24, River North, sales
To tone up before her summer wedding
MONDAY One-mile walk to and from Ogilvie and later another mile to the el to meet friends for dinner. At night: 20 minutes of Pilates while watching TV
WEDNESDAY Brisk hour walk
THURSDAY Ten squats while brushing teeth
FRIDAY Ten squats while drying hair
SATURDAY Pilates tape for 45 min.; walk one mile shopping. Climb four flights of steep stairs to a party.
SUNDAY Another mile walked shopping
PER WEEK Three hours, 19 minutes
THE EXPERT Jaime’s workout is too light, says Thomas. To torch more calories while she walks, she should practice intervals: Alternate 30 seconds each at regular, fast, and slow paces. After Pilates, she could finish with a few minutes of bicep curls.
34, Edgewater, marketing manager
To lose 50 pounds
MONDAY Ten-minute walk to el; evening gym workout consists of a 2.5-mile jog on the treadmill, plus weight training on chest, arms, and abs.
TUESDAY 50-minute walk at lunch
THURSDAY Ten-minute walk to el; repeat Monday’s gym routine.
FRIDAY Repeat gym routine.
SATURDAY Five-mile jog on the treadmill—too tired from the week for more
SUNDAY Repeat gym routine.
PER WEEK Six hours, 10 minutes
THE EXPERT Michael should change up his gym routine to avoid a plateau, Thomas says. Try a metabolism-boosting cardio circuit: Run a half mile; then switch to weight-bearing exercises concentrating on two areas of his body, like a set of chest presses and fast squats. After the next half mile, do ab work and lunges. Repeat.
Photography: Joe C. Moreno
29, Carpentersville, health insurance agent
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.
50s, Evanston, event planner
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