How to NOT Pack on Pounds this Football Season

by Barry Hill

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Temperatures have started to drop, days are shorter, kids are back in school…it can only mean one thing, at least in America….  IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!  Even if you’re not a diehard fan, living in ‘Merica, it would be difficult to not catch some of they hype and spirit of the season…it’s in our culture! This translates into game-day gatherings, tailgates, etc. And where people gather, you can be sure there will be food and drinks. <INSERT FRIDAY-THE-13TH-CALIBER SCREAM FROM THE PERSON TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT>  Don’t worry, we’ve brainstormed a few, fun ideas for you and the folks with you to keep moving and avoid gaining weight during football season.

Have you heard of the term TABATA??  (Pronounced: tah-BOT-ah) If not, you must at least be intrigued to find out, with that kind of name!

Tabata is a type of high intensity interval training, founded by Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata, proven to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic system. Stay with us here… It really boils down to heavily taxing the body for a short amount of time, multiple times, with little rest in between.  The strict format is 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for eight rounds total. Math whizzes, that totals 3 minutes and 5o seconds. You would just about have enough time to complete a session during a commercial break!

You typically do one type of exercise (sometimes two) throughout all eight rounds. e.g. squats on the odd rounds and sit-ups on the even rounds (completing four rounds of each exercise). SO, once you pick up an exercise, all you really need is a timer–this online tabata clock is great or you can download an app on your smart phone.

A few ideas for exercises, but I bet you can think of more….

  • squats
  • lunges
  • push-ups
  • sit-ups
  • jumping jacks
  • mountain climbers
  • high-knees
  • Ground to overheads with any object of a comfortable weight (good video here, showing the correct form). Consider using even a small child or grandchild if there is one available to use!

(Need an explanation on any of these workouts, just comment in the section below or email…happy to help!)

What’s important to keep in mind is the beauty of MODIFICATION…we can not stress this point enough! You can modify the exercise itself, as well as the timing of work and rest intervals. e.g. You can modify push-ups by standing and pushing off a wall (stand further away to increase difficulty). AND, you can modify to complete as many repetitions (i.e. reps) as possible in 20 seconds and increase the rest time in between to 20-30 seconds instead of 10 seconds. Keep in mind, the purpose is to get your heart rate up, but do so with your own discretion and level of familiarity with this type of training. (*When in doubt check with your Doctor….)

If you find yourself among a more mellow crowd that might prove impossible to get up and move with you, there’s no reason for you to suffer too! Get some extra calorie-burning action in “disguise”. No doubt people will need someone to make trips to the kitchen, take the dog outside, go play in the front yard with little Jimmy, walk the dog during half time…you get the point!

And yes, we at Fit After Fifty realize that extra calories going in can be an even more dangerous than the lack of calories burned off. Though obvious, the best advice we can offer to avoid gaining weight during football season is to eat a healthy meal prior to the game, along with drinking LOTS OF WATER, so you do feel full and satisfied going into the game. If you still feel the need to snack, think healthy fats to keep you satisfied: avocado (a.k.a guacamole), cashews, almonds. Think “healthy” starches, such as roasted sweet potato fries; think healthy proteins like broiled chicken or shrimp…  If there is a big request for a dedicated “Healthy Tailgating Recipes” article, we’ll be happy to put something more robust together for you!  Just comment at the bottom or on our facebook page.

And for all our local Seattleites, go Hawks!

*When to consult your doctor before exercising.

**Special thanks to Fleming Wellness for the collaboration on this post.

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