The Reluctant Exerciser's Workout Rx

The exercise prescription that turned a workout-phobe into a new woman.

By More health editors
Photograph: kzenon

For five months, Judith Newman exercised two or three times a week, 60 minutes a shot, with personal trainer Zachary Yurcisin, at the ­SoHo branch of New York City’s Equinox gym (read her story here). “Since Judith wanted to lose weight, I designed her workouts to require big calorie expenditures,” says Yurcisin. A crucial component: five- to eight-minute high-intensity intervals on cardiovascular equipment like a rowing machine. These bouts of exercise cause your metabolism to remain elevated for hours after you work out, increasing your daily calorie burn (a phenomenon called after-burn). In addition, strength training, especially moves that use several big muscle groups at once (such as squats), helped burn off fat. Here’s a sample workout:

Mobility warm-up: 5 to 10 minutes
To warm up body and improve flexibility, especially in the upper back

Tri-set (sequence of 3 exercises, 3 times in a row): 15 minutes
• Squats (15 reps). For thighs, hips, buttocks
• Cable pulldowns (on a machine; 8 reps, with weights starting at 40 lb., going up to 60). For lats (broad muscles in the back)
•  Plank (hold for 20 seconds, increasing to 45). For core

High-intensity interval: 8 minutes
For cardiovascular fitness and after-burn
• Rowing (alternating 40 seconds of rowing with 40 seconds of rest)

Tri-set: 15 minutes
• Step-ups on a step (12 to 15 per leg). For thighs, hips, buttocks
• Push-ups (hands on a bench; 8 to 12 reps). For chest and triceps (back of the arm)
• Seated leg curls (30 lb. on a machine; 8 reps). For hamstrings

High-intensity interval: 8 minutes
For cardiovascular fitness and after-burn
• StairMaster (alternating 20 seconds at 70 steps/minute with 20 seconds of 50 steps/minute)

Core exercises or stretching: remaining time
Need exercise ideas? Click here.

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