Stay fit this holiday season - The Explorer: Business

Stay fit this holiday season

Diversity is the key to your health

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Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 4:00 am | Updated: 9:50 am, Wed Nov 30, 2011.

Holiday parties are nearing. How often will you hear people say, “I starved myself all day so I could splurge at dinner tonight”? Will you be one of them?

There are other approaches to take if you’re planning to indulge this holiday season and still maintain a healthy lifestyle, proposed the owner of a local fitness facility.

“On Thanksgiving and Christmas, go to town, but remember, those are two meals, not two days,” said Frank Sulzer, co-owner of Oro Valley Fitness, 10550 N. La Cañada Drive, Suite 160.

Denying your body nutrients, even for a day, can be physically disastrous, warned Sulzer.

“Your body will think it’s being starved and will shut down. Then when you finally eat, the body will immediately store the food – fats, sugars and all,” he noted.

The better plan is to change your diet to include more lean proteins and avoid sugars.

“Your body will start to crave lean proteins and vegetables. You’ll look and feel better,” said Sulzer, who opened Oro Valley Fitness with his business partner, John Toole, on March 28.

With the Christmas holiday, and parties coming up throughout December, many are going to be faced with tough decisions on what to eat, what not to eat, and how much.

Sulzer said the decisions are not so easy, there is not a “one size fits all” approach, and every person is going to have to make some conscious decisions at a party.

Sulzer said people should look at how much exercise they had that day, how much they already ate, and make decisions on what to eat and drink at the party based on that.

Sulzer recommends taking advantage of Christmas hams or beef, but they should stay away from the empty calories offered in punch, eggnog and alcohol.

Sulzer is a walking testament to living a healthy lifestyle. At 43 years of age, he has reduced his body fat to a lean 7 percent. His wife, Danielle, is a nurse, and so the couple is vigilant about eating healthily and working out regularly.

He acknowledged that dining out can be a challenge, no matter whether it’s during the holidays or on other nights out. Awareness and modification can help.

“Order grilled meats, fish and vegetables. Don’t top your yams with marshmallows and other heavy sugars. Substitute frozen yogurt for ice cream,” he suggested.

The same train of thought applies when preparing a meal at home.

“Choose egg noodles, which have more protein than regular pasta because of their egg content,” he explained. “If you’re cooking ground beef, use the 93/7 ground beef, which is the leanest. Use egg whites or egg substitutes. An omelet of egg whites with turkey sausage and spinach and topped with salsa is delicious to eat and elegant to serve.”

Other healthy options include using low fat buttermilk when preparing mashed potatoes, and substituting mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes.

Another is to avoid soda.

“Soda, including diet soda, are the enemy of our nation,” Sulzer said firmly. “Your body doesn’t understand the difference between real and artificial sugars, and will make you crave more sugar,” he noted.

Diet modification accounts for probably 70 percent of your battle to be fit, he said.

He also advised people to avoid cookie-cutter diets and workouts, noting that every person has individual requirements. It’s why he says, when it comes to the big picture, diversity is the key to health.

“If you’re not applying changes, you won’t see changes,” he said.

Even personalized workout programs need to be adjusted over time.

“The changes can be as simple as adjusting your rest periods between sets or changing your diet. What’s working for you this week will not work for you 90 days from now as your body changes,” Sulzer said.

Consistency is also vital. Sulzer recommends staying as committed to your health when you’re out in the real world as you are in the gym.

“The 22-and-a-half hours that you spend outside the gym are as important as the hour and a half that you spend working out.” He noted. “It’s an ongoing commitment.”

To learn more, contact Oro Valley Fitness at 682-3663.

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