Now that I’m an administrator, I’ve completely fallen off the work out wagon. I probably made it to the gym only three or four times in the last five months of 2009. And I’ve started seeing the consequences: my waist is slowly getting bigger. I know that I’ve reached a turning point: either start working out again or go back up a pants size.

I really don’t want to go up a pants size again, especially after working so hard to get back to my ideal size. Furthermore, I’ve had it in my mind for the last year or two that I want to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in when I turn 40 this June. That’s not the path I’m on right now, so I know that I’ve got to make some lifestyle changes.

In particular, I knew that I needed to find something that I could do at home to workout. Some of my fellow deans were talking before a recent meeting about having a treadmill at home. I’m not prepared to go that far yet, but I do need to have some way of working out that doesn’t mean going to the gym at 8 or 9 PM.

So, when PJ and I were grocery shopping last Sunday, we saw a display of workout DVDs on sale. They are by the personal trainers from NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Since they were on sale and since I’d been saying I needed something to do at home, we bought two of them, including The Biggest Loser: Boot Camp. Here’s a sample:

I finally got around to trying it out on Thursday evening. I have to say that it’s a great workout, especially for someone who hasn’t been working out for a while. The beginner section, which lasts 30 minutes (5 minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of workout, and 5 minutes of cool down), is really pretty hard. I could barely move on Friday!

I actually really like it when I feel the workout the next day. It reinforces that I did something and makes me feel that I’ve accomplished something. This workout really worked my glutes, hamstrings, and back, which meant that going up and down my office stairs (my office is on the second floor of a converted house while my staff are all downstairs) and sitting down and getting up from a chair hurt like hell. But in a relatively good way.

I just finished doing the workout for the second time, and it was still difficult but a little easier this time. That too makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I know from experience that I’m not going to be dropping pounds overnight, but at least I’m back on the right path to get where I want to be in six months. And maybe I’ll hire a trainer again. It would be great if I could do this workout a few times a week and workout at the gym a couple of times a week.

Working out with this video has gotten me thinking about personal trainers in a different light. My one complaint about The Biggest Loser DVD is that Bob Harper is just too darn sexy:

He can strap me on his back anytime! His hotness affects me in two ways. First, watching him is very encouraging. I know that I’m not going to get into the kind of shape he’s in by doing this DVD, but he is a constant reminder that hard work pays off. Second, and this is the problematic side, he’s so distracting. Watching him lift weights and do squats causes my mind to wonder to things besides working out.

Take, for example, this next video. It’s not from the workout DVD, but I think it gives a little sample of what I’m talking about:

How am I supposed to keep my mind on working out when he’s talking about blasting my butt or when he’s down on his elbows and knees?!

Or this one, which is also not from the DVD but also illustrates my point:

I see his mouth moving, but all I’m paying attention to is his chest in this video! (Ok, that’s an exaggeration — I can listen to him and stare at his chest at the same time!)

In thinking about this issue — Harper’s sexiness — for the past couple of days, I realized something important: having a sexy trainer, even one that’s just on a TV screen, is extremely important to successful weight loss. I now want to workout out (and work out with full effort) because it means getting a little eye candy at the same time.

Personal trainers should all be totally hot as a way to motivate their clients: it should be required to enter the profession. Trainers should try making working out more like going to the bar and watching hot go-go boys (except more interactive and with no dollar bills involved!). Want to see a little skin when your trainer’s shirt rises up a bit? Then do 10 more push-ups and we’ll see what we can arrange. (I’m not saying that trainers should be prostitutes, just that they should be more conscious of how they could use their bodies as motivators for people who want to get in shape!)

The second lifestyle change I’m trying to get back to is to try to eat better again. I’ve already cut out most meat, but lately I’ve been eating a lot of junk food. I’ve started replacing junk food with carrots, apples, pears, and a little low-fat peanut butter, especially for when I’m hungry for a snack around 9 PM.

Maybe I won’t be in the best shape ever by my 40th birthday, but with Harper as inspiration maybe I can be in good enough shape by then!