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Make Over My Workout!

Stuck in a fitness funk? These five readers were, until our experts gave their workout routines a complete makeover. Get inspired by their one-month turnarounds and step off that elliptical to nowhere! (The Experts: Amie Hoff, New York Sports Clubs master trainer; Ashley Miller, New York Sports Clubs master trainer; Lisa Goldberg, nutritionist and creator of HealthCoach, LLC)

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Mom working out with daughter
Karen Pearson
Karen Pearson
Karen Pearson
Karen Pearson
Karen Pearson
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Can't Lose the Baby Weight

Rachel Strohmenger, 30, Brooklyn, New York

Public Relations VP

Her Rut: Her daughter Jordan's first birthday came and went, but Rachel still hadn't shed the last seven post-baby pounds. She worked out three to five times a week -- running, lifting, and taking classes -- but "couldn't lose another ounce."

Workout Routine Rescue

  • Take a "brake." Rachel was working too hard, at 90 percent of her maximum effort. By easing up to 75 percent -- with quick sprints mixed in -- she could run longer and burn more calories from fat.
  • Focus. Rachel took aerobics classes that incorporated ab-sculpting Pilates moves.
  • Eat more often. To boost her metabolism, she ate five smaller meals a day.

The Results

Success! Rachel is back in her favorite pre-pregnancy jeans. "I rarely weigh myself, but those pants tell it all," she says.

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Struggling to Keep Up Winter Workouts

Holly Williamson, 37, Hoboken, New Jersey

Interior Designer

Her Rut: Even though Holly has been competing in triathlons for three years -- training five or six days a week -- she struggled with winter workout slumps. "At the last race of the season, I'm either injured or tired of competing but stumped for what to do instead," she says.

Workout Routine Rescue

  • Shift gears. Holly cut back her cardio to just running and Spinning twice a week each.
  • Pump it up. She included regular strength-training sessions in her routine for the first time ever. She used weight machines, did plyometrics, and took body-sculpting classes.
  • Eat like an athlete. Holly added calcium for stronger bones and complex carbs to fuel muscles.

The Results

Success! She reaped a "round butt -- in a good way" and racing rewards: By week two, Holly was running faster, longer. "I feel stronger and more excited to keep going," she says.

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Finding Time to Exercise Is a Challenge

Kate Tellers, 30, New York City


Her Rut: Kate's motivation to move had often been her workout buddy, a boyfriend she recently broke up with. "But I'd still like to be more toned, especially around my middle," she says. "My new job is demanding, so finding time to exercise or eat healthy is a challenge."

Workout Routine Rescue

  • Multitask. To save time, Kate combined strength training and cardio (walking lunges with shoulder presses).
  • Be consistent. She did 90 reps (three sets of 30) of three abs moves -- planks, ball sit-ups, and bicycles, for example -- before or after each workout.
  • Go green. Kate ate smaller meals of grilled chicken and veggies or salads.

The Results

Success! "Being in a routine helped me tone my abs and upper body -- I also have way more energy," she says.

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Love Handles That Won't Go Away

Brooke Stein, 25, New York City

Digital Media Planner

Her Rut: Though Brooke had been crunching up a storm, running six-mile loops twice a week and walking regularly, nothing was slimming down her love handles.

Workout Routine Rescue

  • Expand your repertoire. Rather than doing crunches by herself, Brooke went to group abs classes to learn new moves and push herself harder. She also swapped solo runs for Spinning and sculpting classes.
  • Create an hourglass. Doing biceps curls and other strength-training moves helped develop Brooke's upper body in proportion to her strong legs, making her middle seem smaller.
  • Don't "waist" it. Brooke limited her wine intake to two glasses a week, since alcohol can slow down the fat-burning process.

The Results

Success! "My tummy is firmer than before, and I'm much more motivated to go to the gym," thanks to her new fitness-class mentality, Brooke says. "It totally helps me stick with it when my workout is scheduled."

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Weight Loss at a Standstill

Valerie Ruiz, 30, New York City

Data Manager

Her Rut: Valerie lost 27 pounds over the last year and a half, then came to a standstill. "I'm happy with my curves, but I've been at 177 pounds for three months and want to shed 17 more," she says.

Workout Routine Rescue

  • Balance it out. Instead of doing all cardio (running and dancing) all the time, Valerie limited it to twice a week and upped the intensity.
  • Add iron. To burn extra calories and firm more muscle, Valerie started lifting with 10-pound dumbbells.
  • Head off cravings. She ate smaller meals with more protein, fruits, and vegetables to stay fuller longer.

The Results

Success! Valerie has already lost three pounds, as well as four inches total from her arms, chest, hips, and thighs. "I feel like my muscles are waking from a deep sleep," she says.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2009.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

a3984502 wrote:

Right now I am following the Diet Plan for You blog by nutrition specialist Kate Hill. Kate helped me lose weight in a healthy way in few weeks, without starving! If you want to lose weight, just visit Kate's blog at:

11/5/2011 03:43:02 AM Report Abuse
kerrib4vols wrote:

Love to see the success stories in "Make Over my Workout". I see all the ladies are in NY and one in NJ. What about those of us not in the NY area? I'm in Charlotte, NC and am in a rut and would love someone to make over my workout!!

1/4/2010 02:46:29 PM Report Abuse

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