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Workout Rx

We found four readers whose official fitness conditions could be labeled “burnout” and asked them to keep a workout diary for a week. Then we called in a major-league expert—the director of conditioning for the Chicago White Sox—to help our readers reinvigorate their fitness routines for the start of the new year.

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Ann Flake
29, Carpentersville, health insurance agent

Ann Flake
To design a consistent routine. A single mom with a two-year-old, Ann has trouble exercising without interruption.

MONDAY 20-minute jog on the treadmill; 30 crunches on the BOSU ball; 15-minute Wii Fit step routine

TUESDAY Jog 1.5 miles on the treadmill before her son, Ajay, wakes up. Later: Move boxes from garage.

WEDNESDAY Jog 1.25 miles in the a.m. 

THURSDAY 2.5-mile jog

FRIDAY 50 crunches and a few bicep curls with light weights

SATURDAY 15-minute jog while Ajay watches TV; 10-minute step Wii routine

SUNDAY Ten minutes on the Wii

PER WEEK Three hours, 18 minutes

THE EXPERT Incorporating Ajay into Ann’s workouts will make exercising easier, says Thomas. To maximize her time, she should run on the treadmill for 30 seconds and then do strength for 30 seconds—back and forth for 15 minutes. She can substitute Ajay for weights instead of dumbbells, or hold him while doing curls or a set of lunges.



Merry Green
50s, Evanston, event planner

Merry Green
To find time for exercise

MONDAY Walk three blocks to public transit.

TUESDAY Carry ten heavy boxes into the office.

WEDNESDAY Organize a major event, which means continuous lifting and walking all day.

THURSDAY At the gym: 30 minutes on the elliptical, 45 minutes strength using machines, free weights, and Pilates


SATURDAY One-mile walk

SUNDAY Off. Go to office instead

PER WEEK Four hours, 22 minutes

THE EXPERT Thomas gives credit to Merry for her gym workout—but she needs to find time to fit in a ten-minute strength and cardio routine on the other days. A fast, at-home circuit: Alternate two minutes each of brisk in-place marching with forward punches (to get her heart rate up) and 40 slow crunches, repeating two to three times.


Photography: Joe C. Moreno


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