Fitness DVDs Make a Great Christmas Gift

By Barbara Day, M.S, R.D., C.N.

          With the economy the way it is, some people may not be able to belong to a fitness center. Fitness DVDs are inexpensive and can be very motivational. Below are ten DVDs that got4- 5 star ratings. The P90X videos are by far the most complete but are also the most expensive. You will need a pull up bar. Many of the DVDs require that you purchase at least 2 sets of dumbbells

P90X. $119 plus $9.95 for shipping and handling. In just 90 days, you can get back in shape, or build the body you’ve always wanted. All you need is a set of dumbbells or resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and about an hour a day. No gym membership required. You get 12 DVDs. All you need is a small space (about 6 by 6 feet), a set of dumbbells or resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and about an hour a day.  Two of my sons and a bunch of my friends use this program and everyone seems to get great results! It’s expensive but worth it according to my family and friends.

A.S.A.P. Hollywood Bootcamp 4X4. $19.95. If you want to participate in a boot camp but don’t want to get up with the roosters, try a boot camp video. This video is a fast paced series of 60-second intervals: aerobics, lower-body toning, upper-body toning and corework. Each non-stop segment challenges the body in different ways. Requires 3 to 10 lb dumbbells.

Dance Off Inches Line Dance Party or Dance Off the Inches: Sizzling Salsa. Both DVDs are $14.95. The Line Dance Party has 10 simple moves from three traditional dances. The Salsa DVD has three routines that get the hips moving & heart rate souring.

Hi/Lo Extreme. $16.95. This is a fast-paced and super-challenging, it’s an ever-changing mix of non-stop cardio combos. You’re sure to burn fat, build stamina … and test your endurance. The exercises include pivots, repeaters and directional changes plus higher-impact ski jumps, power leaps and football-style plyo drills (the last combo is nearly all high-impact, but one person shows an easier variation).

Trudie Styler’s Core Strength Pilates. $14.95. A balanced blend of Pilates and stretch with a clear focus on breath cycles (e.g. “on the out-breath, open the body; on the in-breath, bring the body together”). This varied combination of techniques and styles builds strength as it improves flexibility and maximizes relaxation. The toning exercises are familiar Pilates classics while the yoga-based stretch elements include moves like cobra and down dog. The instruction is exceptionally detailed and purposeful.

Get Extremely Ripped 1,000 with Jari Love. $14.95. An ultra-challenging aero/tone interval program with athletic-style cardio and lots of compound muscle toning. The three-minute, high-impact cardio drills range from L-steps and speed skates to L-hops and jumping jacks (as floor aerobics, they’re tough, but one group even does them using a step). The shorter toning intervals maximize results by working multiple muscles at once. They include a mix of weight-room, compound-muscle and balance exercises. Motivating countdown timer and tribal/drum soundtrack. Requires two sets of dumbbells.

Rodney Yee Yoga for Beginners. $14.95. This video is a two-workout DVD which features — a superb tutorial and a choice of audio tracks. Rodney and Colleen Saidman show you the exact positions and movements for 20 classic yoga poses. Those poses are then used in two easy-to-follow workouts: Rodney’s “energizing” program and Colleen’s “rejuvenating” program. Besides the normal, full-instruction audio track, you get two additional options. “Pose only” avoids distractions with limited cuing, while “inspirational” focuses on your mental attitude (e.g. mountain pose: “think about a strong, steady, majestic mountain”). Filmed in a beautiful Oceanside setting.

Michelle Dozols Peak 10 Cardio Strength. $19.95. A well-structured aero/tone interval workout that features four different techniques and intensity levels. It’s all carefully sequenced to keep your heart rate elevated while you build lean muscle. Each ten-minute circuit progresses from toning to aerobics (and back again). The beginning interval is “base” – simple strength training. “Ascent” is next; it uses more advanced toning exercises. Then it’s “climb” — a challenging blend of multi-muscle toning and mixed-impact aerobics. The circuit ends with “peak” — 15 seconds of full-on, high-impact cardio (e.g. “scissor jumps,” “frog jumps”). Superb production and excellent cuing. Requires two sets of dumbbells (e.g. 3 lb and 5 lb).

Kelly Coffey’s 30 Minutes to Fitness Circuit Burn. $14.95. An intelligently sequenced aero/tone interval program that features four exercise types. It’s all carefully designed to burn calories as it tones your body. You get two different circuits. Each uses a consistent four-segment format: athletic cardio, multi-muscle body-sculpting, shadow boxing aerobics and lower-body toning. You’ll do each circuit twice. The second series is longer and more challenging (it also lets you use heavier weights). Kelly’s cuing is always easy-to-follow, but the workout and transitions are fast — you’ll need to pay attention. Has a bonus 6-minute ab section. Requires two sets of dumbbells (e.g. 3 lb. and 10 lb).

Jillian Michaels’ Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism. $14.95. A no nonsense series of easy-to-follow aero/tone intervals led by “The Biggest Loser” trainer. As always, Jillian is definitely “forceful,” but she’s also surprisingly supportive (she really wants you to succeed). The cardio segments feature non-dancy, athletic moves like kickboxing, callisthenic jacks and plyometric jumps. The core-focused body-sculpting includes both standing and floor moves. Jillian skillfully alternates upper and lower-body exercises to keep your heart rate elevated and your blood pumping. For maximum results, each circuit is done once, then repeated at a slightly higher intensity (“with intention”). 


Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 11 grandchildren.    





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