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Ten To Go: Exercise, eat, evolve

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This month’s hot topic is sugar. The average American eats about 2 to 3 pounds of sugar each week. It’s usually hidden, highly refined sugars such as sucrose, dextrose and high fructose corn syrup in everyday items such as bread, cereal, condiments, sauces and “quick-prep” meals.

The health dangers associated with sugar are endless, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, personality changes and possibly cancer. Let’s all resolve to eat less sugar and get healthier in the process.

Speaking of getting healthier, check out the tips offered by these three local ladies.

These three women know about fitness: Eva Solomon, left, Michelle Bommarito and Berkis Johnson. | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

These three women know about fitness: Eva Solomon, left, Michelle Bommarito and Berkis Johnson. | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Circuit training

By Berkis Johnson
National Physique Committee bikini and figure model

If you don’t have time for an extensive workout, circuit training can be beneficial. It can be performed in your own home; no gym equipment is necessary, only a set of 3-8 pound dumbbells and a stopwatch.

Circuit training combines strength and cardio and maximizes energy expenditure, burning calories, sculpting muscle and melting fat. Try as many quality repetitions as possible in 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the circuit two or three times.

For example, one part of the circuit could be a set of squats, engaging biceps and shoulders. Start with your feet at least hip width apart and core engaged. Sink your hips into a squat position, then stand and do a biceps curl followed by an overhead press. This works three muscle groups at once, shortening your workout time and maximizing results.

Eat for energy

Michelle Bommarito is a professional chef who has competed in cake challenges on the Food Network, but these days she’s focusing on helping people prepare what she calls “energizing super power foods.”

Michelle, a Farmington Hills native and U-M grad, has worked for Martha Stewart, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel and as a personal chef for basketball superstar Michael Jordan. She’s spent years experimenting and says she wants to help people choose the right foods to stay healthy.

As her bio at michellebommarito.com says, her goal is “to take her passion and use it for a higher purpose … by sharing culinary techniques and recipes to fight obesity, to fight disease and to simply have people take better care of ‘you.’” She’s convinced that if you eat well you’ll have an abundance of energy.

A 5K in five weeks

By Eva Solomon
Founder and CEO of Epic Races

I’ll never forget what my long-time friend and running partner Donna said to me during an early April morning run: “I love being a runner because I feel like I am such a part of spring.”

It’s true, a runner tends to feel “at one” with spring. In fact, a common comment I hear this time of year is, “I wish I could run.” In addition to getting outdoors, people enjoy running for different reasons; some do it to stay in shape, others to relieve stress, and others integrate it into their social lives. Regardless of the reason, running is an attainable form of exercise for most people.

It’s not nearly as difficult to convince folks about why to run as it is to convince them that they can run. Of course, it’s always important to get checked out by your doctor before starting any new physical fitness plan, but once you get the thumbs up, if you follow this plan, you’ll be able to run or run/walk (which is perfectly OK)  a 5K in five weeks.

The first thing you’ll need to do is set a goal. Then you should plan a schedule where you can devote 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week, to your training. Be realistic.

Start with a run/walk plan, and don’t pay attention to the mileage. Use your watch to guide your workout. Gradually, you’ll start to cover more ground in the same amount of time. During most of the training, you’ll run or “jog” at a pace that allows you to talk. It will be challenging at first, and you’ll feel out of breath, but it will become easier as your training progresses. By race day, it will feel natural and you’ll cross that finish line and feel like a champion.

For the online Epic five-week training program and more tips, visit epicraces.com.

Demond Johnson

The author, Demond Johnson, is a retired combat veteran who coordinated the U.S. Army’s Weight Control Program. He owns A2 Fitness Professionals. Contact him at demond@a2fitnesspro.com or 734-222-5080.

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