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How to ‘Spring’ Back Into Shape & Get Your Body Ready for Summer
by Bob Bonham


Bob Bonham's - SPRING TRAINING 2007 How to ‘Spring’ Back Into Shape & Get Your Body Ready for Summer

NEW YORK—Now that winter is finally over, people are anxious to shed the extra pounds they may have gained after being inactive indoors for several months. As the country experiences warmer weather, many are wearing shorts and T-shirts, and soon it will be time to get into bathing suits for the beach. Many will go on crash diets to lose weight rapidly or exercise at the same level they did back in the fall, but one needs to be careful in order to eat properly, take pounds off sensibly and not overtrain in order to avoid injuries, says Bob Bonham of Strong & Shapely Gym in East Rutherford, NJ. Here, Bonham offers tips and ways to “spring” back into shape correctly.
Bob is a regular contributor to many bodybuilding magazines.


Make Changes in Diet for Warmer Weather: Many people eat a lot of junk food during winter because of the holidays or the simple fact that they are trapped inside during bad weather and eat out of boredom. As the weather becomes warmer, especially over the summer, it’s best to eat several smaller, lighter meals—five to six per day—instead of three large ones. If you eat several small meals, your body’s metabolism will increase and losing weight will be much easier. In addition, no one wants to eat a heavy meal and heat up the kitchen when the temperature rises into the 90s and air-conditioners are working overtime. A good rule of thumb: Raise your protein level and lower your carbohydrate intake. Choose lean meats over breads and cakes and cookies. Take advantage of in-season spring and summer produce and add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Keep in mind that during winter, our bodies store more calories to insulate the body and keep us warm. However, in the summer, our bodies burn more calories to keep us cool. Eat enough food to sustain your energy level in summer. If you really must indulge and have a “cheat” food once a week, summer is a good time to do it, especially if you are doing lots of outdoor activities and can burn off calories easily.

Ease Back Into A Routine: Okay, so maybe you “slacked off” during the winter months because you didn’t want to go to the gym when it was cold and snowing outside. If you were really inactive over the winter, it may take you up to six weeks to get back into a normal routine. Start out slow. Remember that if you are doing something like lifting weights, you need to take a day off in between to rest, so don’t lift weights more than three times per week if you haven’t hit the iron since last November. If you were normally riding the treadmill for 45 minutes last fall and haven’t been doing any aerobic activity since then, you will need to start out slower, and perhaps do just 20 minutes on the treadmill for the first two weeks. Do not try to make up for lost time and a lack of exercise over the winter by overexerting yourself now that it’s spring. If you overdo it, you run the risk of injuring yourself. Something to consider: Don’t increase your level of training more than 10% a week, whether it’s the amount of weight that you lift or the amount of time that you do cardio.

Stay Hydrated: This can’t be stressed enough, especially as the weather gets hot. You need to stay hydrated when you’re working out. Bring along a bottle of water and sip from it regularly whether you’re jogging or pumping iron. If you don’t drink water, your body’s energy levels will drop and you simply won’t function normally. You may want to try a sports drink to help replace the electrolytes your body loses while sweating, but don’t solely rely on sports drinks to hydrate yourself. Nothing hydrates the body better than plain old H2O.

Don’t Go for Quick Fixes & Be Realistic: Keep in mind that getting in shape is a process that can’t be rushed, and you need to set realistic goals for yourself. If you gained more than 20 pounds over the winter, it is highly unlikely that you are going to be in top shape by Memorial Day. Don’t expect to look like Mr. Olympia in two months if you haven’t gone near the gym all winter. Set small, realistic goals for yourself, such as “I want to lose ten pounds over the next two months.” Then make changes in your diet and exercise regimen to help you achieve your goal. Of course, it’s best to always consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise routine.

Avoid Exercising During the Hottest Part of the Day: As the weather gets warmer, you may need to make adjustments in your exercise routine. It is best to avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest part of the day, usually from 11 am to 3 pm. If you like to run or jog, try doing it early in the morning or early in the evening when the temperature is more moderate. You want to avoid exercising during the heat of the day so you don’t put yourself at risk for sunstroke, a condition that affects the central nervous system due to overexposure to the sun. Doctors say that symptoms of sunstroke include the following: elevated body temperature; hot, dry skin; hyperventilation and mental confusion. If you are exercising outdoors and start experiencing these symptoms, get out of the sun immediately and drink water. If you don’t get out of the sun when these symptoms occur, you could become unconscious or even die.


The January 2007 issue of Exercise for Men Only magazine wrote that Strong and Shapely Gym in East Rutherford, NJ is “widely renowned as one of the best training centers in America.” The December 2005 issue of MuscleMag International noted: “Bob Bonham is one of the great experts in the field of health and fitness.” The gym is the training center for everyone from top athletes to business people just trying to stay in shape. The gym has 334 workout stations, with 12 computerized circuit machines (9 in stretching rooms), 60 leg machines, 35 for chest, 30 miscellaneous benches, 5 Smith machines, plus 1 neck, 14 shoulder, 41 back, 72 cardio, 7 lower back, 25 ab and 23 arm machines. Also look for 40, 675 pounds of free weights, 20,000 lbs of plates, 17, 700 lbs of dumbbells, 2075 lbs of fixed barbells and EZ-curls, 990 lbs of Olympic bars, and a posing room and sauna.
For more information, visit www.strong-and-shapely.com



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