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7 Suggestions Before You Buy Another Fitness DVD

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Read consumer reviews. Both and (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.

  4. Watch a preview. You can find previews of old and new selections on sites like,, and 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.

  5. 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,, or even (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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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NOVATV 11/11/2019
Netflix is cool. You can even try Nova TV from Report
YMWONG22 10/28/2019
Great. Report
I scored a few older Leslie Sansone & Kathy Smith videos on ...cough...VHS at a thrift store for 10 cents each! Hardly anyone wants tapes anymore so they can be picked up quite inexpensively. Even DVD's are showing up with streaming becoming so popular. Amazon & Collage reviews really do help! Report
CollageVideo dot com is NOT out of business - you can still call or email and they will sell you dvd's etc. They are just moving to a new platform/web host:

"We’ll be back and running at full speed very soon. We’ll be on a new web host with a faster store platform, but will still have the great features you’ve come to love, as well as the top-notch customer service you’ve come to expect, from Collage Video. Not to mention an even wider selection of terrific fitness DVDs and associated products. "

You can always set a "watch" on eBay or Amazon etc for items you are looking for. The one lady above was looking for used copies of the T-Tapp videos and if she sets a watch for it on eBay, then if one shows up for sale, eBay will send her an email notifier to let her know. Report
I haven't read every comment so someone might have suggested this already but if you have a HuluPlus subscription, do a search for Leslie there. HP has some great excerpts of her walks via Gaim Walking, from the very basic to the more advanced and from 4 minutes to 11 minutes or so. If nothing else, it's a great way to give her stuff a try to see if it's something you'll like. :) Report
Great ideas - Collage Video went out of business. has a great website with the ability to preview the videos. EBay is great too! Report
Great comments. I am looking for used T-Tapp DVDs. I cannot afford the regular retail price of her workouts but I do believe that they work and want to find some good used ones. I did find her book, "Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes" for around $6.00. I have looked at Ebay-same prices,'t have, Amazon-same prices, B&N-doesn't carry, Abe Books-doesn't carry, Valore Books-doesn't carry, and finally Craigslist Worldwide-not any listed. Also, checked my local library system and they had zilch. I did puts wanted ads on Craigslist in Los Angeles, CA (where they're located) and Atlanta, GA (where there is an upcoming event.) I am waiting to hear something from them. Any leads would be appreciated. Report
lots of help Report
I love the idea about posting on the message boards about a Fitness DVD to see get others opinions! Report
I just bought Leslie Sansone's Pilates Walk DVD from QVC and it is my Favorite so far of ALL Leslie's Walks! (AND, that says a lot, because I have several favorites of hers!) Way to go, Leslie! :-) Report
I love most of the prevention magazine videos, especially Chris Freytag's Belly, Butt and Thigh = awesome little 10 minute workouts. Who doesn't have 10 minutes and the 3-2-1 = an awesome beginners video... I lost 20 pound when I did it 3x a week a couple years back and I'm a big Chris Freytag fan. She is really easy to follow. I also have this dorky video called "Sexy Arms" I got on Amazon, but it covers all the bases on working your arms. All are great when you have no time to think about it.... just pop in and someone else gives you the moves. It's a great brainless way to workout when you need it!! Report
I too am a best fitness DVDs nut! You posted a lot of great ideas for people to use to spend their money wisely when it comes to choosing the best fitness DVD for them. I have used the library and looked at reviews myself before purchasing DVDs. I always make sure I look at the reviews in the middle not the first few. I also have a few friends that use netflix and love it! Lets all keep our body moving and get healthy in 2012! Report
I use Amazon then read and analyze all the reviews. After I purchase I then review them on Amazon to help others. Throw away the top reviews and bottom reviews. Read the middle reviews and you will get a good idea of what it is about. Report
Expanding on number four, one great way to avoid buying a bad DVD is to see if there are any detailed examples of what is in it online. For example, I recently found a new fitness program called that will be coming out with a DVD soon. But to make sure people like it, they posted a bunch of samples on their YouTube channel, rippedtrainingdotcom. There are some great videos by many different trainers, and I'd encourage all of you to check it out. Report
A another idea is Half Price Books, they have alot of exercise videos for less and if you don't like it you can always return it. I've tried doing the videos at different times of the day and found out it just could be just I was't feeling at that time and once I do it again I loved it. Report
Strongly agree with all mentioned. These are all awesome tips I have discovered and had to chuckle when reading this since I am so guilty of the same. Report
#4 youtube - right on, nicole! Check out on youtube. They put out new videos each week geared at home workouts with minimal equipment. Free and extremely challenging workouts, with alternate instructions for beginners to do certain moves. Let me know what you think! Report
The worst video I have bought was a 10 minute AB workout. I just didn't find it to able to keep my interest. I have since learned what motivates me and I have a few that I use on a very regular basis.
I am a cheesy old-time 80`s vhs buff.I love exercising to these oldies.
I got lots of them for a penny on Amazon. Report
Good ideas. Report
I visit the library for the latest DVD's. I don't watch a lot of DVDs so I'm not sure if Netflix in for me. I exchange with friends. Report
In addition to the other online purchase options, check to see if there is a listserve in your area - you maybe able to get DVD's for free from people who don't want them anymore - Report
Great ideas. This is one area of shopping I have trouble with. I want every exercise video out there because the nest one will make me thin! Report
Never thought about my local library for fitness dvds; but will definitely check them out!! Thanks! Report
I love all the Leslie Sansone dvds. The four/five mile ones are a little long if you are in a hurry but all of hers are generally great and make you feel good at any level. You can power it up or power it down depending on your fitness level. Report
I have been using my local library for workout DVD's and if my library doesn't have it, I can request it from another library and have it sent over. This has been such a great idea. I have tried some that I thought I would like and I didn't, so all I had to do was return them to the library. No regretting that I spent money on something that I wasn't going to use anymore. And every week or every other week I have a different DVD so I don't get bored doing the same one over and over. Report
I've just started again with Netflix so thats a great idea. I was previously swapping my dvd's (Exercise and other) on that was a GREAT investment when I decided I couldn't listen to some of the instuctors on the DVD's anymore!! Report
My cable service offers video on demand with a free channel. I can take my choice of lots of different workouts without spending a dime extra. They include the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, some Biggest Loser stuff, even an Urban Strip workout. I usually do a couple and mix it up with harder ones on alternate days. If I really liked a particular workout I could buy it Report
If you have cable, there are also fitness channels that you can work out with and options ot fit your time, fitness level and environment. So, check there and see who may be your favorite instructor, then maybe go buy the DVD so you won't be disppointed. The other suggestions are great as well. Let's get to stepping! Report
I am going to check out Fit, firm and Fired Up. Sounds like it would fit into life pretty easy with the 10 minute sessions of exercise. Report
Some of the DVD's from Netflix can be used right on your computer-I have used them several times to see if I think the program is good before I purchase. Report
Thanks for the suggestions. I had a nice library of VHS tapes but we've rolled along with technology here and have DVD players. I have enjoyed using the online videos here on SparkPeople to get me back in the swing of things. I will look into the library, NetFlix, and Collage Video (thanks, on that one I used to order from them all the time & it slipped my mind on what the name of the catalog was I used). Now I have a way to beat the heat and humidity around here, I am on my way! Report
You can also find great deals at if you don't want to bid but just compare prices and buy. Report
Before I buy a video I DVR Fit TV then see often I do the the exercise and see, if its worth buying. Report
Great idea on looking for used DVD's. Report
I subscribe to Netlix! They have you might want to try. Report
Netflix is an awesome idea! I didn't even realize they had fitness DVDs! Report
I'm so glad I saw this. I'd just placed an order for more fitness DVDs (like I need more to add to my 30+ collection) and just canceled it. I'm going to check out Netflix. That way I can try them out and THEN if I like them, buy them later. Report
I am like you I have lots of videos that I watched once and then gave away. Not for me. I am going to check Netflix (HUGE netflix fan anyway). I didn't realize they had workout videos. Thanks! Report
Great suggestions! I love Collage Video too - great reviews and clips. They actually have fitness experts who do all their videos and write reviews. Very helpful. I have never been disappointed in any bought from there. Have also learned recently of - they also have review and sometimes even longer clips. Have also done the library thing, but will try Netflix as well. Sometimes the checkout time from the library is too short for me. I like the one month option. Thanks for the info!
Another source for online exercising videos is exercise tv, /. They have full length 20 to 30 videos and lots of videos to preview. Kendall Hogan is my favorite trainer there. I also, like Kathi Smith's videos.

There are also a few exercise videos on Dr. Oz's Realage website: Report
I am also a Leslie Sansone fan. The moves are uncomplicated but effective. Report
This is a great little artical - thanks for the tips. I too have my collection of fitness DVD's and I think I'll check out the library next time. Report
I bought the Jillian Michael's Wii last year....big disappointment. Next time I'll definitely check out the customer responses. Report
I will use this information thanks Report
thanks ,great idea Report
GREAT idea! Thank you. Report
I LOVE the idea of using the library and Netflix to broaden my choice of exercise DVDs. It's an extra great idea for previewing dvd's that I might buy. Report
Tae bo for life. Billys favorite moves have helped me shed twenty pounds and counting. I looked at some of the new programs out there and they contain soo many of his moves. I also love prevention fitness shortcuts to big weight loss.

And yes try your local library, like I did. I haven't paid for a video yet. I can renew twice which gives me three weeks. Return and rent the same one again or try something new if that one is unavailable. The public library in my area charges nothing to check them out and has a wonderful selection.