There’s definitely an extra spring in my step today. Along with riding a residual sugar rush from my annual Easter candy splurge, it also happens to be Motivation Monday and opening day at Yankee Stadium! Not wanting to ignore the “other” New York baseball fans, I should mention it’s also opening day for the Mets at CitiField. (Of course, whoever’s responsible for having both games start at 1:05 pm ET on the same day should not be in charge of scheduling next year.)
Even though many of my beloved Yankees are starting this year sidelined thanks to a range of injuries, I’m going to stay positive that they’re back in action in time to make this another championship season. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with an injury of your own in the “off-season” and just returning to your fitness routine. If that’s the case, remember to start slowly and listen to your body. (Make sure you’ve cleared any activity with your doctor before you get started.) Remember, it’s better to sit out a few first games of your softball league than risk a serious injury that could bench you for the season – or worse, secure a trip to the operating room.
My short and sweet message for this Motivation Monday is to use it as another reason to get active. If you’re sick of the treadmill, then think about pounding the pavement in your neighborhood for a morning or post-work run. Maybe this is the year you get the tennis racquet re-strung and find a friend for a few sets during the week. It may not be quite warm enough for the beach yet, but there’s no reason you can’t find an outdoor volleyball net in a park and get a group together for some post-work de-stressing or weekend fun.
If you can’t figure out a way to coordinate schedules with family and friends for a team sport, then take that jump rope outside and start skipping. Park benches are also perfect spots to brace yourself for push-ups or take box jumps to a different level. Tree branches (sturdy ones!) are also the perfect prop for pull ups. If you really want to have some fun while breaking a sweat, don’t underestimate the power of swinging on the monkey bars at the local playground. There’s also no rule that says you can’t bang out some Tabatas in the great outdoors.
As we get ready to tackle another work week, remember, now’s the perfect time to embrace each minute of extra sunlight and add some extra outdoor activity to our typical routines. It’s all part of the overall game plan to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Last Friday, my friend Rob and I were chatting about our weekend plans during an edit session. That’s when he asked a question that left me stumped: what could he eat that night at CitiField while watching the Mets take on the Reds that wouldn’t leave him feeling totally sluggish for the 10 mile run he had planned for the next day?
Listen, when I get to cheer on my beloved Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium, I know it’s going to be hard to eat anything super healthy during the game. Know what? That’s okay! Part of my stadium experience is indulging in some of the higher-calorie items that you’ll probably never find in my kitchen like hot dogs, steak sandwiches, beer and brownie sundaes.
Rob and I ended up in a “deep” discussion to weigh his options. (Don’t worry, we still met our deadline!) I’ve never been to CitiField, but I was pretty sure he’d be hard pressed to find fresh grilled chicken or fish or a veggie-loaded salad. So, my simple suggestion was to watch his portions.
Instead of having two hot dogs or one hot dog and a sausage with peppers, I recommended he choose one or the other and have a bag of pretzels on the side rather than French fries or nachos. As for the libations, I told him to stick with light beer and drink a bottle of water in between each beer to cut down on the total number of suds consumed during the game.
Making small changes like cutting back portion sizes (if you really want those fries, share them with a friend!) and eating sensibly throughout the day before you head to a venue with less-than-optimal food choices are a couple of ways to enjoy yourself without going overboard. Also, the every-other-drink rule is one I follow whether I’m at a ballpark or a BBQ. It’s a great way to keep your alcohol consumption -and all the sugar and calories that go with it – in check. Since one of my mantras is “everything in moderation,” I find no reason to skimp on summertime fun!
In the end, Rob ate a small cheeseburger, drank only a couple of beers and loaded up on the water. On Saturday, he woke up and conquered his 10 mile run. Success!
This scenario illustrates what I consider to be the wonderful domino effect that fitness can have on your life. You get into a regular workout routine, look forward to your run, swim, kickboxing or Zumba classes and enjoy the endorphin rush you get from breaking a sweat. Before you know it, the last thing you’ll want to do is negate all your hard work by putting bad fuel into your body.
In a world filled with unhealthy relationships, diet and exercise are two things that happen to work in perfect harmony to keep you on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!