The best workouts for the New Year

Shelby Barone

It is the New Year and time to bring out that collection of workout DVDs that has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust all year. Grab those weights, jump on that workout ball, and start making taking care of yourself a priority today!

I describe my fitness level as: Moderate. Working out always leaves me feeling energetic and ready to accomplish anything that comes my way during the day. I feel like the Energizer Bunny after a good quality workout session.

I exercise at least: Three times a week, whether it is just a run around the neighborhood or hard-core workout at the gym. I make it a priority to care for my body, so it will work at its optimal abilities.

My usual reaction to fitness DVDs is: I feel uncomfortable with the kids sitting on the couch watching me move my body into un-natural positions. I close all the blinds, strap on my funky headband, and workout.

Insanity Fast & Furious

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: A total insanity hard core workout. I found myself crying partially during the workout and almost vomited because I worked so hard.
The equipment I needed was: Nothing. Just some water and a towel to wipe-off all the sweat.
The next day I felt: Like I was in serious pain. I was barely able to walk up the stairs, and let's not even talk about trying to sit down.
The instructor was: A hot, sweaty muscle-man that looked like he just walked out of a body building magazine.
I'd recommend this DVD to: People who are serious about getting in shape at any cost.
I would do this workout again: I will continue to do this in-between my days at the gym. Although I thought this workout was going to kill me, I know that it will show me the results that I need.

Jackie Werner Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: A true gift to all women who have never had success with toning their abs and do not like doing the traditional crunches.
The equipment I needed was: Small, three- to five-pound hand weights.
The next day I felt: Sore in places that had never felt sore before. There was pain in muscles that I never knew I had.
The instructor was: Very easy to follow and extremely motivating.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Help in sporting a six-pack for the next time I go to the beach. It is also perfect for the Mom who has never been able to get rid of the puffy tummy her baby left behind.
I would do this workout again: Every day before going to bed. It only took 15 minutes and did not leave me utterly exhausted.

Kettlebell workout DVD with Bob Harper

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: One of the best strength training workouts available.
The equipment I needed was: Various weight sizes of kettlebells. I would also recommend wearing a pair of gloves to make holding the kettlebell easier.
The next day I felt: I felt tightness throughout my arms and thighs.
The instructor was: Helpful and encouraging. Just when I wanted to quit, Bob Harper would motive me to keep going.
I'd recommend this DVD to: The user that wants to have strong upper body strength. It is an excellent alternative to purchasing expensive workout equipment.
I would do this workout again: To help with getting rid of my flabby arms. I would not want to do it too often, to avoid gaining too much muscle in my arms.

Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: So fun that it does not feel like a workout. It was an energetic workout that the kids had fun doing along with me.
The equipment I needed was: My sexiest workout outfit I could find.
The next day I felt: Like I could not wait to do it again. I was ready to try out for the next episode of Dancing with the Stars.
The instructor was: Able to make me dance. I have always had two left feet and am extremely clumsy. I was able to shake my booty and follow along easily.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone looking to try something new.
I would do this workout again: At least 3 times a week.

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Shelby Barone is a freelance writer in Orange County and writes a popular family nutrition column with The Orange County Register and OC Family Magazine. She loves volunteering in her community and also writes a lifestyle blog at feltstories.com.