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Chad Bisch, host of Burn My Mortgage photographed at his gym in Kitchener, Ont. October 25, 2010

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Chad Bisch, host of Burn My Mortgage on W Network, puts families through a financial boot camp to get their bank accounts in shape. The 38-year-old ad man follows a fitness plan in order to live pain-free, and it's paying off.

My goal

"To feel good. When I wasn't active I got headaches."

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My workout

"I exercise Monday, Wednesday and Friday at lunchtime for a total of three hours a week. I don't do a ton of cardio for maintaining my weight. For my body type and what works for me, I do a combo of body-weight and resistance training, usually four sets of 12 reps. My routine is structured but also flexible. When I go in I know what body part I want to hit, but I do different exercises, often using whatever equipment is available.

"Earlier this year I had a trainer for 12 weeks who designed a new routine every week, so I rotate those in to shock the muscles. But I never lift to failure [exceeding the muscle's ability to lift a weight]because I find pushing out that extra rep causes injuries."

My lifestyle

"I do advertising for three radio stations in Kitchener-Waterloo, and then I work with Rogers TV once a week. On the side, I run a Web ad and video production company.

"I never stop working, so to complement my workouts and energy needs I changed from three meals to eating six times a day. Mornings I drink a protein shake or eat an egg-white omelette. Lunches and dinners are lean ground turkey or chicken and I'll eat as much vegetables as I want, but I have no fruit past the afternoon. My guilty pleasure is chicken wings and beer."

My motivation

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"Fear of pain."

My anthem

"I'm a country music fan, but that genre is not typically associated with exercise. I like Toby Keith's As Good as I Once Was."

My challenge

"Chronic back pain has always been in my family, but it's not debilitating. If I go two weeks without exercise, my lower back really feels it. Guaranteed. Like clockwork. So when I feel it I say, 'Okay, I know why: It's because you haven't gone to the gym in a week and a half.' "

The critique

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Exercise for a healthy back

Chiropractor Michelle Kang of Emkiro Health Services in Toronto hears low-back complaints frequently, and flags factors that call for immediate attention.

The key to a healthy back, Dr. Kang says, is balancing the antagonistic muscles.

"Chad needs to strengthen abdominals, an important part of his core. I recommend modified curl ups (abdominal crunch) as well as side planks in addition to his back-extension exercises."

Correct spinal dysfunction

Dr. Kang says poor form increases Mr. Bisch's back pain, as it decreases the effectiveness of exercise.

"Proper form starts with maintaining the natural curvature of the spine. For instance, when squatting, Chad should keep the upper body straight instead of flexing forward, and keep his shoulders rolled back."

Above all, she advises Mr. Bisch to have his spine assessed.

"I recommend physical therapies such as chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy to enhance his spinal mobility and athletic performance."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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