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Lind Walter, a Mount Wolf native and York Catholic High School grad, recently earned the Mr. Lehigh Valley title. (Bill Comstock/Muscular Development)
At first, he only lifted weights to ful fill a requirement for football.

Lind Walter just wanted to keep the coaches happy and keep himself from getting pushed around on the gridiron No one could have known what it would grow into. No one could have known that it would take Walter onto the cover of magazines, that it would help him win trophies and awards and rings around his fingers.

The York Catholic graduate started lifting at 14 years old and his fast pro gress even surprised himself. Before long, he was setting bench press records at the school and realizing that weight lifting and bodybuilding might be even better for him than football. Last week end, the 23-year-old Mount Wolf native won first place in the men's heavyweight and 23-and-under di visions at the NPC Lehigh Valley Body building and Figure Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

He also won the competition's top honor by beating out the winners of all the other divisions and earning the title of Mr. Lehigh Valley 2007. The win qualifies him for a national competition next June and gives yet another boost to a bodybuilding career that got an unex-
pected start in the York Cath olic weight room. We caught up with Walter, a recent West Chester University graduate, in this week's installment of Sports Q&A:

Did you expect to do so well last weekend?

I felt pretty confident about the under-23 division. I won that, but going into the night show with the heavyweights, I didn't know how I'd fare. I just wanted to qualify for nationals. When I won the heavyweights (division), I was ecstatic.

What was it like to be named Mr. Lehigh Valley?

When they said, 'Your 2007 Mr. Lehigh Valley Winner is Lind Walter,' I was pretty emotional. I was one second away from shedding a tear. You just work so hard. It was a night I'll never forget.

What was your diet like before competition?

For my contest, I was eating eight meals a day. Four of them were protein shakes. And four of them were solid, a half-cup of rice, a cup of vegetables and 10 ounces of lean beef. There's not much variety.

I've heard some body builders go on a binge after contests. Did you do that?

We went to Carrabba's right after the show, but I had a photo shoot in Hawaii on Monday so I had to stay in good shape. After that though, my girlfriend took me to The Cheesecake Factory, one of my favorite restaurants. I pretty much ate until I made myself sick. I've also made a couple of trips to McDonald's the last couple of days, I'm not gonna lie.

How did you get started in bodybuilding?

In high school, I played football and we had mandatory gym hours where we had to train with the team. I was only 14 years old but within a couple of months, I was the strongest kid on the team. I set our school's bench press and dead lift record and by the time I was a senior, I didn't really care about sports, I was just into weights.

What does your family think of your bodybuild ing?

My mom's been my No. 1 fan since day one. She never missed a game when I played sports. Bodybuilding is an individual sport, but if you don't have a strong support system, it will never work. I just want to thank my mom and my girlfriend for putting up with me and I'd also like to thank my trainer Brian Chamberlain.

Do you remember your first bodybuilding con test?

I did the Philly Classic when I was 20. I won the novice, junior's and men's open (divisions). Since it was only my first contest, I knew I was onto something.

You're going to be on a magazine cover soon?

Yeah, REPS magazine. I just got the cover of that and next month I have a Muscle and Fitness meeting with a possible cover shoot. I'm just going to keep rolling with it.

-- Reach Nate Wilkinson at n8wilk@hotmail.com.