First and foremost, I just want to put it out there that I know my blog has no pictures! I promise I am not trying to be boring on purpose! Here’s the 411…I let my parents take my camera to India because their old one wasn’t working, and now I think I am just going to let them keep that camera. I want a new one! I think this new blog deserves a new camera (at least that’s how I justify it)! So, I promise in couple of weeks (if not sooner) my blog posts will be full of fun pics.
And now, onto the prompt of the day – to gym or not to gym. I think a lot of people struggle with that thought because they feel like the only way to get a solid, heart pumping workout is at the gym. I am a firm believer of the opposite. I think you can achieve a lot at home with the right tools and some motivation. I used to think that I “needed” a treadmill because no other form of exercise would give me the same benefits. I would occasionally use the elliptical, but regardless, my cardio workouts had to come from a machine. Even when I was training for my first half-marathon, ALL of my short runs were on the treadmill. I only ran the long ones outside on a trail.
Only after moving to Tucson, not really liking my apartment gym, and discovering the local parks and canyons, did I fully gain an appreciation for outdoor running. And oh my gosh do I love it! It’s so refreshing to be outside after spending 9 hours in an office building. Now, I know what most of you are thinking…”you live in Tucson where there is no snow, no ice, and really no cold.” And I agree with you 100%. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to live out here and enjoy the outdoors in January, but my non-gym workouts aren’t always at the park.
Just recently, I discovered the fun-filled world of workout DVDs. And I know that working out in front of the TV all by yourself is not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT, I do think that everyone should at least give it a try because you don’t know what you don’t know. Here are a couple of tips: 1. Netflix has tons of fitness DVDs that you can try – just add one to your queue. 2. I believe most local libraries carry fitness DVDs…go to your library, PEOPLE!
Personally, I am a huge fan of all of the Jillian Michael’s DVDs that I own (as you can probably tell from my previous posts). I know this sounds lame, but Jillian really has taught me the value of strength training and using my own body as an enabler and tool. Supplementing my runs with these DVDs has made a world of a difference for me. I feel stronger than ever before. So, with that being said, here are my own personal reviews (and opinions) on 4 of Jillian Michael’s workout DVDs:
1. No More Trouble Zones - You start off with a ~5 minute warm up that gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Jillian then uses circuit training to work both your upper and lower body to target different muscle groups. For example, in one circuit, you will do 5 different sets of tricep and quad moves 2x. You do 6 different circuits 2x total. It’s an all over body workout that will definitely help you define muscles you never knew you had! I like this one because it targets everything…abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and the chest. It’s definitely challenging, but it also really works.
2. Blast Fat, Boost Metabolism – Again, you start off with a warm up that loosens up your muscles. You then move into a circuit training cardio workout that gets your heart pumping. This is an extremely challenging workout that incorporates plyometrics, kickboxing, and dynamic moves to help burn fat. The idea is the same as No More Trouble Zones with the 6-7 different circuits repeating 2x. I utilize this workout when I don’t feel like going for a run or when it’s too cold to run outside.
3. 30 Day Shred – I feel like this is one of Jillian’s more well-known DVDs. The premise is pretty simple. There are 3 different levels of workouts that increase in intensity as you move from 1 to 3. You do the workout for 30 days (level 1 for 10 days, level 2 for 10 days, and level 3 for 10 days). Each level is about 25 minutes including the warm up and cool down. Jillian uses a 3-2-1 system to give you the biggest bang for your buck. You go through 3 different circuits 2x that include 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. Sounds easy, but I promise it’s not! I have read that people who stick with this workout for 30 days really do see significant results, as in inches off the waist, etc.
4. Yoga Meltdown – This is the newest addition to my collection, and I must say that it does not disappoint in terms of giving you a good workout. There are 2 levels that accommodate both someone who is just getting into yoga and someone who has the ability to do more advanced poses. Each level is about 30 minutes including the warm up and cool down. I have only used this DVD once, and since I have only really done yoga about 3 times in my entire life, level 1 was tough. I definitely felt sore today, especially in my arms. As a note of caution, I would recommend that anyone who wants to use this DVD regularly attend a few “regular” yoga classes first because this is a fast paced workout with minimal emphasis on form.
So there you have it…my review of 4 challenging and in my opinion, fun workout DVDs! So, the next time you think “to gym or not to gym” just know that there are other fun options out there. All it takes is a little creativity and a little motivation!
If you have other suggestions or tips for non-gym workouts, please feel free to comment. Or, on the other end, if you feel that gym based workouts are the only way to go, please feel free to share your thoughts as well.