DVD Workouts: Ring In 2013 With A Little Less Junk In Your Trunk

With 2013 right around the corner, it’s time to jump start your workout, and get you in shape and ahead of the game. Some of us love hitting the gym, but sometimes that’s not convenient or you’re just not feeling it. Whether its booty blasting or tummy tightening that you’re looking for, tons of at-home DVD programs can help you achieve great results. We’re weighing in on three popular at home workouts.

INSANITY

Insanity invokes a lot of different images in the mind (i.e. Jessica Simpson’s encore pregnancy after only 7 months of motherhood). But we’re talking about the Beach Body Insanity workout. This is a workout designed by the beach body crew using the principles of maximum interval training to slim, tone, and tighten your whole body. This means you’re working out for long stretches with small breaks in between. The system is broken down into 10 DVD’s and each day and everyone follows the same schedule. Initially you are asked to do a fit test to get a baseline of where you started.

Cost: $120 + Shipping

Pros: This workout will have you dripping with sweat. If you think you can skip the shower afterwards, think again. You will have a huge boost in your endurance and friends will notice a significant slim down. Not only do you shed pounds, but you’ll also find you are losing inches.  The other great thing about Insanity is that you are doing a different workout each day (though some of the exercises are similar). You don’t need any extra equipment so that’s another plus. Finally, the workout, if done properly helps you to build a much stronger core. Abdominal strengthening is addressed almost everyday.

Cons: Given the heavy emphasis on plyometric techniques, Insanity can be extremely hard on the knees. For those with knee problems or other injuries, you’ll need to be extremely careful when doing some of the exercises. Although this is a total body workout, the minimal upper body focus leaves more to be desired. You will seldom focus on biceps or shoulders, so it’s very difficult to develop these muscles. The program is also supposed to be done over two months, which may be daunting for some. The first month, however, is a good milestone, so if you stopped after this you would not have completely wasted your time. If you love upbeat music during your workouts you may be disappointed with this, so consider using your own music once you have learned the moves. This will also alleviate you hearing Shaun T say “dig deeper” for the fifty-first time.

BRAZIL BUTT LIFT

This is another workout from the Beach Body crew that developed P90x and Insanity. This specifically targets the butt, but also promises a total body workout. You initially choose your “butt-type”, from one of four shapes: pear-shaped, big all around, combination, or flat. Based on this, you are given a schedule of workouts to do for the month.

Cost: Around $60 + Shipping

Pros: If you stick to this plan, you will definitely see results. The workouts are fun, and the instructor’s Brazilian “flavor” makes it entertaining. In addition to losing inches and pounds your body will feel much more toned. The combination of workouts (bum bum, high and tight, cardio axe, etc) allows you to do a different workout each day which keeps your body guessing and more importantly keeps torching calories. The music is more upbeat than traditional workout dvd’s so you are less likely to get bored.

Cons: This is definitely a challenging workout for someone who is a “beginner” level exerciser. From a medical perspective, if you have not done these types of movements before, you can easily sustain lower back or shoulder injuries. Don’t expect to be dripping in sweat from the cardio axe, you may want to swap this one out for another cardio workout (run, elliptical, etc). To get all the desired benefits from the Brazil Butt Lift you need to do some of the workouts with weights and/or resistance bands, so if you don’t have these at home that’s an added purchase.

METAMORPHOSIS by TRACY ANDERSON

This celebri-trainer is well-known in Hollywood. Some find her methods controversial, and others like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and Jennifer Aniston swear by her. Similar to the Brazil Butt Lift, your workout is based on one of four body types according to where you carry most of your weight. Of note, we are only discussing the workout portion of Metamorphosis here, not the eating plan she recommends.

Cost: About $90

Pros: No matter which body type you are, you will be introduced to arm and ab exercises that are unique and not used in typical workouts.  Additionally, the workouts tend to work a muscle group past fatigue so you’re likely to see significant changes, especially in the thighs and legs if you can keep pushing.

Cons: The cardio portion of this workout is extremely difficult to follow, and lacks quite a bit of instruction. If you’re not into jumping around and “dancing” to burn calories and hoping you look cute while doing it, this isn’t for you. Additionally, this is supposed to be a 90 day plan so doing this cardio DVD multiple times is extremely boring. You will definitely need to supplement with other cardio options.

Bottom Line: The Metamorphosis DVD was confusing and lacked a lot of instruction. It is also rather boring after the third day. For this reason we wouldn’t recommend it. If you want a more fun workout that won’t break the bank, and will get you great results, Brazil Butt Lift is the perfect option.

 

Work Stress: Coming Down With A Case of the Mondays?

It’s likely that you have been in a similar scenario at some point. Maybe you’re late to work, and its Monday morning (traffic is a nightmare).  Perhaps you have a deadline looming or a huge presentation? Or maybe you have three bosses who are all asking you about those TPS reports?

No matter what you do, it’s tough to avoid stress in your life.  Whether it’s paying your bills, getting prepared for a meeting, or taking care of your children, stress is prevalent in different forms. Although it may be tough to predict every stressor and be prepared for it, hopefully today’s article will help you cope with your work stressors a little better.

What is stress? It is our body’s way of coping with specific situations or demands that come our way. Some of these may be positive and some negative. Although “stressful” often implies a bad situation, not all stress is negative. In reality we need some level of stimulation to help our bodies function properly. Unfortunately, balancing good and bad stress is difficult, and more often than not people tend to let stress overwhelm them and impact their work and home life.

Persistently high levels of stress have been linked to common medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Chronic stress can also take a toll on your immune system making it more difficult to fight off illness. Feeling sick and having stress at work is a toxic formula for trouble.

While Lindsay Lohan’s stress has her punching partygoers, you may want to consider other strategies to relieve yours. Here are some tips to rethink your workplace strategy!

 Commute: Stress starts before you even get to work, especially if you have a long commute. This can leave you feeling like you woke up on the wrong side of the 405 Freeway. Rushing out the door or driving in traffic can signal the body to increase production of stress hormones, and leave you feeling anxious and on edge by the time you get to your desk. Try setting an alarm on your cell phone for ten minutes before you should be out the door. This will remind you to pick up the pace and get moving on time.

Time management: Deadlines can be a very stressful part of many jobs. Whether you’re in construction or production, things have to get done when they’re expected to. Procrastination is a very common problem that is frequently associated with stress. Try not to procrastinate! Make a list of things you need to get done and aim to complete them 3 days before your deadline.  This will allow you a few more days to put final touches on your work and enough buffer incase disaster strikes. If you run a tight schedule and are always up to date, you’ll never bite off more than you can chew.

Exercise: Exercise and physical activity are GREAT ways to alleviate anxiety and stress. Both have been proven to increase overall well being AND immune system health! Also think about the other effects stress may cause long term: high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Exercising is a great way to work out some pent up energy. After exercising people often feel more relaxed, self-confident, and can think more clearly because of increased mental clarity. 

Laughter and mental relaxation:  Often times work and career related stress can cause significant anxiety. The best way to alleviate this feeling is to relax. If this sounds easier said than done, here are a few tips to calm your mind.  Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for a few seconds. Exhale for five seconds. Repeat this exercise with your eyes closed for three or four cycles. Before opening your eyes imagine a place you like to visit. Focus on a particular item in this place for another ten to fifteen seconds. This will allow you to refocus your energy and lower your stress. This may be too “Zen” for you, but give it a try because it actually works.   

Laughter can also help alleviate stress and anxiety. Pick out a funny YouTube clip (hopefully its work appropriate), or cartoon that can help you forget your stress for a few moments. This can also help you to re-energize and tackle your work with a clear mind.

Change always takes time. Give yourself and your body a few moments each day to refocus and dial down your stress level. If you find that stress has become so significant that you are unable to function, or complete your daily activities, consider speaking with your physician for more information.