Find the Best Workout for You
Ready to get moving? Here's expert advice on finding a fitness routine you'll want to do.
If You Need Some Pointers
Consider hiring a certified professional. Walter Thompson, PhD, of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), says you should do the homework and find someone who's educated, experienced, and certified by a reputable organization such as the ACSM.
Many personal trainers are highly educated and experienced and have nationally recognized degrees and certifications. They tailor workouts to individual needs and frequently work with health care professionals to make special programs, like for people who are pregnant, elderly, on the mend, or physically challenged.
If you can't afford private sessions, consider teaming up with a friend or two -- or taking a group exercise class conducted by a trainer. Many group exercise instructors -- and even some experienced gym employees -- can be very knowledgeable about fitness.
If You Need Some Tough Love
Boot camps are another option that might suit you, especially if you're motivated by someone yelling at you. Named after the basic training that military troops undergo, boot camps are becoming increasingly popular around the country. They range from the mild to the maniacal, but all offer coaching and direction in a group setting.
In addition to a quasi-personal coach, you'll have the added benefit of peer pressure and competition in a boot camp. Everyone will be pushing to perform at maximum capacity, which will maximize your workouts and keep you motivated.
If You Have No Time
If getting to the gym seems impossible, just do your workouts at work.
"Try working out at your desk. Do dips on your chair. Drop down and do some pushups off the edge of your desk. Get some resistance bands and do bicep curls and tricep extensions," says certified personal trainer Lisa De Los Santos.
If you can get to the gym, do a circuit training routine by moving from machine to machine without rest. The key is to keep moving and keep your heart rate as high as possible. If you prefer free weights, just double up on your moves, adding short bursts of cardio -- like jumping on and off a weight bench -- in between each.
"Try combination moves, such as a squat and bicep curl as one exercise," Bryant says. "You're getting your biceps, shoulders, and lower body involved in one movement. And rather than eight to 12 exercises, you can do it in three to four."
Another suggestion is a combination push-up with an alternating lateral row. This will simultaneously work your chest, triceps, and shoulders along with the lats and biceps. "You'll also work on those important core stabilizers to maintain proper body position," Bryant says. "It's the entire upper body."
Start with one pushup. Then remain in the top position while grabbing a free weight with your right arm. Flex it, then pull backward, keeping your arm close to your chest. Move to your left arm. Repeat.