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Muscle man: Police officer turns to body-building

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He's not Mr. Olympia - at least not yet - but he might be called "Mr. Allen." Bobby Ransom, a school resource officer at Curtis Middle School, broke into the bodybuilding world in a noteworthy way last weekend when he placed third in his first competition.

He's accomplished a lot in the six months since he truly committed to his training. The 33-year-old has come even farther since his doctor informed him three years ago that he was overweight, stricken with digestive problems, and had a dangerously high cholesterol count.

"My belly was so big I couldn't bend over," Ransom said. "Tying my shoes was like running a marathon. My doctor told me I better get it together."

So Ransom, the city's first black police officer and an 8-1/2-year veteran of the department, joined a gym and started eating better. Over time, he lost weight and became more fit.

One day, bodybuilder Darry Mallard, a member of the same Plano gym, approached Ransom and asked if he might be interested in body sculpting. Under Mallard's guidance, Ransom began training.

Then he hurt himself and learned a lesson he plans to share with Curtis pupils and others every chance he gets.

"Don't believe everything you hear," he says.

As with any high-caliber athlete, the bodybuilder must carefully monitor his or her diet. When Ransom first became serious about the sport, on the advice of others he consumed too much protein. The result was a torn up knee that required surgery.

"Too much protein robs your body of calcium," he said. "I was doing squats with too much weight, and I felt a pop in my knee."

Now, Ransom stresses that people who want to lose weight and get fit should find out what works for them. Consulting a nutritionist along with a fitness trainer is the best plan, he says. He adds that supplements are not required to achieve satisfying results.

Kathi Corazzo, a friend of Ransom's, is his nutritionist. He credits her with finding the right combination of nutrients to allow him to succeed in Houston on Nov. 16, when he won third place in novice men's lightweight (164-1/2 pounds and under) division at the eighth annual John Sherman Bodybuilding Classic.

Of the process, Ransom talks of juggling sugar, sodium, and fat; of trying to balance fructose and carbohydrates and other nutritional building blocks.

For the two weeks before the contest, Ransom ate sweet potatoes, spinach, green beans, baked chicken, and little else. He didn't drink but a few drops of water for the last 19 hours, which served to tighten his skin and helped to increase his muscle definition.

After the contest, it was pure release, as he and his companions stopped at IHOP, where he ordered pancakes, eggs, and almost every kind of meat on the menu.

"I was disappointed that my metabolism was so slow, because I was ready to eat again," he said with a laugh.

Now he's in his off-season, though he plans to compete again in April. For now, he'll take his message to the children he sees every day and to those who ask how he did it. Right now, only a few know how hard he worked.

"Bobby had to undergo very hard training and an equally strenuous diet to get to his first show," Corazzo said. "He had drive and determination, and I feel that he would be a good role model for the community, especially the children and young adults.

"I feel this not just because he is a police officer, but because he worked hard and ate right and kept his mind focused on his goal - something our children could benefit from learning."

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