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The trainer’s guide to shape up in the New Year

Dear loyal

Sports Doc


This season I would like to give you the gift of health.  This gift has no expiration date and cannot be exchanged for a new pair of jeans, because your favorite pair gave way when you were popping not only bottles, but buttons from over-indulging this month.  When the crystal ball drops at midnight, it is time to kiss your holiday-induced, eggnog and Christmas cookie coma goodbye, and ring in the New Year with a healthier, happier you.  Once you open this gift, I want you to laminate it, stick it on your fridge, name your newborn after it, tattoo the text to your forehead - whatever it takes to remember that 2015 is your year to do right and live the life you deserve.

Clean Slate, Clean Plate.  Grab a Hefty bag and toss those leftovers and liquidate your liquor cabinets.  Life should always be celebrated, but don't let that half-eaten wheel of Brie cheese, or mom's moldy meatloaf be the house guest that thought it would be cool to linger once the party was over.

The top question I am asked as a fitness professional is, "How do I lose the muffin top and thiiiis (cue gut grab and discouraged/defeated expression)?"  The answer is simple, abs are made in the kitchen. Alter your eating habits and watch your stomach transform from abs of veal to abs of steel. Incorporate lean protein into your diet to keep yourself satisfied longer. A few great choices are chicken breast (sans skin), steak (a lean cut), low-fat turkey breast or burger (Jennie-O brand is low in calories and high in flavor) or eggs/egg whites.

Eggs are like the Mark Sanchez of food - one week they are loved by the masses, the next week they are benched due to conflicting opinions on their star potential. The truth is, eggs are a wonderful source of protein, and the core of this egg-cellent food is packed with vitamins such as biotin, which promotes healthy skin and an enhanced metabolism to aid in converting food into energy - and that's no yolk.  Match these lean proteins with phytochemical, vitamin-rich cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or brussels sprouts and you'll be good to go.

Circuit City.  Tired of clocking in miles on the treadmill, while Olive Garden guy on the machine next to you, permeates day old garlic from his pores?  Yeah, me too.  Switch up your routine and your muscle memory with a circuit workout.  Not only will you save your brain from utter boredom, you will torch calories in the process.  Here is a sample workout:

  1. 10-15 Bicep Curls : keep elbows close to the ribs and squeeze dumbbells during upward and downward phase

  2. 10-15 Tricep Extensions : again elbows are tucked into the ribs, while the hands will form an "V" on the downward phase

  3. 8-10 Shoulder Press Squats : Hold weights at shoulder height as you lower your body into a squat.  On the upward phase, extend weights upward into a straight arm position

  4. 60 second Ball Slams : With abs engaged and knees slightly bent, throw a weighted medicine ball against the floor to elevate your heart rate and annoy your neighbors

  5. 20 Sit-ups : Relax the neck and contract your abs to pull your torso up

(repeat 3x with minimal recovery time in-between each exercise)

This is a great routine to complete following a half-hour on a cardio machine.  The concept is to keep the body guessing, otherwise your weight-loss and motivation will plateau.

Carry One's Weight.  Body weight resistance training is expected to be the leading fitness trend of 2015.  Excuses such as not having ample time to exercise, or not having adequate funds to afford a gym membership will no longer hold up with this technique. These exercises can be performed virtually anywhere, at any time — and the only machine required is you. Starting January 1st, roll your bloated body out of bed and power through this pulse-pounding workout:

  1. 60 second Plank : align the shoulders above the elbows to protect the shoulder joint

  2. 60 second Wall Squat : lower your body into a seated position, with your back pressed against a wall.  Your appreciation for chairs will soar to new heights

  3. 10 Tricep Dips : keep your back close to the bench

  4. 10 Burpees : do not let your back or spirits sag to the floor, as these are difficult

  5. 10 Push-Ups : start on your knees if standard push-up position is too challenging and gradually work your way up to the next level

  6. 30 second High Knees : keep your core activated and get the knees as high as possible

(repeat 3x with 2 minutes of rest in between each interval)

All things worth having take time and dedication. I'm not saying it will be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.  Have a very happy, healthy New Year.

With Love,

Oh, and as always - Earn it.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.