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GH's Sofia Mattsson (Sasha) and Parry Shen (Brad) Shape Up For Summer

Sofia Mattsson (Sasha):
Diet: “Keeping my body strong and energy levels good is the main importance of a healthy diet to me. I’m a huge food lover, so if a diet is too strict or boring it just makes me miserable and I can’t maintain it. I’m on a vegetarian diet, and most often it’s vegan, as well. I do that for ethical reasons, but it also has great benefits for my body. I have more energy, feel stronger and my skin is clearer and glowing. With so many great meat substitutes these days it’s so easy to cut out meat. Soy, almond, rice and oat milk are such great alternatives to milk. I like rice milk the best for cereal because it’s the sweetest. My favorite vegan food brand is Beyond Meat. Their burgers have a lot of protein and are so tasty! My absolutely favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I usually eat oatmeal with apples and cinnamon or Kashi cereal with rice milk. For lunch and dinner, some of my favorites are salads full of veggies and nuts or cranberries, avocado toast, vegetable lasagna or sweet potatoes. For snacks, I love mini carrots, apples with almond butter or just having trail mix.”

Fitness: “I usually work out three to four days a week for at least one hour. I love Orangetheory Fitness. It’s a group workout where you rotate between treadmill, a rower machine and floor workouts with weights and you’re wearing a tracker that measures how hard you’re pushing yourself and how many calories you burn. I’m very competitive, so the fact that I can track myself against other people guarantees me pushing myself hard. I also love taking dance classes and playing tennis. These past few weeks of quarantine I’ve been jogging around my neighborhood, and I bought some resistance bands that I can use at home. They especially give a great butt and leg workout! A plus of working out at home is that I can watch TV while doing it!”

Sofia’s top three tips:

* “In my experience, the best way to lose a few pounds is to calculate your daily calorie burn [BMR] and make sure you eat less calories than you burn naturally, plus your work- outs. And focus on cardio exercises that burn the most calories.”

* “Our thoughts are very powerful. If you keep thinking, ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘It’s too hard,’ you surround yourself with negative energy and make it so much harder. Switch your mindset to thinking positive thoughts and you’ll attract positive results. You got this!”

* “Make a vision board. Put together a collage of pictures from magazines or the Internet that motivate you toward your fitness and diet goals, and put it somewhere visible. It doesn’t have to be pictures of your dream body, it could be pictures of a beach or travel destination you want to go to, an outfit you want to rock or pictures that resemble a reward you’re going to give yourself when you reach your goal.”

Parry Shen (Brad):

Parry’s top three tips

Diet: “Since I genetically have high cholesterol, breakfast is usually oat- meal with almond milk, half a banana smashed in, chia and flax seeds, a 1/4 cup of egg whites and cranberries. When I don’t have oatmeal, it’s scrambled/poached/ soft-boiled eggs, with half an avocado, a bit of bacon/kielbasa (no worries, I’m on Lipitor!) or 1/2 bagel with cream cheese and lox. I usually skip lunch because I’m still full from breakfast and/or have had a protein shake after a workout. But when I do eat it, it’s something light, like a salad with cucumbers, carrots, cranberries/pears, pieces of chicken for protein and ginger dressing. Dinner is usually still well-balanced with a protein, a starch and a veggie, but it’s always followed by a dessert and usually snacking around 8 when watching a movie (barbecue chips are a fave). My total caloric count is still well within my goal because I’ve been ‘good’ for breakfast and lunch.”

Fitness: “It took me six years of consistently exercising to get to a point where I actually enjoy doing it. But it initially began as three days a week: Monday: Abs, chest, triceps, 30 minutes on the elliptical. Wednesday: Abs, biceps, back, 30 minutes on the elliptical. Friday: Abs, shoulders, legs, 30 minutes on the elliptical. I did three exercises of each body part, and 8-10 reps. By year four, things were getting a little too easy, so I upped it to 10-12 reps, then added a fourth exercise, then made the cardio 60 minutes at year five. At year six, I work out five days a week, but my threshold for it grew slowly over time. And now, with the quarantine, I’ve built my own gym in my garage and have added fun stuff like Battle Ropes and Slam Balls, which really have worked out different parts of my body.”

* “Get the app MyFitnessPal. Then for one week, be meticulous about logging in all your food and workouts, down to the ounces of cranberries you put into your oatmeal and amount of almond milk. Once you do this, you will gain an understanding of how many calories you’re consuming and burning (with workouts) and will be armed with that info no matter where and what you eat.”

* “Workouts should be realistic and manageable for you. Example: I will not do burpees, get a Peloton or go jogging. If you’re not motivated to actually do it, it won’t get done and be sustainable for the long haul.”

* “Plan out your workout for the day ahead of time. You should have a mental note of what you’re going to do next, instead of meandering about thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll use some dumbbells now.’ No. You want to get outta there as soon as possible. Just hit each station, do your sets, no more than a minute rest in between and move on. Workouts feel the best when they’re over and done with!”