Firecracker 400


KABOOM!  I remember jumping up and down, with my sisters, holding our hands over our ears as my dad launched bottle rockets from our backyard.  Even with our ears covered, we could still hear the yelps coming from my little sister when she stepped on the sparkler I dropped.  Growing up in a military family, the 4th of July was a special holiday.  My dad served in two wars: Korea and Vietnam. When I see the stars and stripes, I naturally stand a little straighter.

My dad usually had fireworks, including firecrackers, for us,.  I am not sure whose idea that was!    The fireworks were a big deal, but so was the cookout.  We never had much money, but on the 4th of July my dad went all out at the grill—STEAKS!  He would wait until the T-bones were on sale at the commissary and each of us would get to eat a whole one, which was way too much food for a youngster.  It was not just my dad who indulged us; my mom contributed her favorites, including homemade ice-cream, and an East Tennessee favorite: Bootlegger Beans.   You have to use your imagination for that one.

I am sure you have great memories of 4th of July celebrations long past, and can relate to the unhealthy overeating that seems to go along with these events. Let’s make this Independence Day a true celebration of freedom with a great workout and a great meal.  Let’s not do the common thing—overeat and skip our exercise.  The Bible says in Galatians 5:1, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  That means you don’t go back to your old way of living; celebrate Independence Day more appropriately in view of the high price paid for freedom. The Bible also says in Galatians 5:13, You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  Holidays should not give us license to abandon our disciplines; holidays should give us the opportunity to make strategic and wise decisions.  I have two suggestions to help you appropriately celebrate our freedom this Independence Day.  In honor of one of my favorite pastimes: NASCAR, I am naming this plan the Firecracker 400!  The meal suggestion will keep you around 400 calories and the workout is 400 exercises that you can do in just about 30 minutes, depending on your fitness level.

Firecracker 400 Cookout

Keeping the portions to the recommendations (about 400 calories):  3 ounce grilled lean ground beef Hamburger, with pickles and all the fixings, coleslaw and 1 cup watermelon. (See our burger recipes in this newsletter and on our website.)

Firecracker 400 Workout

This workout is a total of 400 exercises.    Try it later in the afternoon with the grandkids and make a game of it.  These are exercises almost anyone can do.

  • 25 squats (Keep the range of motion comfortable, avoid deep knee bends.)
  • 20 jumping jacks (full or half—using just arms, not jumping)
  • 25 reverse fly’s (arms above head in a V and press back) or bicep curls with weights
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 lunges (left leg back)
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 lunges (right leg back)
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 pushups (against wall, on knees, or full)
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 calf raises or Plyometric jumps (Bend at the knees and jump straight up, both feet off the ground and arms up and reaching.)
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 abdominal curls (on back)
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 25 triceps dips (on a chair or step) or 25 triceps presses with weights
  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 standing cross crawl (Reach up and bring elbow to opposite knee.)
  • 20 jumping jacks

I am sure we will have a grand day of flag waving on Edisto this 4th of July and I am praying you will too at your favorite place of celebration.  Be careful with the fireworks and don’t forget to throw the sparklers in the trash!

Vicki Heath