By: Susan Howard
Whether or not you go out drinking too much with your friends, go to the all-night drive-thru for that late night snack, hit the snooze on your alarm instead of taking a morning jog, one thing is for sure: summer is upon us. You will be wearing fewer clothes, you will be pool side, you will be at a picnic in a summer dress or shorts.
Make all the excuses you want about why you have no time to workout and why it is impossible to make healthy food choices; the truth remains
–you want to feel good in your body. If you’re like I am, you might have put on 5 or so pounds hibernating in the winter. Take advantage of the warmer weather and start making lighter meals like veggies, fruits, and salads. Fire up the grill; it’s a great way to make a ton of lean, clean, amazing meals. Don’t have a grill? Why the hell not? Go get one!
Salad –friend or foe? I flipped my Trader Joe’s pre-made salad to see the calorie count. At first it seemed great. 250 calories for the entire container of greens with some cheese, cabbage, and other stuff. Then I read, “with dressing – 500”. That little innocent cup of dressing was doubling my caloric intake. How could that be? Oil –even olive oil, a healthy fat –can really bump you up. Luckily my least favorite thing is an over-dressed salad.
Be the annoying patron who asks for dressing on the side. Then when your salad comes, grab the lemon from your water glass and squirt it on top of your salad. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top of that. Then add a dip or two of the dressing. Start light. You can always add more; you are in control. This should appeal to the control freak in all of us.
Beware, store-bought dressings often contain trans fats in them. Now that the FDA mandates that companies label their foods with trans fats, they have switched to partially hydrogenated oils, which are essentially the same cholesterol-raising, diabetes-giving, bad-for-you ingredient. Those sneaky corporate devils.
Here’s a favorite at-home dressing that you can try. Make it in order as listed:
1 thinly-sliced shallot
1 small crushed garlic
½ juice from a lemon
½ juice from a lime
Salt and pepper
A squirt of mustard
A spoonful of kalamata olive tapenade
A shot of olive oil and a quick splash of balsamic
Challenge: Workout everyday in the month of May. You owe yourself for all the winter screw-ups. Repent with extra cardio, hikes, bikes, long dog walks, classes, whatever. Try your very best not to miss a day even if it’s a quick 20 minutes of stair climbing and pushups. Get it done.
Cool move of the month: JUMPING
After a 10-minute cardio warm up, set up a step you can jump up to. Start with something you know you can do –like from the ground, up one step. Try that 10 times. Then find something higher and try 8 jumps. Keeping going up in height and down in reps until you get to 2 reps. It’s really easy to set up if you have a step with risers like they have at a traditional gym, but even if you don’t, look around your house. You should be able to find 4 different-leveled things to safely jump onto.
On the take-off, drop your butt down and then spring through your heels, butt, and quads.
Land with bent knees.
On the higher jumps, be sure to use your arms.
Build slowly, gain confidence, and have fun.
Up, up, up and away!
You can find out more about Susan on Susan Howard Fitness
[Photo Credit: kurafire]