The Fitness Plan For Every Year Of Your 20s

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Workout: Light cardio + weights
Reason: To stay in above average shape, lose the freshman 15.
Days a week: 2-3
Common excuse: “I have an insane metabolism that’s carrying over from high school. I don’t need to workout.”
Diet: Dorm food, jungle juice, Natural Light.
Expected gain/loss: Weight loss of five pounds in six months leading up to Spring Break.
Difficulty: 1/10. Rec center membership is included in your student fees and you have the metabolism of a prehistoric jungle cat. You have no excuse.


Workout: Walking to class.
Reason: You have to go to class.
Days a week: 5
Common excuse: “I have to study. When’s that CEOs and secretary hoes party again?”
Diet: Adderall, Red Bull, whiskey, penny pitchers.
Expected gain/loss: 7 pounds of pure fat. You might have to size up.
Difficulty: 4/10. You’re freshly legal and can buy liquor without any hassle, why would you ever want to workout?


Workout: Nothing. You barely leave your off-campus apartment and drive to class.
Reason: You’re trying to graduate.
Days a week: 7
Common excuse: “17 hours of senior level classes in one semester. I don’t care that I’m gaining weight. I have no time for anything, MOM!”
Diet: Ramen, Easy Mac, cold oatmeal, stale cereal.
Expected gain/loss: 10 pounds, due entirely to stress.
Difficulty: 7/10. The clock is winding down on college and your parents are only on the hook for four years. Time to hunker down.


Workout: Running away from your problems.
Reason: Depression.
Days a week: 0
Common excuse: “I can’t afford a gym membership and my parents’ Nordic Track has been broken since 2007. No idea why they still have it.”
Diet: Totinos everything.
Expected gain/loss: The dreaded postgrad 20.
Difficulty: 3/10. It can all be avoided if you just go outside and run for 30 minutes. Just move, you lazy sonofabitch.


Workout: Wandering around the gym like an idiot, trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing.
Reason: You were out of breath after climbing one flight of stairs.
Days a week: 3. Easy does it.
Common excuse: “I’m so damn tired.”
Diet: Chicken Voila meal-in-a-bag and Chipotle twice a week.
Expected gain/loss: Maintain.
Difficulty: 4/10. The hardest part is finding the time to ease yourself back into a good fitness routine, but you finally bought a new TV and don’t want to go anywhere after work.


Workout: Pricey workout DVDs that you’ll stop doing after a week.
Reason: You’re supposed to be in the best shape of your life.
Days a week: Two, maybe three.
Common excuse: “Don’t have the time to workout. I just need to start eating right.”
Diet: Chipotle, pizza or a Lean Cuisine.
Expected gain/loss: Loss of 10 pounds. Replacing one whole pizza with two Smart Ones each week will go a long way.
Difficulty: 2/10. You are in your athletic prime and letting it all slip away in front of your eyes because it’s “hard.”


Workout: P90X, Insanity, Brazilian Butt Lift
Reason: Because you’ve wasted enough time already.
Days a week: 4-6, plus stretching on your rest day.
Common excuse:
 “I have to go to a wedding this weekend.”
Diet: Almost go full paleo, with the exception of one night of heavy drinking a week.
Expected gain/loss: You lose 30 pounds of fat, gain 15 pounds of muscle and every picture you post on Facebook gets 40 likes and seven “OMG you look so good!!” comments.
Difficulty: 8/10. This is your last chance to get in shape. Once you’re into your late 20s, your metabolism disappears and your dad body is going to turn into a full blown, obese person body. Grab life by the love handles.


Workout: Sex with your SO.
Reason: What else are you going to do? Squats?
Days a week: Four. Six, if you’re lucky.
Common excuse: “Just bought Apple TV.”
Diet: A strict diet of chicken, quinoa and veggies that your significant other makes you eat.
Expected gain/loss: You lose some weight, because you’re finally eating healthy and still working out a few times a week. Unfortunately, you’re not worried about explosive gains as much as adult onset diabetes and heart disease.
Difficulty: 5/10. Domestic bliss. You’ve struck the perfect work/life balance and are hauling in a comfortable wage. Look at you go.


Workout: A nightly walk, golf, bringing in the groceries from the car, that ski trip you go on.
Reason: Just trying to stay active.
Days a week: 2
Common excuse: “I just got this promotion that I really don’t want to screw up.”
Diet: Frozen, premade, low calorie meals that you made on Sunday.
Expected gain/loss: Nine pounds from secret, late night fast food trips disguised as “trips to the office.”
Difficulty: 3/10. Your health isn’t priority #1 for you anymore, but you’re slowly slipping into domesticity and you’re perfectly okay with it.


Workout: A baby.
Reason: Because they will literally kill themselves if you don’t stop them from doing everything.
Days a week: Your prior understanding of “days” does not apply here anymore.
Common excuse: “I have a fucking child, you inconsiderate shithead.”
Diet: Animal crackers, peanut brittle, coffee, granola bars, salad from a bag.
Expected gain/loss: Depends on what you use to deal with the stress.
Difficulty: 10/10. If you can find time to workout, you are a wizard who deserves some sort of presidential commendation. No other explanation.

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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