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Fair Trade: Give 1.4% of Your Week and Get Healthy

1.4 percent — that's how much of your week is spent working out if you did 30 minutes a day training 5 days a week. Not 14 percent, only 1.4 percent. Wow, doesn't that put it in perspective? I thought if we could all just give up one TV show that we liked a day we could fit that 1.4 percent in a snap.

I finally figured out a way I could use small numbers and not be lying about how much time it really takes to get in shape. So, instead of "just 6 minutes a day will make you have buns and abs of steel," I could say "just give it 1.4 percent of your week and you could look like the you you've always wanted." Heh? Sounds good. So, why can't we seem to find the time? It's just not important enough. After work we are tired and would rather sit on the couch and watch "Entertainment Tonight" for 30 minutes than go to a depressing gym.

Let's just flip our perspective on its head for a moment, and try to just look at it like "I just have to give up 1.4 percent of my week to get in shape." That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

OK, so if you are with me so far, pick one dispensable activity you could compromise to fit in that 1.4 percent. TV, talking on the phone, sitting on line reading gossip: Can you steal that time away? If you decide you can do it, then organize your fitness life consciously. Tell yourself that the minute you catch yourself doing something "expendable" you will replace it with exercise. If you are about to sit down and zone out in front of the tube, go for a walk. Instead of chitchatting on the phone with a friend, ask them to meet you to go place tennis or take a spinning class. Before we get into specific exercises and foods, we all have to make a conscientious lifestyle change.

If you want to use some of the idle activity as a reward for exercising, then get your workouts over with in the morning or at lunch. Then you know at the end of the day you can just go home and chill and feel good about it.

After a while, I get deaf to people who tell me, "I just don't have time." No one has time. Everyone is busy. Exercise and eating well have to become important, otherwise there will never be time for it. It's like those family members that drive us nuts that we just "never seem to have time to visit." Yet we manage to visit with our cool friends that live 1 hour further all the time. A healthy lifestyle has to become your cool friend.

This is a great way to break into the New Year — small, and nice, and slow. I think asking you to give 1.4 percent is fair. Now, if you can do this consistently for a month, we are ready to get going. We can talk about how many days to do cardio and lifting, and discuss ways to attack eating, etc.

Some fun things that take 30 minutes are speed walking, riding a bike, circuit training, pilates classes, spinning, yoga, boot camp training, dance class, swimming, and whatever things turn you on that will get you moving. Oh, and for those of you who read while exercising… STOP. Make the exercising important enough that for that allotted amount of time that's what you do.

If you want to throw in a twist to your 1.4 percent and get a little crazy, then simultaneously do something fun with your eating. The moment you find yourself getting ready to shove a donut, bag of chips, or a water-tank-sized soda down your throat, grab some water and fruit and nuts instead. Make sure to eat breakfast and try not to eat dinner too late. Let's just see what happens. We can ease into 1.4 percent.

-Gabby Reece

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