They're obviously doing something right! Get inspired by these real-life examples that you don't have to run to get in amazing shape
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On running: "I once thought that I had to run to be fit, so I avoided exercise most of my life. Luckily, I have good genes and always stayed thin. However, in the past year I decided it was finally time to get in shape."
What she does instead: Spinning (three times a week) and weight-training classes at the gym (twice a week). "My butt has firmed up, I have abs, and I really feel that I am in the best shape of my life at 34 years old!"
- Beth Arnold, a children's book author and illustrator in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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On running: "In my overweight and unhealthy days, I always thought that I had to run to lose weight. I mean, runners were skinny, right? Every time I tried to take up running (a little more like light jogging really), I would fail, and it would notch off my self-esteem little by little."
What she does instead: A combination of boxing, kickboxing, MMA training, barre work, HIIT, weight training, and yoga. "Now 100 pounds lighter, I enjoy using kickboxing as my cardio. I also incorporate HIIT and speed drills (speed ladders, box jumps, bleacher drills, etc.), as well as step. I also love the mini tramp and keep one in my office for when I feel overworked or just a bit 'blah.'"
Try one of Michele's favorite workouts at home with this barre routine. It's designed to help you develop lean muscle mass while improving your balance, flexibility, and range of motion.
- Michele Carlson, a certified master trainer and nutrition consultant
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On running: "When I owned my training studio, I'd joke to clients my nickname should be 'Runs-If-Chased.' I've tried running (I even did a half-marathon on too little training—don't be me). I long to love to run. I see other writers and bloggers talking about runners high and amazing scenery… I can't stand running."
What she does instead: HIIT, weight training, and yoga. "I'm a lazy cardio-er. I do the recumbent bike (typically HIIT sessions) while I tweet, read magazines, and text friends. This works for me and keeps me fit because I'm consistent. I'm an intuitive exerciser so there really is no 'typical' week for me; if I have a planned workout and feel tired, I rest. If I have a planned workout and my body needs something different, I change."
– Carla Birnberg, certified trainer, blogger, AKA MizFit
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On running: "I ran the Chicago Marathon five years in a row, but I put on tons of weight when I focused on running. I usually avoid running because it has gotten to be tough on my body, and I just feel better when I try other forms of exercise."
What she does instead: Strength training workout DVDs, spinning, yoga, swimming, and long walks with her dogs. "I find that when I have a better balance of physical activity, the healthier I feel and the better my jeans fit."
- Nicole Truog, a health and fitness blogger for AppleandArteries.com
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On running: "I've honestly probably run a mile in my whole life—I absolutely hate running… As a working woman, I need something that is not just a workout but is also fun because I'm exhausted after work and the standard, boring running and gym workout is not something I am super excited to do."
What she does instead: Stand-up paddleboarding and strength training (twice a week). "With stand-up paddleboarding, I am working out on the water, enjoying the beautiful sunset or sunrise. It seriously works your entire body."
- Ashley Hannawacker, director of marketing and business development for Paddle Boards LLC
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On running: "I dislike running, mostly because it is very bad for my joints and can cause many injuries: shin splints, blisters, and loss of toenails (just some I've experienced in the past). I can't seem to get into the zone when it comes to running."
- Anita Cavallo, fashion designer, owner of MIMI & COCO
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On running: "I have always had an aversion to running because it is absolutely boring to me. Even though I was forced to do it for team sport workouts, I always despised it. I could never get into it and it would always be a huge mental challenge for me to complete the run."
What she does instead: Boxing and boot camp sessions, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and at-home bodyweight workouts (like this total-body toning plan). "My saving grace was The Fit Republic in Cliffside Park, New Jersey and the coaches there who turned me back into a fit machine, addicted to new challenges. In addition, I do a short, basic circuit at home every night while watching television (i.e. pushups, squats, crunches, lunges)."
- Liz Fields, 29, bridal gown designer in Fort Lee, New Jersey
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On running: "I am three months shy of 60, and I don't run, never have, never will. I am pretty fit—I actually got signed to a modeling contract earlier this year. I hate running because it's boring."
What she does instead: Garden! "I know that doesn't sound right, but gardening is great for the arms, back, and abs, and if you do it right, it provides cardio as well! I have a cottage garden, which has to be hand-weeded (can't swing a weed whacker around in a cottage garden—everything is all packed together!). I am usually out in the garden five or six days a week for a minimum of two hours per day, hauling mulch, compost, and other heavy stuff around, weeding, digging, and moving plants. I wouldn't have believed gardening could give me a figure like mine, at my age, until I saw it. Nobody who sees me believes gardening is all I do. It's kind of cool."
- Patricia Roberts, owner of The Department of Insight in Edgewater, Maryland
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On running: "I am 52 years old, in great shape (still wear a bikini), and hate running. I have been an avid snow skier my entire life, and I am so afraid of injuring my knees that I go out of my way to avoid running (even to catch a plane)."
What she does instead: "I walk everywhere—about three miles a day—as part of my normal routine. At least four days a week, I work out at a club." Nanci's typical gym session: 30 minutes of brisk (4.0 mph) walking on an incline (level 15 on the treadmill) followed by 3-4 circuits in the weight room (15-20 minutes) and a 15-minute abs workout on the floor.
"In the summer months, I swim two days a week—straight laps, alternating front and backstroke. On weekends I ski, hike, take a bike ride... anything fun that keeps me active."
- Nanci Williams, managing partner at Orloff Williams Partners in San Jose, California
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On running: "I think I look great at 37 and I've never run a day in my life."
What she does instead: "I've been a certified Pilates instructor for seven years, so I do Pilates (either mat or equipment work) daily. For cardio, I prefer dancing for about an hour (I love all forms) and recently tried NIA, which is so freeing and fun, plus really works up a sweat. In a pinch, I'll do the elliptical… My secret to staying in shape is to never stop moving!"
- Chanelle White, a holistic nutrition and wellness coach
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On running: "I hate running! I feel like my bones are shaking and my entire body is being pounded with every stride. I swear that even my teeth hurt when I run, like they are being jarred out of my mouth... That said, I am a firm believer in cardiovascular exercise. And for that reason, I incorporate it into my training on a regular basis."
What she does instead: A lot! Here's a typical week in Dana's workout:
1. Rollerblading (6 miles while pushing her 3-year-old son in a jogging stroller) or a 10-mile bike ride (pulling her son in a trailer) two or three times a week
2. 20-minute total-body blast strength routine once a week. "I teach this as a class weekly and participate myself."
3. 20-minute butt routine once a week (also a class she teaches)
4. 15-minute killer core routine (functional training movements to engage the total core—no traditional crunches) twice a week
5. 60- to 75-minute Radius Yoga Conditioning sequence twice a week
– Dana Santas, certified yoga trainer, specializing in work with professional athletes in the NHL, MLB, NFL, and NBA
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On running: "I went to a military college and commissioned into the Army, so running has been part of my life for quite some time. At one point I was clocking 50+ miles a week, but unfortunately I suffered some pretty severe consequences: adrenal fatigue, shin splints so bad my legs turned green (yes, green), muscle atrophy… you name it. Lucky for me, I got a new job in the Army that doesn't require me to run."
What she does instead: CrossFit, Tabata training, HIIT, hiking, biking, heavy weight lifting (Click here for eight reasons why you should do it too!), and yoga. "The changes were almost immediate—I started building more muscle tone and definition, I got stronger, lost body fat (especially around the middle), started sleeping better, and stopped getting sick all the time. While I was 'fit' but still pretty soft and skinny-fat before, I actually look like I work out now. I even entered a bikini competition last month (pictured) and finished third in the open division, qualifying me for NPC Nationals!"
- Camilla Maybee, Group MedLog Officer in The United States Army
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On running: "While I knew running has been taking its toll on my knees and my body for a while, this past year, I've all but been ordered to stop running (I've had two knee surgeries and various hip issues), and it's high time I began listening… Two knee surgeries, physical therapy, and a whole lot wiser about my exercising, I feel better, stronger, move with less pain (yes, this is coming from a professional teacher), and more confident than ever."
What she does instead: Dance, swimming, and yoga. "Dance will always be my exercise of choice. And just after my knee surgery, I started swimming… I recently took a swim class and the instructor changed my stroke. Changing the way I swim has provided a challenge for me, which I love. Not only did I find a new way to exercise, but made some new friends in the process. I left feeling more satisfied from my 'workout' than I have in a long time."
– Jennifer Galardi, certified fitness instructor, choreographer for the Dance Off the Inches: Latin Cardio Party DVD
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On running: "I'm an internationally recognized fitness guru, known for my physique and reservations about running. I rarely include running sets in my clients' fitness programs. Running is hard on your body, especially on your joints. I avoid it to prevent injuries and protect my career as a fitness professional."
What she does instead: "To keep my body in top shape, I focus on circuit training. Between resistance sets, I integrate short cardio segments. But my training is mostly based on strength-building exercises such as squats and planks."
Check out this quick video to see what one of Kelly's workouts might look like. It combines resistance training and cardio in one 10-minute plan.
- Kelly Borowiec, personal trainer, boot camp instructor
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On running: "On 12/12/12, I will be 52. I don't run anymore because it makes me less limber, and I need to stay especially flexible because I am a martial artist. I have been involved in martial arts for almost 20 years and am a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
What she does instead: Kickboxing and weight lifting. "And I mean serious weights… not three-pound dumbbells!"
– Dianne Bailey, CSCS, owner of The Conditioning Classroom
Photo credit: Barry Staver
Vanessa Torres Gangoo
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On running: "I have never been able to get into running. I have tried but just don't get the 'runner's high.' I find it boring to run around a park or in the street, and I can't run on a treadmill—it's just not appealing at all."
What she does instead: "At the moment, my weekly routine includes two days of Muay Thai and jumping rope, two days of total-body conditioning (weights and cardio), and one day of Pilates or yoga… I also follow a very healthy eating regime that helps a lot, especially as I am so busy with work and can't work out as much as I want to."
– Vanessa Torres Gangoo, account coordinator at public relations firm in Denver, Colorado
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On running: "I mean, what are you running from? Where are you running? And then there's the pounding of my feet on the ground, side cramping, banging on joints, and headaches."
What she does instead: Flow yoga and walking (every day), and dancing. "I like to park as far away from the store as I can so I have to walk. And dancing I'll do anytime, anywhere—at home with my 22-month-old and husband, at flash mobs, basically anywhere there's music."
- Staci Lawrence, actress (she's currently on NBC's 1600 Penn) and co-founder of flashmobamerica.com
Photo credit: Charles William Bush
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On running: "I'm an NPC bikini competitor, online trainer, and proof you do not have to run to get into shape. While you may chose to do sprints for cardio, it is not the only option."
What she does instead: "I lift weights four to five times a week, performing metabolic workouts and circuits to lower my body fat and stay fit. My workouts are usually split into two upper-body and two lower-body days. I lift heavy with reps of 6-8, 12-15, and sometimes bodyweight movements up to 25 reps."
- Sarah Karger, fitness enthusiast, NPC bikini competitor, public relations professional
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On running: "I am 54 years old, and I work out every day. I do everything else but run."
What she does instead: Dance, sculpting classes, spinning, Pilates, yoga, skiing, and hiking. "Right now I am skiing every day (for the past nine days), averaging 20,000 vertical feet daily, for about three hours without a break. I do power Vinyasa yoga and Ashtanga six to seven times a week, spinning four times a week, and weight classes five times a week. I dance once a week, and Pilates I interchange with yoga sometimes."
- Selma Weisbein, mother of three, in Miami, Florida
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On running: "I am a chiropractor and a personal trainer and I hate running. I have a 4-year-old son, and I have a fabulous body even after the baby."
What she does instead: Classic strength training. "I like to work out the old fashion way. I do approximately 300 crunches a day. I use three-pound weights to stay toned for my upper body and increase the weight (five to eight pounds) if I want a more muscular look. I can say my arms rock; I really work hard at it. As for legs and butt muscles, I do leg machines and squats. I eat what ever I want in moderation."
- Marisa Silver, owner of Silverspine Chiropractic & Health in Hicksville, New York