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Sliding into Summer

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Ok! It's summer--an extraordinary summer, in fact--and you're not prepared. You meant to be. You even started in April or May, but overnight it turned into July. Your plan to get in shape got sidetracked, upended and scraped. Don't despair. They can land a scooter on Mars, you can lose five pounds of fat in a month and gain a pound or two of muscle besides.

Here's a simple program.

Set the above as your goal. It's reasonable. It's as close as mid-August. It's the best thing you can do for yourself this year, and always. Remember, an unexercised, unfit body is in a decline. Young, lean muscle unattended fades, and fat grows in the most disagreeable places.
There's more. An interesting dilemma takes place behind the scenes--our body chemistry gets out of shape as well. Our fragile fat-burning enzymes fail to do the job in converting fat into energy calories, and we become sluggish, hypoglycemic, and rely on carbs for short-lasting lifts.

Moody? Carbs not used as energy in a deconditioned system stores as more fat. Yikes.

Well-exercised muscle, on the other hand, is alive, responsible for quick action and physical power. It moves us around, effectively... gracefully. Mighty muscle accounts for 90% of metabolism, burning fat calories all the time, even when we sleep. Very handy--looks good too.

This strategy is to also remind, to encourage, to arouse some honest guilt and, like the Constitution and the Ten Commandments, should be in effect at all times, not altered to fit an agenda.

Adios, junko foodo. Starting with breakfast, eat four or five equally spaced meals each day, more or less depending on lifestyle, current weight, goals and metabolism. Pump up the protein (animal, egg, whey, fish are the best sources-- sorry, it’s true), withdraw high glycemic carbs and dump the trans fats. Drink miraculous water by the barrel, and as you do, silently be thankful--you are being restored.

Misplace your lopsided scale and rigid calculator for a month: the stopwatch, the LEDs, RPMs, compass, earphones, the entire precise mess. The task ahead is better done by feel, by instinct, by flow rather than by brains and science. Given the proper programming, you are by far the best computer ever created.

Blast the gym three times a week for an hour of weights, hit the streets three times a week for a 15-minute uphill mile, and hit the edge of your bed for 10 minutes of joint mobility and leg raises.

Why the long puss? Is that whining, mister? Tears don't cut it, girl! The wills are weak; the disciplines are dusty.

And that looks like a thin coat of tarnish on the breastplate of courage...signs of over-hibernation, comfort zone blues and procrastination.

Me? I've got some crud myself to shake loose--first thing tomorrow morning.

*Originally published 1999*


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