Back in the 90s, I had a few workout videos which I would occasionally attempt when I was feeling bored – I can particularly remember an LA gear aerobics video that came with a pair of shoes – I’m pretty sure there was a lot of neon and spandex involved! (I actually spent time looking for this video on youtube, but alas it seems to be lost to time.)
Some of you suggested I give videos a try, and I figured why not? The university gym has an inconvenient class schedule, and as much as I love the pilates class I just don’t want to go downtown at lunch.
So I cleared a space in my living room, getting rid of the eternally messy coffee table, bought a mat and weights, and went to see what was out there. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised – it isn’t all step aerobics with bad synthesizer music anymore, though that can be fun also (I took step aerobics as my PE elective in college… I can do them, but they aren’t my favorite thing.)
First I started with my netflix subscription. There are a few workouts on watch instantly, and I’ve gotten some others through the mail. Here are the ones I recommend from watch instantly for my fellow beginners:
Crunch “Pick your spot” pilates - (amazon link, but available on watch instantly.) This was the first video I tried, and I loved it! The instructor, Ellen Barrett, is very encouraging without being perky. I know some people enjoy a more militant approach to exercise instruction, but I don’t – I want to be encouraged! It doesn’t assume previous pilates experience, and it’s broken down into three 10 minute segments – for abs, thighs, and rear. Almost the entire thing takes place on a mat. Highly recommended, as it isn’t too terribly long!
Crunch Super Slimdown – By the same instructor as the first video – I just love her, and in fact I ended up buying two of her studio dvds ! This is a blend of yoga and pilates, but not exactly either one. This wasn’t my favorite – it’s bit harder and longer than the first video above, but still totally do-able (though I wouldn’t do it without understanding a bit about pilates and yoga first, as there isn’t as much focus on form.)
I bought or borrowed the following dvds:
Leslie Sansone’s 5k with a twist – When I first heard about indoor walking videos, my first thought was “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I borrowed this from a friend, who assured me that it was awesome. I walked with this tape last night, and it was more fun than I thought! The music is upbeat, and Leslie herself is very positive and encouraging. She does chatter pretty much non-stop, but that’s fine with me – I want to be distracted! It’s not all walking – you also do step touches, kicks, and grapevines. Each mile finishes up with a 2 minute burst of running in place, to get the heart up. She’s also very clear about modifications for the more high impact parts (if you can’t jump/run etc.) I’m interested to try a different one of her walks – some of them use handweights etc.
Ballet Body Workout – Apparently I’m not the only one who harbors childhood fantasies of being a ballerina. There are a ton of these ballet inspired workouts out there! This particular dvd is nice – it only requires light weights, but has a ton of plies, and some pilates-like floor work. I feel very graceful doing it, which I love! I bought it with one of those “buy both dvds for X price” from Amazon with Xtend Barre. I haven’t tried that one yet, but it looks more intense – it uses a chair as a faux barre. Barre workouts are very popular… there is a pure Barre studio here, but it’s super expensive, so I won’t be trying that – I’m glad to have found videos!
Slim Sculpt and Fat Burning Fusion – These dvds are led by Ellen Barrett, the instructor from the first two above. They are a blend of ballet, pilates, yoga, and toning work. Slim Sculpt has a great arm section, while the other is more lower body (and faster paced.) I love them both – I like that I don’t have to hyperventilate to feel that I have worked hard! I’d recommend both of these to people who – like me – dread the idea of exercise.
That’s it! As you can see, I haven’t yet ventured into real cardio workouts at home. I’ve been using the elliptical at the gym, which I love because it’s no impact, or walking. I went to a zumba class, and I know everyone loves it, but I think it’s not for me. It’s not that it’s dance, it’s that I am latin dance challenged, and I don’t really like latin music very much. I do plan to try some other dancey type classes or tapes, and if anyone has any recommendations for dvds that would be great!
I leave you with a photo of my next project: Vogue 1250. I felt left out, so we will see if I like it!