Last updated: May 20, 2009
Tom Rafalovich

Expert strategies for fitting in fitness—and keeping the weight loss coming.

One tough thing about a major body makeover is finding the motivation and time to work out. AJ Cook is no exception. “With adjusting to being a new mom, working on TV, and sitting for hours in L.A. traffic, my schedule is tight,” she says.

So we turned to Feel Great Weight Dream Team fitness expert Keli Roberts for real-world strategies on fitting fitness into even the nuttiest of schedules.

Finding time for my workouts has been one of my biggest challenges. Whats helped is having accountability to my trainer—if I cancel, I know Ill be letting him down, too. I also picked a gym near my home, so I can get there quickly.

Plus, I try to squeeze in little workouts whenever and wherever I can, whether its doing some toning in my trailer during a break on set or pushing Mekhai in his stroller on my day off.”

Workout roadblock #1: You simply have NO time!
There are time-suckers out there that will sabotage your best plans, Roberts says. Heres how to beat them—and sneak in a workout, no matter what.

Keep your bag packed. Late work meetings or errand overload can eat into precious gym time if youre unprepared, Roberts says. Store a gym bag in your car or office, or see if your gym rents overnight lockers so you can keep stuff there.

Make it family hour. Those lights of your life can be one of the main obstacles to staying fit. Try working out with your significant other or kids (games of tag and walks in the park count!), so you can combine quality family time with your get-fit time.

Stop slouching. Regular workout out of the question today? Just using good posture—whether youre in the car, at your desk, out to dinner, wherever—not only acts as a core-strengthening workout but also makes you instantly appear taller and leaner. Keep your spine long (visualize a vertical string pulling you up from the top of your head), shoulders down and back, and abs tight.

Pick up the pace. Make a habit of wearing comfy shoes and moving faster—all the time. Simply putting a little more pep in your step can turn your time getting from point A to point B into a quickie cardio workout.

Tone your tummy fast. Waiting in line? Exhale really hard and tighten your abs for 10 seconds (gradually building up to one minute); repeat several times. Steal a minute. Cmon, you can find one somewhere! Try Robertss One-Minute Full-Body Workout.

Workout roadblock #2: Youre in no mood to head to the gym.

The reality is, working out is one of the best ways to improve your mood and boost your energy. (Thank you, endorphins!)

But the last thing you want to do when youre really tired and grumpy is make yourself go to the gym—because then youll think of exercise as a big chore, Roberts says. Instead, get a natural lift by playing music that moves you and just dance, dance, dance around your living room for 20 minutes. “Youre making it all up yourself, so you never have to worry about how you look or following an instructor,” she says.

Workout roadblock #3: Youd rather hang out with your friends.
Do both! Instead of meeting for happy hour, pick a great-weather day and get outside together. Go biking or Rollerblading, find an outdoor salsa class in the park, take a walk, or tread water while talking in the pool.

Do the same with bigger gatherings, too. “When you plan a birthday or anniversary party or a barbecue, make it active,” Roberts suggests. “I like to do picnics in the park where everyone brings toys, kites, Frisbees, Hula-hoops, soccer balls—its fun, and we burn calories effortlessly.”