Saturday, January 23, 2010

Super Cinema Saturday ~ Workouts

I've been on an exercise DVD kick lately. (Did you know Netflix and Blockbuster online actually have exercise DVDs?) I reviewed them at Amazon and decided maybe I should post them over here, too.

Last Chance Workout

Not a fitness expert, just one of those 40-somethings who wants to be healthier.

A little over a year ago I decided that my life was going to change one day at a time, one little choice at a time. Since then I have slowly lost 30 pounds and three sizes. Slowly. Our family has gone mostly organic or real foods, and though we indulge (and then regret) an occasional fast food splurge, we are all the happier for the food changes. Exercise has become part of the package. Pilates, walking, Wii workouts, different DVDs. While I'm not planning to do a marathon anytime soon I am attempting to work out more consistently looking for efficiency i.e. getting the most bang for my sweat.

I began watching Biggest Loser, the show, and find it inspires me on my journey because it goes deeper than weight loss, its change from the inside out, working toward healthier and better because we only get one shot at life.

That said, I appreciate the Biggest Loser DVDs that I have had the opportunity to view because they are encouraging, pointing toward health and better choices and movement. The participants aren't models, they are real people with real issues. Like Danny (Season 8 winner) in the midst of his transformation and with his knee/hip problems. Amanda and Liz from Season 8 still carrying extra weight, Daniel, Sione, Tara and Allen round out the "cast." Jillian leads them, and us, through the paces. A warm up, a cardio set, upper and lower body workouts and a cool down. Week one and two is the 30ish minutes of Warm up, Cardio and Cool down every other day alternating with the warm up, upper and lower body workouts, cool down. Week three and four are a 45 minute continuation of the same with the warm up, cool down and cardio and upper or lower each day. Week five and six is the whole shebang every day.

I don't want to meet Jillian in a dark alley, or in the gym. She seems so nice, so sweet, friendly on this workout video, but hints of her intentions and desire to strip the fat from the purchaser's body eeks out during some truly chilling moments. Some of the banter gets a little annoying especially when you've heard it several times. I did appreciate that the music isn't overpowering.

The workouts are challenging. Cardio bursts including jogging in place, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, boxing moves, jump rope (without the jump rope) are all flat-out, work to your potential go, go, go. In between these she adds strength moves incorporating hand weights. She takes the time to explain her reasoning and very basic form and how-to (though not on each move and not in full detail). Plank moves are abundant. Jillian explains the reason she likes different types of exercise (like boxing) because they are fat blasters. Her routines incorporate many muscle groups and she explains that the core is the focus of her sets.

I think this should challenge mid to moderate folks. The very advanced might consider it too easy, though she does say that with added weights or some small change-ups it will do what it's designed to do for all fitness levels. Beginners are able to watch two participants who keep the intensity low and modify the moves. The routines are easier to follow than crazy-fast aerobics, though Jillian keeps things moving. For the price, it's going to go into my library and I've ordered Shred because the reviews say it's a monster.

Party off the Pounds

If laughter is the best medicine, then Richard Simmon's Dance Party may be the prescription.

I just finished t
his workout for the second time. Several friends got together for a dance party, and two of us gave it a test drive last night. First, you need to know that the pace is fast. If you get crabby when you are unable to follow choreography, you may want to think twice. The second time through I was still flailing all over the place. If you are concerned about looking good/smooth, take that into consideration. The songs, Mickey, New Attitude, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, etc. are not the original artists. The participants are all sizes and act happy to be there. Richard. Well, Richard has a sequin-encrusted heart. He is the all-time cheerleader.

The Dance party we had included several ages and fitness levels. Two of the younger girls are avid athletes and they had a blast and broke a sweat. Some of the older girls appreciated the low-impact aspects. All decided they'd like to add this to their fitness routine and would like to try more of Simmon's videos. I didn't feel any after-the-moves-fatigue in my butt or abs but my arms are feeling it.

If you like to have fun when you workout and you occasionally like to mix it up you might want to add this to your dvd library.

Jump Start

I'm not a fitness consider my thoughts through that lens.

Jump Start would be a great introduction to the nuts and bolts of workouts. In ten minute increments the participant is given a decent building block of exercises. The participant starts out with 10 minutes a day, and works up into 30 minutes a day. There is a cardio, upper and lower body workout. The same workouts are repeated during the week, however, not back-to-back day-after-day. The following weeks build on that first week's schedule.

Biggest Loser's Bob Harper shares some healthy eating and inspirational information that is building block and common sense as well. The exercises are led by Biggest Losers winners (not all THE Biggest Loser but several favorites who've personally won through changing their lives.) This in itself is inspiring because anyone who watches the show knows where those folks started. And it is encouraging to see folks who are now in great shape still talking about hating a certain exercise or breathing hard/sweating while working out.

I think Biggest Loser fans who aren't currently exercising would make a good choice in getting this DVD. It could be helpful. and a great introduction to exercising and learning the nuts and bolts of how and why certain things are done certain ways. Anyone who is looking for a killer or very difficult workout won't likely be challenged though. I rented it and won't be buying it because after a week, I found that I wanted a little more change-up. Bob's advice was freeing and encouraging and I appreciated what I learned from it.