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The Complete Lazy Person's Guide to Working Out

10/09/2015 10:49am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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If you prefer sweatpants to sweating, TV time to Tabata training, and crunching on chips to performing actual crunches, you and I could probably be best friends. The only difference? For some reason I pursued a master's degree in exercise science and am certified as an exercise physiologist. Believe it or not, being lazy and enjoying a great workout aren't mutually exclusive. Laziness and healthy activity go hand in hand quite nicely -- you just need to know how to harness both.

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Accept the lazy
The only way to work past your lazy nature is to work with your lazy nature. No Type B person is ever going to wake up one morning and suddenly be a Type A person. No chronic procrastinator is going to start keeping a planner months in advance. Likewise, no lazy person is suddenly going to wake up one morning and be a hyper-motivated person.

Instead, accept that you have a personality trait that makes exercise completely unappealing. It's totally fine.

Once you accept yourself for who you are, you can start to work past it. Repeat after me, "I'm lazy. I like being lazy. I will probably always be lazy, but I can still be healthy. Lazy people deserve fitness too."

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Bribe yourself
Bribes are amazing -- just ask anyone who owns a dog or a toddler -- and the effectiveness of bribes isn't limited to those with as-yet-undeveloped brains. If I know anything about lazy people (and I think that I do), it's that the right bribe can get just about anyone to the gym.

Take coffee. Coffee and lazy people are like a match made in heaven, which, in turn, makes coffee the perfect bribe. The process is simple: don't let yourself drink your morning mocha until after you exercise.

Finish your workout? Get a coffee. See? Couldn't be easier.

The trick with formulating the right bribe is twofold:

1. The bribe must offer an immediate reward.
No lazy person has the desire to wait a month to "earn" a new pair of running shoes after exercising consistently each week. Lame. This type of bribe is terrible because there's no immediate benefit to accomplishing a given workout.

2. The bribe must be something the bribee has a desperate or urgent desire for.
You have to select something that, if withheld, causes some level of mental pain. Other examples could include: watching a favorite TV show, having sex, etc. All of these offer an immediate and desirable benefit, and if withheld, can cause distress (sometimes to those around you, too -- how's that for extra motivation?).

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Make it a quickie
Shorter may not always be better, but when it comes to the length of a lazy person's workout, short is good. In fact, it's perfectly fine to stop aiming for a 30- or 60-minute workout.

Instead, carve out a few 10-minute "fit breaks" throughout the day. Jessie Perry, the owner of JPerry Fitness says, "Do 10 minutes before breakfast, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening."

Super-short workouts may sound too simple, but experts agree that this type of efficient workout is the way to go. Laura Flynn Endres, the trainer behind This Is Fit Workouts, puts it this way, "Longer and harder isn't better. Better is better!" So stop dreading a long, hard slog at the gym, and start thinking: "quickie." Because, really, who doesn't love a quickie?

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