Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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January 24, 2013

Fitness column: Protein is answer to multiple questions

(Continued)

Someone looking to lose 20 pounds must limit the carbs – especially processed carbs such as bread, rice, cereal, pasta, crackers and all refined sugars. The athlete looking to gain size must eat a high level of carbohydrates. Muscle building is dependent upon able carb intake. Notice I am not mentioning much about fat intake. Fat is not the real problem here.

Remember the expression: Fat does not make you fat. Carbs make you fat and we use protein to control it.

It does get much more detailed than this as we dial things in, but that is beyond the scope of this column.

Question: What are the elements of a successful fitness plan?

Answer: For a general fitness program, here is what I boiled this one down to:

1. Exercise four to six times per week. Divide this evenly between lifting weights and interval-based cardio workouts.

2. Keep things fresh by varying your routine every four to six workouts. Workouts should not be drudgery. If they are, you will not stick with it for the long run. Mix in different activities like boxing, rowing, plyometrics, running, lifting with free weights and swimming.

3. Maintain a relatively high protein level with lean meats, eggs, fish and whey protein shakes.

4. Learn how to cook veggies in a variety of ways; in soups, grilled, roasted – everything except fried! You cannot overdo the veggies. Whenever possible shop locally for organic food.

5. Get adequate sleep. This one is tougher than it seems as we all know, but shut down the screens a little earlier and notice the positive impact this has on your sleep patterns.

6. Drink plenty of water. Shoot for 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

7. Avoid: alcohol in excess, processed carbs, smoking and other environmental toxins.

8. Enlist a partner. Do all of the above with someone who shares the same goal makes a huge difference.

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