'Personal trainers' contribute to workout


"It's only 20 minutes."

That was the main point I remembered from a conversation I had with a friend about an exercise DVD she started doing recently.

Only 20 minutes? I can do that, I thought. Most of the exercise videos I have are at least an hour long. In a busy working mom's schedule, it's hard to carve out an hour a day for a workout.

This school year, I wasn't very faithful with workouts. September and October were filled with morning walks or time spent on the treadmill, but once November rolled around, it was just too hard to part with my pillow in the morning. Each night that I stayed up late grading papers would be followed by an early morning combat session with my snooze alarm.


Those videos I mentioned, the ones that are an hour long? They haven't been used since ... well, they're videotapes. That should speak volumes.

Yet I knew that I had to do something in order to keep up with my very active husband and children. Hubby's up at 5:30 each morning to lift, and the kids are shooting hoops 'til dark each night.

I became tired of always feeling tired, so I decided to set a goal for this summer - exercise on a regular basis and find a workout schedule that I could follow throughout the school year. So when my friend told me about the 20-minute workout, I decided to try it.

The personal trainer on the DVD is a little rough, but I don't always listen to her if I need to modify a move. Normally that wouldn't be a problem. How would she find out?

Little did I know that when I bought the DVD, I gained not just one personal trainer, but three.

Trainer No. 2 is my son. Trainer No. 3 is my daughter.

After a few days of doing the workout, trainer No. 2 asked, "Mom, are you ever going to use hand weights like they do on the tape?"

Well, yes, eventually. I don't want to start out too intensely, I explained. I'm trying to avoid injury. (I think anyone older than 40 can use that excuse as often as she likes.)

One week into the workouts, trainer No. 3 wanted to know if I was ever going to progress to the second or third level.

I hope to eventually. I'm just approaching this in a very patient fashion.

My kids want me to be able to do everything that the 20-something instructor does.

That's not going to happen, but they cheer me on regardless of reality.

Each time my arms start drooping, trainer No. 3 tells me to get them up higher. Trainer No. 2 tells me to bend deeper. (That just sounds too painful.)

My husband is the only one in our household who doesn't comment on my workout technique. Sometimes he'll come in the room when I'm exercising, but he usually just sits and talks with me. I like that. The workouts seem to go much faster. He makes 20 minutes seem like 10.

Perhaps that's what more women need as a motivation to exercise, not a female personal trainer barking orders from a DVD but a man talking throughout the workout.

Just imagine how motivating it would be to hear: "Wow, that was a bargain!" or "I can't believe that happened to you," or "It sounds like you had a rough day."

Now that workout would be a bestseller.

The workout DVD I've been using is Jillian Michaels' "30-day Shred." For information, go to

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a column for The Herald-Mail's Family page.

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