Exercising at home can be a wonderful solution for busy moms (and dads!) who find that it is difficult to fit a gym membership into their family’s schedule – and sometimes budget! The problem often starts when you’re not entirely sure what exercise program would be good for you to do at home. Sure, you want to resolve or a make a goal to be more fit in 2014, but how do you get there? Workout DVDs can be an excellent solution and a great addition to the home gym. From the beginner who might feel self-conscious in the community gym to the work-at-home/stay-at-home parent who fits in exercise whenever the schedule permits (which may or may not coincide with gym schedules and babysitter’s schedules), exercise DVDs can be a great way to try new workouts, learn proper exercise technique, and even hear the pep and encouragement that great instructors give to help you through your workout. Not every workout DVD is a winner, so here at Mamavation we have taken the time to review many of the newest workout programs on the market to present you with a list of the Best Workout DVDs for a Fit 2014 – check these out as you’re planning your New Year’s Goals!
The Best Workout DVDs for a Fit 2014
New to Exercise or Returning from Injury
Many of the women in our community began exercising as beginners without knowing how or what activities they could do because of their size. We always encourage our members to walk at least 10,000 steps a day – this improves your every day health and can really be a stepping stone to better fitness overall. If it’s the very least you can do, WALK! A fantastic introduction to working out at home and great DVDs for beginners are Leslie Sansone DVDs. Walking is a very easy, low impact workout that you can even do with family – in fact, I used a Leslie Sansone video to help my husband start working out after he recovered from having 3 heart attacks at the age of 26! If you are returning to exercise after an injury or beginning exercise for the first time, Leslie’s videos are a perfect choice. Women are often nervous about weight lifting, but really want to work on their arms, because no one wants to be waving hello and goodbye at the same time! If that describes you, then you will definitely want to check out Leslie’s new DVD Just Walk 5 Mega Miles – there is even a toning band included inside the DVD case! Leslie is GREAT at making the workout really work (even for those more experienced), and also telling you how you can adapt the workout if you’re not at that level yet.
Great for: those new to exercise, returning from injury, or cross-training for runners
For beginners who are ready for more than walking, I would also recommend Leslie Sanson’s Just Walk Walk It Off in 30 Days DVD that includes 2 complete workouts – one with 30 minutes of cardio and one with 30 minutes of strength training. She suggests that you complete each workout 3 days per week, alternating days (so cardio Monday, Wednesday, Friday and strength Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), with one day off as a rest/recovery day. Like her other workouts, Leslie does an amazing job speaking to the new exerciser who may not be completely confident yet!
Great for: those new to exercise or returning from injury
If you’ve ever watched TV late at night, you’re bound to have seen at least one infomercial for an exercise program that has before and after pictures of people and tells you how much weight you can lose with their awesome and fun workouts. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably also been skeptical about the success of such programs and the truthfulness in their before/after photos. We did find a complete program that is simply fantastic – my husband put it to the test and has been recommending it like crazy to everyone he knows because it made a vast difference in his exercise outlook. The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Elliot is an amazing program – he leads you through a journey of 108 days that will truly make a difference, and his voice is reminiscent of Matthew McConaughy, which I found awesome. My husband’s only issue with this program was the length of the workouts – to complete an hour workout plus meditation and the hardCORE ab workout is not something that someone new to exercise would be expecting, and in fact it is not recommended for beginners. Personally, I fell in love with Yin Yoga thanks to this program!
Great for: Non-beginners who have taken yoga classes and are looking to step up their exercise regimine
While the Ultimate Yogi was my husband’s favorite complete program, my favorite is a bit different. I absolutely adore the Dream Body Cardio Series from Fusion Fitness. From the brightly colored DVD packaging, peppy instructors on the covers, and cute titles like “M.I.L.F”, “inTENse”, ”Bikini Bootcamp”, “Fusion 50″, and “Bata Barre”, these workouts were just screaming to be tried. And they certainly did not disappoint! Here at Mamavation, we know that our official trainer Mark (aka @mrbookieboo) loves the burpees, but these women introduce a whole new level of amazing with the single-arm, tricep extension burpee. They have amazing energy, the moves of dancers, and really make you feel like you can totally accomplish these workouts. Before you know it, the workout is over, you’re drenched in sweat (at least I was!), and feeling awesome. Love, love, love this program. If you’re newer to exercise or lacking in coordination (like moi), I would recommend that you watch the workout through first and THEN try them out. Yes, this is how you’re supposed to prepare for all workout DVDs, but very few people I know actually do. I actually feel graceful after doing these, and seriously if I can achieve that feeling, these are talented instructors! For the program, you do the DVDs in order with a cross training day (they recommend going for a run or hike) on Day 4 and a rest day on Day 7. Note: it’s important to remember on this program NOT to get discouraged if you can’t keep up with them or do all the exercises when you’re first trying it. Do the modifications, do what you can, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can do even the next week when you do the DVD again!
Great for: anyone looking to perk up and pump up their workout
Working out during pregnancy can be tricky, especially if you are receiving advice from friends and family to not workout. You definitely need to talk to your doctor, nurse, and/or midwife about working out to see if it’s safe and what level of workout is safe for you, as each woman’s pregnancy can vary. If you’re cleared for exercise and your doctor, nurse, or midwife approves, we have two favorite choices for pregnancy workout DVDs. Fusion Bump is a 55 minute prenatal workout that will help you sculpt and tone your legs, arms, and burn calories with low-impact exercises. Personally, I worked out during both of my pregnancies – childbirth was one of the biggest athletic activities I’d ever attempted!
Great for: pregnant moms whose doctor, nurse, or midwife have approved them for low-impact exercise
Knocked Up Fitness by Erica Ziel is another awesome choice – it’s a 2 DVD set with 7 workouts so you won’t get bored, and the package includes an exercise band. Erica leads you through Pilates-infused prenatal workouts. She is such a delightful instructor, I just love how sweet she is! We were also very happy with her post-natal workout DVD From Knocked-Up to Knock Out, a 2 DVD set with 10 Pilates-infused functional workouts to help you workout after delivery.
Great for: pregnant moms whose doctor, nurse, or midwife have approved them for low-impact exercise
If you’ve ever heard (or used) the excuse that you don’t have enough time to complete a workout, then Sweat Unlimited by Sara Haley is for you. The DVD includes 5 different workouts that you can mix and match to fit the time restrictions that you might have. Her workouts are equipment free, so you can do them anywhere – even in a hotel. The shortest is Sweat Extreme 5: Trigger, Tone & Tighten with 5 minutes of energizing exercises, and the longest is Sweat Box 45: Punch, Kick & Core with 45 minutes of Tabata-inspired intervals with boxing drills and core exercises that will totally make you feel like a badass, so you can choose what type of workout you’d like to do as well as how long you’d like to workout. Great for: the workouts on the go or when you don’t have much time to work out
Hard Core Workout
Stuck in a workout rut? If you’ve been exercising for a while, chances are that at some point or another you’ve found yourself in a workout rut where you’re just not as excited as you used to be about the workouts that you have available. I usually find that I can get myself back in gear if I pick up a different workout DVD than what I’m used to – mixing it up can help break through weight loss plateaus and get you inspired to workout again. One of my favorite DVDs for that purpose is Jillian Michaels’ Hard Body Get the Edge 2 – it has 2 workouts that are 45 minutes long and will challenge your body. I love Jillian’s training style and she’s one of my favorite DVD trainers, so I love having one of of her DVDs available to switch things up and use as cross training for running.
Great for: anyone looking for a serious, body sculpting workout
Working out sometimes brings pain. It may not necessarily be an injury, but when you’re losing weight, it happens. Muscles are tight or sore, especially when you’re working out muscles that you didn’t even know you had before. But we have a solution for that too – the Massage Therapy Kit is amazing and includes 11 guided routines to help you ease pain with self-massage sequences, and the package also includes 2 Yoga Tone Up therapy balls. (Yes, when I opened the package, I did giggle like a pre-pubescent boy because I have such high levels of maturity…) This kit has made an amazing difference in improving my posture, helping to relieve pain, and the tight IT band that I’ve been working on since I started running. Great for: everyone
During our search for the best workout DVDs, we also found some programs that are completely online that we wanted to make sure to include. While they didn’t make it to the list since they’re not DVDs, they are still an excellent workout idea for the home gym!
Dream Body Online – much like the complete program listed above, Dream Body 2012 is a complete program from Fusion Fitness. It’s last year’s model, but still has excellent workouts!
My Yoga Online – streaming yoga video classes and downloads – what could be better? From beginner to advanced, you can definitely find a routine for you.