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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Getting Fit: Avoid the normal cookout pitfalls

Joe Marchilena

If the meteorologists are to be trusted, the clouds and the rain are going to go away in time for everyone to enjoy the unofficial start to summer on Monday.

Cookouts, barbeques and maybe even a pool party are likely to dominate your social calendar starting this time of year, and while you might be a little anxious seeing folks you might not have talked to since the holidays, there are bigger things to make you worry. ...

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If the meteorologists are to be trusted, the clouds and the rain are going to go away in time for everyone to enjoy the unofficial start to summer on Monday.

Cookouts, barbeques and maybe even a pool party are likely to dominate your social calendar starting this time of year, and while you might be a little anxious seeing folks you might not have talked to since the holidays, there are bigger things to make you worry.

Like how do you enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend without doing too much damage to the beach body you’ve been working on since New Year’s?

First, if you have that problem – meaning you’ve been sticking to your fitness plan since Jan. 1 – I think you’ll be OK indulging just a little bit over the long weekend, just so long as it doesn’t become habit.

If you’re like me, and you’ve been negligent with your fitness routine at times this year, there are ways to avoid overindulging this weekend.

A good place to start is with whatever meat you’re going to be consuming. At most cookouts, the hamburgers and hot dogs are served with a bun. Nix the bread, and any other condiments you might put on it.

And if that’s not enough, bring your own turkey dogs or burgers and ask the cook to grill them up separate for you.

Be mindful of how you’re snacking. Don’t plant yourself right next to the chips and dip or salsa and go to town. Instead, opt for healthier snacks, like fruits and veggies, which always make an appearance at summertime parties.

Again, if you need a guarantee those snacks are going to be there – we all know people who don’t believe in greens – bring your own. And if you’re snacking on veggies before your meal, chances are you won’t eat as much when it’s served.

That would help you make the best choice of the day – say no to potato or pasta salads. Even a small portion is loaded with calories.

If you’re going to be outside, remember your sun screen, and if you need something to drink, opt for something other than soda or iced tea. A glass of water will be much more beneficial on a hot day, and if you ask nicely, I bet your host would be willing to add a lemon to it for you.

If you want something a little stronger than water, it seems like every major brewer has 10 different variations of lite or summer beers.

If you’re like me, you’d rather drink water than a lite beer. If that’s the case, do what I do and pick up an IPA. It’s got a little more of a bite to it – or a lot, depending on what kind you get – and it’s also good for your skin.

Of course, if you are indulging with a few adult drinks, you’ve got to make sure someone else is doing the driving. You’ve got to make sure you’re around all summer to show off that beach body you’ve been working on all year.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness
column for Hampshire Hills. To find out more information about the “90 Day
Commit to Get Fit” program, call 673-7123 or email hhinfo@hampshirehills.com.