By Corrie Pikul
You always say you're going to do 200 crunches every time The Bachelorette comes on, but you barely make it through 20 before relaxing on the floor. These made-for-multitasking routines will keep you going until the credits roll.
1. The Routine That Makes You Appreciate Your Favorite Sitcom Even More
You can use a character's predictability to remind you to keep you moving -- sort of like a college drinking game, but with squats instead of shots. Love New Girl? Try this circuit workout from Mike Donavanik, a Los Angeles–based personal trainer and the creator of the Extreme Burn DVD series. Every time Schmidt says something offensively lame (which happens so frequently that his roommate have started a "douchebag jar"), use that as a cue to do one exercise for one minute. Donavanik recommends alternating upper and lower body moves: Start with push-ups, then squats, then tricep dips, then lunges. Finish with crunches. Keep cycling through these five exercises for the entire 30-minute show.
2. Strengthen Your Arms Without Ever Leaving The Couch
Tricep dips tone the muscles on the backside of your upper arms, Donavanik says, and the only piece of equipment you need is a sturdy piece of furniture. Position your hands on the couch on either side of your hips, and scoot your bottom off the edge of your seat. Your legs should be bent, with your feet placed hip-width apart on the floor. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your upper body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle (keep your back close to the couch). Straighten your arms and return to the starting position. Don't worry about counting; just do as many as you can, then rest. Repeat three to four times. While you should definitely feel the burn in this position, Donavanik says you can make this even more challenging by extending both legs straight in front of you or putting them up on a coffee table.
3. The Cardio Workout For When You Can't Be Bothered To Get Up
A portable pedal bike (which costs between $30 and $150) allows you to exercise in the comfort of your La-Z-Boy. These mini machines are much cheaper and take up less room than a stationary bike, treadmill or ski machine, but you have to be strategic to get your heart rate up. Skip steady-state cycling (which is easy to phone in) and do intervals instead. Start with a five-minute warm-up at easy resistance. Adjust the knob until turning the pedals takes moderate effort. Then do one minute of fast, intense pedaling, then one minute of easy -- and keep that up for the duration of the 30-minute program. (You can also take an "active recovery" during commercials by easing up on the resistance).
4. The Moves To Do When You Can't Take Your Eyes Off The Screen
Look away from Mad Men for one minute and you'll miss a symbolic detail or a key facial expression (or possibly a rare glimpse of Jon Hamm's bare torso). For these situations, Chicago-based personal trainer Traci D. Mitchell recommends wall squats, which she says strengthen the front and sides of the quads as well as the glutes. Keeping your upper back against a wall facing the television, take a big step forward. Sink down until you feel like you're sitting in a straight-back chair, with both thighs parallel to the ground. Mitchell likes to do pyramids: hold the squat for 10 seconds, then rest for a minute or so; hold for 20 seconds, then rest again. Keep lengthening the intervals until you get to 40 seconds, then take it back down (squat for 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 10 seconds). To work the shoulders at the same time, Mitchell says to extend your arms and lift them to shoulder height with each squat.
5. An Ab Workout You'll Actually Finish (And Feel)
The first rule, Mitchell says, is to stay off the floor -- that position makes it too tempting to grab a few cushions and stretch out. Instead of crunches, she recommends oblique twists that you can do while standing. Grab a heavy object, like a gallon of milk or water, and hold it with both hands. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, tighten your core and extend your arms in front of you. While keeping your hips stable, rotate your torso and arms to the left, then back to center. Rotate to the right, and back to center. Do three sets of 20 reps.
Your Goal: Find An 'Emergency' Routine You Can Do Anywhere
You need a portable routine to squeeze in between scheduled workouts -- something you can easily do in your living room, a hotel room or the spare room at your parents' house (where you'll be staying during your next visit). <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Ozs-20-Minute-Workout">This routine by New York City celebrity trainer Joel Harper</a> builds muscle, creates flexibility and keeps your fitness level up without requiring any equipment. Best of all: You need only 20 minutes. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Ozs-20-Minute-Workout">The in-betweener quickie workout</a>
Your Goal: Work Out At Least Four Times A Week
You feel the most pumped to work out at night, but deadlines, family, friends and "Mad Men" have made it hard to stick to a schedule. Try picking an evening class (maybe even a pricey yoga or spin session) and treating it like a meeting or a social obligation. When you have a regular fitness appointment, you schedule the rest of your life around your workout instead of trying to fit your workout into your life, says Michelle Kennedy, MS, Best Life fitness expert. If that doesn't work, you may have to override your natural rhythms. The first week or two might be tough, but Kennedy swears a.m. workouts get easier over time. And she should know: because of her schedule and two young children, she needs to leave for the gym by 4:30 a.m. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/blogs/Ask-Bob-Greenes-Team-Whats-the-Best-Time-of-Day-to-Work-Out">The best time of day to work out</a>
Your Goal: Transition From The Treadmill To The Race Course
You've been racing yourself (or the little red dot that serves as your digital doppelganger) for months, and now you're ready to challenge another runner -- or even a crowd of them. Personal trainer Andrea Metcalf has a six-week guide that will help you run your first 5K in under 30 minutes. It involves alternating a circuit of 2 minutes of walking followed by 2 minutes of jogging and then 1 minute of running. <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Andrea-Metcalfs-Six-Week-5K-Training-Program">Get the details, as well Metcalf's favorite post-run stretches</a>. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Andrea-Metcalfs-Six-Week-5K-Training-Program">The run-for-your-life 5K training program</a>
Your Goal: Do Something About Your Tummy
It's one of life's unfair truths: Your chances of washboard abs are mostly determined by your body type -- like how much extra weight you're carrying and where you're carrying it. But regardless of your abdominal DNA, you can build a stronger, more toned-looking core that can support your back, help you stand straighter (and therefore look slimmer) and lower your risk of injury. Skip sit-ups and crunches, and instead focus on planks: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Essential-Exercises-Push-Ups-Downward-Dog-Squats-Planks/3">Here's how to do them correctly</a>. Once you've mastered them, incorporate your legs and arms by doing <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/The-10-Best-New-Exercises-for-Women/2">mountain climbers like these with a stability ball</a>. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Essential-Exercises-Push-Ups-Downward-Dog-Squats-Planks/3">The 6 essential exercises everyone should know how to do</a>
Your Goal: Get Red-Carpet-Ready Thighs
Squats are a big-name trainer's go-to move; you've seen them mentioned in articles about how this celebrity or that one got their pre-baby body back, or got fit for the beach scenes in their last movie, or prepared for that awards show. You know you can't easily spot-shrink the thighs nature (or your parents) gave you, but squats can help you reshape them. For those of us without trainers, doing squats right can be a little confusing. How low should you go? How should you hold the weights? Which way should you point your feet? <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/How-to-Do-Squats-Exercise-Video">Bob Greene breaks it all down in this short video</a>. <b>Watch the video:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/How-to-Do-Squats-Exercise-Video">How to do a squat</a>
Your Goal: Develop Comebacks To Your Best Excuses
You're pretty good about sticking to a fitness plan, but there are those days when you'd really love a kick in the sweatpants. Need a good reason to work out today? <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Workout-and-Fitness-Obstacles-Exercise-and-Motivation-Bob-Greene">Here are Bob Greene's Top 10 excuse-busters</a>, including the obvious (you want to look better) as well as the ones you often forget about (you love your kids, you don't sleep well). Print these out and tape them to the inside of your closet -- it's the next best thing to having Bob on speed dial. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Workout-and-Fitness-Obstacles-Exercise-and-Motivation-Bob-Greene">The one way to boost your mood, sleep better and look great</a>
Your Goal: Save Money On Gym (And Trainer) Fees
A new survey from the American Cancer Society found that women are more likely to consider working out to be "work" than men: Forty percent of women said they would be more physically active in their free time if exercise felt more like play. You can relate. You're sick of cardio machines that don't take you anywhere, and you secretly hope to get kicked out of boot camp. Good news: You can burn just as many calories with some of <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Burn-Calories-While-Having-Fun-Fun-Ways-to-Work-Out">these nontraditional exercises that make working out feel fun again</a>. Instead of running, try Ultimate Frisbee, or drop the dumbbells in favor of a hiking pack you can take with you into the hills. <b>Read more:</b> <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Burn-Calories-While-Having-Fun-Fun-Ways-to-Work-Out">7 fun exercises your trainer doesn't want you to know about</a>