Friday, March 30, 2007
Opening day is (almost) here!
They play ball, I eat cheesesteaks!
Major League Baseball returns on Sunday. The first pitch of the 2007 season will be thrown in Saint Louis where the Cardinals will face the New York Mets . That means Spring Training winds down this weekend. As the final roster spots are being filled, I am fondly remembering a Florida vacation from a few weeks ago: my annual pilgrimage to Spring Training.

For many Americans, spring break means going to the beach. For me it means a more sedentary activity, watching Major League Baseball up close and personal. The minor league ballparks where the games are played are much smaller than their big league counterparts. To me it makes seeing the play of stars like Albert Pujols, of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals and 2006 National League MVP Ryan Howard so much more fun. During one game, Mets pitcher Tom Glavine was maybe 10 feet in front of me warming up as his team was playing the Florida Marlins.

Pujols and Howard looked good, as did one of my other favorites Chase Utley. But I have to admit, in addition to watching baseball, I also look forward to the Philly Cheesesteaks at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater and "Dodger dogs" at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, accompanied by a cold one from America's oldest brewery.

As we sat down to watch the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Houston Astros, I secretly hoped to win the "best seat in the house" contest... sitting in a lounge chair behind home plate plus all you can eat access to the ballpark's menu. I didn't win.

We saw 8 games in 7 days. Usually by the 7th inning of these games, I'd be hankering for a second hot dog or cheese steak... and maybe another beer or a Coke. Somewhere during game 3 or 4, I also noticed that as the games wind down, some players start running sprints behind the outfield. I looked at the food in my hand and only saw the empty calories I was consuming, while the athletes were burning calories off. Suddenly I was hit with the realizations that in addition to having a lot of fun, a lot of calories were adding up. I didn't have any new year's resolutions per se, but I was eating more healthfully and managed to lose a few pounds in the first couple of months in 2007. However, those efforts were being erased by the abundance of temptations I was succumbing to.

So baseball's regular season launches on Sunday, and most games will be watched at home, where the temptations are different but still there - in my fridge and pantry. Will the Cardinals retain their World Series title or will the Yankees or Red Sox win it all in the Fall? And will I return to and maintain a healthy diet, maybe even exercise?

Did you set any new year's resolutions for fitness that you sticking to? What tips do you have for sticking to a healthy plan from now until the playoffs?
Unfortunately, I've broken all my resolutions for eating more healthy. Those hot dogs sound delicious!!!!
Make a vegan philly cheesesteak instead! Seitan or TVP instead of beef, Follow Your Heart or VeganRella cheese instead of real - less fat, no cholestrol, and less calories. Just as tasty! Some american-style vegan restaurants even serve these, like the Abbey Coffeehouse in Indianapolis, IN.

My new year's res was no more hydrogenated oils or needless sweet dishes (and chocolate). I've done quite well with it so far!
I have never set a New Year's resolution in my life. I see no point. I decided long ago that if I felt like changing something, I would do it immediately and therefore, why wait? During New Year's I usually sit around and think about the previous year and basically, reflect. I never party. I don't even sit up and watch the ball drop (usually). I go to bed because the next day I have to get up and life goes on. It's just another day!

As for "until the playoffs", I hate sports!!! The only one I will even watch is boxing :)
Most gym veterans are happy that their favorite treadmill is now available since all the New Year�s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Now we have to deal with post-Easter puffiness. You�ve picked up the last piece of Easter grass off the carpet, dumped the meticulously dyed eggs no one bothered to eat and polished off the last chocolate marshmallow bunny. Feeling a bit stuffed? The road to optimal fitness is often blocked with holiday setbacks. Here are some common holiday fantasies:

*What�s one more slice of ham
*�It�s not a holiday everyday, I�m allowed to have seconds".
*�Who exercises on a holiday?�
Any of those sound familiar. The worse thing to do is to get all hyped up and crash diet or exercise like a fiend.

Here�s the Plan

Just get back to your healthy eating plan. Include lots of vegetables and fruit, they will fill you up quicker, and keep you full longer (kinda like the all you can eat buffet at the restaurant). Drink, drink, drink, and you know I mean water, lots of it.

Walk Run Bike

Most areas of the country is experiencing some pretty nippy temperatures and the thought of working out in the elements is not a pleasant one. That being said it�s time to get back on the good foot. You�re gonna have to kick it up a notch or two. Whatever cardio activities you�re choosing add 10-15 minutes more each time. If the weather where you are is conducive to being outside or if you�re determined to have a change of scenery, go for it!

Get Lifted

You know how crucial resistance training is to firing up your metabolism. In case you�ve forgotten, the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn, even at rest. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and your body works hard at keeping up with its demands. Therefore, it stands to reason that the more muscle you have the harder your body will work to sustain it. In addition, resistance training is a great stress reducer. If you�re beating yourself over a few gained pounds, stop. Grab some weights and get busy. Now, if you�ve been lifting the �ooh baby don�t hurt yourself ones�, it may be time to go a little heavier. Keeping in mind that proper form is most important.

An active lifestyle and a healthy eating plan are the cornerstones to optimal health and fitness. Look for the balance that allows you to reach your goals without the feelings of deprivation. Having a healthy, fit and strong body is like having a holiday everyday.
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