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Get Fit!

Your Six-Week Plan

To be at your best before summer, try these 42 tips from PGA Tour fitness expert Ben Shear

May 2013

Being "fit" can mean a lot of things, says Ben Shear, who trains many of the game's top players, including Luke Donald, Jason Day and Webb Simpson. It can be anything from having your best blood-pressure reading in a decade to being able to slip into a decommissioned pair of jeans again. When he says "get fit," what he really means is get fitter. Below are 42 ways to do it (one a day for the next six weeks). Embrace as many of these as you can, and it won't be long before you look better, feel better and, yes, play better golf.

1. Drink more water. A lot more. That's still not enough.
2. Walk. Walk more rounds. Walk to work. Walk to the store. Walk around the block. Walk the dog. Stand up from reading this right now and walk.
3. Write down how much you sleep each day. Your goal is 60 hours a week.
4. Strengthen the most important muscles in the golf swing: your glutes (buttocks).
5. Constantly check your posture. In fact, stop right now and sit up straight. But don't arch your back when you do.
6. Take the stairs; two at a time if you can.
7. Buy a $10 foam roller, and knead the muscles of your body three times a week while you watch TV--especially your hips.
8. Eat low-glycemic fruit such as pears, grapefruits, cherries, peaches and apples.
9. Quit smoking. You can do it.
10. While sitting upright, rotate your upper body each way without letting your lower body move. Repeat for one minute.
11. When you're done with that, flex your ankles in and out, and back and forth. Make circles, too.
12. Cut your starchy-food intake by half. Start with white bread.
13. While waiting on the tee or in the fairway, extend your club in front of you, and move it up and down and side to side using only your wrists and forearms.
14. Breathe using your belly, not just your chest.
15. Make your lunch. You're much more likely to eat healthier when you control the ingredients--and you'll save money!
16. At least twice a week do a low-intensity physical activity that you enjoy. Who doesn't love a leisurely bike ride?
17. Eat more vegetables. Potato chips and carrot cake are not vegetables.
18. Tap into your inner Elvis. Get in your address posture, keep your upper body still and twist your pelvis back and forth. Do this for 30 seconds.
19. Put your back to a wall, and slide down it until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
20. Whenever you do a push exercise, immediately follow it with a pull exercise. No break.
21. Brace yourself against a planted golf club, and rotate one knee in toward the other. Switch it up and go the other way.
22. Strengthen your hamstrings. Pull your kid in a wagon.
23. Consume a lot more omega-3 fatty acid. You can get it from flaxseed oil, fish oil, mackerel, salmon and walnuts.
24. Stabilize the muscles of your core by raking leaves, paddling a canoe or sweeping floors.
25. Then strengthen them. Planks are great.
26. Make sure most of your protein comes from the best sources: eggs, beans, nuts, fish and poultry.
27. We like chocolate, too. Switch from milk to dark. The darker the better.
28. Do sprint/walk intervals. Shoot for 30 seconds of running followed by 30 of walking. Try the intervals six times or more.
29. Instead of downing pills, find food sources that supply those vitamins and minerals.
30. Get more good fats into your meals such as avocados, nuts, olive oil and egg yolks.
31. If you're going to drink alcohol, limit sugar every way you can. Example: Drink vodka and soda instead of vodka and tonic, or drink sauvignon blanc instead of Riesling.
32. Don't forget to do exercises that move the body laterally and/or rotationally.
33. Drop down and do push-ups whenever you can. Go slow, and strive for perfect form.
34. Let your body hang from a flexed-arm position. Can you do it for a minute? Then skip that and do pull-ups regularly.
35. Jump rope. It's great for your conditioning, coordination and golf posture.
36. Jump in general. Two legs, one leg, sideways. It will improve lower-body strength and tap into your inherent coordination. Yep, it's still in there.
37. Eliminate soda and fruit juice, especially ones with artificial sweeteners.
38. Buy a medicine ball. Find a sturdy wall. Throw the ball into the wall. Catch and repeat.
39. At the 19th hole, reach for nuts instead of pretzels.
40. Go out when the sun's out. Small doses of vitamin D will help keep your bones healthy and muscles functioning.
41. Don't skip breakfast. Ever.
42. Once in a while, ignore Nos. 1-41 and indulge.

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