Gwyneth Paltrow has called her trainer, Tracy Anderson, an "organic plastic surgeon." Sure enough, in lieu of a scalpel, it appears she wields a razor-sharp tongue. "Instead of thinking about your problem areas or how you're aging or how you can't eat everything you did when you were 19, you need to accept the reality that you have to exercise...to see results," Anderson says. "It focuses you so you find the time."
"I don't always wake up dying to work out," admits Los Angeles trainer Valerie Waters, the creator of the I Want My Bikini Body exercise program. "But it helps to think, I'm one workout away from a good mood. Getting up and out the door makes you feel better."
Stop treating the gym like a haunted cornfield maze that you scurry through as fast as you can. It helps to have friends there, says Laurie Cole, an instructor at SoulCycle studios in New York: "Part of the reason you go to your favorite hairstylist is for the human connection. Tap into that camaraderie with exercise—the teacher you love, participants you've gotten to know. It's a way to reconnect with real, live people."
Each week you plan to do three hour-long workouts, and each week your busy schedule sends you a two-letter response: Ha! But try thinking of it this way: Aim to exercise for a cumulative 180 minutes instead, so you have more flexibility and can count incidental exercise, like the ten minutes of jumping rope you squeezed in before work or that 20-minute brisk walk when you were late meeting a friend, points out Lauren Slayton, a nutritionist and the founder of foodtrainers.com. Keeping track of your movements is as easy as using your iPhone or a wearable activity tracker like Fitbit.
How many hours of Housewives—or any TV show, really—do you rack up in a week? If you don't have time to exercise, you might have found it right there. And watching less television has been shown to increase weekly calorie burn, according to a recent University of Vermont study that actually locked grown women out of their televisions.
"I've seen many a reluctant exerciser change their life by blogging," Waters says. Document your dream quest—30 yoga classes in 30 days, running your first 10K—and you'll have another push to do your exercise: You have to generate new content! "Personal challenges are great motivators," she adds. "It's like Everywoman's version of six weeks to looking red-carpet ready."
"Music is incredibly powerful," says Anderson. "It blocks out all the other noise in your head, anything that would make you stop exercising." Get in the habit of creating new playlists every few weeks (we're obsessed with the Spotify app), and when your songs grow stale, try mashups or remixes.
Hasn't everyone dreamed of agreeing to just up and walk out all at the same time? Alas, this is more about "fight the flab" than "fight the power," but possibly just as satisfying. When colleagues set collective exercise goals, they not only upped their physical activity by 20 percent in six weeks, but they were also able to maintain it over 12 weeks, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"Exercise designed to improve balance and coordination will strengthen the core and improve posture," says New York City trainer Key Son. "As a result, wearing heels can actually become more comfortable."
"Feel the burn" might more accurately refer to the hot flush of embarrassment than the muscle fatigue when your S.O. walks in on you doing fire hydrants on the living-room floor. But if you are partners in crime with your nightly P90X, you can also motivate each other. "You place more value on doing it when you're doing it together," Anderson says.
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We know that starting a fitness regimen can feel like such an uphill battle, but these top trainers have some surprisingly practical ways to set yourself in motion. Watch out, New Year's resolution.