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Why Short Workouts Can Work for You

While we assume there are a few people out there who would rather be built like Bugs Bunny instead of Michael Jordan or, say, Olive Oyl rather than Jessica Rabbit, most of us would take svelte over soft, firm over flabby. The issue for most of us isn't desire. Few people who have ever worked out doubt that exercise is good for your body and mind. The problem for most of us over the age of 21 isn't why or how to work out, but when. Ironically, when you were young and had ample time to work out, you didn't really need to.

Without a doubt, the most common reason people offer as to why they miss workouts (or give up exercise entirely) is the ubiquitous "I'm too busy" refrain. While this is a legitimate excuse – the time constraints of work and family are considerable – with regard to health, it's the biggest mistake one can make.

Lean-and-mean screen stars such as Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Jamie Lee Curtis can work out all day like mules plowing a dry field – and why not, their bodies are their meal tickets. But the bottom line is that you can maintain, and even improve, your fitness on less than one hour a day.

Pick Up the Pace
We admit we're workout fanatics. Among their friends, the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan and Deidre are known as Mr. and Ms. Endorphin. Deidre is a former two-time national and world power-lifting champ who makes her living as a physical therapist. Jonathan is a competitive cyclist, multisport enthu-siast, and exercise physiologist who actually looks forward to footraces up the Empire State Building.

The most frequently asked question they get is "What is the most common mistake people make in the gym?" Much to nearly everyone's surprise, their answer is "People spend too much time in the gym!" It's an answer that often elicits an eloquent wide-eyed response: "Huh?"

The reason so many people are taken by surprise is that more often than not even busy gym rats spend too much time schmoozing and not enough time taking care of their fitness business. (Don't get us wrong: Gyms are great places to socialize. In fact, Jonathan and Deidre met over the leg extension machine at the Hunter College Gym in Manhattan, but Jonathan insists that he never stopped doing leg extensions while they chatted.)

Something vs. Nothing
One of the key points to remember is that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Once you eliminate the mindset that you have to hammer like a galley slave for two hours or more a day, you've already cleared a significant mental hurdle. We'll help you tackle your fitness obstacles by ...

  • Giving you sample workouts you can do in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Fine-tuning your workouts to maximize results.
  • Helping you manage your time and squeeze in workouts before or after work, or even on your lunch hour.
  • Providing workouts that you can do without going to the gym.
  • Offering a variety of stress-busting stretches that you can do at your desk.
  • Providing you with nutritional guidelines for eating at home, in restaurants, or even on a plane.
  • Detailing workout options you can fall back on when you hit the road on business or vacation.

Next thing you know you'll be doing short workouts three times a day and start thinking about entering a triathlon. But before we begin turning you into a maven of workout efficiency, here's an insightful quiz we'd like you to take:

True or False?

  1. The only way to maintain an exercise program is by going to the gym.

  2. The longer you spend in the gym, the more productive you are.

  3. Fifteen to thirty minutes of exercise a day isn't worth the bother.

  4. Once you become a parent, get promoted, or run for the U.S. Senate you can kiss exercise good-bye.

  5. Next: Page 2 >>

    Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Workouts © 2001 by Deidre Johnson-Cane, Jonathan Cane, and Joe Glickman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

    To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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