Be an All-Star in the Game of Life

Start with Some Spring Training

In baseball, this is the best time of year, the season before the season. Any team can win the World Series, any player an All Star. Spring training is a time of potentialities. Converting potential to success involves commitment and training. To help you have a successful opening day in the next season of your life, may I offer you Trainer Joe’s spring training regimen.

Train your heart

People who exercise their hearts by doing cardio training on a regular basis live longer and healthier than those who do not. Much research has shown that cardiovascular exercise increases the strength of the heart, allowing it to pump more blood with each beat. In turn the increased blood flow carries more oxygen to the organs and muscles. On its journey, this blood acts like the grounds crew raking the infield so to speak, and helps to scrape the build up of gunk on artery walls. Lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure are additional benefits.

Train your pantry

Eject all refined, simple carbohydrates. Send them to the showers! They metabolize quickly and convert to empty calories. But don’t despair…“carb” is not a bad four-letter word. To improve the quality of your calories from carbs, go to the bull pen and eat complex carbs, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread and oatmeal. Besides looking at nutritional labeling, you can easily tell if a carb is highly refined: if it’s white, send it down to the minors. The more complex the carb, the slower it will digest and the longer it will take to impact blood sugar levels.

While in your refrigerator, look around. Do you see chicken, fish and lean meats pre-cut into pieces the size of decks of baseball cards? If you find cheesecake, bacon or other high fat foods, don’t panic. There are no bad foods, just inappropriate amounts of foods high in calories and fat. That’s why these foods should be eaten only as often as most pitchers throw their change-up. To be enjoyed, it must be infrequent.

Train your antioxidants

Even if you ate a high calorie, high fat diet in the past, all is not lost. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and are high in fiber while low in calories. These antioxidants are molecules with receptors that attach to free radicals, the byproducts of normal metabolic processes, chronic diseases and environmental factors. If you eat a combined minimum of five fruits and vegetables each day, you will feel full. The antioxidant power of fruits and vegetables, especially those dark in color, will help scoop up free radicals faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play.

Train your muscles

Strength training helps increase your lean body mass, improves balance, staves off frailty, perks up your metabolic rate so you will burn more calories at rest and improves your activities of daily living. One set of ten to twelve exercises done twice a week is a good start. The large muscle groups of the legs, chest, back and core should be exercised to the point where one more repetition using good form cannot be completed. Exercise routines should be varied on a periodic basis to prevent plateauing. Hard work and adherence to a well designed program will help you look good in your pinstripes.

Train your brain

This list is by no means a complete roster, but it is a quality start. Be positive and believe you can improve your condition. Do not absorb the negativity of the nay-sayers. The short-term benefits of cleaning up your act are reduced body fat and an increased energy level. Over the years, these changes will multiply and help you become an All Star in the big league of life. What are the training tips YOU use to stay in your game?