Which exercises do the best job toning my thighs and legs?
What routine will really help me lose weight once and for all?
Why should I skip crunches if I'm trying to turn my beer belly into a six-pack?
If you're looking for answers, just ask Lizzy. . . .
As America's premier fitness guru, and the bestselling coauthor of Buns of Steel and Weight Training for Dummies, Liz Neporent has helped hundreds of satisfied individuals get in shape. Now she wants to help you! Easy-to-follow, results-oriented, and completely illustrated with photographs, The Ultimate Body is a dream come true for women looking to shed pounds, tone muscles, and feel the fittest they have ever felt in their lives. Inside you'll discover
* Pre-workout prep: can-do motivational strategies, goal setting, and how to develop a workout schedule that is tailor-made for you
* The Perfect Beginner Workout: If you're feeling out of shape, the "buff starts here"-with Modified Push-Ups, Partial Ab Rolls, and Pelvic Tilts
* The Perfect Gym Workout: Lizzy takes you step-by-step through the most effective machine circuit at the gym-and takes away the intimidation
* The Perfect Weight Loss Workout: Exercises that will help you lose body fat (and keep it off)-from jumping rope to Jumping Jacks
* The Perfect Strength Workout: Muscle building and strength maximizing routines-and the secrets of the world's strongest athletes
* The Perfect No Crunch Abdominal Workout: Attain a flat, toned tummy-with Ball Crunches, Hovers, and Mini Leg Lowers
Plus-the Mind-Body Workout for calming the mind . . . the Travel Workout for keeping fit on the road . . . a Stretch Workout for improving flexibility and posture . . . the Perfect Legs and Butt Workout for tight buns and gorgeous gams . . . and the Perfect Upper-Body Workout for sculpting those muscles north of the waistline!
Highlighted throughout with personal stories and anecdotes from fitness experts and people who successfully put into practice Lizzy's routines, this accessible guide makes feeling fit and looking great a snap-go sweat!
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January 13, 2003
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Excerpt from The Ultimate Body by Liz Neporent
On September 11, 2001, the senseless terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon changed all of our lives forever. For me, the changes were more immediate than for most. I live and work about half a block away from the World Trade Center site in New York City and was in the epicenter of this terrible, tragic event as it unfolded.
Although my home was uninhabitable for a period of time and my livelihood was significantly affected, I consider myself one of the lucky ones: I narrowly escaped with my life as the towers collapsed around me, ultimately walking out of the destruction without so much as a scratch. Everyone I love and care about who was also in the area (including my husband) is alive and well.
I know this seems like a funny way to start a chapter on getting motivated to exercise, but this experience opened my eyes about what it means to lack the motivation to move. I want to share what I've learned with you so that you know you're not alone if you sometimes have trouble getting started. Almost everyone at some point or another needs a push to get going.
To tell you the truth, I never really understood why it is so hard for people to get into exercise. For me, working out has always been as natural as breathing. I mean, why sit on the couch watching Simpsons reruns and eating Doritos when you could be out exploring a new running route, scrambling up rocks, or pumping iron in the gym with a couple of friends?
But after September 11, for the first time in my life I was too sad and depressed to move a muscle. I could barely walk my dog around the block, let alone lift a weight or run a step. I knew from experience and education (and from telling other people to do it) that getting some exercise would make me feel better, but I just couldn't bring myself to begin.
After a couple of weeks of complete inactivity, I had a long talk with myself. I agreed to do a little something every day, even if it was just to go for a quick walk or do a few moments of stretching. In the past, I'd always exercised to keep my weight under control, to shape my body, or for competition, but now I needed exercise to give me the strength to deal with everything I was going through.
I didn't dive back into my usual routine, which is probably hard-core by most people's standards, but I didn't let myself completely off the hook, either. I gave myself permission to ease into a scaled-down version of what I typically do, just to get myself back in the game. And you know what? It did help me cope. It helped me a lot. The more I did, the better I felt, so the more I was able to do. After a few weeks I was back to my old exercising self.
This experience taught me a couple of important lessons. First of all, sometimes pushing yourself to work out is really hard. I know this is probably an obvious conclusion to the more than 80 percent of Americans who don't work out on a regular basis, but it wasn't to me. This revelation has helped me relate much better to my clients and readers.
Second of all, there are many different reasons why people aren't motivated to exercise. You have to address each of these reasons head-on in order to overcome them. That's what I'd like to do in this chapter.
Being in the business of getting people into shape for as long as I have, I've noticed that most people have roughly the same excuses for not exercising. I'm not saying these "exer-scuses" aren't valid or that they're always easily dispensed with--but you can conquer them. I'd like to address the most common antiexercise objections with you now and give you some solid strategies for getting your butt in gear.
Excuse #1: I Don't Have Enough Time
Between carpooling the kids, dropping off the dry cleaning, and staying late at work to finish up a project, it seems as if there are never enough hours in the day for everything you need to do, let alone exercise. And in fact, most people claim they don't exercise due to a poverty of time. A recent Ladies' Home Journal poll found that more than 35 percent of women cite lack of time as their number one reason for not exercising or eating well, and a recent Fitness Products Council poll found that nearly 75 percent of Americans age thirty to forty-four would like to work out more often but can't find the time. I could tick off similar results from dozens of other polls, surveys, and studies, but I think the point is made.
Time management is a problem for all of us, but I often find that the busiest people are the ones who are avid exercisers. So how do these sweat-loving high achievers fit fitness into their lives?
* Prioritize. "I couldn't find the time until I found the time, if you know what I mean," says Jan, a thirty-two-year-old executive assistant. I think that's true. If you've ever gone through a period where you did exercise consistently, you probably weren't any busier than you are right now. "If getting into shape is truly something you feel you have to do, then you somehow find a way to get it done. I can't explain how it works, but it's as if time suddenly appears in your day," Jan theorizes. Jan also admits she struggles to get to the gym when she goes through extremely busy periods in her life. When that happens she shortens her workouts rather than skipping them altogether. "Frequently, the only difference between when you exercise regularly and when you don't is that you've made it one of your priorities," she says.