RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC
Jhon Valdes, 27, Chelsea
How he got fit: "Four years ago, I lost 100 pounds, and I've kept the weight off ever since. I go to David Barton five or six times a week, and spend 30 to 45 minutes on weights, focusing on different body parts each day, followed by either a cardio or yoga class. When I was 100 pounds heavier, I hated every single moment of exercise, but now, nothing feels better than looking in the mirror and saying, 'Yeah, I love myself.' "
How you can do it: "Make room in your schedule for exercise. If your employer takes work-life balance seriously, let your boss know what your workout goals are in addition to your career aspirations. Mention that exercise will make you healthier and more productive on the job. I also made rules for dating: All first dates happen on two days during the week when I'm taking a break from the gym; all second dates are on weekends."
Ian Hillis, 25, Midtown East
How he got fit: "My job as a recruiter requires me to be on the road Monday through Thursday. Traveling for work doesn't really encourage exercise; I live out of hotels that call a closet with one exercise bike a 'gym.' So instead, I ripped the P90X DVDs onto my computer, and when I'm traveling, I block off 30 minutes to jump around my hotel room with Tony [Horton]. When I'm on the road, I don't have to worry about neighbors judging from windows across the way or roommates popping in to investigate the thudding. You'd be surprised how intense those workouts get."
How you can do it: "Take the weekend off. I eat healthy, exercise and work hard during the week when I'm traveling, but when I'm back in town, I don't run (unless I need to sweat out that 4am vodka soda from Sway the night before). No one wants to hang out with the crazy health nut who makes everyone feel bad about themselves!"
Dan Koifman, 27, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
How he got fit: "Just four months ago, I looked in the mirror and decided that I really only needed one chin. I own my own business, so I'm working 24/7. I don't have much time for exercise or anything else, really, so I made a point of maximizing my lunch hour. Since I work from home, I had a trainer come to me and pack as much cardio and weights into one hour as possible. I've lost more than 40 pounds since starting, and I'm proud to say that I now have a single chin."
How you can do it: "Add power to your lunch hour! That's the slogan for the new personal training company I just started, Workaholic Workouts. My trainers come to my busy client's homes and offices during their lunch hours. The business helps motivate me to keep the weight off, since I'm the face of the company. I need to be able to pose in my old jeans, just like Jared from Subway."
Doreen, 49, Staten Island
How she got fit: "I own Relax on Cloud 9, a day spa in Staten Island that offers massage therapy and yoga classes. A year ago, I started to feel like a hypocrite because I didn't feel very healthy myself. For exercise, I began walking my dog a few miles three times a week—even that was hard for me at first. After a while, though, I found myself leaving the dog at home (he couldn't keep up!) to jog alone. I also signed up for the yoga and body awareness classes at my spa. I haven't changed drastically—I lost 20 pounds in a year—but my husband says I look the best I've ever looked."
How you can do it: "Figure out what time of day you're most ready to exercise. For me, it's first thing in the morning, but for others it might be before dinner. Initially, I was only exercising because someone had to walk the dog in the morning, and I knew my kids weren't going to do it. My routine built from a habit that grew out of necessity."
Lin Ruan, 25, Upper West Side
How she got fit: "I've always hated the gym, but when I took a ballet class my senior year of college, I got hooked. After I moved to New York, I found the Peridance Center in Union Square, which turned out to be a great fit for me. Ballet tones your legs and entire body. I always feel like I've gotten a good workout, and there's a more artistic and intellectual component to ballet than hitting the StairMaster."
How you can do it: "Leave your insecurities at the door. People tend to think ballet is either for little kids or people who make careers out of it. Peridance has everything from beginner to advanced classes. All sorts of people give it a shot, and you don't have to wear tights and a leotard. There are definitely guys who show up, and some of them may even be straight!"
Megan Weber, 25, Murray Hill
How she got fit: "I was a three-sport athlete growing up, but I began to fall off the wagon in college. When I moved to New York, forget about it; I wasn't working out at all. Organized sport leagues helped me incorporate exercise into my schedule. I joined a touch-football league through Zog Sports (zogsports.org) and a soccer team through New York Coed Soccer (nycoedsoccer.com). If you have a team depending on you, you're more likely to work out."
How you can do it: "If you have a dinner or happy hour scheduled at night, get up early and work out in the morning."
Katryna Langhorne, 22, Harlem
How she got fit: "I like to eat whatever I want, and I work out so I can maintain my body. I started gaining weight when I moved here last May because I wasn't working out, so I joined Planet Fitness in Harlem to get myself back on track."
How you can do it: "Get off the train! Any little bit of exercise counts. I try to get off the subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way home—even if I'm wearing heels!"
Monica Ginty, 24, Hell's Kitchen
How she got fit: "I'm an actress, so with auditions, I don't have a regular schedule. I like to run outside whenever I need to clear my head—which turns out to be often. This sounds really abstract, but I got motivated to run when I started telling myself that running is what [centers me] and that nothing else works quite as well."
How you can do it: "Go outside. I do without a gym membership, and the money goes to chipping away at student loans. Just running inside on a machine seems to defeat the purpose of exercise for me."
Annie Heller, 24, Upper West Side
How she got fit: "I'm bad at setting goals unless there's a specific thing I'm working toward, so I signed up for a half-marathon in the spring. I convinced my roommate, boyfriend and some other good friends to run the race with me. We didn't train together, but we were always talking about it—so if I came home and was feeling too lazy to run, and my roommate had just gotten back from the gym, my inner competitiveness would take over and motivate me to work out too."
How you can do it: "I started listening to my favorite podcasts only while running. It gave me that extra incentive to work out."