September 5, 2010
Hello, my name is L.J. and I am a video exerciser. At least three times a week, I do all sorts of video workouts, ranging from ballet to bellydance, from kickboxing to yoga, from Pilates to in-home walking, from step aerobics to ballroom dancing. I've even tried strip aerobics and a hula dancing workout. Anything to get my behind moving for at least 30 minutes.
I own 2 lb., 3 lb, 5 lb., 8 lb. and 10 lb. dumbbells, a 12 pound Bodybar, a weight bench, an aerobic step, Stretchie bands, boxing gloves, yoga blocks, hip scarves with coins dangling off them and finger zills. I also own tango dance shoes, ballet slippers, jazz shoes, ballroom shoes and sneakers. I have what I need for when I need to do a particular video workout and some things I have yet to use.
For those of you who thought you had to go to a gym and/or hire a personal trainer to lose weight, I have news for you: exercise videos really work! I've lost over 50 pounds in the past 18 months by following the WeightWatchers program, consulting a doctor of Chinese medicine and working out in the privacy of my own living room. I don't use any fancy gym equipment and I don't need tons of space either. I just work out to exercise videos.
Despite the overabundance of dance shoes and the somewhat eclectic mix of equipment that I own, I really don't need all of that stuff. My basic go-to workouts don't require any equipment at all. For cardio, I tend to favor Leslie Sansone's in-home walking workouts. For those of her workouts that also provide toning, the videos include the Stretchie band or you can use 2 or 3lb. dumbbells that you can pick up very inexpensively at any Wal-Mart or Target or sporting goods store. Lately, I've been mixing up the in-home walking workouts with step aerobics and kickboxing.
If I want more of a mind-body connection, I'll do a bellydance or yoga workout. If I want to tone, I'll record a couple of Body Electric workouts featuring Margaret Richards on the DVR and do those, or I'll do Leslie Sansone's You Can Do Pilates or the Balletcise video or some other toning video.
I choose my workouts based on the amount of time I have, what I feel like doing on a particular day and what muscles I did not work the day before. For example, if I did an upper body toning workout the day before, then I will choose a lower body toning workout the next day or do an aerobic workout. I do that because they say you need to give your muscles a day's rest in between toning exercises.
I tend to do aerobic exercises, such as the in-home walking workouts, step aerobics or kickboxing, in the morning before I go to work to get a jump start on my day. When I do that, I have more energy throughout the day. If I feel like it, I will do more relaxing workouts (yoga, bellydance, toning or ballet) at night. They help me to relax after a stressful day and to sleep better at night.
When I am on the hunt for exercise videos, I go to Collage Video's website: http://www.collagevideo.com. There, you can search for exercise videos by workout type or by instructors, read reviews of the workouts and watch short videoclips of the workouts to see if they will suit you. I look at things like the length of the workout, whether it is a staff favorite, whether it is a Prevention or Shape Magazine favorite, what other video users have said about the workout, and whether the workout is suitable for my level of fitness. For example, I don't do high impact aerobics because I don't want to damage my knees and joints and I want to protect my back. I also watch videoclips of the workouts to determine whether the instructor and the workout will suit my tastes and be compatible with me. After a while, you get a feel for the instructors, workout types, etc. that suit you.
Being a video exerciser has worked for me; however, I am not advocating one form of exercise or exercise venue over another. One would certainly benefit from working out at a gym or taking a dance or exercise class outside the home or walking on the beach in the sand for a couple of miles each day. Everyone would benefit from a few sessions with a good personal trainer. But if those options don't appeal to you because you don't have the time or you don't want to have to worry about your hair or your outfit when you go to work out, or you can't get away from small children, or you are so out of shape that you would be embarrassed to work out in public, or you'd be bored hopping onto a treadmill or exercise bike day in and day out, then video exercising may be for you. Just be sure to follow all of the safety instructions provided by the instructor.
Let me know how it goes.