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ABOUT THAT WORKOUT: IT'S NOT IF BUT WHEN

The company's wellness cops arrived at our building two weeks ago and caught me with my guard down.

I'd like to say the North Carolina barbecue, Buffalo wings, New York pizza and homemade ice cream I devoured daily on a just-completed vacation didn't lay a glove on my arteries.

Yes, I'd like to say that.

But this was the message I got after playing hooky with my health: Lower your cholesterol, drop the blood pressure, give yourself the amazing abs you've always dreamed of.

Okay, that last one's from a late-night infomercial, but you get the point.

Dietary changes are hard enough, particularly for office workers whose lunch choices run along the deli-pizza axis. But many of us are also guilty of non-moving violations. You know what I mean: Sitting 10 hours locked in front of a computer screen as our derrieres meld with the office chair foam.

To avoid oh-so-embarrassing nod-offs and zone-outs at work, you can't beat exercise. But should you do it before work, during work or after work? I present three schools of thought with their advantages and drawbacks:

Morning: Many friends swear by this: the dewy jog as the rising sun breaketh yonder on rosy horizon. Unfortunately my attempts to hit the pavement after rising stiffly from bed breaketh my 40-ish joints and tendons. There's always the health club. But who among us consistently obeys the alarm clock as it summons you to the treadmill at 5:30 a.m.?

Lunch: It's trendy, especially for those office workers whose companies provide gymnasiums. You notice the discreet sweat droplets and peachy glow on their foreheads and cheeks as they return to their terminals at 2 p.m. But this workout schedule sets up an interesting experiment: the effects of aerobic exercise on a pizza-laden stomach.

Night: Okay, I'll come right out and say it. This is my favorite. It's the only time Florida's sun doesn't suck the lifeblood out of you. You're loose-limbed, if not especially alert. But if you run outdoors you'll have to deal with stepping over snakes on the sidewalk and the rare rowdy tossing a beer can at you. And the biggest potential drawback is hitting the sack pumped up and sweaty.

Ah, lack of sleep. But that's another column.

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