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Interview with Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Going the Distance with a World Champion; Ready, Set, Go!

Aired September 15, 2012 - 16:30   ET


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: Hello from the West Coast.

Well, the race is here. I'm in California to race the Nautica Malibu triathlon, along with seven CNN viewers. They have been training all year long, right along with me.

I will tell you that the sport of triathlon is growing, and growing fast. In fact, the number of people raising triathlons has increased 10-fold in the last decade. One of the all-time greats is going to be along to share tips about keeping your head in the game.

I'm also going to explain something you're going to love. How anyone can get more fit, lose more weight, while in fact working out less.

Before we get to all of that, there's a big story we have been following along for sometime out of New York. You may have heard about this. Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched this crusade essentially here to ban large sugary drinks, including sodas in city restaurants and delis. Now, on Thursday, he got what he wanted, a ban or a lid so to speak on the sale of all sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

I spoke exclusively with Mayor Bloomberg earlier from New York.


GUPTA: All right, Mr. Mayor, thanks so much for joining us.

I wondered -- a lot of people are talking about what is happening in New York City obviously. I wonder if you could sort of take me back to the beginning for you. When did this become something you were thinking about seriously?

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: Well, over the last few years, obesity has become a bigger and bigger problem, not just in the United States, but around the world. I think this is the first year in the history of the world where more people will die from the effects of too much food than from starvation. And it is fascinating, it is also, we think, the first disease in the history of the world that has gone from being a rich person's disease to a poor person's disease.

GUPTA: It's pretty shocking as you may know, Mr. Mayor, we have been reporting on this issue for sometime. Was there a personal story for you? I mean, did you have issues either with the chronic effects of obesity in your own family, yourself?

BLOOMBERG: No, but I can tell you, and I think I speak for almost everybody, if it's in front of me. I eat it. I love cheese-its.

If you put a bowl, two pound box of cheese that's in front of me, I'd probably eat them all. That's not very good for you.

But if you eat anything in moderation, there's no harm -- or almost anything. And so, if you put a small bowl of cheese that's in front of me, that's fine. We all do the same thing. All we're trying to do with the full sugary drinks is to have a smaller portion in front of you.

If you want to take another portion, you can, nobody is banning you from doing that. You can buy it, as a matter of fact, you can buy two 16-ounce cups or four 16-ounce cups any time you want and take them all back to your seat or your table.

GUPTA: When you were sitting down with your team and thinking about the future, at the beginning again, of all of this, what was the biggest obstacle to getting this done, that you envisioned?

BLOOMBERG: Well, I actually think it is relatively simple. I think when people think back on what happened with smoking -- smoking was very controversial to ban it in public places. But when -- if you -- go around now, and say well who was against the smoking ban back then? You can't find anybody. Everybody remembers that they were for it.

The big difference between smoking and obesity is that if you smoke and I'm in the same room, I get hurt. If you and I are in the same room and you're obese, I don't get hurt, short term. But I do eventually have to pay your medical bills because that's actually what happens.

GUPTA: So you make the argument that this is a public health issue, in addition to being a personal health issue?

You know, it strikes me, Mayor, listening to you talk. You are obviously a man who has great wealth and resources. And you could have chosen to try to address these issues in many different ways. But as a mayor, what you're doing, I can sense the satisfaction in your voice as your getting things done.

BLOOMBERG: Well, and somebody said to me, what legacy would you like to have, three years improvement, a life expectancy, the 8.4 million and maybe for a lot of other people around the world, because certainly a smoking ban got copied in all of Western Europe, they're smoke-free. Big chunks of Latin America, countries like Brazil, one of the biggest countries in the world, smoke-free, even in China, where the governments own the tobacco companies, the 150 million people moving to the middle class are focusing on this.

So a lot of lives will be saved. And maybe that's a pretty good legacy to have.

GUPTA: Not a bad one at all.

Mr. Mayor, thanks so much. I hope you join us again, I really do want to keep on top of the story. Thank you, sir. BLOOMBERG: Thank you for having us.


GUPTA: And I should note the ban doesn't in fact take place until March. And what we[re going to wait and see is in fact this move in makes New York City any healthier.

Meantime, here in Malibu, our Lucky 7, they have already made the commitment to get fit. How about you? Up next, we're going to get advice from arguably possibly one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time. There she is.

Plus, my out of this world challenger, a NASA astronaut, she decided to race me from 250 miles high up in the sky. We'll explain.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sunrise happening right now as the two astronauts there, Suni Williams on the left, Aki Hoshide there on the right, travel high above the South Pacific Ocean, about to head over parts of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.


GUPTA: And there is my friend and NASA astronaut, Sunita Williams, space walking like a pro last week outside of the International Space Station.

But, you know, she's got another challenge ahead of her this weekend, as well. She's decided she's going to race the Nautica Malibu triathlon from space. She decided to challenge me. And I spoke with Suni earlier from aboard the ISS and I asked her to show me how she, in fact, going to manage that bike ride.


SUNITA WILLIAMS, ASTRONAUT: Sure, I was talking about the bike when you were visiting us before, because luckily here in space, we don't need a seat. All we do is put our feet in the pedals, and I'll demonstrate here.

So we also have a computer here that we can dial in the resistance and speed. And then we also just for health purposes take our heart rate as we are writing. And so, we can -- this is how I'm going to simulate the bike ride.

So for the hills, I can increase my resistance to match the route that you're going to take. Because I would assume that Malibu is not flat, like Houston, right?


GUPTA: Not flat at all. She is absolutely right about that. Now, about the course out here, I want to give you a sense of what we are up against. So we're going to give you a sneak peek with CNN Fit Nation producer, Caitlin Hagan.


CAITLIN HAGAN, CNN FIT NATION PRODUCER: I mean, look at those waves, those choppy water. This is where we're going to be beginning our race this weekend. We're going to be swimming here in the ocean.

It is the first time in the history of the Fit Nation triathlon challenge that we have ever done a race in the ocean. I'm talking freezing waters right now, like low 60s. We're going to be swimming a half mile here, all the way down this beach.

The bike course is pretty difficult, and that's because it's 18 miles of rolling hills along the Pacific Coast highway, some of which are actually pretty steep. We're going to be trying to make it up to this really long hill behind me, on our bikes, on the way to the next transition area.

So after that challenging bike ride, unfortunately, there is no rest for these tired legs, because now it is on to the run, four miles along the Pacific Coast highway, and we're actually going to be running right down Zuma Beach. We will make it to the finish line where we will get our well-deserved medals.

And actually, as I say this, I'm realizing that I'm racing this weekend. So I need to go ahead and get some training in but, Sanjay, I will see you at the start line.


GUPTA: I will be there, Caitlin, I can promise you that.

Here in Malibu, the athletes come in all levels. One of them is four- time Ironman champ, Chrissie Wellington. You probably know her. She's also written a book called "A Life Without Limits." The book is about a journey that took her from being a casual runner, if you will, and a globe-trotting backpacker, to being one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time.


GUPTA (voice-over): You're looking at the world's greatest female endurance athletes, Chrissie Wellington. She took the world by storm when she won the 2007 Ironman world championships. It was only her second Ironman race ever. She raced local triathlons to stay active. And it wasn't until she started winning that she thought about going pro.

ANNOUNCER: Chrissie Wellington.

GUPTA: Despite her success, Wellington says she has made plenty of mistakes. And there are lessons for everyone to learn from her journey. (END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: And Chrissie Wellington is here with me now.

Thanks so much for joining us. I love watching those images of you. And it's quite a moniker to be one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time.

There's so much to learn from you. One of the things that you talked about is this idea of training your brain. We know this is mental as much as physical, but what do you mean by that?

CHRISSE WELLINGTON, FOUR-TIME IRONMAN CHAMPION: Yes, I firmly believe, to be a good athlete, whether professional or otherwise, you have to be physically strong, but also have to be mentally strong. You have to have a mind that's able to overcome, you know, the down times, the hard times and the discomfort.

And I believe that there are tools and strategies that you can use as an athlete. And that you can actually develop. So whether it is visualization, whether it's having a bank of really positive images in your mind of family and friends or pizza at the finish line, you really have to have a positive mental outlook.

And that has helped me in part to become four-time Ironman world champion.

GUPTA: I know. It's incredible thing. I always find there is a point at the race for everybody, where you just don't think you can dig any deeper. But then that's when the mental really kicks in.

Something else, Chrissie, when we started doing this, a lot of people said, look, this seems like a fringe sport, it seems like a dangerous sport, potentially. You say, in fact, it's probably safer than a lot of endurance sports.

WELLINGTON: Well, when I first got into the sport, I had never even ridden a road bike. And that was long ago in 2004. And I said, well, you have to be absolutely crazy to do an ironman.

I think triathlon is open to anybody, regardless of their background, regardless of their physical ability. I didn't grow up with a platform of sporting excellence. You know, I was a casual runner.

GUPTA: Right, right.

WELLINGTON: And, you know, I found that triathlon, I found it was something that I was good at. But what the CNN Fit Nation Team is really showing me is that you can come from all backgrounds and go through the sporting journey and go on to achieve your goal.

GUPTA: Thank you so much for helping our team along. As you know, none of them have done a triathlon before, what they're going to do now. Just very quickly, you also say rest is important. That makes sense, but in order to grow stronger, you have to rest. WELLINGTON: Absolutely. Of course you need to do the physical training, the swim biking and running. But it is not that training that makes you stronger, it is recovering from that. That's something I had to learn that as I had to mature as an athlete.

So, you do need to recuperate rest and recovery. You need to have a massage occasionally. You do need to focus on your nutrition.

GUPTA: I love hearing all that because a lot of people think it's just all intense, all the time. But it can be. But there's all of this as well.

How many Ironman champions did you win?

WELLINGTON: I have won four.

GUPTA: Four. That's right. Yes, congratulations.

WELLINGTON: Thank you.

GUPTA: Great just to have you here.

Also, "Men's Fitness" magazine called him one of the 25 fittest guys in the world. Not me -- just kidding. How he turned his life around after 40.

You can as well. Stay with us.


GUPTA: Five years ago, a California lawyer turned himself into one of the fittest men on the planet. He is an inspiration for everyone, I'll tell you, especially dads like myself who want to improve our diets and all-around health. He's also written a bestselling book, it's called "Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the world's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself."


GUPTA: To earn the title, you have to beat thousands of other competitors in a six-mile swim, followed by a 260-mile bike ride and then 53-mile run. Rich Roll, a lawyer and a father of four, is one of them.

RICH ROLL, LOST 50 POUNDS ON VEGAN DIET: I could probably put these on over my jeans.

GUPTA: But it wasn't always so.

This is Rich four years ago, 50 pounds overweight.

ROLL: You know I had a moment on these stairs where I was like I had to stop and take a break before I could get to the top of the stairs. I was winded.

GUPTA: That night, he committed to change, and his transformation to ultra man began.

ROLL: I couldn't imagine it. I didn't think it was not possible. I wasn't even anything that was on my mind.

GUPTA (on camera): We were sitting on the couch, watching television, eating pizza, Cheetos, a lot of dairy.

ROLL: A lot of dairy.

GUPTA (voice-over): The bad food? Well, that was one of the first things to go.

(on camera): This was a big part of your change, I mean in the kitchen?

ROLL: This is the cockpit.

GUPTA: That is the cockpit.

ROLL: This is the HQ.

GUPTA (voice-over): Today, he fueled his body on a completely planned based vegan diet, eating fruits and vegetables as close to their natural state as possible. No more meat, no cheese, no eggs, no dairy.

(on camera): The number of calories that you probably burn in any given, especially when you're training hard is going to be immense. You feel this can satisfy you, what you need?

ROLL: Oh, I mean, I know it can, it has.

GUPTA (voice-over): He exercises on average about two hours a day.

Roll credits his performance and new vitality to the diet.

ROLL: After the training session, the most important thing to help you recover is to get electrolytes, replenish your glycogen storage and provide your body with protein.

GUPTA: The typical breakfast, a blend of beets, kale, pumpkin seed, apple juice.

(on camera): When they talk about super foods, they make grand promises on the foods, you're proof it can be done. It actually happens.

ROLL: I can say I never felt better. My body has never performed better. As an athlete and as a father and as a human being.



GUPTA: And Rich Roll joins me now. It's incredible to watch those images, and congratulations on everything, the book, on your accomplishments.

I get a question a lot about being a vegan, people say you can still be wildly unhealthy, lack energy and not do what you're able to do.

ROLL: Yes, certainly and that's part of my story, too. Just because you're on a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet, or any number of diets, it doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. I mean, you can be a junk food vegan. You can eat potato chips and French fries, and drink Coca-Cola al day long. It's not necessarily healthy.

So, for me, it's been a journey to discovering plant-based foods, close to their natural state, getting rid of the processed foods, sugary drinks and all of that, and really getting back to nature. And that's what provides my health.

GUPTA: Yes. It's a big point -- beer and potato chips could be on that diet. You got to watch it.

ROLL: Yes, it's true. Yes, yes.

GUPTA: Thanks so much for all of your help with the Lucky 7 as well. Really appreciate it.

ROLL: Thank you. It's great to be here.

GUPTA: Congratulations.

ROLL: And still ahead, I'm going to tell you how to work out less, lose more weight, who doesn't want this?

We've got much more from Malibu, in just a moment.


GUPTA: You know, each year, viewers from all over the country have been sending us videos, wanting to join our Fit Nation team, because they're ready to make a 180-degree change in their lives. I will tell you, it's not just about weight loss, but also the mental and physical health as well.

This weekend, we're raising Nautica Malibu triathlon. And these people, I will tell you, have been transformed.


NANCY KLINGER, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: My name is Nancy, and I'm sending you this video on a chilly November night here in Afton, Minnesota.

GUPTA (voice-over): It was Nancy Klinger's mental health that made her submit that video. Recently separated, and now an empty nester, she was struggling.

KLINGER: And I'm finding it really hard to generate the energy needed to get through the day, let alone get some really good regular exercise. GUPTA: Eight months later, Nancy is at the front of the pack. She's lost 20 pounds, re-gained her confidence and hopes to finish the race in two hours and 17 minutes.

When this Pastor Glenn Keller, a truck driver by trade, sent in his video, he was 315 pounds.

GLENN KELLER, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: I'm at least 100 pounds overweight. I think the first life that I need to make a difference is, is mine.

GUPTA: Now, he's down to 265, and feels better since his military days.

Denise Castelli lost her leg after a tragic accident.

DENISE CASTELLI, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: I have always prided myself on being a topnotch athlete and I messed up. And I just really want that back.

GUPTA: He's taking it back by force -- swimming, biking, running, even making an appearance on a U.S. Open court.

Radio host Jeff Dauler said he was tired of being the funny, fat guy.

JEFF DAULER, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: I realized that one of the only things that any of us can control in our lives is our bodies, what we put in them, and how we take care of them.

GUPTA: Down 25 pounds now, Jeff says he still has one major problem, which is fitting what he called his big head into a swim cap. But physically, he is doing great.

Carlos Solis was battling type 2 diabetes, while also trying to inspire his 4th grade students.

CARLOS SOLIS, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: I want to be able to show my students that if you have diabetes, or that if somebody in your family has diabetes, you can break that chain of ever getting it.

GUPTA: Now he is down 80 pounds. He's gotten off almost all of his diabetes medications, and launched a run club at his school. More than 100 students are already taking part.

Rick Morris is a web designer and volunteer firefighter. He was also a smoker.

RICK MORRIS, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: After my career in the Army, I started to smoke, I quit exercising. I don't want to die young from controllable circumstances. I want to live.

GUPTA: He crushed his last cigarette on our show in February, and he's been smoke-free ever since.

And Adrienne Lagier is determined to get in shape for her wedding.

ADRIENNE LAGIER, CNN FIT NATION PARTICIPANT: The biggest gift I feel like I can give him is starting our life of fitness and health.

GUPTA: Just two weeks ago, 40 pounds lighter and now a vegan, Adrienne and Chris got married, with Pastor Glenn officiating the ceremony.


GUTPA: Really, I told you, you would be inspired and just transformed by everybody here. Congratulations to all of you.

Are you ready for the race?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, very ready.

GUPTA: One thing I want to point out and something that we've learned is actually if you work out a little less intensely and monitor your heart rate, it can make things easier for you. Quick formula, you take 220, subtract your age, that should be your maximum heart rate. Seventy percent of that number, you can get the math here, 70 percent of that number should be what you target. If you do that, you can actually burn more fat and build more endurance.

Congratulations to all of you. I'm ready. I'm excited.

That's going to wrap things up for SGMD. Time now to send it back to Atlanta for a quick check of your top stories in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Thanks, guys.