Two decades ago, Lawrence firefighter Paul Schneider was a definite stud.
He was one of those mega-weight lifters who was never shy about flexing his bulging muscles while clad in only a Speedo. He always weighed less than 200 pounds despite being muscular. And he used his physique to take fifth place in the Mr. Kansas bodybuilding championships.
Though he’s maintained a lot of his muscle, things have changed. Enough so that his wife signed him up to be on a new national TV show, “The Dr. Oz Show,” which premieres Sept. 14.
“He just fits the characteristics of what they were looking for,” said Kak Eli-Schneider, the firefighter’s wife. “He needs to feel better.”
Many men might be insulted by their wives trying to make their physical situation so public, but the 42-year-old Schneider doesn’t seem to mind.
“As I’ve gotten above 40, things are starting to hurt,” said Schneider, an engineer for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Station No. 4, near Wakarusa Drive and Clinton Parkway. “I have kind of fallen away from what I’ve been in the past.”
While he has to stay in shape for his job and is by no means out-of-shape, Schneider admits he’s packed on a few pounds as he’s aged, currently tipping the scales at 235 pounds.
He’s scheduled to appear on the show for a segment with other men in their 30s and 40s who have “manly” jobs and need help getting healthy. He’ll join other firefighters, police officers, plant workers and mechanics on the show and will sport his professional Lawrence firefighter uniform during next week’s taping.
“It’s an honor, definitely,” he said. “It’s a neat chapter, a neat little adventure.”
Schneider said he is familiar with Dr. Oz and his practical health solutions, because he and a few fellow firefighters have a guilty pleasure of watching “Oprah” as they work out. The medical doctor behind the new syndicated daily talk show was made famous by Oprah Winfrey and decided to launch his own show.
Schneider’s wife signed him up when the show was recently filming in the Kansas City area. The producers liked Schneider’s character, his ability to talk a lot and his physical situation, and asked him to come on the show. He leaves for New York next week for taping.
Details about what exactly occurs during the show or when it will air haven’t been made available to Schneider, who lives in Topeka.
It’s his hope that he’ll come away with some ideas for getting healthier and losing weight.
For now, all he knows is that he’s getting a free trip to New York, a place he’s never been, and is being put up in a fancy hotel the night before taping, something he’s looking forward to.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Schneider said.
The syndicated show will air at 3 p.m. weekdays on KSHB, Sunflower Broadband Channel 14.