The Slacker Workout


Photograph by Michael Jang/Getty Images

The fact that you haven't broken a sweat since college doesn't justify continued bum behavior. Here's how to get fit, no matter what's been holding you back. Katie Hintz

Excuse: "I'm impatient for results."
Mental Fix: "Your goal shouldn't be a specific body weight, it should be the process" says Harley Pasternak, who has trained the likes of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Kanye West. "Aim to exercise five times this week. As a by-product, you'll notice your body changing, and you'll feel better."
Plan of Action: Manage your progress by controlling your eating. Reach for low-fat foods packed with protein and fiber and resist the urge to reward yourself with soft-baked cookies. It takes just one vending-machine bag of Doritos to wipe out 30 minutes of exercise.

Excuse: "I don't have time."
Mental Fix: "Commit to 25 minutes a day to give yourself momentum and consistency," Pasternak says. "Once you get yourself to the gym, that 25 sometimes becomes 30 or 40."
Plan of Action: Do five minutes of cardio to warm up—a speed-walk to the gym counts. Then circuit train (four sets, 20 reps each) the upper and lower body and abdominals. End with five more minutes of cardio. If you schedule it right, you can watch Chuck on the gym TV and the trip will be less painful.

Excuse: "I have a bad back (or knee, hip . . . )"
Mental Fix: "There's discomfort, and then there's actual pain," says Colleen Greene, wellness coordinator for MFit, the health-promotion division of the University of Michigan. "If people feel discomfort from working out the day before, that's delayed-onset muscle soreness and there's absolutely no problem with working out."
Plan of Action: For genuine ailments, consult a doctor or physical therapist. For sore muscles, try low-impact cardio—clocking time on an elliptical machine, swimming, or even walking—and stretch for at least 15 minutes afterward.

Excuse: "I don't like exercise."
Mental Fix: "Do you enjoy brushing your teeth? Exercise is a part of hygiene and health," Pasternak says. In other words, suck it up. You'll feel better when you're done.
Plan of Action: Avoid the gym. Get off the subway one stop earlier. Join a kick-ball league. Run errands on foot. Break out the Wii. Stop fretting about your workout and simply develop an active lifestyle.

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