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After years of working out at home with a personal trainer, Lynda Reeves now prefers hitting the gym. (Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail)
After years of working out at home with a personal trainer, Lynda Reeves now prefers hitting the gym. (Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail)

Power Crunch

Lynda Reeves has designs on turning back time - in the gym Add to ...

For decades, Lynda Reeves has shown Canadians how to make their homes look like a million bucks. Now, the president of House & Home Media has designs on fighting the aging process.

To stay motivated, Ms. Reeves, who is also publisher of Canadian House & Home magazine and host of House & Home TV, joined a gym and hired a trainer. But is that enough to shed winter weight and get her body ready to wear summer styles?

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My goal

"Fitness is vanity related. It's about looking better, fitting into my clothes and keeping my weight down. At a certain age, you're fighting aging, [fitness]gets harder."

My workout

"I moved from working out at home with a personal trainer for more than 12 years to back to the gym at Totum fitnessin Toronto. I work out three times a week and I have a great trainer.

"I do a circuit that's a combination of cardio, strength training [free weights and machines]and toning exercises: crunches, squats and push-ups. We do five minutes on the elliptical fast, then a circuit of different exercises alternating upper- and lower-body exercises in between blasts of cardio. I don't like yoga."

My lifestyle

"I like exercise at the beginning or end of my day. I used to do my workout at 7 a.m., but now I prefer to work out after work, so I don't have to think about what I have to do.

"I love meat. If I could only eat one food group, it'd be protein. I'm starch-free as much as possible and I keep the fat as low as possible. I used to never eat breakfast, now I do. I don't like power shakes, though. I'll have an egg-white omelette with some low-fat cheese and herbs and then some strawberries and raspberries.

"If I'm going out, I try really hard to have fish or meat and veg. If it's just me at home, I'll have an apple and cheese. I skip lunch - a lot. Dinner is my main meal. If I don't eat out, then I'll make something simple. And I don't eat dessert."

My motivation

"I think about summer coming and I don't want to wear long skirts. I think about the TV camera following you upstairs inside people's homes and the camera can see everything," she says. "I had nine seasons of TV and if you're bloated or overweight, it shows everything.

"I like the vibe at the gym - it's high energy. The people there are like me and are my age and they look great and that's incentive for me."

My workout anthem

"Whatever they have on at the gym."

My challenge

"I fluctuate between [gaining and losing] the same six to eight pounds. The exercise is not hard, I look forward to it, but eating is challenging. I was on the Zone home-delivery plan, but I was disappointed. I couldn't look forward to it, but what it did do was make me aware of portion sizes. I have to think about airplane-size quantities." When travelling, "I always try to remember to carry a doggy bag to the airport with carrots, celery and veggies or unsalted almonds, but I forget and you reach for whatever's there. Restaurants are dangerous."

The critique

Add muscle to lose fat

According to Jason Gee, a Toronto-based fitness trainer, "As you grow older, your body composition is changing negatively if you're not exercising; muscle is reducing and fat increases even though there's no weight change, [so]you're getting fatter."

Ms. Reeves's exercise regimen is good, says Mr. Gee, who holds a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from the University of Toronto and is a certified strength conditioning specialist. But he says that if she wants to maintain her weight and defy aging she should focus on strength training.

"I'd like to see Lynda do exercises in four sets of eight repetitions at 80 per cent of her one-rep max [the maximum weight load lifted for one repetition with proper form]" Mr. Gee says. "Muscle requires more calories to maintain itself compared with fat, and once Lynda adds more [muscle]that increases her metabolic rate, reverses bone degeneration and her body will continue to burn fat while at rest."

Stretch and stay young

Without having to attend a class, Mr. Gee also suggests Ms. Reeves consider adding basic yoga postures because stretching would help keep her body limber. "Dynamic stretching in the beginning of her workout like leg swings, arms moving in different planes and trunk rotations will help Lynda increase her range of motion. Then, at the end of her workout, I recommend static stretches such as warrior pose, hip openers, butterfly, upward and downward dog and single leg deep lunges held for a minimum of 30 seconds, at least once a week."

Skip lunch, risk health

Food is key to keeping weight off. "Lynda can't skip lunches," Mr. Gee says. When Ms. Reeves misses meals, "she'll eat more later gorging during her last meal at night, then she turns inactive because it's bedtime." That can cause weight gain and create metabolic risks and conditions that can contribute to diabetes, he says. Mr. Gee recommends she eat the majority of calories during the day when she needs them. "Lynda should have bigger meals at breakfast and lunch, tapering her calories as she approaches the end of her day."

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