All Entries For home workouts
A few weeks ago I was reading through the message boards when I came across a post from Chris 'SparkGuy' Downie to a member who was asking about what type of strength training activities he could do without access to a gym or weight training equipment. Chris did not let that deter him from offering some great recommendations of performing body-weight exercises--exercises such as push-ups and squats which can be done at home or when traveling when access to resistant training equipment is not at your disposal.
This gave me the idea to link examples of body-weight exercises for you to refer to as the busy holiday travel season rolls around. Hopefully you will can take this with you when traveling and access to weights or machines is not an option. Read More ›
I don't have kids yet, but I've heard (and mostly believe) that when you become a parent, you never love anything in the world more than your own child(ren). You will think they're smart and beautiful and amazing little creatures—because they're yours. And if you've ever worked on something with so much passion and time and energy that you thought of it as your "baby"—whether "it" is a thesis, a cause, or even a work project—you've probably felt something similar.
My latest "babies" have been the workout DVDs I've created for SparkPeople. The process of creating a workout DVD is no small feat. Like any project, it becomes a labor of love. It keeps you up at night. It stresses you out at times. It takes a lot of your energy and focus. It becomes a priority above all else and even an obsession. It makes you question yourself and your decisions. But if you're lucky, it grows into something that fills you with love and a sense of pride. After all, it's your baby!
I can say truthfully that I love my Total Body Sculpting DVD for all of these reasons. I'm proud of it and I was integral in every aspect of it, from its conception to its "birth" into the world. But like any parent who thinks their child is great, sure…maybe I'm a little biased. While I love the DVD and think it's relevant and amazing, I can't hold onto this little baby forever. Ultimately, I had to send it off into the world, hoping that everything I did to nurture it paid off—and that others received it with open arms and treat it well. Read More ›
It's here! It's finally here!
I am so excited to officially announce the nationwide release of SparkPeople's newest workout DVD Total Body Sculpting, which is now available at a variety of retail stores and websites, including Target, Sam's Club, Barnes & Noble as well as amazon.com, collagevideo.com and bestbuy.com (among others).
I designed this DVD with my favorite multi-tasking moves to help you get great results in as little as 20 minutes a day. No matter what your level, it is perfect for anyone with a New Year's resolution to get fit or lose weight. These never-before-seen workouts feature 100% all-new exercises that you won't find in our existing video library! The DVD includes three full-body, fat-torching routines (just 20 minutes each) that show three intensity levels for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers.
Want to learn more about the workout segments and two great deals you can take advantage of right now? Read More ›
If you’ve seen enough infomercials in your time, it’s easy to get convinced that you need to buy the latest and greatest in exercise gadgets or gizmos in order to reach your fitness goals.
The truth is, there’s no need to spend a ton of money on fancy equipment or even a gym membership to get in a good workout. In fact, many great workout routines don’t need any equipment at all. But if you are looking to invest in a few pieces to help you get fit in 2013, there are a few, inexpensive items I’d recommend.
As a personal trainer, I actually train all of my clients at home using these six essential items (and they’re each cost less than $20). Read More ›
We’re officially into the busy holiday season, but that’s no reason to let your workouts get away from you. Next time you feel like skimping on exercise to hit the mall or bake another batch of cookies remember this: It doesn't take much to get a great workout.
That's why I designed this excuse-proof workout. You can do this simple, 6-minute circuit anytime (it's whisper quiet), anywhere (no gym required) and without any equipment. All that and it'll sculpt your body from head to toe, too. Read More ›
I was not blessed with natural flexibility. Unless I stretch on a regular basis, I have no hope of reaching down and touching my toes. My tendency to skip stretching after runs (I know, shame on me) has come back to bite me in the past. I’ve had a few running injuries that could easily have been avoided, had I been stretching on a regular basis. Therefore, this blog is for both you and me. Maybe it will give both of us a new stretching routine to add to our regular workouts, and if it only takes 5 minutes, it’s a short amount of time that’s well-spent. Read More ›
I remember the first Zumba class I ever set foot in at my university's recreation center. The instructor was so full of energy that it made me a little uncomfortable, and the room was jam-packed with girls (and a few guys!) shaking their hips and laughing over pulsing Latin and hip-hop beats. When the first song started, I anxiously wondered what I had gotten myself into and thought about planning an exit strategy. But when the class ended, I was drenched in sweat and grinning like an idiot, in disbelief that an hour had just flown by. After years of being a slave to the elliptical machine, I walked out of that class feeling like I had just had a major fitness revelation: Working out could be both productive and fun! Some people feel this way about running, or lifting weights, or yoga. For me, at that time, Zumba was my thing. It was the spark that made me start to view exercise as a hobby rather than a chore, and I credit it for helping me to see the fun in other forms of fitness over time.
Since that class five years ago, I've taken Zumba more times than I can count, with about a dozen different instructors. I've taken some amazing classes, some sub-par classes, and some downright miserable classes (FYI: if you try Zumba for the first time and hate it, take it again with another instructor. It makes all the difference!). I thought I had experienced all of the possible facets of Zumba—until Zumba sent us a free Zumba Fitness Exhilarate DVD set to review and Coach Nicole let me do the honors.
The Zumba DVD experience is definitely a different animal. I was a little hesitant at first, unsure of how a live class would translate into a home DVD format. So did Zumba's at-home DVDs deliver the same fun and intensity as my classes? Did I really burn 1,000 calories per hour like their commercials claimed I could?
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Contest closed! The winner is:
Are you still dragging your feet on strength training? You're not alone--many people tend to skimp on the weights in favor of calorie-torching cardio. However, while cardio is excellent for weight loss, strength training is just as important since lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass, even when you're at rest. So by lifting weights, you'll transform yourself into a more efficient calorie-burning machine while changing your physique from the inside out! Plus, strength training helps to increase bone density and maintain joint flexibility, which is crucial as you age.
You might feel that strength training sounds good in theory, but don't know where to start. You may lack the motivation, or need some help structuring an effective plan. Or, you might not feel comfortable working out in the weight room just yet. Do any of these excuses sound familiar? Look no further: we've got the strength training solution for you!
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I heart Amy Dixon. She's a veteran fitness instructor, master trainer and creator of many wonderful workouts you've probably seen in fitness magazines and DVDs alike. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and she is a real treat: super sweet, super fit and down to earth. It makes it hard for me to hate her when she kicks my booty in her DVDs, which she always does (in a good way).
Amy's latest DVD "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" ($14.99, amazon.com) capitalizes off the trendy "Tabata" style interval training, which involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. Tabata training is touted as one of the most efficient ways to boost aerobic endurance and fat burning, and although I had read about it, but hadn't experienced it until I tried this DVD. I have to admit, I was a little scared. So how did I fare? And is this DVD right for you? Read More ›
In this era of on-demand entertainment, where everything (our phones, our TVs and our laptops) is connected to the Internet to stream whatever we want to watch right when we want to watch it, what does it mean for the humble little fitness DVD?
The first exercise videos were introduced on VHS in the '80s, and they revolutionized fitness. Home workout videos made exercising in your living room a regular thing—cheap, accessible and private, compared to paying to take classes at a gym. I've never known a world without fitness videos (I'll be 30 this year). But could fitness DVDs soon be a thing of the past? Read More ›
When I first started SparkPeople as a member back in 2004, I lost the first part of my weight by doing a lot of workout videos at home. To this day, I still love to try new workout DVDs when I can so I can continue to have variety in my workouts when the weather is bad. When Coach Nicole asked for help in reviewing DVDs for the dailySpark, I couldn’t help but be excited about the opportunity!
I recently tried out the Ageless with Kathy Smith: Total Body Turnaround DVD. As some of you may know, Kathy Smith has been in the fitness industry for a long time (nearly 30 years). She definitely knows her stuff, and what I love about this DVD is that Kathy is great about giving cues and instructions for proper form. She wants to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly so that you don’t injure yourself. (Believe me, injuries can happen to anyone). Now, I honestly can’t remember if I have seen or worked out with any of Kathy Smith’s other workout videos, but I was very pleased with this one.
From the DVD cover:
"Split into three 20-minute workouts, each one targets a physical change people face as they grow older. It’s like a reset button for your body!
First, the circuit segment trims and firms, ramping up your calorie burn and attacking your trouble spots. You’ll tone and strengthen your legs, buttocks, arms, and core all while trimming your waistline. Next, you’ll hone your balance, a vital practice to keep you doing the things you love. Finally, refresh and recharge with the total-energy segment. You’ll wake up your body and de-stress your life.
With plenty of modifications to match your experience level, Total Body Turnaround is a convenient, fun, and fast way to get fit. Whatever your age, you’ll feel stronger, leaner, and more energized!"
My take on the 3 segments:
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I lived in Memphis for a few years and had a great running partner when I was there. Some days we'd meet at 4:30 a.m. to squeeze in a speed workout before starting the rest of the day. Would I have gotten up that early to run in the dark on my own? Probably not. Since we both moved away, I haven't found another partner who can easily meet when I'm free and wants to train for the same distances. I do most of my runs solo these days, which can be tough for motivation.
Working out with a buddy can make the experience more enjoyable, and also push you to work harder than you would have alone. But what happens when you don't have someone to do it with you? Are you doomed to fall off of the exercise bandwagon? Not necessarily. A new study reveals that working out with a virtual partner can help increase motivation. Read More ›
Do you find yourself holding even tighter to your purse strings these days? I'm always looking for ways to cut my expenses, especially with gas and food prices on the rise. This can be challenging to do when you're trying to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle though. After all, they say it costs more to be healthy: "Health food" is usually more expensive per calorie than junk food (although that isn't always the case); going to the doctor for regular checkups can add up, too. And exercise? Well, moving your body safely and effectively isn't always cheap: Workout shoes, clothes, classes and gym memberships can really add up.
As a fitness instructor, I don't have to pay for access to a gym. But if I did have to (knowing my cheap self), I probably wouldn’t. Beyond the three classes I teach per week, I rarely set foot in the gym. Partly because the gym feels like "work" to me, and partly because I need a change of scenery, most of my workouts take place outdoors or at home.
So whether you're trying to save a buck, spend more time at home (and less time in transit), or simply don't like the atmosphere of a gym, don't worry. There are plenty of ways you can get fit and healthy without ever signing a contract or forking over even a single month's worth of membership fees. Here are some of my favorites! Read More ›
You should not have to join a fancy gym or spend loads of money on home fitness equipment in order to build lean body mass. Using simple at home objects such as canned food, a towel, even a chair can be just as effective as using a dumbbell or resistance band. Remember the body does not know the difference between lifting a one pound can of beans or a dumbbell. As long as you are overloading the muscles, even if that overload is from your own body weight, you will build muscle strength.
A few weeks ago I shared with you all a blog on how using as simple as a towel can help us with our resistance training workouts. Today's blog is how using a simple chair can help us tone our abs, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, glutes and quads. And one of the great things about these exercises is that you can do them anywhere you have access to a chair, whether at home, on the job or waiting for a flight at the airport. I hope you enjoy.
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As a fan of both Pilates and dance workouts, I have been dying to try one of the latest fitness trends: barre workouts. Many celebs (including Kelly Ripa) are reported fans of these toning workouts that combine ballet, Pilates, calisthenics and yoga movements into one workout, usually using a ballet barre as a prop—or a chair if you're exercising at home. Some barre workouts use just your body weight, while others incorporate some props like light hand weights or bands. The premise behind these workouts is to trim and tone and achieve the long, lean body of a dancer. They heavily focus on the lower body with focused movements and high repetitions with little to no added weight (besides your own body).
At first glance, these may look or even sound easy, but everyone I know who has ever tried a barre workout has said the same thing: that they are very challenging.
I was ready for a new challenge! So when Tracey Mallett's Total New Body: The Booty Barre ($14.99) workout DVD landed on my desk, I was eager to try it. Read More ›