As I eat this delicious, gooey brownie made by one of my fellow librarians, I am writing to you today about workout videos. A year or so ago I made a commitment to myself to get in better physical shape. My upper body strength was a joke and my ability to keep up on my bike was pitiful, so I knew it was time to start some strength training and build up my endurance. I've never been an athletic person and, generally speaking, sports don't really interest me. I also hate gyms. I feel like my workouts always start to get too repetitive and dull (running on the treadmill five days a week is a bore, in my opinion) and I resent having to pay someone for exercise. Lucky for me then that the library has a bunch of workout DVDs. What I usually do is check one out and test it at home; if I like it, I buy it and add it to my collection. My favorites are the Jillian Michaels workouts - they are really challenging, the exercises can be modified for different fitness levels, and a number of them can be done in 30 minutes (which I would normally think too short, but it's an intense 30 minutes).
There's really no beating being able to workout at home. I never have to leave my house to get a good workout and buying DVDs (and a few pieces of equipment: hand weights, exercise mat, resistance band, kettlebell) is quite a bit cheaper than paying for a gym membership. The convenience of it can't be beat and I haven't had more energy or looked this good since high school! I'm actually looking forward to wearing a swimsuit this summer and, I mean, how often do you get to say that?
6 Week Six-Pack
This is my current favorite. While it does focus on abs, really this is a whole body cardio workout.
30 Day Shred
This DVD turned me into a devoted Jillian Michaels fan. I don't really use it as much anymore because the workouts are so short (each one is a little over 20 minutes), but that does not mean they are not super intense. There are 3 workouts on 3 different levels and I definitely had to progress through it to finally build up to level 3. Great for when you're in a time crunch.
Denise Austin's 3 Week Boot Camp
Denise Austin is a bit too chipper for me most of the time. It also can be a challenge to follow her as her instructions are not always clear and the segway to the next move is often abrupt and not well prompted. With that said, though, this is the best Austin workout video I've ever done. Since Michaels arrived on the scene, Austin's workouts have gained in quality and challenge.
Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training
I don't know a thing about the show this lady is or was on, but this is a great workout. This is the most comparable to Michaels in terms of intensity.
This is Jillian's yoga workout and I really like it because she adds a carido element that makes it a bit more challenging (read: heart pounding) than your typical yoga workout.
*** There are tons more of these DVDs available for check out. A good way to pull up all of the DVDs we have is to go to FindIt, the online catalog, click on Advanced Search (2nd link from left), type "workout$" in the first box, and select "Videorecording on DVD" in the material format box. (Using the $ symbol is an example of truncation. It gets the catalog to search for both the word "workout" and "workouts"; this is a particularly effective strategy when searching for info on nursing, for example - type in "nurs$" and you'll receive results with the words "nurse", "nurses", and "nursing".)