side weakness from time to time. And because of that, what I’ve found out—and it’s taken me 13 years to understand this—is that I need to work out every day. I’m not like people who can take a day off. I work out until I drop.

wb | What’s your typical daily exercise routine?

mw | The core of my workout for the last two years straight has been at least 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the elliptical every day. Now, why don’t I go walk outside? Because I have some issues with my left leg. It drags a little bit so I get tripped.

And I do at least 40 minutes of resistance training: Three of the six days is a form of plyometrics and multi-super sets—circuit training—and the other three days are more of a strength training where I slow it down. I took two days off last week—the first two-day period of time in the last 11 months that I’d not worked out.

wb | So you’re truly devoted to fitness.

mw | I have to be. When I sleep at night, I can cramp so badly that when I wake up in the morning my muscles hurt. I get downstairs and crack it out, almost like an egg shell. When I do that, it’s almost like it oils my joints and I can walk better. I can deal with the day better. The residual effect is a slim, taut body, which I’m proud of. Now, at 56, I can wear the same clothes I wore when I graduated from college.

wb | How does SafSlim help you maintain your trim waistline?

mw | It’s based on safflower seed oil, which contains belly-fat-targeting linoleic acid—an omega-6 fatty acid. I’m busting my butt—I’m ab working, I’m doing aerobics and resistance training, I’m eating my diet. But at 56 years old it’s hard to get rid of that last inch of belly fat. I’ve been eating SafSlim for six months, and I’ve been holding this down. So it’s part of my daily regimen.

wb | Do you mix it into your food?

mw | I stick it in shakes, and I eat it with my tablespoon. It was tested [in clinical trials] at two tablespoons a day, but I eat three a day because I love the taste. SafSlim is not a magic bullet; it’s an extra bullet. So you take that bullet along with your exercise and your diet. I’m telling you, I got rid of that extra inch. And it ain’t comin’ back.

wb | How do managing MS and keeping off excess body weight go hand-in-hand?

mw | We know for a fact that excess fat is a contributor to inflammation. Inflammation is the nemesis of any neurological disease, especially MS. The more I can reduce inflammation, the better. I consume somewhere around 40 to 46 oz of liquefied, emulsified fruits and vegetables every day, because I’m trying to completely reduce inflammation. Nature’s anti-inflammatories are fruits and vegetables. The deeper the color, the more anti-inflammatory reaction you get.

wb | So you’re drinking your vegetables?

mw | Yes. And I drink a green-fruit smoothie twice a day. I also drink a chocolate protein super-seed drink using raw chocolate, goji berries, hemp seed, maca, kola nut and a little bit of agave and coconut water. Every night I have one cooked meal. I eat fish, poultry. I eat red meat maybe once every three to four days.

wb | That’s quite an arsenal.

mw | I’m at war. I’ve got an enemy that’s trying to take me down. That enemy’s name is MS. I want to go to battle with everything in my quiver, everything in my arsenal so I can fight this thing as hard as I can. And that’s why I’ve loaded it up this way. Right now, I’m kickin’ MS’ booty, baby.

wb | How does being an inspiration and an advocate propel you?

mw | The fact that I have people looking to me with hope makes me go out and look for answers. When my show stopped, it kind of freed me up for a second to take a deep breath. I’d written three books—Living Well, Living Well Emotionally and Climbing Higher. And I realized, I’m living well. I’ve got to share this with other people and show them how to do it, too. And that’s what started me out on this journey the last four years. I’ve been seeking out things to help me to mitigate some of that pain. And when I started learning things, I realized, how dare anybody live in this world and learn something that you know will help other people and not share it. So I’m committed.

 

Montel’s Favorites

Superfood:

An organic apple, and I’m a super-seed freak.

Appetite-curbing supplement:

Re-Body Hunger Chews

Energy booster:

CocoaWell Energy Chews

Digestive aid:

Grapefruit juice at night

Exercise:

Plyometrics

Workout equipment:

The TRX Suspension (invented by Navy SEALs)

 

(Psst! Want to listen to our phone interview with Montel? Click Here.)