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Entry for May 29, 2008
Top 8 Workout DVD's!

If you didn't know it already, I loooove trying different workouts and making up my own at home! I enjoy this in part because I couldn't possibly stand to do things the way everyone else is doing them, but mostly I enjoy it because I get results. Each one of us are so completely different in the way our bodies move and the way we're built, so it's important for you to make your workout really count for you as opposed to working out and training the way your neighbor, sister, best friend or co-worker might. All agenda-pushing aside, this is where personal trainers come in extremely handy because we can make every minute of your time count and get you that much closer to your goal. However, when resources are scarce and a personal trainer seems on the luxurious side, a kick-butt workout dvd can do the trick. The only caveat: There are a bajillion dvds circulating out there! How are we supposed to know which ones are worth our dollars? Leave it to someone such as myself to sample as many as humanly possible in order to find The Chosen Ones! My list of favorites moves around once in a great while whenever I find a dvd that really wakes my body up, points and laughs, beats the sweat out of me and still leaves me wanting more. Keep in mind that some of the below may not have the aforementioned effects on you - for instance the pilates and yoga dvd's listed are my favorites because they provide a good workout on "off" days, when I need a break from weights and intense cardio - but perhaps all of them will leave you cursing at the TV wondering why you wanted to torture yourself until near exhaustion. If that's the case, good! That means it's working. :)

Find these all at amazon.com or collagevideo.com, unless I've called out otherwise.

1. GAIAM Total Body Cardio with Tanja Djelevic

Best for: A heart-rate boosting blend of cardio, sculpting and yoga stretches. Tanja is easy to listen to and watch, plus the background scenery of Sundance, Utah is a plus!

Why it made the list: The exercises promote better balance and posture alignment, two extremely important things we easily overlook when working out at the gym.

2. Turbo Jam Cardio Party (beachbody.com)

Best for: Getting one helluva cardio session while punching and dancing. You may have seen the Turbo Jam commercials and scoffed at it, but it's fun and very high-energy.

Why it made the list: The cardio party dvds mix up kickboxing, dance and martial arts so it never gets boring. Plus there's a 20-minute cardio dvd as well for when you're crunched for time. Tip: Also look for Turbo Jam Sculpt, which is about a 45-minute strength workout.

3. Jillian Michaels: The Biggest Winner Cardio Kickbox

Best for: When you've only got 30 minutes and you need to get results, or when you've done a lot of strength training and your muscles need a break from the weights.

Why it made the list: Jillian has a special place in my heart...err, dvd collection. Sure she's demanding, but she gets results and she knows what she's doing. Plus she doesn't let you buy into some of the bogus fitness myths you hear a lot. She'll push you, you'll curse at her, but you'll love her for it in the end!

4. Crunch Boot Camp Training

Best for: Strength training with cardio, which is much more effective than strength training alone. This boot camp isn't scary because the instructor, Susan Hitzmann (interesting last name for a trainer, hmm?) doesn't look like a man on steroids.

Why it made the list: Give it 30 minutes and Wa-La! You've got your strength and cardio done for the day without wondering if you pushed it hard enough.

5. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

Best for: Getting results, stat. Jillian makes another appearance on this list again because she knows what she's doing. You get 3 different workouts based on your fitness level and each one will be a challenge to you in different ways.

Why it made the list: This is my absolute favorite of all of them because Jillian's 3-2-1 system (3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs) is highly effective. The workouts are short (about 25 minutes) and she gives you no excuse to slack off. Especially when she points out that she's made 400 pound people do jumping jacks.

6. Crunch Fat Burning Pilates

Best for: All-over toning while doing standing pilates to a funky jungle beat. This dvd blends cardio and pilates, with a standing segment in the beginning for cardio and a floor routine during the last half that focuses on even more pilates moves.

Why it made the list: This one's different from any pilates dvd I've done in that it gives you pilates-type toning exercises while keeping your heart rate up. This is one of those "off-day" dvds for me, but can definitely be challenging for the beginner to intermediate exerciser.

7. Stott Pilates Intense Sculpting Challenge (stottpilates.com)

Best for: Beating pilates boredom. Sick of the same pilates routines? You'll use a band in this one to help tone your muscles even more.

Why it made the list: Another off-day fave because although you'll only burn about 110 calories, you're also tightening your muscles so you'll feel stronger afterward.

9. YogaFit Ultra (yogafit.com)

Best for: Instant calm and the feeling of your muscles lengthening and stretching deeply.

Why it made the list: I wish I could make it to an actual yoga class once a week, but instead I can fit this dvd in when it works for me. Plus it's got basic Vinyasa-style yoga to a bit more complicated poses.

Have any favorite workout dvds of your own? Tell us about 'em!
2008-05-29 21:26:25 GMT