Work It Out
January 25, 2013
Hello, Readers. Happy New Year!
I’m continuing my weight loss and fitness blog series this month. In December, I wrote about Horace Fletcher and his useful (and somewhat hilarious) approach to weight loss and health through mastication. Beginning this month, I’ll be reviewing some of the different workout DVDs I’ve used, both in the past and currently.
(Please remember: I’m not trying to hand out medical advice or suggestions here, so please consult your doctor before you begin any exercise program.)
While I am a big proponent of exercise, I am simply too self-conscious to work out at the gym in front of other people. And though I do occasionally brave a jog around my neighborhood, for the most part, I prefer to perform my physical exertions in the privacy of my living room. As a result, I’ve had to become fairly knowledgeable regarding the many choices available to the reclusive workout buff.
When I was twenty-two, my first son was born and suddenly my (previously) effortlessly trim figure disappeared. After seven months of waiting for my body to magically reconfigure itself, I panicked and ordered the Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos I had seen advertised late at night on an infomercial. And two weeks later, I was hooked. I soon expanded my collection to include a great weight lifting book by Joyce Vedral called The Fat Burning Workout. This, added to the Tae Bo, made for a very effective combo. Not only was I losing weight, I could feel a distinct uplift in my general mood and my ability to sleep soundly and wake up feeling rested. I, the girl who hated exercise, was working out and loving it!
After a while, though, I grew restless with just Billy and Joyce for company and decided to expand and update my library of workout material. Some of my very favorite cardio workouts:
- Again, Billy Blanks’ original Tae Bo workouts (the first two, Beginner’s and Advanced, are great, but there is an Advanced collection of about ten tapes that can be found if you really look), which are still only to be found on VCR tape. These workouts are pretty intense and will wear you out at first. I like Billy; he’s loud and enthusiastic as well as a great motivator. I’ve tried his more recent offerings (as well as some of those by his son) and, quite frankly, they just don’t compare. You can find the original tapes on Amazon for sky-high prices, or you can dig around your local thrift store for a good deal.
- Jari Love: the Get Ripped series; in particular, the title Get Ripped: 1000. It’s a great all-around cross-training workout; the basic premise involves alternating weight-lifting/step exercises with sprints. This is fairly intense, so use your step with caution, and start out with little or no weight resistance. I like Jari’s style: she’s a low-key, sensible instructor with an enviable physique. I use this on days when I don’t quite feel up to the rigors of a P90X workout. These are pretty low-price DVDs available on Amazon and, of course, on Jari’s own website.
- No catalog of workouts would be complete without at least a nod to the amazing Tony Horton, creator of the incredibly popular Power 90, P90X and X2 workouts (I’ve probably missed some there). Thus far I’ve only used the original P90X and have enjoyed it greatly. To go into great detail here would be redundant, as thousands of descriptive reviews can readily be found on the Internet, so I’ll just say how much I enjoy Tony’s laid-back, humorous personality. I feel anyone ready to work (very!) hard would enjoy the material on these DVDs (the results are the best I’ve had with any workout system). I love Beachbody products. Although the prices are premium, they definitely deliver.
- And one more Beachbody product: The Insanity series by Shaun T. These workouts HURT. They’re extremely high-intensity, and the demands made on your mind are as tough as those made on your body as you struggle through these relatively short workouts. They consist of a ten minute sprint, followed by a ten-minute stretch, followed by twenty or more minutes of relentless sprinting. I love Shaun T. and enjoyed watching the participants on the DVDs; there’s plenty of variance in body shapes and styles, so that you don’t feel you’re comparing yourself to a group of models. Not for beginners, these workouts are extremely punishing; they’ll leave you feeling quite drained, and I had a hard time controlling my appetite as I was frequently famished by the end of a DVD. I have also heard that many people have injured themselves due to the high intensity of these workouts; however, the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a DVD made it all worthwhile. I intend to order Asylum in the near future and expect to be impressed.
Lone Jack Branch