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  July 31, 1999



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Muscle madness

Hitman's keeping fit for ring return?

By BRET "The Hitman" HART -- For the Calgary Sun
  I got a call the other day from Billy Graham, the wrestler, not the preacher. He wanted to talk about Owen. He wanted to talk about old times. And he said he wasn't sure if anybody up here still remembers him.

 It's obvious by that very question that despite his self assured ring moniker 'superstar,' he never let it go to his head.

 How can anyone not remember Superstar Billy Graham? He was the first guy in wrestling to have 24-in. arms. He was Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura all rolled into one when those guys were still inventing themselves. My dad loves to tell stories about how he used to stretch Superstar Graham in the dungeon. No doubt he was one of the biggest fish Stu ever caught.

 I've never been the biggest or strongest guy in wrestling and I realized early on that the only way I was going to rise to the top was by working hard at being in the best shape possible

 and by having the best scientific arsenal. That was a tough enough goal to achieve at 20, little did I know the real challenge would come at 40, when maintaining my size and strength conditioning, which is so vital to being a top contender in pro wrestling, would become even more challenging.

 In the last couple of years, people have commented to me that they're amazed by the shape I'm in and they want to know how I do it. If you're looking for a quick fix or a magic pill, then forget it.

 A few years ago, I hired Grant McReynolds, the nameless character in the documentary, Wrestling With Shadows, who says he thinks I have another 10 years of wrestling left in me. I know he said it just so I'll try to live up to it. Grant is a great personal trainer!

 He's two-time winner of the Strongest Man in Canada and has established himself as a world-class contender. Just this past weekend, he made them sit up and take notice in Quebec City when he placed second overall at the end of the first day's events but dropped to fourth because of a nasty torn oblique muscle suffered in the dead lift at the beginning of day two. Despite the injury, officials extended him an invitation to the Worlds, in Malta, in September, saying, "Grant deserves to be there one way or the other!"

 I agree!

 The thing about Grant is that even with his background in body building and power lifting -- not to mention being on the Canadian Olympic team -- he's still able to shift gears and has clients ranging from accountants to teenagers to pro athletes.

 He knows what a body needs and how to make it better. Grant has a whole lot to do with why I can hold my own against guys who are bigger than me, Goldberg and Brian Adams (Crush) for example.

 If you see a big guy pulling big semi trucks through parking lots around town, that's just Grant working out. Alongside Grant, there's Abdulah Faqiryar, massage therapist par excellence, formerly with the Afghanistan national soccer team. Abdulah drives around town in a van with a sign that says Hitman Massage, so if he cuts you off in traffic don't let it rub you the wrong way cause when he rubs me down I can actually run up stairs again. And last, but certainly not least, is my untoppable personal conditioning advisor, Dr. Mike Bracko, whom I've known since Vincent Massey days. His conditioning expertise over the last two years has kept me at the top of the pro wrestling roster.

 I haven't decided if I'll get back in the ring but I keep working out because I'm almost to the point that if I don't, maybe before long I'll look like Homer Simpson. I like to think of them as my own personal Bod Squad and they're anxious to know what my decision will be but no one is more anxious to know that than me.

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