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A Fitness Guide For People With No Free Time (and a Rapidly Growing Pot Belly)

This installment of The Normal Person’s Workout sees a man trying to beat his stomach before it beats him

Don’t have three hours a day to spend at the gym? Not interested in bulging like a bodybuilder? Unmoved by promises of “fat-blasting, ab-chiseling monster workouts”? This is the column for you, fellow regular human with very little free time.

The Man

Name: Frank G., Mahwah, NJ
Age: 39
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 210 pounds
Goal: To lose his newly emerging gut

His Time Commitment (or Lack Thereof): “I’m the owner of a boiler service company,” Frank tells us. “I’m up at 4 a.m. and leave the house by 5 a.m. Then I either go to my office or job sites. I typically get home between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. If I’m home by 6, I help my wife feed and bathe our three kids before putting them to bed. That typically takes until around 8:30. I shower and go to bed by 9. I’m completely wiped out by then. Because I don’t see my kids much during the week, I devote a lot of weekend time to them.”

Exercise He’s Actually Willing to Do: “There are no real limiting factors to what kinds of workouts I can do. I’m not a huge fan of the cold — being outdoors in New Jersey in winter is no fun — but that’s about it.”

What He Wants: “I’m looking to be more healthy and lose some weight. I’m starting to get a large stomach, and I want to work on getting rid of it.”

The Plan

Be Aware of the Real Problem Here: “You’re definitely on the heavy side, by about 55 pounds,” says personal trainer Lalo Fuentes. “By increasing the weight in your waistline, you’re raising your risk of a heart attack: Abdomen fat is associated with high blood sugar, increased blood pressure and increased levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood. All of these are major risk factors for heart disease.”

Get Cooking: “The first thing you need to do is to take care of your diet. Since you seem to always be on the go, you need to prepare meals at home so that you’re not stopping at fast-food restaurants to have lunch or dinner when you’re in a rush.

“Look for healthy food recipe books and order one or two online — in essence, just eliminate the excuse of, ‘I don’t know how to cook’ that a lot of people make. If your wife is too busy to cook, you can do it yourself when you come back from work at 6 p.m. Choose a different recipe every time, and after every five recipes, go back to the first one — you’ll see that you can learn the recipe by heart after you’ve done it three times.

“Cooking could also be something that you do as a way of spending time with your wife. A lot of couples go to cooking classes as a date. So there you have it — a date night right at home.”

Forget About the Beef: “Make food for just a couple of days at a time — this is going ensure you always eat fresh, and it’ll keep you fed on the days you don’t have time to cook, so you don’t fall off the wagon. Switch between chicken, turkey and fish, and limit your red meat intake to twice a week at the most.”

Cut Back: “Just by changing your food choices, you’ll start seeing results in three weeks. As soon as this happens, take it to the next level and start reducing your portions by 10 percent every two weeks. By reducing that amount per week, you won’t feel hungry, and the process will be more manageable.

“This is a good start. As soon as you break the 165-pound barrier, you’ll find the time to start exercising as well, I promise. In the meantime, good luck with your date nights!”