Walk it off

Ryan Thomas

If you don’t lose the gut, love handles and extra layer of blubber underneath your skin in places we’d rather not mention, you’re not going to be a happy camper. Jenny Barry has been teaching group exercise for years, and she runs a boot camp in Southie to whip maggots like you into some sort of shape that is deemed acceptable in the realms of everyday life. Although she can’t work with you personally, Jenny has offered to give us all a few tips on how to carve our bodies into shape. She’s not promising any miracles, only the possibility of improvements in bodily appearance.

First off, Jenny says, you need to change your mindset and prioritize. “Figure out a feasible time frame that’s gonna work for you where you can actually do something.” She’s not saying you’re lazy and immobile, but just that you could use more exercise, couch potato. And that doesn’t mean going to the gym three days in a row; it just means getting off your ass and feigning activity. Says Jenny: “That something can be anything that is physical activity,” e.g. walking to the bus, taking the stairs, playing Nintendo Wii instead of PS2. “In terms of physical activity… that’s step number one,” she says.

Once you get off the Segway and start walking again, your next step, says Jenny, is to keep it real. “Be realistic with your choices,” she explains. It doesn’t have to be two hours in the gym, running eight miles or competing in a triathlon. Give yourself choices, too. Maybe get some friends together for a pick-up game or strength train twice a week.” Whatever your thoughts are, “make them realistic,” she says. “Make them attainable, and don’t beat yourself up about them, because every day you have another chance to do it again.” That Jenny can be such a pushover sometimes, but we love her.

The third and final step (thank God, because we’re already exhausted) is to keep at it. Going to the gym twice and getting upset because your abs don’t look like your grandma’s old washboard yet isn’t the goal. Jenny says that you have to make exercise a priority now because “you’re at that age where it’s so effective, and it’s so effective quickly.” You need to capitalize now, while you’re still spry and not in need of a stomach stapling. “Make it part of your diet now so that later on it isn’t something you think about,” she says. Make it so that “it feels weird when you don’t do it.