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Ditch the excuses and get in shape

We know, we know. You're too busy to get in shape. Too tired. Too broke.

David P. Morrow doesn't buy it. In his 2007 book Fat into the Fire, the Charlotte, N.C., fitness consultant devotes an entire chapter to dispelling the excuses we make for taking less-than-stellar care of ourselves. Morrow, 36, is a former competitive body builder who lived in Tampa. He'll return to the bay area this weekend for two book signings.

Since you're probably "too busy" to read a whole fitness book, Morrow supplied the CliffsNotes version in a chat with tbt*.

Excuse: I don't have time to work out. So make time. If you have time to watch Oprah's Big Give, then you have time to burn calories. Make exercise a priority, even over household chores. "The laundry will be there tomorrow, but if you don't exercise on Monday, then you can never get Monday back," Morrow says. Commit to 10 minutes of cardio every day: park your car in the farthest space at the mall, take the stairs at work, go for a walk at lunch or do 10 minutes of Zumba before sitting down to dinner with your family Don't even bother changing your clothes first or showering afterward; it's only 10 minutes. "The key is to get that 10 minutes in, develop the behavior and consistency," Morrow says.

Excuse: I'm not motivated. "One of the big motivations is keep the end result in mind," Morrow said. "When you're focused on your goal, the results are inevitable." Print a photo of that bridesmaid dress you're trying to fit into, and tape it to the fridge. At work, keep a picture of your kids in your cubicle so when there's birthday cake in the office, you'll stay focused on your goal of getting healthy for your family's sake. Need more? Get loved ones to be your cheerleaders or join an online support group.

Excuse: Exercise is boring. Biking along the Friendship Trail Bridge, gettin' your groove on in Ybor and frolicking at the dog beach all count as exercise. But if children — or sheer laziness — prevent you from leaving the house, then check out an exercise DVD from the library. Go through it, memorize the moves and repeat them while you catch up on TiVoed episodes of Lost. Next week, rent a different workout to keep things interesting.

Excuse: Gyms intimidate me. Ask your gym for a free training session so you can learn to use the machines. "They want you to know how to use the equipment, too, for liability reasons," Morrow says. Then if you can afford to, hire a trainer to take you through your first three workouts so you'll learn to get the most out of your sweat sessions.

Excuse: Healthy food is too expensive. What costs more in the long run, apples or bypass surgery? "If you just break out of that habit of buying the junk, you'll see that there's plenty of healthy food available that doesn't necessarily need to cost any more," Morrow says.

Excuse: I'm too busy to eat right. Buying frozen taquitos takes just as much effort as shopping for healthier fare. Grab foods that require little prep work at home, like pre-sliced apples, deli salads and frozen broccoli that you "steam" in the microwave.

Excuse: I have to eat what my kids like. Bull. You're the adult. You buy the groceries. Train your kids to apprectiate grown-up meals and good-for-you desserts like frozen grapes.

Excuse: I'll start my diet on Monday. ... or New Year's Day, or when my work schedule changes, or when my kids start school, or whatever. "You've got to stop procrastinating, because if you do, then you're going to perpetually train yourself to procrastinate," Morrow says. "And then once Monday comes, there'll be another procrastination for the next day." Form healthy habits today, and get loved ones to hold you accountable.

Fat into the Fire

Author David P. Morrow will hold book signings at two local malls this weekend: Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Waldenbooks at Westfield Citrus Park, Tampa; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Borders at Tyrone Square Mall, St. Pete. For more info, see

Ditch the excuses and get in shape 03/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:36am]
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