"I Found Gym Time I Didn't Think I Had!"
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"I Found Gym Time I Didn't Think I Had!"

Thanks to a hectic schedule, Audra Lowe, host of the TV show Better, hit a workout dry spell. Here's how FITNESS helped her put exercise back on her agenda.

Setting a Fitness Goal & Workout Plan

The Goal

Since I moved from Los Angeles to New York City three years ago to host Better, a nationally syndicated lifestyle TV show, my bike, tennis racket, and basketball have been gathering dust. I spend workdays reading scripts and conducting interviews in camera-ready makeup -- I barely have time to grab a turkey sandwich, much less a midday workout. After a long commute home, I'm famished and pooped, and my husband, Randall, a TV director and stage manager, is still on the job or traveling, which leaves takeout chicken lo mein as my dinner date. No wonder, at 38, I'm 20 pounds heavier than I was in my 20s. Each night from my living room window, I see people running and cycling at the gym across the street. I resolved to be one of them again.

The Game Plan

The FITNESS editors, who work two floors above the TV studio, paired me up with pros to help me fit in my RDA of exercise. With Randall as my workout buddy, I was ready for six weeks of boot camp.

My New To-Do List

Partner Up
I scheduled his-and-hers training sessions twice a week, Fridays at the crack of dawn and Sunday afternoons. My trainer, Matt, focused on rebuilding my cardio capacity and muscle tone. Randall and I compete to see who can finish Matt's circuit first: 20 reps each of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and side leg lifts with no resting. At the gym, I use the elliptical for 30 minutes afterward; most evenings at home, Randall and I do the circuit twice -- our quality time!

Pare Down
Time management expert Nicole asked me to keep a log of everything I did for a week. I realized running errands daily takes up too much time. Nicole suggested I combine those trips one day a week. That way I use my lunch hour to actually eat and time after work to cook dinner or go to the gym. Plus, I know that when he's not traveling, my husband can get the groceries. He's hired!

Get Pretty Fast
Because I have to show up on the set dressed for action, I often spend 30 minutes in the morning coordinating outfits rather than doing a workout. Style guru Carson put me straight: "No one cares if your shoes match your top," he said. "You really need only one stand-out wow item on camera, because that's what people remember." It could be a splash of deep pink to play up my skin tone or a trendy blazer on top of a ruffly blouse.

Status Check

I'm sore -- in a good way -- thanks to doing hundreds of squats and lunges each week. I can see the muscles in my thighs again (hello, old friends!), and I'm remembering how good it felt to be athletic. I've switched exercise from an afterthought to a priority, and it shows.

Audra, by the Numbers

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Weight 144 lbs.   134 lbs.
Height  5´5˝ 5´5˝
Chest   33 1/2˝

32 3/4˝

Waist   33 1/2˝  32˝
Hips    39 1/2˝ 36 1/2˝
Body fat  29.9% 28.4%

Top Tips from Our Experts

Matt Lemmons, personal trainer, New York Sports Clubs in Stamford, Connecticut: "Get a twofer cardio and sculpting workout and burn more calories in less time by cutting out rests or adding one-minute bursts of jumping jacks between strength-training moves."

Nicole Williams, time and career management expert and author of Girl on Top: "Designate two blocks of time, morning and afternoon, to open and respond to e-mails. Checking every message as it arrives chews up valuable minutes and keeps you from being productive."

Carson Kressley, celebrity stylist and QVC fashion designer: "For grab-and-go gym style, pair a dark, boot-cut yoga pant with a fitted tank, both with at least 5 percent spandex: It's guaranteed to slim your shape."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2009.