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Between diaper changes and ‘Helix,’ Billy Campbell fits in CrossFit

BY CINDY PEARLMAN
Big Picture News Inc.

It’s dinnertime in Oslo, Norway, and screen hunk Billy Campbell doesn’t want to gross you out with his protein choice. “It’s all polar bear meat here,” he says. “Polar bear burgers on a bun.”

Pause. “I’m just putting you on. I’m having a salad! No meat.”

Living healthy is a given for the star of the Syfy channel’s “Helix,” which just started its second season. Campbell has not just a hit show on his hands, but also a new baby son.

“My girlfriend lives in Norway and we had a baby boy in September. I’m starting a family at the ripe old age of 55. I need to stay healthy.”

What is his 2015 resolution?

“First, as a new father, I really identify with parents in that there isn’t always time to work out. I’m changing diapers and making formula. I’m not going to beat myself up when I say that I’m not in great shape, but I’m in good shape, which is better than doing nothing,” he says.

Since time is a factor, he has found a workout that really burns the calories. “I recently started CrossFit training, and it’s the perfect storm. It’s intense, but I only do it twice a week, which is not bad,” Campbell says. “Some people do it every single day, but I’m too old and have too many other things to do.”

CrossFit incorporates elements from high intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, power lifting, gymnastics, calisthenics and other exercises. There are over 10,000 affiliated gyms in the U.S. The daily workouts are known as WODS, or workouts of the day.

In just a few weeks, Campbell has found that CrossFit is changing his body.  “It’s the perfect combination of things, because you’re doing both cardio and weight work. And it’s so much fun that I don’t need to convince myself to go to the gym.

“The other thing I love about CrossFit is that you never have to dial it in, because it’s not boring. And you’re in and out of the gym in under an hour.”

The time limit is appealing. “Come on, it’s hard to even convince yourself to spend two hours in the gym.”

The team element is another plus. “You’re part of a group. You feel the mood of the group and push yourself. And just like everyone else in the group, you look around and think, ‘There is only 20 minutes left. I can make it if the guy next to me can make it.’ ”

In his spare time, Campbell tries to fit in running, and he makes sure to eat clean. “I heard that tequila is a preservative, but that’s not true,” he teases.

On “Helix,” the Virginia native plays Dr. Alan Farragut. The series revolves around scientists in a life-and-death situation after they are deployed to the Arctic to investigate a disease outbreak.

“This season we go to pretty dark places ,” he previews. “It’s entertaining to see us go much further on this quest than Dr. Alan imagined or wished.”

Campbell is still best known for his role as an abusive husband bashing Jennifer Lopez around in the film “Enough.” All the CrossFit in the world can’t make him run fast enough from the ladies who still call him out about the movie.

“I sailed around the world on this big rig,” he said. “I ended up in a remote village of Vanuatu with no roads. The only way to get there was on a dug-out canoe, but once I arrived the locals were looking at me strangely.

“When I came on shore, the people came out to my boat and this woman started whispering to her partner. When I stepped onto land, I heard, ‘You beat up J. Lo! You beat up J. Lo!’ ”

“I wanted to hold this woman’s child and she wouldn’t even let me.”

His other health tips:

• Move It. Campbell says, “If you only have a few minutes, take a walk. It’s better than sitting.”

• Question What You Eat. “At least most of the time before you eat it, ask yourself if it’s clean and healthy,” he says.

• Surprise Yourself. Doing diapers at age 55 wasn’t his plan. “It’s wonderful,” he says. “I wish somebody would have hit me in the head and made me do it 20 years ago, but then I wouldn’t have this child with my lovely gal. I’m ever grateful.”