This week's tip:

Spring Tune Up

How to get back in shape after a winter on the couch

By Penny Wright

Skaters in the Cold

Telling yourself they shrunk in the dryer won't help.
Photo: Michelle Meiklejohn at


It's spring! Temperatures are rising. Birds are singing. Flowers are bursting out all over the place ... and so are your pants!

Geezus! How did that happen?

Well, it could have been the fudge ... or brandy ... or TV watching.

Let's face it. It's easy to get out of shape during the winter.

But that's what spring training is for.

Let's get busy:

First, reevaluate your diet.

Sure, it was fun to eat all those holiday goodies, and the extra food seemed to help keep away the winter chill. But enough already!

It's time to reevaluate your diet. Do you really need to eat all that stuff?

For starters, cut out the breads, pastas, fast foods, fried foods, second servings, third servings, etc. Instead, eat small frequent meals consisting of high-quality proteins (e.g., skinless chicken and fish), fresh vegetables and salads. And don't gunk up the works with globs of creamy salad dressings.

Eating small meals, instead of large ones, will speed up your metabolism, helping you to burn more fat.

Drink lots of water.

Stop buying sodas and start drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. (That means you, too, ladies!) You'll be running to the bathroom more often. But it will be worth it to flush all the junk out of your system.

Start some cardio.

Now's the time to start exercising again if you haven't already! Start with three to five aerobic workouts a week. You can skate, run, cycle, spin ... whatever. Just so it's aerobic.

Aerobic workouts burn fat. To get into the aerobic zone, get your heart rate up to 70 to 80 percent of your maximum. You'll know if you're pushing too hard — past the aerobic stage and into the anaerobic — if you're having a hard time speaking.

Your workouts should last 20 to 40 minutes at minimum.

Start easy ... let's say with five miles skating ... and build. Next time out, add a couple more miles.

Don't feel guilty about holding back at the start. The idea is to build safely. If you are still sore or fatigued more than 48 hours after a workout, you're pushing too hard.

Hire a personal trainer if you need some help.

Be good to yourself.

Reward yourself for all your hard work. Get a massage or enroll in a yoga class. Stretch yourself from head to toe.

You'll feel marvelous. And the positive strokes will help motivate you to keep your exercise program going.

And remember, you're going to love yourself in the morning.



Penny WrightPenny Wright is a personal trainer, fitness instructor and inline speed skater. She owns the AZSk8right Inline Skate School in Phoenix and was the founder of the Predator Speed Skate Club. She posted a lofty personal best in 1998 when she set the record for master women at the Northshore Inline Marathon. Ten years later, her mark (1:12:07) still stands.

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