If you’re like me, you probably have a thing for workout DVDs (and if you're old school like me, the VHS tapes, 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 you’re short on time or trying to avoid bad weather.
Over the years, I've 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.
But who hasn’t seen a shiny DVD box in the store or online, bought it, and been completely disappointed after trying it? (Raising my hand with you!) You’re not alone—even 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 don’t waste your money.
- Check out your local library. Most libraries have some fitness DVDs and videos—especially newer selections. And since it’s free, you’re 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 better—use 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 (let’s face it, many are annoying) is right for you.
- Buy used. I’m a big believer in buying used consumer goods whenever possible. It saves money and it’s a better environmental choice. Once you find a title you’d 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 (such as Play It Again Sports) might also have what you’re looking for.
- Ask around. Post on SparkPeople's Message Boards about the DVD you’re interested in. That way, you can get information from people just like you who have used it!
- Don’t buy spontaneously! All of the tips above add up to one thing: do a little research first. Don’t fall for the infomercials either.
Have a favorite DVD? How about one that you bought and now regret? Share in the comments below!
You will earn 5 SparkPoints