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By Lara McGlashan

Marie Claire magazine logo

Gave up on the gym already? Maybe it's your workout. Maybe it's your mind-set. Either way, let us get you started again — with a program you'll never abandon.

Can you imagine what it would be like to get to the gym every day — or even three times a week — like you said you would? Neither could these former wannabe hard-bodies. We challenged them to break their workout inertia: Could they develop a gym habit with some goal-setting, a good program, and a little introspection? We had personal trainer Johanna Subotovsky of Equinox Fitness give each woman a cardio and resistance-training program to follow on her own. See who fell in love with her workout, who's still searching, and how each one can inspire you.

"I Lost My Motivation" —Kristine, 27, graphic designer

Before: 0 workouts per week
"Three years ago, I worked at a gym and was in the best shape of my life. But my job and relationship took priority, and in the past two years, I have gone up three dress sizes and can't go up a flight of stairs without being winded."

Her "Aha" Moments
If you keep waiting for tomorrow, it's never gonna happen.
"I discovered I've been making lots of excuses about why I can't work out. I just had to break the cycle and do it. I'm not a morning person, and it's especially hard to get out of bed because my room is cold in the morning. I told myself that I'd been given an opportunity by participating in this article, so I forced myself to get up. Later, I was saying to myself, 'Thank God I went.' I'm really proud I didn't let myself down."

Being accountable is crucial. "I'm not motivated to do things by myself, so I had a workout party with my boyfriend, some other friends, and personal trainer Jennifer Cassetta. She taught us martial arts moves — we even held up pads for each other to kick. It reminded me how much I liked martial arts when I was younger. Toward the end, we were trying to keep up with her, and we were all dying, but we made it through! Then we had tea and chatted. I loved it. Plus, my boyfriend was ready to collapse at the end of it, and it made him realize how out-of-shape he is, so we're making a resolution to get healthy together. It's impossible to get someone to work out if they're not motivated to do it, but it's easy to invite someone to do something active with you."

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Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...

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Beats
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Seconds