Tuesday, April 22, 2008
If youíre like me, you probably have a thing for workout DVDs (and if youíre old school like me, the VHS videos too). Working out with fitness videos can be a nice way to add variety to your routine, try new types of exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and fit in a workout at home when youíre short on time or trying to avoid bad weather.
Over the years, Iíve amassed quite the collection: yoga, Pilates, cardio dance, jump rope, step aerobics, kickboxing and more. I like to have a wide variety of choices depending on my mood and goals for the day. While videos arenít the staple of my program, I like them occasionally when Iím too lazy to leave the house or donít want to think much about my work out on a particular day.
But who hasnít seen a shiny DVD box in the store or online, bought it, and been completely disappointed after trying it? (Raising my hand with you!) Youíre not aloneóeven the best of us can be deceived into buying something that is: too easy, too hard, way too boring, unsafe, really weird or just plain bad.
So for those of you who love to use videos too, here are a few tips so that you donít waste your money.
- Check out your local library. Most libraries have some fitness DVDs and videosóespecially newer selections. And since itís free, youíre not out anything. In fact, you have preview a video before you choose to buy it from the store. Or, even better, never buy it. Just continue to use your library video selection, rotating between new workouts every few weeks when your selections are due back.
- Try Netflix. For just $4.99/month (plus taxes), you can rent one DVD at a time, up to two times per month. Netflix (and other retailers like Blockbuster) has a vast selection of workout DVDs. This is another great way to preview before you buy. But even betteróuse the Netflix (or similar) plan to try all sorts of DVDs, keeping each one as long as you want and turning it back in for a new one once you get tired of it. You can even sign up for a bigger plan of nearly unlimited choices per month for less than the cost of most gym memberships.
- Read consumer reviews. Both amazon.com and collagevideo.com (my favorite) allow consumers to rate and review DVDs. You can learn a lot from these written reviews that will help you save your money by avoiding bad workout videos.
- Watch a preview. You can find previews of old and new selections on sites like amazon.com, collagevideo.com, and YouTube.com. Watching even a short preview, if possible, of the actual workout (not just a commercial for it) can help you decide whether the exercises, intensity, or even the instructor (letís face it, many are annoying) is right for you.
- Buy used. Iím a big believer in buying used consumer goods whenever possible. It saves money and itís a better environmental choice. Once you find a title youíd like to buy, check out eBay, craigslist.org, or even amazon.com (look for individuals who are selling their used titles, usually for much less than retail). Secondhand sporting goods stores might also have what youíre looking for.
- Ask around. Post on the message boards or the Fitness Product Reviews SparkTeam about the DVD youíre interested in. That way, you can get information from people just like you who have used it!
- Donít buy spontaneously! All of the tips above add up to one thing: do a little research first. Donít fall for the infomercials either.
To see a handful of DVDs that I have watched and reviewed, check out www.dailySparks.com
. Have a favorite DVD? Share in the comments below!