Start with cardio exercise three or four times a week, 30 minutes each day. When you begin to see results or stop breaking as much of a sweat (after about two weeks), do more. The goal is to give your body a shock each time you work out. Otherwise, it'll settle into a comfortable routine. Then start doing three of the following exercises every week for at least 30 minutes. Once something becomes too easy, increase the intensity.
- Fart-what? Go for a run together, but try a new method: fartlek. Okay, okay, we know that got a few chuckles out of you. Here's the deal: It's an old Swedish method of speed play, kind of like "follow the leader." Each of you can take turns choosing the path and speed. Run fast to a tree, then go slow until you reach a mailbox; or simply try a new route all together. Add some strength training or calisthenics -- push-ups, crunches, lunges, step-ups on a bench, jumping jacks -- every 10 minutes. You'll get a more rounded workout for a longer period of time.
- Teacher/student: Let your partner introduce you to something you normally might not try, like yoga, karate, or tennis. You'll spice up your routine to prevent boredom, and your body will face new challenges. Take turns choosing a new class to attend or a different exercise DVD to rent.
- Two-wheelin': Take those bikes out of storage and strap on your helmets. Then start pedaling your way around local roads and trails. Make it a fun way to look at new neighborhoods. Just make sure the trip includes hills for some heart-pounding pedaling fun.
- At-home class: TiVo prime-time shows and pop in a DVD workout instead. Bored with your collection? Swap with pals or borrow new routines from the library. Look for titles that have variety, like One Minute Workout by Minna Lessing, which lets you piece together a new workout each time.
- Two-steppin': Sign up for ballroom dancing, salsa, swing, or any other dance class that seems appealing. Choose something that will boost your adrenaline and make an appointment for once a week. You probably did it before your wedding, so why not now?
- Get a lesson: Try a session with a personal trainer as a couple. You'll each pick up different skills from the professional and then can check the other's form the next time you work out. A trainer not in the budget? See if you can do a free trial session and take mental notes!
- Join a cause: Make exercise more meaningful by signing up for a charity run/walk. Training and competing together is the ultimate motivation. Running a 5k (3.5 miles) is totally within your reach, even if you're not a runner. Join a team or check out your local craigslist.com for coed competitions.
- Reinvent gym class: With your partner by your side, plan 30 minutes of elementary school athletics. Don't worry, we'll leave out the square-dancing and rope-climbing. Alternating every two minutes, create a routine, like: jumping jacks, running in place (high knees!), squat thrusts, running, push-ups, running, jump rope, running, stair-climbing (while running).
- Get pumped: Download a new routine onto your iPods at iWorkout on apple.com. Instead of having a couch-potato night, TiVo your favorite shows and start playing the new tunes. Coach each other doing sit-ups, crunches, lunges, and push-ups. Do 30 minutes of each exercise three times -- right in your own living room.
- Do something: If all you can fit in is a 10-minute speed-walk after dinner, then so be it. Anything that will add up to 90 minutes a week is great. Stash a jump rope in your coat pocket so you can take a hop here and there. Hopefully those 10 will turn into 12 and 15...and so on.
So how do you know if you're working out enough to lose weight? Use a 1 to 10 scale of effort, with 1 being lying down and 10 being so hard you could only do it for 30 seconds or so. To really burn calories and lose weight, you need to spend a significant part of each workout around a 7 or 8. This range is a little above easy to a little below where you can't talk: You're not dying, but you wouldn't want to stay at this intensity for an hour. It's called a workout
for a reason -- you have to do work!
[Nestperts] Tom Holland, a triathlete, a trainer, and the creator of Tom Holland's Fitness Video Series; Cynthia Sass, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, personal trainer, and coauthor of Your Diet is Driving Me Crazy: When Food Conflicts Get in the Way of Your Love Life; Lisa Sasson, a registered dietitian and clinical assistant professor at New York University; Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University; Lona Sandon, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Hope Warshaw, author of What to Eat When You're Eating Out
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