SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — As Airmen prepare to spend holidays with families and friends, they’ll likely face a tough decision: do they really need another plate of food?
Staying in shape during this time of the year presents a challenge as Airmen generally have a different schedule, but will also have altered eating and exercise habits.
“You’re at somebody’s house and they have cookies and different foods that are available at that time,” said Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports manager. “The key thing to remember is it’s a lot easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight.”
Cannello said majority of Airmen – or people in general – won’t have the restraint to limit the junk food they eat during the holidays.
Daniel Webb, 50th FSS recreation assistant, agreed with Cannello’s take and said it’s easier to affect the workout side of the coin than to change someone’s eating habits.
“Only a very dedicated few can do that,” Webb said. “It’s easier to add 10 minutes to your workout each day to account for the extra eating or accept that you’re going to gain two pounds over the next two weeks and we’ll adjust it on Jan. 1.”
Instead of limiting intake, Cannello suggests mind tricks for people to control what they eat.
“I look at how many calories a particular food item has,” Cannello said. “Then I say to myself, ‘OK, now I’m going to have to run X amount of miles to burn all that off.’ It’s amazing how little snack items have a high caloric value. The amount of work you have to do in order to burn that off isn’t worth it sometimes.”
To burn 1,000 calories in an hour, an Airmen needs to run at a speed of six miles an hour. Of course, there are varying factors: male or female, height, weight, age, incline on the treadmill and more.
“Most people don’t run for an hour though,” Cannello said. “If you ate a muffin and it was 450 calories, that’s about the equivalent of riding a bike for an hour in order to burn that off. And that’s an approximate guess. But that’s fairly close.”
Webb said that he provides Airmen with a routine to follow during their time at home.
“I’ll give them what I think they should do while they’re away,” Webb said. “They can choose to follow it or not. With the boot camp here, it’s five days a week. So they have a five-day plan and they can do those as they see fit.”
While Cannello did stress the importance of keeping in shape during the down time, he also understands some indulgence won’t make or break most Airmen’s physical prowess. But he does not recommend it.
“You need to have that ability to say ‘no’ or to stop eating as much as you want,” Cannello said. “You can eat a lot, but you just have to increase how much you’re exercising in order to burn those calories. If you’re going to eat poorly you need to make it up somehow. The way I make it up is to work out harder.”