Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hermit's Guide to Working Out

Photo credit: Loving Earth
Once upon a time I did have a gym membership, but I can't say I got my money's worth because going to the gym means, well, leaving the house after a long day's work ;)

A friend of mine got me to try the Pilates workouts on Netflix, which not only were convenient, but got me in much better shape than my pitiful attempts at the treadmill. Working out at home also turned out to be very convenient once my daughter was born because I could exercise while she was asleep or playing. I thought I would compile a list of my favorite workouts for any other like-minded workout hermits.  

*Videos with an asterisk are available on Netflix streaming; the other videos I purchased on Amazon

Ellen Barrett is hands down my absolute favorite fitness instructor.  Most of her workouts combine Pilates, cardio, and ballet-inspired dance movements and she is encouraging without being obnoxious.

This is a low-impact, standing Pilates workout that I was (mostly) able to do in my third trimester of pregnancy. The movements flow together and include a great sequence of standing ab work. Includes short mat routine at end.

This is another great standing workout that requires a set of hand weights. More intense than the previous video, I usually skip the mat routine at the end, but it is worth it if you have the time.

Yoga "Fusion"
These are yoga-inspired workouts that combine yoga, stretching, and dance movements.

1) Yogini

 I like this workout because it starts out with some easy movements and stretches, but by the end you are definitely sweating! You will be sore the next day, believe me!

2) Fusion Flow

A little easier than Yogini, this is another great stretch and strengthening fusion. Includes a challenging set of upper body exercises. 

Dance/ Cardio
I normally don't go for the hip hop or zumba type workouts. Not that I'm against them, but I am not the most coordinated person and am too impatient to learn dance steps during the little windows of time I have to work out. I also don't go for the classic boot camp approach (Like the popular "30 Day Shred"). The following reflect my preference for a more feminine, graceful approach to cardio.

1) Fat-Burning Fusion 
 This is one of my favorite workouts right now. The elegant dance movements flow together and make me feel graceful while I am breaking a sweat.

2) Self: Slim and Sleek, Fast!* 
There are a few other "Self" workouts available to stream from Netflix, but in my opinion, they aren't worth your time. This video features Ellen Barrett and has a ballet warm-up, a fun cardio sequence (you will be jumping all over the place), and a final weight segment.
This is the only workout on my regular rotation that isn't Ellen Barrett. I don't have a ballet background and I am still able to follow this simplified but (in my opinion) intense workout. Gulan will have your thighs burning (and I mean on fire) in no time. The majority of the video is ballet strength training (no special equipment required, only a chair and a mat) but there is also very fun cardio ballet jumping sequence and a very intense ab section. 

Well, that's it! What are your favorite workouts? 

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