“I can’t afford a gym.” “I don’t have time to exercise.” These excuses just don’t cut it, says personal trainer Jennifer Cohen.

She believes we can all get fit using our own body weight and what we have around us. “Exercise any time, anywhere, no excuses,” is Cohen’s motto.

Originally from Winnipeg and now living in L.A., Cohen is co-author (with Zoomer magazine’s Suzanne Boyd) of No Gym Required: Unleash Your Inner Rock Star (Key Porter). She has trained Hollywood hottie Keanu Reeves as well as some of the Playboy Bunnies.

This dynamo has turned her philosophy “No Gym Required” into a brand, even developing shoes that help you burn 30 to 50 per cent more calories.

“I really believe the best exercises are the classics: Push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges,” says Cohen. “Since all you need is your body weight and some motivation, you can actually do these at home, at the office, while traveling, and wherever the mood strikes you.”

The “No Gym Required” philosophy starts with just doing something active whenever it occurs to you. “It sounds silly but just doing one small thing every day is a good habit which leads to further great lifestyle choices. If one day you commit to avoiding escalators, you are working out. Pretty soon that becomes a habit and you always avoid escalators,” says Cohen.

You can even use trains, planes, cars and buses as mini-gyms. “When I’m traveling I like to do exercises where I tighten my muscles, hold the contraction for three to five seconds, and then relax before repeating,” says Colen. “That way my workout is subtle and I still keep my body moving.” When seated, lift your toes while keeping your heels planted and hold for five seconds before releasing and repeating. Or, put your bag, purse, or suitcase on your knees and do calf raises (lift your heel but keep your toes planted). You can even alternate heel, toes, heel, toes as long as you remember to keep the muscles tight for three to five seconds, she says.

To work your arms and shoulders while traveling, do tricep dips using your arm rests, as well as shrugs. Work your core by tightening your abdominal muscles. Be sure to engage the muscle and hold it for three to five seconds before repeating. “It won’t exhaust you but if you do it right I guarantee you’ll feel it!” says Cohen.

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