Sunday, August 10, 2008

Working out at home

I've been going to a Pilates mat class one night a week and spending the rest of my time exercising at home. Mat classes are usually around $17/ea., at least in New York, so that's $68/mo., which is nearly the cost of a gym membership. To save money, I've purchased several DVDs to help guide my workouts at home once I've learned the basics in class. I've found two that are outstanding.

If you're looking for weight training, I've been really pleased with Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight 2. (I haven't tried volume 1 yet.)

Vol. 2 features two 20-minute workouts for the upper and lower body. I've enjoyed doing one 20-min workout each morning before work. It's just enough time to see a difference in your body, but not so much time that you can't fit it in before you head out the door.

If you'd like a 45 minute Pilates routine for home, I can't say enough about Karen Voight's "Pilates Core Power: Abdominals & Back." She does some slight variations from traditional pilates moves, but everything is well-paced, and she makes sure to counter-balance all exercises with their opposites so all muscle groups are attended to.

I've done this workout at least 20 times by now, and Karen Voight never gets on my nerves, unlike Kathy Smith, who is occasionally grating with comments like, "Sue back there is looking at the camera. She's trying to steal my thunder."

I didn't know that Karen offered this DVD in combination with another, so you might want to check out Total Body Pilates instead. It features the same routine, plus an additional 45-min lower body routine. However, that routine requires that you have a magic circle.

I would stay far, far away from Jennifer Kries' Pilates Method: Perfect Mix. This video is far from perfect--the production values are dismal, and it's more like aerobics than pilates. Also, she provides no instruction whatsoever--you pop in the DVD, and off they go, hitting the mats like crazy people with no narration or instruction so you have no idea what's going on on how to keep up. Yuck.

I am looking into purchasing other Kathy Smith and Karen Voight DVDs and will post reviews. I've grown to love working out at home, and it's definitely worth the savings.

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