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A client once asked me if I was locked in a prison cell and could only have one piece of exercise equipment for a year, what would it be. Without hesitation, as if I had thought of it a thousand times before (which I hadn’t), I answered with two quick words. Jump rope. The client looked at me somewhat startled. This woman had a lot of money. She had a beautiful gym. Most of her equipment was commercial quality. I loved that gym. I knew exactly why she asked the question. She wanted to know what her gym was missing. I had news for her, it wasn’t missing anything. She had a jump rope, and we used it often. I could tell her thought process had changed from her original question. She became more interested in why I would chose a jump rope if it were all I could use for a year. My answer: it’s the biggest bang for your buck. I said, think about it, if I had a treadmill I would still get the weight bearing exercise. For the uninitiated, that’s when you bear your own weight. It would do little for my arms. I then said if I had an exercise bike (or as we call them now “spinners”), though I would have cardio fitness, I would have no upper body workout. And I would give up the weight bearing part. Most weight lifting machines only work one muscle at a time. In my opinion, perfectly useless. Now a jump rope, there’s a different story. I get the weight bearing exercise, cardio fitness and I’m also working my shoulders and arm muscles. Not to mention one of my favorite new words that everyone loves to use, it helps my “core” whatever that means. I told you that to tell you this. I was talking to my nephew today, Mike. I like talking to him. He’s a journalist by trade. Like most journalists, he’s generally curious about how things really tick, and he’s more knowledgeable than most. He’s a man after my own heart. Mike is interested in being in shape. He recently lost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers. But due to the holidays and getting a little relaxed on the plan, he gained a few pounds back. Going back on the Weight Watchers program, he mentioned that this time he wanted to incorporate some exercise. He’s lucky because he gets me for free. He’s been asking a lot about exercises that are good for him. But today he asked me what exercise does the least for you. Just like with the jump rope, without stuttering, I said, two quick words. Sit ups. He was shocked. He said, “Wait a minute, the man that still has a 12 pack in his late 40s is telling me sit ups will do little to no good for me?” My answer was a resounding yes. Sit ups will do more for your hip flexors than your rectus abdominus. He then asked me how I kept the 12 pack all these years. I told him it’s pretty simple. Watch your calories. Don’t overeat. And do lots of aerobics. I told him I do less than 150 sit ups per week. In the interest of full disclosure, the sit ups are not the plain old kind. It’s usually different kinds of ab work. He wanted to know the recipe so I gave it to him. Increase aerobics, decrease caloric intake. That will give you a six pack. He then said, “It’s dark when I get home, how can I do aerobics?” Without hesitation, I said get a jump rope.