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All Entries For home workouts

Poll: Do You Still Use Fitness DVDs?


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?
Posted 3/9/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 159 comments   12,834 views
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DVD Review: Ageless with Kathy Smith: Total Body Turnaround


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:
Posted 11/17/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 14 comments   10,358 views
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No Workout Buddy? Virtual Partners Motivate Just as Well


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.
Posted 7/21/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 20 comments   15,095 views
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7 Fun Ways to Get Slim without the Gym


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!
Posted 5/25/2011  9:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 52 comments   35,778 views
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8 Challenging Chair Exercises




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.

Posted 3/15/2011  11:00:29 AM By: Nancy Howard : 50 comments   90,824 views
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DVD Review: The Booty Barre Workout


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.
Posted 3/4/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 55 comments   36,066 views
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Stuff We Love: Home Gym Equipment


Over the years I have built up my stock of home gym equipment. While I currently have a gym membership, I find having a variety of home gym equipment helps to add more choices to my workouts, especially during the winter months when I can't make it to the gym due to bad road conditions. I'll share with you some of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment.
Posted 2/15/2011  5:30:03 AM By: Denise Tausig : 45 comments   17,126 views
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DVD Review: Jackie Warnerís 'Xtreme Timesaver Training'


As a busy mom, my free time is limited and very valuable. So if Iím going to spend it exercising, I want the workout to be something that really challenges me. I love running, so thatís my primary form of cardio. But at the beginning of this year, I made a real commitment to focus on strength training. Even though Iím a personal trainer and know what kind of exercises to do, I prefer to strength train using videos that tell me what to do and when to do it so that I donít have to think about it too much.
Posted 11/5/2010  6:44:23 AM By: Jen Mueller : 53 comments   26,702 views
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DVD Review: Amy Dixon's 'Give Me 10!' Has It All


Adopting my dog a few months ago has changed my life in many ways, and that includes my exercise routine. While I'm even more active than before since I share dog-walking responsibilities with my fiancé, I'm not able to spend as much time at the gym. That means at-home workouts make up the bulk of my routine now, so I've been strength training at home, usually with a few of my favorite workout DVDs.

When Amy Dixon's "Give Me 10!" workout DVD showed up on my desk at work, I was excited to try it. Amy Dixon may look familiar to many of you who are avid readers of women's fitness magazines. She's a regular contributor and fitness consultant for magazines like "Self," "Shape," "Women's Health" and more. She knows her stuff, too. With a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology and a boatload of fitness certifications, she's been training and designing workouts for 15 years.

This DVD features a nice mix of six 10-minute workouts: Fat Blasting Cardio, Upper Body Sculpt, Lower Body Firmer, Core Makeover, Yoga Stretch & Flex, and a bonus Kettlebell Tone Up. So are these workouts for you?
Posted 8/6/2010  11:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 37 comments   21,491 views
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Rave Review: Quick Sculpt Pilates DVD with Toning Ball


I like to do Pilates twice a week. That's the minimum amount of core training I need to keep my persistent back problems at bay and to feel centered and limber. Fortunately for me, I've been teaching two mat classes for the past several years—until recently, that is. One of my classes was recently canceled, so I've been on my own to fit in my mat exercises…only I've been a little lazy about doing it on my own.

Last week I dug through my library of workout DVDs searching for a good Pilates DVD to plug the hole in my routine. The folks at 10-Minute Solution sent me the Quick Sculpt Pilates kit (which contains a DVD and a toning ball) a while ago, and now was the perfect time for me to try it.

I've said it before, but I LOVE doing Pilates with the mini ball. I use it in my classes all the time, and my students really enjoy using it, too. I tested the Bender Ball a couple years ago and loved it, so I had high hopes for this DVD. Still, I was a bit skeptical, because it's not easy to find quality instruction on Pilates workout DVDs. Here's what you need to know about trying this Pilates workout set.
Posted 7/14/2010  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 24 comments   15,850 views
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We Tried It: The TRX Workout


I can't remember how I first heard about the TRX suspension trainer, but this portable piece of workout equipment caught my eye a few years ago. I continued to see it make appearances on shows like "The Biggest Loser" and in my fitness magazines, so I figured it was time to give it a try. When I contacted the company about receiving a product to review, they were happy to indulge us. (Hey, this job does have a few perks!)

It's difficult to describe the TRX to someone who has never seen it in action. It look like nothing more than a big band with handles and loops on the ends. So what's the big dealóand how do you use it?
Posted 7/2/2010  5:50:21 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 64 comments   89,533 views
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DVD Review: 10 Minute Solution Ultimate Boot Camp


One of my fitness goals this year has been to incorporate more strength training into my routine. I've found that if I'm going to push myself, it doesn't happen with a bunch of exercises I just do on my own. I need a video to follow. So far this year I've tried some short and long ones, good and bad ones, and some that are more challenging than others. A few weeks ago, I tried one that was such a good balance of difficulty and length that I wanted to do a review of it.
Posted 5/21/2010  1:18:16 PM By: Jen Mueller : 32 comments   14,753 views
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Exercise Secrets to Losing Big in 10 Minutes a Day


SparkPeople.com is the most highly trafficked weight-loss website in America. Needless to say, we know a thing or two about helping people lose weight. Our members have lost more than 10 million pounds to date by following our fun and healthy nutrition and fitness plans, but we wanted to learn more about what really worked for them, so we conducted a huge survey, asking the most successful "losers" what they really did to reach their goals.

We recently shared several of their secrets to weight-loss success with you, and included even more of their strategies in our book, The Spark, which we released last year. Soon after, SparkPeople asked me to create a workout plan based on the book, so I turned to the strategies of our most successful members for help. After all, I wanted this DVD to be more than just another workout DVD. I wanted it to incorporate tactics that were proven to help real people lose weight and reach their goals.

The result, Fit, Firm and Fired Up in 10 Minutes a Day, is a no-brainer workout plan that's fun, easy to follow, and truly effective. I believe it can help you learn to love exercise (if you're not there yet) and totally change your attitude about fitness.
Posted 3/17/2010  7:02:12 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 47 comments   31,306 views
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We Tried It: The 'Squeeze It In' Workout DVD


Like many of you, I'm a busy mom who tries hard to balance work, family life and my own priorities. One of my personal goals is to stay healthy and fit. That's not easy, especially on those days when I barely have enough time to brush my teeth, much less find time for a long workout. That's why I was excited to check out the DVD our friends at SqueezeItIn.com sent us to try. It sells for $14.99 and can be purchased on their website.

SqueezeItIn.com is a website full of exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere. The exercises don't require equipment and often use everyday movements to create a workout. For example, countertop push-ups can be done while making dinner, and hot squats can be done while blow drying your hair. The program suggests dividing your workout into three 10-minute segments throughout the day. The DVD contains many of the exercises that are found on the site, as well as a longer workout and more tips for how to fit exercise into a busy day.

Posted 2/26/2010  6:09:40 AM By: Jen Mueller : 61 comments   15,091 views
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DVD Review: Leslie Sansone's 'Walk Your Belly Flat'


A few months ago, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Leslie Sansone for the dailySpark. Sure, I knew who she was and that our members love her, but I had never actually tried any of the "Walk Away the Pounds" DVDs that made her the famous fitness guru she is today.

Leslie was kind enough to send me a free copy of her newest title, Leslie Sansone Walk At Home: Walk Your Belly Flat, a 3-mile walk you can do from the comfort of your living room. I busted it out on a cold day that I didn't want to head outdoors for a walk. Want to know what I thought about it? And more importantly, whether it'll help you lose that stubborn fat around your midsection?
Posted 1/15/2010  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 363 comments   91,414 views
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