Fitness DVDS to try for reshaping your life in 2012

Ashley Laurel

I describe my fitness level as: Semi-active.
I exercise: A few times a week/when I can.
My usual reaction to fitness DVDs is: Neutral. I much rather attend a class in person or work out with a friend until I get the hang of something. My second choice is to use a fitness DVD or Internet fitness find.

Jackie Werner Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Kick butt!
The equipment I needed was: A small weight and a mat.
The next day I felt: Sore and happy about it!
The instructor was: Likeable and motivating without being too crazy (I don't like being yelled at).
I'd recommend this DVD to: Those looking to shed holiday weight around the middle or get back into a bikini-ready body.
I would do this workout again: I'm always looking for new ab workouts so this DVD gave me some more options to incorporate into my current routine. My abs are one of my top target areas when I work out so this is a helpful DVD to keep around.

Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: A very fun challenge.
The equipment I needed was: Enough space and some flexibility.
The next day I felt: Pumped!
The instructor was: Very upbeat.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Any of my friends who enjoy dancing and want to stay in shape in a fun way.
I would do this workout again: I always thought this was a silly workout (maybe because I'd only seen it being done through gym windows while walking by). After giving it a shot, I have to say that it was pretty fun and I'd like to try it again. Increasing flexibility is important to me and this is a great way to stay loose. It's not something I'd do as my core work out, but something I'd do on occasion in addition to the Pilates and other things I do now. I love making time to add dance to my life sometimes because it's such a rush to not only know I did some cardio, but also feel uplifted with music at the same time.

INSANITY Fast & Furious: 20 Minute Maximum Fitness Results Workout

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Hard to keep up with due to the speed.
The equipment I needed was: Space.
The next day I felt: Sore.
The instructor was: Intense.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone short on time who can handle really pushing themselves.
I would not do this workout again: One of the reasons is because I don't feel that I connect with the instructor and I had trouble breathing well enough to keep up with this work out (thank you, asthma).

Kettlebell workout DVD with Bob Harper

On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Just about the intensity that I'm used to.
The equipment I needed was: Kettlebells.
The next day I felt: Like my arms were a little like spaghetti.
The instructor was: Likeable. Every time I've seen Bob on TV, I've found him to be relatable personality-wise and really push people without being too much of a drill sergeant.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Friends who take fitness seriously, but don't want someone screaming at them or something too wild and crazy.
I would do this workout again: I'd seen lots of people using kettlebells at the gym before, but hadn't gotten around to trying them before now. I'm used to using regular hand weights so the shape of the kettlebells and how to actually maneuver them took some getting used to (no I never whacked myself in the face), but the workout was very straightforward.

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Ashley Laurel is the founder of Pretty-Innovative, a blog about the convergence of fashion and technology, co-founder of social meetup group @DigitallyChic, and social media analyst for IDG.