Chuck, why is Memorial Day particularly important to you? And how do you keep fit when all those great foods surround you on that three-day holiday weekend? Thanks for answering – Sgt. Jeremy Girard, Afghanistan

Most people know that I am a big supporter of our U.S. military.

My father fought and was wounded in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge. I served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea. I am also an honorary Marine. My brother Aaron served in the U.S. Army in Korea. And our brother, Wieland, served in the U.S. Army as well in Vietnam, where he paid the ultimate price on June 3, 1970 (His name is etched among the 58,000 fallen servicemen and women on the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C.).

On Memorial Day, May 30, we will again honor and commemorate all of our fallen warriors. Especially in light of the heroic efforts of our military in the termination of Osama bin Laden, we have a heightened gratitude right now for those who have served and serve in the war on terror.

Memorial Day weekend holds special meaning for all of us, and for many of us it hits very close to home. We all commemorate our fallen warriors in various ways, from special tribute services at cemeteries to parades with veterans and picnics with families and friends.

Because the reason for the weekend can sometimes get lost in the festivities, I’d like to encourage you to not overindulge on your hamburgers and hot dogs, but enjoy them in moderation. We have a tendency to overeat on special occasions and forget to stay active.

I don’t want to oversimplify exercise, but it is basically whatever gets your heart pumping and uses major muscle groups. And there are lots of opportunities on Memorial Day weekend for that. Yard work, housework, playing with your kids, walking your dogs, playing Frisbee or football, swimming, dancing, biking, hiking, etc., are all good ways to stay active and burn away those extra calories.

Exercise is very important to my wife, Gena, and I. She is my workout partner. I would encourage you to create a workout schedule that will keep you and your partner motivated to exercise and stick with it. Having a workout partner will help you be accountable and stay motivated.

On the eve of summer, when we all want to be in shape, it is a good time to remind you exactly what I do to keep physically fit. This is what I do to keep this 39-year-old body (with 32 years’ experience!) in optimal condition. My weekly workout schedule includes:


  • Total Gym. I do a routine that takes me exactly 15 minutes to complete.
  • Walking/Fast Walking. Gena and I fast-walk 2 miles or, when the weather is bad, use one of our elliptical machines for 30 minutes.
  • Stomach exercises. I do 10 minutes of crunches for my abs.
  • Stretching. I finish with a few minutes of stretching to cool down.


Pool Exercises. Why do I use the pool? It has numerous benefits. Low-impact water workouts combine cardiovascular exercises with strength training, with little risk of injury. Even though you might feel lighter in the water, the added resistance makes the aerobics challenging. Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, because of its greater density. As water pushes against the body, the movements become more difficult, requiring muscles to work harder. I strongly recommend it.

As my friend the late fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, “I tell people that I can’t afford to die; it will wreck my image!”

Jack lived to the ripe old age of 94.

Jack, your image and legacy are as strong as ever!

Now, go enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.