Recommend me some exercise DVDs, or other cheapskate ways to get fitter!
September 12, 2010 5:44 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get more exercise, and I think an exercise DVD or two might be the answer. Can you recommend any? Other cheapskate exercise solutions also welcome, but the answer "go for a run" is unfortunately no longer a good answer for me.

I'm not currently in a position to join a gym, which is my usual exercise solution. When I have been a gym member I've spent most of my time on the cardio machines (a "standard" workout when I was "fit" was 20-30mins on the x-trainer, 20-30 mins on the stationary bikes, 10 mins treadmill). I'd like to get back to this level of fitness but I'm not there now, so I'd be looking for a DVD or DVDs with various levels. Other than this caveat, I'm not that fussed about type of workout. Other suggestions also welcome - I cycle a lot and do some hiking, but can't run long distances anymore due to injury. I own a yoga ball, mat, and some weights but find it hard to get motivated to use them.
posted by handee to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Got an iPhone? iFitness is a good way to build workouts around you.
posted by Biru at 6:01 AM on September 12, 2010

Do you have any video game systems? Fitness games are fun. Actually, it looks like you can still buy Yourself Fitness for PC. It's not an interactive game, but rather it creates a customized "exercise video" everyday based on information you give it about your fitness level and goals.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:33 AM on September 12, 2010

I have heard good things about this program (in free e book form) from Mark's Daily Apple.
posted by pointystick at 6:37 AM on September 12, 2010

All of my friends who use exercise videos swear by, and have great success with, that P90X thing. (I've never tried it, because I prefer working out very early in the mornings and I don't want my downstairs neighbors to plot my messy death.)
posted by elizardbits at 7:17 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's really hard to recommend specific videos.... But your public library may have exercise DVDs, so you could try them. Otherwise try Netflix, you'll spend less trying a bunch, rather then buying a few and finding out that they're not right for you. (And many of them do suck, but it's just so personal.)
posted by anaelith at 7:46 AM on September 12, 2010

You might like Jari Love. Her DVD's are mostly weights, but she has one called Get Ripped 1000 that incorporates cardio. She shows modifications for beginners and more advanced users, so you should be able to continue to use them as your fitness improves.

I like her workouts because they definitely feel like workouts, i.e. I get a pleasant soreness and "worked-out" feeling, but they are so, so boring. I have to watch something else while doing them, or listen to a podcast, so I don't zone out.
posted by apricot at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, there are loads of Tracy Anderson workouts available for free on youtube. I like the upper body ones, which are ace at preventing the dreaded chickenwing.
posted by elizardbits at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Buy a pedometer. Try for 10,000 steps a day. A great motivator.
posted by PickeringPete at 10:08 AM on September 12, 2010

I like Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. There are jumping jacks and jump rope motions (without an actual jump rope), but that's about as intense the movements get on your knees. There are 3 levels of about 25 minute routines, which have strength, cardio, and ab workouts. Jillian is motivating and the workouts are quick but leave me sweaty and feeling worked out. I got my dvd copy at Barnes and Noble online for about $10.

I love the idea of trying out some different ones from the library! Good luck.
posted by shortyJBot at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2010

Best answer: I really like This girl has probably the most amazing lean yet feminine body I've seen, and ridiculous abs. Her workouts are strenuous, but she also gives modification tips for beginners. Even if you're not looking to get outrageously ripped, this is, IMHO (and perhaps somewhat superficially to this Los Angeleno) pretty inspirational. :)

The site includes challenges - she's done a week-long 'no sugar' challenge, something she calls the MED (Move Every Day) challenge - and that makes these workouts less boring. They are also usually fairly short, and all can be performed at home with minimal to no equipment - what you already have should be plenty.

Her videos can be found on YouTube under charliejames1975.

I also like Jillian Michaels' DVDs that can be found cheaply on Amazon. P90X/ Insanity workouts will definitely give you results, but if you're just starting out on your fitness program, I wouldn't recommend it - those explosive, high-cardio workouts are extremely strenuous (as in, push yourself till you puke and then puke some more) and would be great for someone who's already at a certain level of fitness. If you've injured yourself, I'd hold off on these workouts. They're also not too cheap to purchase, so if you want to try them out eventually, you should try to find someone that's already used them and see if you can keep up with the workouts before you purchase a copy for yourself.

Good luck with getting back your fitness levels! If you're able to run in the future, you could try the Couch-to-5k program that gradually ramps you up to running long distances. Take care of yourself.
posted by Everydayville at 11:30 AM on September 12, 2010

I know it's been mentioned before here, and isn't a DVD - but among the "other" category you might consider crossfit. It looks ridiculous and intimidating, but if you just stick with scaled versions doesn't require too much paraphernalia. Just remember to scale as much as you need and it turns into a nice varied workout.
posted by lab.beetle at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2010

Best answer: For exercise DVDs, try Cathe (through the library first if you can or try a DVD swap site). Her advanced workouts are the toughest I've done and I've tried P90X and Insanity.

Also, if you have a TV + cable/FIOS/satellite service, you might have ExerciseTV or FitTV as one of your channels or "on demand" choices. Other channels (Style, Veria) have exercise shows too.

Hulu and YouTube have some full length exercise workouts for free.

Do an internet search for crossfit and/or tabata workouts that are made to do on the road or in a hotel room (to find ones that don't require superfluous equipment). That will give you a variety of simple but very hard strength/cardio moves to perform for specific repetitions or timed intervals for an extremely tough workout.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 at 5:22 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

-Stay away from the gym machines.

-Not a DVD, but Convict Conditioning is about how to get brutally strong enough to survive living caged up with violent predators, using only your own bodyweight. Written by a guy who spent ~20 years in a cage, learning from the old-school bodyweight exercise masters.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:12 AM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the many suggestions. I'm not interested in building muscle as much as "getting fitter" and burning fat - I'm a woman, so "ripped" is not my aim, and I don't plan to be stuck in a cage with a predator any time soon if I can avoid it!
posted by handee at 8:48 AM on September 13, 2010

100% agreed on Jeri Love - her programs are difficult enough that it takes awhile to 1) work up to doing the full program, and then after that 2) doing all the reps full out - and she is super positive. I just lent my copy of the Get Ripped 1000 to someone and told them they don't even need to tell me if they are using it - I would just be able to tell - seriously it is that intense.

If you get into it and want to alternate DVDs I would recommend Tae Bo (Billy Blanks) after that - they are some nice high energy workouts, and I find Billy Blanks to be pretty motivational and positive about getting fit - not just losing weight.

I have P90X, and know others who use it and our general assessment is if you can make the time commitment it is probaly the most comprehansive at-home routine out there, but due to the time and intial cost investment I would say to maybe start out with two or three other DVDs of various intensity levels (these other recommendations are great and I will check them out) with P90X as a 'goal'.
posted by tr_tex at 8:55 AM on September 13, 2010

Just read your comment and have to add, even though the Jeri Love uses the term 'ripped' it is more like a lean ripped (she has one called 'get lean', but really not as good as the 'get ripped 1000') - and she also teaches some good technique for exercising - I used this DVD as the core of my workouts after having my first baby (it worked wonders) - after having my second not so much time left for working out : ), but I am able to take the stuff I learned and do a 10 minute workout here and there when I can without the DVD and slowly but surely it is working too.
posted by tr_tex at 9:03 AM on September 13, 2010

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