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This week's tip:
Unpack Those Pounds!

Greg Major at Saint Paul

The Major prepares to vault a fallen skater during the 2006 Saint Paul Inline Marathon.
photo: Darlene Prois

By Greg Major
(Jan. 5, 2007)

I'm one of those people who finds it tough to keep weight off during the winter months. My activity level drops after the fall racing season, and I tend to eat more due to all the holiday gatherings. So by New Year's, I find I'm carrying around a few extra pounds.

But they don't stay with me for long. Once the New Year rolls around, I commit to my annual "I'm going to lose weight" resolution. My successful strategy is this: Burn more calories than you consume.

It's not important how you burn those calories. You can do it skating or if you live in a cold climate, like me, you can do something else, like running or cross-country skiing.

If you choose running, devote at least 30 minutes to it three or four times a week. (Same goes for cross-country skiing.) Run at a pace you can maintain and don't worry too much about how far you go — the important thing is putting in the time. If you are new to running, start with 15 minutes and build up. If you would rather be indoors, try indoor cycling on a trainer or take a spin class.

As far as eating goes, remember this: If you consume "x" number of calories, you have to burn them off — and more — to lose weight. (It's the "and more" part that drops the pounds.)

What you eat isn’t as important as how many calories you take in. Use common sense. Foods high in fat and sugar (i.e.: French fries and milk shakes) pack lots more calories than carrots and tea. (You'll find that just dropping alcohol will do wonders.)

In addition:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large ones. This keeps your metabolism in check. When you go for hours without eating, your body starts craving food and is more likely to store your next meal as fat.
  • Don't try to lose more than 1.5 pounds a week on an ongoing basis. Doing that could make you weak or even sick.
  • If you are a racer, don't try to lose weight during the season. You'll only rob yourself of energy.

Finally, be sure to set realistic goals for weight loss. If you've gained 10 pounds during the off season, plan to lose about the same amount (maybe a few pounds more) by the spring.

If you try to lose too much too fast, you're likely to get discouraged and say "Why not?" when offered that second serving of chocolate mousse.


Greg MajorGreg Major is a veteran inline racer, a certified personal trainer and the president of Bulldog Bootcamp Co. A lifelong athlete, he played semi-pro football in the 1980s and won the Chicagoland Natural Bodybuilding title in 1992. He started skating in the 1980s on a pair of $19 Rollerblade knockoffs. Today, he is a member of Team Rainbo and Tru-Rev's masters racing team. He holds the course record for his age division at the Northshore Inline Marathon (1 hour, 6 minutes and 24 seconds). He and his wife, Michelle, founded Bulldog Bootcamp in 1999.

Related links:

Bulldog web site
Team Rainbo
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