A friend of mine told me that her sister lost more than fifty pounds by watching what she ate and doing extreme exercise programs like Insanity by Beachbody. She would complete one extreme exercise program and then look around for the next thing that would help her reach the rest of her weight loss goals.
I started to do the Slim in Six program by Beachbody myself but I didn't like it. The program was a little too difficult for my fitness level at the time and did nothing for me on a mind-body level. The program was comprised of a repetitive set of exercises and called for an increase in the duration and intensity of those exercises every week or so until you reached the third (and highest) level where you stayed for four weeks. I found myself dreading waking up in the morning and having to do the easiest routine. Then, just when I was able to get through it without wanting to die, I found myself dreading the day I had to ramp up to the next level. Needless to say, that program didn't work for me. If you dread working out, then you're not likely to maintain a consistent fitness regimen. I decided to go back to my Leslie Sansone walking DVD's. I mixed those up with kickboxing and dance workout DVD's and that worked better for me. I lost sixty pounds over the past two years.
I tend to enjoy workouts that have a mind-body or spiritual element to them. Leslie Sansone, for example, sometimes puts a subtle religious message in her workouts – nothing over the top and nothing that would turn the average person off – just enough to be inspirational. She might say something like “God made over 650 muscles on our bodies and he meant for us to work each one of them” or she might mix in a contemporary sounding fast-paced Christian song on a soundtrack that also has such oldies but goodies as “I Feel Good” by James Brown and “New Attitude” by Patti LaBelle. I enjoy bellydance, martial arts and yoga workouts for the same reason – they tend to have mind-body elements to them.
I was a dancer when I was in college. Since I've always loved to dance, I also enjoy dance based workouts – be they hip hop workouts, ballet conditioning, Jazzercise or bellydance or Argentinian tango dance lessons. The way I see it, anything that gets my behind moving for an hour is a good thing and dance is some of the best all over body conditioning you can get.
What do you like to do? Are you the outdoors type? Do you like hiking and swimming and rowing, for example? Do you enjoy riding your bicycle outside? Are you a solitary type like me who prefers to get all your sweating done in the air-conditioned privacy of your home? Or maybe you like taking a dance or a martial arts or a boot camp or a spinning class because you like working out in groups, within set time frames and having the expertise of an instructor close by. Maybe you would do better having a personal trainer. Maybe you just don't know what you like because you haven't tried any of these things yet and so none of them sound appealing.
The best thing to figure out what suits you is to try them. If you have a bicycle and it's not two degrees, raining or icy outside, get up one morning and take a ride. If you don't have a bicycle, take a walk. It doesn't have to be far – just walk or ride for twenty minutes and see how you like it. See how you feel the rest of the day. If you don't want to or can't venture outside, borrow an exercise DVD from a friend or check one out of the public library and try it out. To get an idea of the type of video workout you might want to try, go to http://www.collagevideo.com . There, you can find all types of video workouts, at all types of fitness levels, and play clips of the DVD's. If you find some that interest you, you can purchase it, rent it from somewhere, borrow it from a friend or check it out of the library and try it out.
Dance schools often have free open houses you can attend that offer introductions to the teachers and free mini-classes. Look in your local newspapers (online and in print) for listings. Gyms tend to give free tours and some even offer free classes to get people hooked. Go check one out. Also, you can always pay to attend one yoga or hiphop or bellydance or pole dancing class, for example, to see if you like it.
I hope I've given you some ideas to get you started. As Leslie Sansone likes to say: “You can't have your best health without exercise.” Go ahead. Give it a try. What have you got to lose besides the pounds?
Let me know how it goes.