The secret to actually enjoying your workouts

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I was 38 when I started exercising. That's right, 38. My exercise history reads like a bad report card. Everything fitness-oriented was mandatory and completed by the skin of my teeth. The President's Physical Fitness Test was my Everest. Each year in elementary school, as the day drew nearer, I would plot my illnesses. "My fever must be high to the point of danger. I probably have scurvy," I'd tell my mom. My parents never fell for it, and the day usually culminated in tears and terrible sit-ups.

I made it through my unathletic 20s like any other unathletic twentysomething. I ate very little, drank a lot and stood on the sidelines, cheering on hipster dodgeball games like a narcoleptic Knicks City Dancer. In my 20s, I didn't have to exercise because no matter what I did, I looked the same-which was pretty good in hindsight.

In my 30s, it all started to catch up with me. I contracted a new and frankly awful syndrome known to scientists as "metabolism." After having my first child, my body decided that drinking a lot and no exercise whatsoever was not a great weight loss plan.

So I did what anyone would do. I cried a bunch and cursed a universe that would not let me fit into my clothes. But then, I joined a gym. I never went, but I did join.

After my second child, I tried yoga, Spinning, kickboxing-anything where you could just go rather than join. But for me, yoga and Spinning didn't work. I didn't like the talking and the preaching. I didn't want to pick "someone to ride for" or be told I am a strong woman who can do anything. I just wanted to work out. Well, I didn't want to, but I needed to.

And then, one day, wasting time online, I found my answer in a Gilt Groupe ad for the Tracy Anderson Method. There was Tracy, talking about transformation and tiny muscle groups and Gwyneth. It didn't hurt that she looked amazing. (Workout wisdom: If a trainer doesn't have the body you want, get a new trainer.) I made the leap. And reader, it changed my life.

Still, my first class was a challenge. I stood there while two of the hottest women on earth measured me and weighed me and photographed me. It seemed like the most humiliating thing in the world. Until I started dancing. To say that I am bad at dancing is an understatement. I was terrible, but no one cared, probably because they were sweating too much to notice.

It was hard-core strength training followed by the most fun dance party ever-and it made me sore in places I didn't know I had feeling. The best part: The trainers don't talk. I mean, they aren't mute, but they can't yell at you because they are too busy working out themselves.

Last year, we started bringing a Tracy trainer to the set of Girls. Until you have seen aging Teamsters, exhausted makeup artists and already-tiny actresses dancing together to Bleachers remixes, you haven't really lived. It's four years later and I am still committed. When people used to tell me they enjoyed exercising, I secretly thought they were lying. Now I know better. I have found my home.

Top, Sweats Norma Kamali, $125; Shop.NormaKamali.com. Tights, $140; SweatyBetty.com

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