It's all about balanceâ€¦ and moderation
Eric Blick, head of personal training at New Jersey's Berkeley Heights Life Time Athletic, says it is important to understand the balance between diet and exercise, particularly with the fitness opportunities available in the summer. He says, "Individuals should plan to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle all year long, [but summer] is a great time to begin maintaining a balanced diet and a realistic and fun exercise routine that they can commit to."
Balance is one aspect, but moderation is another. You may think you can exercise off all the calories you took in at last night's cookout, but with a cheeseburger weighing in at more than 650 calories, potato salad packing in 350 and a two-scoop sundae delivering 530 -- for a total of more than 1500 calories -- you'll have to spend a few hard-working hours at the gym. It's far easier to forgo those fattening foods, or at least cut down your portions.
To give you an idea of the diet damage some of summer's fattening foods can wage, Blick shares with us how many minutes -- or hours, in some cases -- you'll have to exercise to work them off.
Those fast-food commercials with sexy, beautiful women sinking their teeth into juicy, dripping burgers may give you the impression that you can chow a cheeseburger or two every weekend and still look amazing. But the truth is that gorgeous model probably spits it out as soon as the director calls "Cut!"
Cheeseburger: 660 calories
Exercise: 2 hours and 40 minutes of Pilates
Better choice: A modest-sized turkey burger on a whole-grain bun
Two hot dogs
Hot dogs are one of the hallmarks of summer cookouts, but with their high fat, calorie and sodium content, save them for special occasions (and your best friend's weekly grill-fest doesn't qualify).
Two hot dogs: 514 calories
Exercise: 1 hour and 20 minutes of yoga
Better choice: A veggie dog or a low-fat turkey sausage (light on the mayo).
One dozen BBQ chicken wings
Don't let the popularity and small size of these spicy little nibbles fool you. Typical chicken wings are cooked in their skin, making them a high-fat food even before they are coated with flour, fried, and dipped in a high-fat ranch or blue cheese dressing.
One dozen BBQ wings: 625 calories
Exercise: 1 hour and 20 minutes of rock climbing
Better choice: Grilled chicken breast
Two cups baked beans
Though beans are naturally healthy -- they're high in fiber and a good source of protein -- they can become high-calorie, high-fat fare when cooked with bacon or topped with cheese and sour cream.
Two cups baked beans: 600 calories
Exercise: 2 hours and 15 minutes of swimming
Better choice: Bean salad tossed in a light olive-oil vinaigrette
One (10-ounce) grilled steak
Just thinking about a sizzling, juicy steak hot off the grill is enough to sideline your evening workout. However, that 10-ounce steak is more than twice the recommended serving size for meat and you know it won't be the only food you'll end up eating. Before you skip the gym, think about this:
One (10-ounce) steak: 520 calories
Exercise: 1 hour of spinning
Better choice: Three to four ounces of steak with a side salad or vegetable
One slice of apple pie
Apple pie (with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream) can add to an already overspent calorie budget. If you can't resist, opt for a small slice of single-crust pie and pass on the high-fat ice cream or whipped cream.
One slice of apple pie: 280 calories
Exercise: 40 minutes of basketball
Better choice: Sauteed cinnamon apples with a dollop of Greek yogurt
One small ear of corn on the cob with butter
Corn is another naturally healthy food that becomes a dieter's demise when slathered with butter and generously sprinkled with salt.
One small ear of corn on the cob with butter: 155 calories
Exercise: 30 minutes of tennis
Better choice: Corn on the cob seasoned with lime juice and a dash of paprika or chipotle
One cup potato salad
A common potluck, summer picnic and backyard BBQ food, mayonnaise-based potato salad packs a high calorie punch.
One cup of potato salad: 350 calories
Exercise: 45 minutes of aerobics
Better choice: Small baked potato with light sour cream and chives
Two-scoop ice cream sundae
You may think you can't survive summer without a cold, creamy dessert, but be prepared to log some extra miles on the treadmill.
Two-scoop ice cream sundae: 530 calories
Exercise: 50 minutes of running
Better choice: A scoop of light or low-fat ice cream topped with fresh berries
One serving spare ribs
Slow-cooked over a low fire, spare ribs are hard to resist. Messy and finger-licking good, ribs are also one of the highest-calorie BBQ foods.
One serving spare ribs: 703 calories
Exercise: 1 hour and 40 minutes of golf
Better choice: Grilled skinless chicken breast with bone in (shred meat off the bone for far fewer calories and less fat)
More ways to burn calories this summer