All Entries For product review
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 ›
Some of you may not know, but I am a techno-nerd. I find this to be a positive though, as technology has really improved the way we do things and has introduced a lot of new and fun ways to do things, including fitness. Keeping up with my techno-nerd ways, I purchased an iPhone a couple years ago and actually wasn't sure I would like it, but now I can't imagine parting with it. I always have it with me and I love to try out new apps when I get a chance.
This week I am sharing with you my reviews of four iPhone fitness apps that I have found to be fun and helpful. Read More ›
Some women can't wait for the latest fashions to hit their local department store, but for me I get that same thrill when I walk into my local running specialty store. I must confess in the five years since I took up running I have bought more pairs of running shoes, socks, shorts, tech shirts and sports bras than I have any other 'real' articles of clothing. Because I have the liberty to work from home, many times I am sitting in my running/workout gear waiting to pound the pavement or hit the gym so purchasing other clothing really isn't a need.
Below are just a few of my favorite running things and even if you are not a runner, walkers can benefit from them as well.
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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. Read More ›
Last week, when the temperature dipped into the single digits and the snow piled up outside, there was no way I was heading outside for some cardio. Instead of skipping my workout, I reached for one of the many workout DVDs we have here at SparkPeople: Work Out One-on-One Training with Jackie.
I rarely do workout DVDs and instead rely on yoga and running for the bulk of my workouts. This reminded me what a great option they are, especially when you can't go outside.
I searched the blog for 10 of our favorite DVD reviews. Maybe you'll find a new workout to shake up your routine!
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A chance visit to a fancy lingerie shop recently revealed something completely unexpected: the Coobie, a seamless bra that happens to be great for working out.
A number of features prompted me to try it on: the seamless construction, the padded cups, the fantastic array of colors and the price (just $20 for the scoopneck style and $22 for a lacier v-neck). But what really sold me on the Coobie, despite its silly name, was its in-gym performance. Read More ›
As a long-time exerciser and fitness instructor, I've tried my fair share of fitness gear over the years. But only a few items have withstood the sweat test! My workouts consist of a combination of running, walking, Pilates, Spinning, and general fitness training (weights, aerobics, etc.), and today I'm sharing some of my top picks for apparel, gadgets and gear in all of those categories!
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I get lots of requests from people who want to know what equipment, clothes, and other gear I prefer. Today I'm going to share with you a range of products that I use both as a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher.
Confession: January has been "Wear Your Spandex to Work Month" for me. Between marathon training, yoga practice, and teaching, I wear workout clothes at least three weekdays and both weekend days. I feel like I'm always washing workout clothes! For me, it's important to have gear that's durable and attractive. Read More ›
I never learned to ski or snowboard. I've never been tubing or snowmobiling. And not once have I donned snowshoes, ice skates (as an adult anyway) or cross-country skis. Why? Because I have always hated winter. I'm cold when it's 75 degrees out, so just imagine how I feel when it's in the teens! "I don't want to be outdoors in the winter unless I have to be," I'd think. As a result, I've missed out on a lot of the events above…but at least I could always feel my toes.
When I became serious about running over the last year and a half, I knew that running outdoors in the winter would be a must. And happily, it has become something that I look forward to! I actually enjoy the winter and tolerate the cold so much more now that I am a runner; sloshing through all kinds of elements and pushing through dropping temperatures for mile after mile puts the walk from the car to the office into perspective. Running in the winter has taught me to appreciate the cold, ice and snow, and I'm thankful for that. But the key to enjoying an outdoor workout in the winter isn't an attitude adjustment (although that has been part of it): It's all about the clothes.
When you wear the right apparel and layer properly, there is nothing uncomfortable about heading outdoors to work out. I've ran in snow, single digits, cold rain (not that I recommend it), and never once suffered for it. And I attribute a whole lot of my comfort and ability to withstand the cold to a single piece of apparel… Read More ›
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. Read More ›
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? Read More ›
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. Read More ›
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? Read More ›
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. Read More ›
Life is all about balance. Yoga helps me balance my busy life. It tones and strengthens my body, and it also calms and quiets my mind. I practice and teach Ashtanga yoga, a rigorous and regimented branch of yoga with a long history and an emphasis on linking breath and movement. It's tough--my heart rate stays up high enough that is counts as a cardio activity--and each movement is held for about five breaths with no breaks throughout the 75- to 90-minute practice.
While Ashtanga is my yoga of choice, there are times when even my yoga practice needs some balance. Therefore, a couple of times a week, I practice yin yoga, as a complement to my Ashtanga practice.
My best friend is a yin yoga teacher, and she first introduced me to the practice. She has rheumatoid arthritis, so yin, which targets the bones and fascia rather than the muscles as vinyasa (a "yang" yoga practice), is her yoga practice of choice.
Yin yoga poses are held much longer than in other varieties of yoga: 10 breaths up to 10 minutes, depending on the practice. While the Ashtanga primary series includes more than 70 poses, a yin practice might only include five to 10 per class. Yin yoga is very slow and relaxing. Because the poses are held longer than in other classes, yin yoga can be mentally challenging.
I've taken a few classes and a workshop, and I practice at home, but I've never tried a DVD. When I saw that one of my favorite Pilates and yoga teachers, Jennifer Kries, had a Yin Yoga DVD, I picked it up at the library and eagerly reviewed it. Read More ›