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Working out at home?

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.

Cats don't understand exercise

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 SlimdownBy 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 twistWhen 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 WorkoutApparently 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 FusionThese 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!

22 thoughts on “Working out at home?

  1. I have those two Crunch videos and agree they are good and actually pretty fun. Ellen is easy to follow and doesn’t have the annoying voice some people have.

  2. I used to think that workout videos weren’t anything worth it to try, until this June, a co-worker introduced me to T-Tapp.

    Beauty of Teresa’s videos is that you don’t need a lot of time, no equipment (aside from a mat) and the exercises are great! They look easy but really work your abs/butt/thighs!

    I highly recommend. And because you are not using weights, your muscles won’t become bulky, but rather long and lean.

  3. On the odd occasion that I do yoga in the house, the cats are completely mystified and somewhat disturbed. When my husband does push-ups they sit right in front of him and touch their nose to his head on the down stroke.

    I have a friend who can’t exercise with her dog in the room. He freaks out and barks incessantly until she stops.

    Pets. Their little minds are easily blown.

  4. Have you ever tried the Callanetics? I’ve recently found out about this exercise and did it a few times and it is great!

  5. Hmm I only have 2 workout DVDs, which I really like but I don’t know if you will. One is Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred (a fast=paced traditional strength, cardio workout) and one is Masala Bhangra Vol 2 (a fun Indian dance video). This dance video I enjoy because it is fun, and makes me sweat a lot, but I also don’t think it is enough heart-rate pumping for me to consider it a workout (that is same way I feel about Zumba).

    I think later on, if you are up for it, to just borrow/Netflix a traditional type workout vid (like crunches, pushups, lunges, etc), just to see how you feel about it. If you don’t like it, then you can just eject the DVD! Easier said than done, but I hope your past negative experiences with pushups doesn’t make you think you can never do them. Prior to my city offering free workout (boot camp type) classes last year, you would not have found me exercising/certainly not doing pushups (bc I had no interest and couldn’t really do one), but now I do them everyday because my personal goal is to become stronger!

    PS, Saw your Roobois dress on Colette’s blog, great job!

  6. Thank you so much for posting your recommendations! I’ve wanted to try working out at home for a while now (I hate gyms, can’t afford the dance studios) and I love pilates and ballet barre classes, but didn’t know where to start. This is a great list!

  7. Great recommendations. I absolutely love that dress pattern. I have a top in black and white like the top half of the dress. It’s a very flattering piece.

  8. I’ve started doing “Netflix yoga” lately as well, and really like Ellen Barrett’s ones, especially the Super Slimdown. I’ll have to keep the ballet ones in mind.

    I have a lot of fun doing the Crunch Cardio Dance Workout as well, though it took two times through before I was comfortable with all the moves. Only the last part is Latin-inspired.

  9. Highly recommend the NYC Ballet Workout Number 2. I think it comes on a double dvd nowadays with volume 1. I find 2 much more fun and feel really well-straetched afterwards, and calm in the way that pilates makes you calm.

  10. I got into Pilates through a workout video. I have not made that vogue dress pattern, but I am looking forward to seeing yours. You have the best taste in putting together fabric and patterns.

  11. I’m not familiar with Ellen Barrett, so I will look for her. I do know Leslie Sansone, and have a number of her DVDs. They are terrific for rainy or winter days, when you just can’t find the motivation to walk outside. I have a new 5-mile one that is pushing me to my limits, which is great.

    I love the ballet workouts too. There is a good brand of workout DVDs called “Element” and I have their yoga for beginners and also their ballet conditioning workout, which is tough! You might like it:

    All the Element DVDs are filmed in gorgeous, ocean locations. The instructors speak in a calm, encouraging manner; some of the exercises or poses are more “advanced beginner” but they are something to work toward.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  12. I have Crunch Pick Your Spot pilates – I’ve had it for years and it’s the one and only workout video I have ever done on a regular basis….too bad “regular basis” for me only lasts about a month before I fall out of the rut (and out of shape) again.

  13. I am a huge Rodney Yee yoga DVD fan. He has 1/2 hour and longer sessions, so I can usually squeeze something in. I also recently got a bike.
    I am with you on Zumba. Everyone seems to love it, but it just not for me.

  14. It is really terrible and sad, but I have a Denise Austen workout video that I really enjoy! It is cardio, but has separate videos for the warm up, cool down, and each 10 minute themed workout. They are kickboxing, field drills, dance, retro and something else I can’t remember. They’re hilarious! But they also work really well, so.

  15. I don’t know how you feel about Middle Eastern music, but you should give a belly dance tape a try. I’ve taken a few multi-week courses over the years and I love it. It’s graceful (I was once a ballet dancer) and it works a surprising amount of muscles, in particular; your core: lower & upper back, stomach and thighs, while also giving you a better, more appreciative feeling about your body.

  16. I LOVE Leslie Sansone’s workouts!!! It helped me lose forty pounds after my second baby! Her workouts are a great place to start. Now I am maintaining and toning with the thirty day shred by Jillian Michaels. The workouts are less than thirty minutes total, and you see results quickly. Good luck on your workout journey!

  17. I’m in love with the P90X workout from the BeachBody company. It has a more militant approach as you so nicely put it, but it gets you real results! Only thing is you need to really want to work as it is one and a half hour each day, six days a week over a period of 90 days. But it never gets boring with different workouts each day and your body totally gets addicted to working out, so you’ll build up a healthy lasting lifestyle as well.

    Good for you that you’re working out girl! At home workouts definetily get it done if you’re willing to put the right effort in it.

    X Nina

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