Monday, November 14, 2011

Fit for the Holidays

Hello, dear readers,

As we fast approach Thanksgiving and the season of holidays and extra pounds, many of us begin to worry about the effects of holiday meals on our bodies. Newspaper articles tell us how we can cut fat here and carbohydrates there in order to have a healthier holiday. Let's face it, though: Who wants to do that? In order to allow for holiday indulgence without the guilt, it's obviously important that we're keeping fit throughout the rest of the season with nutrition and exercise.

In honor of the holiday body-conscious spirit, and to motivate myself to workout regularly again,I thought I'd share with you a bit about my workout DVD collection. If you're interested, keep on reading!

This is my favorite of the bunch!

Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home and Walk Away the Pounds DVDs have been a part of my life since I was in middle school, probably at around 12 years old. My mom borrowed a VHS from a coworker, and we haven't stopped walking since! Walking workouts may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I promise it's not just walking in place. She does other moves and varies the intensity moving generally at about 4-5 mph at the highest point. In some workouts, such as the one pictured above, she takes you up periodically to a jog. There are also workouts that incorporate stretchy bands, hand weights, waist belt, waist belt weight, and/or Pilates moves. The workouts range anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Despite the fact that it's walking-based, you will probably still work up a sweat. This is especially good if you hate having to follow particular steps and if your coordination is slightly less than perfect.

The first time I tried this one, my mom was in the basement with me and thought I would probably die before I finished it. Nonetheless, I prevailed and finished the workout red-faced, sweaty, and satisfied. Beginner's luck, perhaps! There are four workouts on this DVD: Burn & Shape, a combination of fast-paced cardio and sculpting with weights; Cardio Overdrive, low-impact but high intensity cardio combined with weights; Pump, Jump 'n Jab, the cardio/kickboxing fusion incorporating weights [this was the first one I ever did]; and finally Cardio Sculpt Fusion, lower intensity cardio with yoga and Pilates-based moves and weights. You don't actually have to use weights for any of them if you don't want to. I usually do, but on days I'm really tired I skip them. This is an excellent workout that will kick your butt unless you're already extremely fit. Even then, be prepared to sweat! As instructor Kelsie Daniels says in Pump, Jump 'n Jab, "There are no breaks here!"

No, you're not hallucinating. This is indeed a Dancing with the Stars workout. I've never actually watched the show, but I do love Latin dance. This has a five-minute warmup, four dances that are ten minutes each, and a 15-minute toning and strength segment. The dances are merengue, cha-cha, samba, and mambo. I have a bit of a hard time following dance steps on a screen, so I do indeed occasionally make up the steps that I can't follow. I figure that as long as I keep the pace, faking it isn't the worst thing I could do. The dances aren't extremely intense, and I generally don't work up a sweat. The best part, in my opinion, is the strength segment at the end, which does a lot of leg work as well as working on other muscle groups. Overall, I would say this is a good workout if you are just starting to exercise, or if you just like to dance!

If you like dancing, and you're looking for a high intensity cardio workout, this is a good DVD to try. Kari Anderson starts out fast, and she stays fast right through the final dance. There are four chapters of this workout, containing anywhere from two to five dances each. I'm sure you can navigate through and pick the chapters you want to do if you're not up for the whole workout, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet! I mess this one up even more than the one above, simply because many of the dances are at an extremely fast pace. I definitely work up a sweat with this one!

I started doing Pilates over the summer just to see what it was all about. I think I now understand the hype. This workout contains four DVDs, each with two or three 20-minute workouts. Some are Pilates and others are Pilates-based. The DVDs are as follows: Pilates, Pilates Plus, Core Pilates, and Pilates-Based Abs, Buns and Thighs workout. The Pilates Plus includes one workout that uses an exercise ball, which I didn't have at college, so I haven't done that one yet. This has a great amount of variety, in my opinion, with some workouts being less intense than others, but all working on strengthening and lengthening the body. It's also very relaxing. My one major problem is that since this is a TV program workout filmed in a beautiful beach setting, the camera will pan out to show the scenery while the exercise leaders have already started on something else. Oops. Besides that, I really like this DVD, though it might be tough if you've never done any Pilates before.

This last DVD is one of my absolute favorites. I don't know what I was doing the first time I tried it, but I absolutely hated it at first. The menu allows you to select from workouts that are less than 15 minutes and workouts that are more than 15 minutes. There are workouts that are strictly using the mat, and there are workouts that incorporate weights, an exercise ball, and/or the Pilates ring. I don't own the ring, so I can't speak to that, but I can say that I really notice a difference in my body when I do the other workouts. It's nice, too, that you can pick and choose your own combinations of different workouts, or just pick a short one when you have no time for anything else. I like to do Pilates every time I work out, before cardio, because it makes me feel stronger and gets me ready for higher intensity aerobic exercise. I definitely stand up even straighter and get a leaner look when I consistently doing Pilates. This is especially great for beginners, but I think others will enjoy it as well.

Workout DVDs are not the only forms of exercise I do. I also hula hoop to an hour of a movie or read while hula hooping and walking/doing different moves I learned from Leslie Sansone at the same time. Yes, I am aware that I'm crazy. Walking or running outside is also great, but I thought that I'd focus on workout DVDs because I tend to workout indoors more often than not. I also figure that it's much more mainstream than hula hooping, though hooping classes seem to be a small trend at the moment. Alas, I digress.

I've finally reached the end of my collection of DVDs, and I really hope it doesn't sound too much like a sales pitch. I promise I have no connection to any of these manufacturers; these are just the DVDs that I've bought or stolen from  received from my mom.

Now I have to pick which of these to do when I'm finished writing this post!

Happy exercising!


No comments:

Post a Comment