Natalie Lahnan’s Live Fit: Beware those summer barbecues

The recent Fourth of July festivities are now a thing of the past, but the food and drink you might have over-indulged in during the traditional cookouts are not exactly celebratory. In fact, they are likely to have added on a few pounds.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, giant steaks, ribs, brats, potato and pasta salad, ice cream, as well as beer and soda, are classic barbecue fare. Not only are they well-known diet breakers, but frequent consumption of these foods that are high in saturated fats can also lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

A lot of people think barbecues are healthy, and they can be. It’s the number of cookouts you attend and what you eat at each one. Unfortunately, most of us will not opt for grilled lean meats, veggies and plain fruit for dessert. We prefer the classic calorie-laden foods, and all those factors mixed together can lead to a substantial weight gain by the end of the season.

When it comes to weight management, there are no miracles or shortcuts. If you often consume high-calorie foods and drinks and don’t work out to help offset it, your weight and health will be impacted, she points out.

The best way to avoid weight gain during the summer — or at any time of the year, for that matter — is a sensible diet consisting of as many whole foods as possible such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, combined with a regular, calorie-burning exercise program.

What kind of a fitness regime is most effective in burning those post-barbecue calories?

The common wisdom has it that any exercise you do on a consistent, regular basis will be beneficial to a certain degree. It’s certainly far better than sitting down after a meal and not moving at all — and there are numerous studies indicating that sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity.

For the highly effective, weight-busting workout Lahnan recommends:

n Interval training: A regular routine at boot camps, these high-intensity exercises alternated with active recovery periods burn fat, provide a good cardio workout, and increase endurance. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, interval training will put you through the paces in less time than a regular gym session.

n Strength training: Not only will it improve your overall strength and build muscle, but it will also raise your metabolism and burn fat. Combined with high-intensity training exercises, it is a highly effective weight-loss routine.

Group fitness trainer and figure competitor Natalie Lahnan operates Naples and Marco Island Adventure Boot Camp. Lahnan is a certified Adventure Boot Camp Instructor with 17 years experience in the fitness and wellness industry, can be reached at or (239) 776-2162.

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