Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Quick Inventory

Yes, finally today I decided to take stock of my "home gym," so to speak. No, I'm not talking about the actual gym in my basement - that has all the big cardio machines and weight conditioning stuff. I mean what I actually have -in my house and could/SHOULD make use of on a regular basis rather than spending endless hours on the couch.

So, here's what I have:

- a set of 10 lb hand weights - keeping a corner of the carpet down in the living room. I need to pick these up again.
a set of 3 lb hand weights - stored right next to the television, and I do sometimes pick those up and play around with bicep/tricep stuff just while watching tv
- an old cheap "ab roller" kind of wheel thing that doesn't seem to work well
- a jump rope - fun! but not really safe for indoors, and I'm never outdoors, so it sits in a cabinet
- a yoga mat - I think it's in my basement storage unit, though, I couldn't find it in my closets after the move
- a yoga strap - which I made use of today! see below
- an exercise band - which seems goofy and though my brother swears by them I never really use mine

I also have 4 DVDs, which I just dug out of the back of the cabinet and have now put out on the other side of the tv, taunting me at all times with their easy access to remind me to use them.

Gaiam's Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss - This features about a 45-minute workout, with warm-up, standing poses, and cool down. I just did this one again this morning! It's not my favorite yoga workout, and it's totally in the "cheesy poses out on a desert plateau with tinkly flute music" camp, but it did have me sweating and in fact, it's been so long since I've done any yoga that I had to take a break during the standing poses because of foot cramps! This is setup for people at all levels, and in fact has 4 people on the screen each doing a different level of intensity of poses. They give you options throughout about which poses you should be doing based on your own fitness level, so you have a consistent person to follow all along. Overall, I'll do this again and hopefully fairly often - though it will take a while for me to get the routine down so I don't have to stop in the middle of poses to look at the screen and see what they're doing. Way to break a pose! But even in just doing the basics today I could really feel my right shoulder stretching, so I hope it helps that pain in my neck.

Belly Dance for Beginners - Basic Moves & Fat Burning - Featuring the bellydancing identical twins, Neena and Veena! I really like this DVD, cuz it's a lot of fun, and Neena and Veena are good at explaining the moves. They break down a pretty simple dance routine into teaching it as a series of moves that really do provide good arm, shoulder, and mid-section workouts, then at the end they put it all together and - lo and behold! - you've learned a little big of actual belly dance. This one always *feels good* while I'm doing it, which is important, and I can usually feel it in my abs the next day, as well. This one's a keeper, and I'm looking forward to working it back into my usual routine. This one is worth getting up off the couch, just cuz it feels so satisfying and doing the moves usually makes me laugh. :-)

I Want That Body! with Tamilee - This touts "The Science of Fitness" as Tamilee Webb does indeed spend a part of the DVD talking about how she went to a lab and worked with doctors to determine which moves really do burn the most energy and build muscle. I believe her! The DVD includes 3 different workouts: I Want Those Abs!, Arms!, and Buns! I've mostly done the arms workout, and it's a good one. Tamilee is the "Buns of Steel" queen, and this newer round of workouts keeps up her intense but perky tone. I need to do more of the other 2 workouts, and I can see this DVD still being good for me cuz I like Tamilee's dorky cheerful style and it's very easily explained and easy to follow. And I really can feel that burn! Plus, with arm workouts, the benefit is so easily seen - it doesn't take very long to actually start seeing a difference in your muscle tone, and that's positive motivation right there.

Discover Tai Chi for Beginners - This is a DVD with Scott Cole, who's pretty cheesy. I got this cuz I wanted to learn some tai chi poses and thought this could help with overall stress relief. The few times I did it, I did enjoy the poses and learning what they were based on, even while watching Scott posing on a mountaintop shirtless in his puffy pants (teehee!). I should pick this one up again just to relearn those poses that I did enjoy, and since so many of them are about relaxing and moving the upper body it might help more with my neck.

I also used to have a Denise Austin yoga tape and Leslie Sansone's Walking Off the Pounds, but those were all on VHS and I no longer have a VCR. I liked them both enough but so far haven't replaced them.

I do like having DVDs at home so I can workout without any of the stress of being in front of other people at a gym. Does anyone have any suggestions for other good, easy to follow, less than painfully annoying DVD workouts? I still need to find things that work well in a narrow apartment - not a lot of jumping or space required. Hopefully I can start doing these more regularly and starting to see their benefits soon!


Laura P said...

I have a million of unopened exercise DVDs (well, not really a million, but at least 12)... Somehow, Prevention magazine started to mail them to me... SO, if there's a particular thing you'd like to try, I can send you a DVD or 5...

Have a great day!

Mandy said...

My recent favorites have been Ellen Barrett DVDs, some by Crunch fitness and some from her own line. She's perky without being annoyingly so, and she provides good instructions. The Crunch Super Slimdown featuring her is gentle, but a good yoga/Pilates blend.

Stef said...

Laura, your Prevention comment reminded me - I also have a whole bunch of SELF magazine workout cards that I have torn out of the magazines. One of their ab workouts from about a year ago is really good, and I do that one fairly often. it's great for doing in front of the tv while watching a favorite show, since you don't have to stick in a DVD for it!

And Mandy, I've been thinking about checking out a beginner-level Pilates tape to see if that offers different stretching for my neck/shoulder/back issues.