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Working Out With...Jim Karas


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Think of your life when you're constantly on the road for business. You spend inordinate amounts of time sitting--in airports, conference rooms, and at dinners laden with booze and high-calorie foods. It's not the healthiest of lifestyles, to say the least.

Then again, you don't have to be a slug because you're away from home, says personal trainer Jim Karas, a former options trader and portfolio manager who gave up business for barbells 20 years ago. Drawing from his own travel experiences, he has created a quick and efficient "Expresso" workout for road warriors that can be done in a hotel gym or even in your room. "I understand what it is to be pressed for time," says Karas, 45, who has been exercise guru to the likes of TV news anchor Diane Sawyer, hotelier Penny Pritzker, and actor Hugh Jackman.

Guests of the James hotel in Chicago's downtown River North neighborhood--where Karas demonstrated the workout for BusinessWeek--can hire him or his associates for private lessons. But you don't need Karas at your side to do the routine. The only equipment required: an 18- to 26-inch stability ball you can likely borrow from the hotel gym and two resistance bands you can pack. The bands should be something like the Spri Xering that resembles a giant rubber band and the Spri Xertube with handles on each end and special attachments for a door.

The "Expresso" workout starts with a four-minute warm-up and moves on to eight strengthening exercises that work the upper body, lower body, and core muscles. Says Karas: "A half-hour is all you need to get the job done."

By Adrienne Carter


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