Working out when you don’t know where to start sucks. That’s just one of many excuses I found when I combed through fitness blogs and magazines recently.

But too many of us are confined to cubicles all day and, according to a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a major risk factor for early death. There’s a direct relationship between your time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause.

So it’s important to get up and exercise, even if you don’t have gym weights readily available at your office—that’s just another excuse.

I asked Coss Marte, a formerly overweight inmate who transformed his body and his life to run popular NYC gym ConBody (slogan, “Do the time.”) about his experience losing 71 pounds behind bars with no fancy equipment, apps, trainers—or excuses. If you need a little tough love to really get back on the fitness track, keep reading.

“People would be laughing because I’m the fat guy running around the yard. And I would just be focused. And from there it was a Forrest Gump story. He was running state to state and people would be following him. People followed me. It’s easier to be a follower, it’s harder to be a leader.”

I want to lose weight, but I just need the motivation. (
“Just get up and get moving. No excuses. It doesn’t matter where or what you do, you’re gonna see results that you won’t find by sitting on the couch.”

I can’t work out/do yoga/go for a run because I’m not strong enough/flexible/in good cardiovascular shape. (WebMD)
Through the jeers of fellow cons, a just-starting-out Marte ran in the yard. “For me it was difficult to run a lot, but I ran. I jogged for three minutes, I walked for thirty steps, and then I got running again.” After yard time he would collapse in his cell. Then he’d do it again the next day.

I don’t have time to work out. (
“I heard that from guys in prison every day. You don’t have time? All you got in prison is time! Our tagline is “do the time.” Take the time and invest in your body. That is your temple.” Bottom line: Nobody doesn’t make that excuse.

I finally have the time to work out, but I can’t afford a gym. (reddit)
Here’s a sick ab workout every human being on Planet Earth can do for free every morning. If you suck at it today, try again tomorrow. Lay flat on your back and see how much you can do without letting your legs touch the ground.

Marte’s 3-Minute Ab Blaster
10 Supine bicycle crunches
10 Flutter kicks
10 hello dollies
10 mason twists

Marte learned this one from a former Marine prison guard who taught him the double-count, which increases productivity while taking the focus on how much you have ahead. For the bicycle crunch that means counting left, then right and then again as 1, 2. Strange, but it works.

But if I don’t really know what I’m doing at the gym. Won’t people laugh at me? (
“There’s a line behind you of 40 jacked black dudes who work out every single day in the yard,” Marte says. “They’re waiting for the same pull-up bar. The guy on it right now just counted out his 75th. Then I get up there and I’m trying as hard as I possibly can just to hold onto the bar. They’re all yelling. Everyone in the line needs me to hurry up so they can get on and I turn to the guy behind me and say, ‘Can you help lift me just a little so I can get up?’ Then tomorrow I go back again.” After hearing that story, IDGAF about the guy behind me who wants to hit the elliptical in time to catch a rerun of Friends.

Okay, I’m working out, but I’m not seeing the results. My trainer says I need to get more protein? I don’t really get it. He says I need to strive for 200g a day. I put chicken breast on my salads but protein powder is really expensive and… (
Marte and his fitness buddies in prison would make tuna and peanut butter soup. We’re talking 20-cent tuna cans from the commissary mixed with peanut butter. It looked like the kind of food they ate on Lost. Those were the lucky guys whose families put money in their commissary. And you’re, what, scared of having chocolate-flavored protein powder?

Still, it’s hard to motivate yourself. (fitnessmagazine)
Then you need a workout buddy, or what Marte calls a “bunkie.” This was the turning point for him. “People would be laughing because I’m the fat guy running around the yard. And I would just be focused. And from there it was a Forrest Gump story. He was running state to state and people would be following him. People followed me. It’s easier to be a follower, it’s harder to be a leader. Working out is being a leader of your body. You gotta make that decision for yourself. Put on your clothes, walk over, do the time.” Even now in his fitness classes, Marte has his students pick a “bunkie” to keep them accountable in class. I really love this method.

But do I have to give up eating all the food I love? (Gawker)
“Now I eat protein shakes almost every single morning. Maybe some hardboiled eggs. For lunch I will have a Caesar salad. I never go with white bread, stay away from it much as possible. Then I eat a normal dinner. If I got to my mom’s house I’m eating rice and beans. I don’t live on a strict diet because I’m burning so much. I’m eating pretty much anything I want. My sister came from London and we went to Lombardi’s and I ate five slices of pizza and I was like, shit why did I do that? And I don’t really regret it either. Because I’m the first one in the gym tomorrow.”

I just can’t do it, okay? (shape)
“I hear this excuse from reasonably fit 25-year-old girls. And I just point to my mom. She is 61 years old and she comes to my classes every single day. If she can do the time, you can too.”