From swinging a kettlebell to shaking my hips, these four workouts had a wide range of movements in store. And after devouring a gazillion sweets over the holidays, I was ready to do almost anything to burn some serious calories. Except burpees.
I describe my fitness level as: I'm in pretty good shape, although I've been slacking a bit through the busy holiday season.
I exercise: 4-5 times a week and I walk to work every day - it's just one mile round trip, but every little bit helps.
My usual reaction to fitness DVDs is: Do I really want to do the same exact workout and hear the instructor's commands in precisely the same order over and over? For a restless exercise soul like me, I'm usually bored after repeating the routine a few times. Still, they come in handy when I don't want to leave the house to workout.
Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System
On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Somewhere in the middle. It was a good workout, but since I'm still focusing on learning the steps, I couldn't push myself as much as I would if I had all the moves down. How the instructors sway their hips like that is beyond me - mine don't come close… yet.
The equipment I needed was: Zumba Toning Sticks, which were included.
The next day I felt: Only a little sore. And I wanted more!
The instructor was: They were all energetic and fun! Beto, the creator of Zumba is also very charming, but his thick accent can be hard to understand.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone who likes to dance and wants to shake their groove thing while they get a good workout.
I would absolutely do this workout again! The music is amazing and the workouts are such a blast. There are a lot of steps, but they are pretty easy to pick up. And someday, I WILL get my hips to move perfectly to the beat. Olé!
Jackie Warner Crunch-Free Xtreme Abs
On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Moderately difficult, and the DVD shows you how to crank it up even more with heavier weights and more challenging variations of the moves. Some of the exercises get your heart rate up, too, which is a bonus.
The equipment I needed was: A pair of hand weights which do not come with the DVD. You can also do a modified version without weights.
The next day I felt: Like I'd worked my abs, especially when I laughed or coughed.
The instructor was: Fairly motivating, but there were a few too many comments about her sexy abs mentioned in different variations. And why does she wear her workout pants below the hip bone? Who does that?
I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone who is a Jackie Warner fan and/or someone who wants a quick and decent ab workout.
I would do this workout again. It's a good 15-minute ab workout to squeeze in now and then.
INSANITY Fast & Furious: 20 Minute Maximum Fitness Results Workout
On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Total kick-butt, boot camp style.
The equipment I needed was: Nothing. It's all about using your own body weight, jumping around a lot, and speed.
The next day I felt: Like I'd been run over by a Mack truck.
The instructor was: Like a drill sergeant. His style of motivation was yelling at you to keep going and to "dig deeper" to make it through. But I did not dig anything about this workout at all.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone who likes a high-impact-boot-camp-style workout. In-your-face instructor included.
I would not do this workout again. I've done these types of workouts before and they are just not for me. They're too hard on my body. Plus I promised myself never to do another burpee after doing way too many in boot camp classes. Yes, I skipped them in this DVD.
Kettlebell workout DVD with Bob Harper
On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: Well, I think the 7-1/2 pound kettlebell may have been too light for me. I've worked out with kettlebells before and needed a heavier one. Great workout for a kettlebell beginner, though.
The equipment I needed was: A kettlebell, which was included.
The next day I felt: Just a little sore, mainly in the shoulders.
The instructor was: Nurturing, motivating, and took his time to explain the moves, body positions, and benefits. For me, there was a little too much pausing to explain things in between exercises. But again, it's a nice feature for a beginner.
I'd recommend this DVD to: Somebody who wants to start working out with kettlebells. Bob Harper explains it all very well and you will get a good workout.
I would do this workout again: But with a heavier kettlebell.
I wrote this post as a Shine from Yahoo! Get It Guide Guru. Yahoo! provides me with exclusive Get It Guide content and products. If I think there is something valuable that you should know about, I'll share it with you. Yahoo! pays me for my participation in the program.
Sahar Aker is veteran journalist and TV health reporter. Her videos have aired on dozens of local television stations across the country, as well as on CNN. Her posts on healthy living have been featured on sites like Reuters and USAToday as well as on Shine, Yahoo!'s front page and her fitness website FatFighterTV.