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What Kind Of Body Do You Want?Opinion by Wera Panow-Loui
With outdoor activities galore, it''s time
to get the body you want. We''ll show you what you need to shape up.
The sought-after male body: bulging biceps, washboard abs,
awesome pecs. The desirable female body: toned thighs, tiny waist, firm
If you have that body, read no further. You are a minority.
However, if you fall in the majority category where these
images are in your mind rather than what you see in the mirror, read on.
We''ll show you how to sculpt your body to match that mental image.
Let''s start with something we all do: Sleep
Are you getting enough of it nowadays? There is a 50% chance
you''re not. More than half of all Americans are sleep deprived. To look
and feel healthy, it''s important that you give your body the rest it needs.
And it needs eight hours of sleep each day. Studies also show that the
time of night that you go to sleep makes a difference. Before midnight
Have you seen a picture of Sophia Loren lately? She seems
to be getting more beautiful with age. She attributes this to her sleeping
habit: in bed at 8:30 p.m. and up at 5 a.m.
Three key points here: moderation, balance, and common sense.
If diets really worked, you wouldn''t have a different diet fad every few
months. Especially diets nutritionally opposed to each other: heavy on
meat, low on carbs. Or, high on carbs and low on meat.
Here''s where balance comes in: As you were taught in grade
school, the body needs all the food groups - even fat. In low portions
of course…unless you are thinking of hibernating for the winter.
The food pyramid gives a general idea of the appropriate mix for the six
You can increase or decrease your protein intake (found
in meats and dairy products) depending on your goal. More protein
for more muscle, less when all you want to do is tone. And yes, you do
need carbohydrates: bread and pasta are not fattening, it''s the butter
and sauces that are. If you''re trying to lose weight, don''t starve yourself.
Practicing moderation is what counts. Have that piece of
chocolate - just don''t eat the whole box. Same thing goes for portion
size. Cutting down on your regular portions and adding one or two light
snacks in-between meals will help shed pounds. Finally, use your common
sense: eating a big dinner right before you go to sleep will more likely
turn that food into fat. And going for that diet where you can eat all
you want of only one food group contradicts the basic principles of how
No pain, no gain - not necessarily
The truth is you need exercise if you want a body that is
anything close to the image described earlier. However, this can be fun.
The key is to pick an exercise you can enjoy and can fit into your schedule.
The general rule of thumb is that you need at least 10 minutes of aerobic
type of activity on a daily basis to get rid of the fat bulges.
If you don''t have the time or just don''t enjoy aerobic classes,
that''s okay. You have more choices than you think: Easy rope jumping in
five-minute intervals to rock''n''roll music (make sure your downstairs
neighbors aren''t home). Climb the stairs at work or home several times.
Dance wildly in your living room. Jog or take a brisk walk in your favorite
Pick up a ball sport like tennis, baseball, soccer, volleyball,
or basketball. A side benefit is that the others on the team keep you
motivated to show up for practices. If you think you''re too old to start
- think again. Recently, a tennis champion was awarded a trophy for winning
a tournament in her age group. The age group? ''70s - she picked up tennis
You''ll need to include some resistance training to tone
or build muscle. You have several options: the most common is weight training
with machines and dumbbells. It''s worth asking a personal trainer to design
a program for you, which you can then follow on your own.
If you think dumbbells are boring, try a Physioball. You
can pick one up for $30 (includes an exercise video) at your local sports
store. You''d be surprised how effective and fun it can be. Then there
Yes, it not only makes you stretch like a rubber band, but
No matter what you do, keep in mind that if you want to
build muscle mass, you want short and slow reps and you should do more
sets. For toning, a higher number of quick reps and less sets will produce
The final two words to get the bod you want: patience and
perseverance. Without that, any diet or fitness plan will fail.
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