To Your Health
April, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 04)
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Donít Delay Ė Start Today

Start Shaping Up for Summer Now

By Tina Beychok

We all want to look good for the summer - that glorious season of bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts. But there's plenty of time between now and then, right? Wrong!

The time to start working toward that beach-ready body is now. Summer may seem off in the distance, but the best way to start prepping for it is by starting way ahead of time. Bodybuilder.com has some good advice on how the average person can maintain their waistline and exercise regimen.

Keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat. It's amazing how many calories we take in without realizing it. You need to be aware of exactly how much you are putting in your mouth each day. You'd be surprised the number of extra calories we eat during a busy day.

Clean out the pantry and fridge. Replace those cookies and chips with healthier snacks like raw, unsalted almonds, granola, raw vegetables and high-fiber fruit such as apples and bananas to fill you up.

A weight scale with a clock embedded in its head. - Copyright ‚Äď Stock Photo / Register Mark Restock with healthier foods. Now that you have gotten rid of the bad, it's time to replace it with the good. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Brown rice, oatmeal, steel-cut oats, whole-wheat bread
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna
  • Lean protein such as chicken, fish and beef
  • Green vegetables (peppers, broccoli, celery, green beans and cucumbers)
  • Fruits (make sure they are low on the glycemic index, such as strawberries and melon) - you can ask your doctor for more information on which fruits to choose
  • Non-fat cottage cheese, yogurt and milk

Good eats. You've gotten rid of the bad stuff and restocked with the good. Now what? Here's a sample menu for the day:

  • Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, whey protein and blueberries; or egg-white omelet, whole wheat toast and melon; or oatmeal, cottage cheese and strawberries.
  • Snack One: Protein bar; or whey protein and small piece of fruit; or cottage cheese with fruit; or yogurt with strawberries.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken, beef or fish, with salad and brown rice; or tuna on rye bread; or oven-roasted turkey with sweet potato and green vegetables.
  • Snack Two: Choose one of the Snack One options (see above).
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken or fish with salad and green vegetables.

Vitamins for fitness. Healthy food is great, but you may still need a boost. This is where vitamins come into play. A strong vitamin regimen will help boost your immune system and build healthy bones and muscles. The Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health has a comprehensive list of vitamins, what they do and the recommended daily doses at www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins.html.

Cardio counts. Obviously, eating right is only part of the equation. The other part is to get moving. Bodybuilder.com has a beginning cardio routine that almost anyone can adopt.