Your emergency workout

When you're worn down, burned out and flat-out sick of working out, pick your favorite bodyweight exercise, said Phil Black, an exercise specialist who created the Fit Deck series of exercise playing cards.

"I will simply knock out 100 push ups or 100 pull ups," Black wrote in "Bodyweight exercises to do when all else fails."

"I can do it anywhere and anytime. I can flex the intensity of the sets based on my mood. I can even break the workout up and do it throughout the day," he wrote. "It's not the greatest workout in the world, but at the end of the day I feel great about having done something."

Black, a former Navy SEAL, loves push ups and pull-ups in part because they're convenient. But those of us who consider one pull up a challenge, Black recommends substituting his third favorite full-body exercise: squats.

"Just plain old regular up and down squats," Black told me. "No weights or bars, just up and down with good form."

Also, not everyone should or would do 100 pull-ups or pushups, those are just my numbers," he added. "There can always be a lower number that suits your fitness level. The idea is to have something that you do in case your planned workout falls apart."

Squats, a premier movement of weightlifting, can tone, curve and strengthen your rear end. To do one, place your feet about shoulder width apart and lower yourself as if you are going to sit in a chair. (You can use a chair if necessary—lower your body until your butt hits the chair and stand up again.) Do not bend your knees more than 90 degrees or allow them to extend beyond the toes. Return to standing. You can put your hands on your hips or one hand on a chair or wall for balance.

"What's your ‘when all else fails' workout?" Black asked on his blog. "If you don't have one, try to create one. This will be the workout that you will do no matter how tired, hungry, overworked, overtired, overwhelmed or overscheduled you are. Promise yourself that you will bang this out -- no matter what."

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