The Endless Summer Body
April was spring break time for many kids – and their parents.
It’s usually the time that most of us begin making summer plans. Is there enough money in the budget for a vacation? A real one, not just a day trip somewhere nearby? Are we going to make improvements to the house that we have been discussing? What camps are the kids going to attend?
And then there’s the mirror. You look into it and think, “It’s time to get that beach body back.”
Therein lies the danger. Most of us, even the most health-conscious, tend to add the pounds over the winter and then shed them during the summer (if we even manage that!). For yo-yo dieters, this is called weight cycling; it can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes to a greater extent than someone who is obese but maintains a stable weight.
The goal should be to maintain a healthy weight year-round and to reap the aesthetic benefits of staying at a stable weight.
Two Rockford-area personal trainers say a mix of fitness and nutritional adjustments will keep you looking as good in the gym in December as you do in July.
“Continue to measure,” said Tracy Cusick, who has a master’s degree in exercise science and has been a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for 16 years. “Whether that’s getting on the scale, doing fitness assessments or measuring body-part circumference. Measuring gives you the feedback to know if you are staying within your target.”
Cusick also believes that variety is the spice of fitness.
“Change up your cardio routine – try a group exercise class instead– and your strength exercises every so often. Even changing up your diet can help stave off regression. Our bodies are dynamicmachines that crave change.”
Barb Fredrickson earned a degree in nutrition seven years ago and has been a personal trainer for the past five years. She believes conscious eating is a major key to avoiding the extra winter weight.
“I plan out what foods I want to eat and have them in my house. Planning ahead and having healthy foods that are ready to eat post-workout or as snacks helps you to eat better foods and not turn immediately to foods with empty calories.”
And the foods she tries to have around are not processed.
“As a person ages, their metabolism slows down and they don’t build muscle as easily as they did in their youth. It is necessary to reduce calories and make them count. The less additives you have in the food, the more macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals are available to keep the body healthy and functioning.”