I have been a huge fan of at home exercising for almost my entire life. I seriously started doing tapes at home when I was about 15 and I never really stopped--except for the time in college when I actually went to a gym. I love to push myself really hard during a workout. I like to feel like I'm going to die and then keep going. With four kids and a busy schedule, going to the gym adds extra time that is not convenient for me at this point in my life. I have had some people ask me what tapes I do at home and I thought I'd share some of my favorites.
Remember--I like to work out for 50 minutes to an hour, so if you're looking for a 30 minute workout, you could easily do that with any of these tapes and get an awesome workout. I feel like a lot of 30 minute workouts don't get your heart rate up enough because they include a warm-up and cool-down.
My new favorite--I just did it for the first time today--Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I really like to do Jillian's workouts because she is extremely real with you. When you're doing something that is hard, she acknowledges she knows she's pushing you and reminds you to tell yourself that you bought her tape because you wanted to be pushed hard. If you know her personality, you know it will be hard!
Another favorite--Bob Harper's Cardio Conditioning This tape starts out so mellow that you wonder if you're really going to be challenged. Plus, if you're at all familiar with Bob Harper, you know he has a reputation for being calm and zenlike, so I wasn't sure where the workout would go. Let me tell you that I have done this video with my sister-in-law and my husband both and they were both incredibly sore the next day. My husband was sore for five full days. If you don't squat all that often beware. There's probably about 20 minutes of continuous squatting in this video not to mention scorpion push-ups. OUCH!
This next video is a totally different type of video that I got while I was pregnant to use after pregnancy: Tracey Mallet--The Booty Barre--Total New Body. If you want to exercise while you're pregnant--and I did--it was hard to find a video that got my heart rate up at all and her pregnancy video is great, so I decided to try another one of her workouts. This is not for pregnant women. Tracey was apparently a dancer before she got into doing workout videos. This video gave me a whole new respect for my sister in law that does ballet. Holy cow!!! How long do you think you can stand on your toes, feet together and squat? Apparently I can't do it as long as I'd like to. This tape makes your legs feel like they are going to fall off. I don't like the way the video feels like it was filmed from too far away for a lot of the shots, but the exercise will have you dripping in sweat. You'll need a sturdy chair and some light weights and you'll probably find yourself wondering how it's possible to do everything she does, but then you look at her six pack and you know you must have to workout hard to get that.
If you're more into pure aerobics, I love: The Firm: 500 Calorie Workout. For those of you who do exercise videos or have done them in the early 90s you will be familiar with The Firm. They have a lot of exercise videos. I love this video because it doesn't require you to use any equipment that you'd have to buy from their company--you only need hand weights and a mat. You do alternating cardio sequences and then you do weights. She ends the whole thing with ab work. I love that the very last cardio segment is the hardest on the tape. A lot of tapes start to taper you down as your cardio is ending. This tape makes you work the hardest when you are ending your cardio. I do have to confess that she has you do 32 push-ups in this routine and you lunge and lunge and lunge, but I modify the push-ups--I always do--and trust me, modified push-ups will still rock your upper body when you are doing that many.
Back to those Biggest Loser trainers--The Biggest Loser Cardio Max is a great cardio workout. I love this tape because it's one that you can grow with--though I always do the max--but you can design your own workout if you'd like to. A lot of these tapes have that option, but I really like it on this one because you have a 6 minute warm-up with Bob, 20 minutes with Bob, 10 minutes with Jillian, 10 minutes with Kim Lyons (remember her?) and then 6 minutes of cool-down with Bob. This cardio really gets your heart rate up and I love to do a segment of it if I do another tape that is only 40 minutes and I really want to push it, I'll do Jillian's 10 minutes and feel strong.
Now I have to say that I have not done the whole P90X series, I've only done their Plyometrics workout, but it is tough! Plyometrics is jump training, so you can imagine that jumping while doing anything is going to get your heart pumping. This tape will make you sweat, but he gives you frequent recoveries, so it's doable. I do find him rather annoying though, so I would never want to do this tape in my frequent rotation.
Back to Jillian. No More Trouble Zones is awesome! It's the companion to Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and it's great. You really work those trouble zones--triceps and legs. It's a slower pace feel than some of her other tapes, but you feel it and I love the mat work at the end.
Other tapes that I have and really love: Tae-Bo II: Get RippedAdvanced Workout is an oldie but a goodie. You will be sweating and feeling your legs when it's done. I also love another one by Billy Blanks called TaeBo Ultimate Abs/Butt. (Just like the other TaeBo workout tape there are two full hours on this tape and you will feel your abs the next day). Lastly, back to Jillian with The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout. I look at the size of the people doing these exercises and then I know I have no excuse to not exercise. This too can be broken up and done in segments, but you'll feel it no matter what.
Phew!!! I love to push myself and I'm always looking for a good workout. What do you do?