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I woke up at 5 a.m., just two minutes shy of my alarm. I was surprisingly alert and ready for the day as I rolled out of bed, leggings and tank already on, and headed downstairs. I made myself half a mini bagel with homemade nut butter and gulped a glass or two of water before grabbing my laptop and heading to the basement for class.
Class being Turbo Fire in my quite scenic unfinished basement.
But as I inserted the DVD for the day's workout, I was disappointed - mad, even - to discover that the DVD drive on my laptop was on the fritz. I tried a different workout and still no dice. Ready to give up on exercising for the day, I turned around and discovered I had an old pair of running shoes next to the treadmill. I begrudgingly laced up for a 6-mile sweatfest.
While running will always be my first love, I've come to enjoy adding DVDs to mix things up, improve cardio conditioning and build strength. They are also great options when the weather turns frigid or the skies open up or wee ones are sick.
Turbo Fire. When I came off the marathon and headed into late fall, I made it a goal to focus on cross training to improve my cardio fitness in the vain hope that it would translate to faster runs. I had considered investing in Insanity (and it really is an investment) and trying my hand at what I could find at the library. However, as fate would have it, a Facebook acquaintance posted a deal for TurboFire. For $53, one would get more than 10 DVDs, a resistance band, meal plan and workout schedule - a program that regularly retails for $119.
It was definitely an impulse purchase but one that I don't regret. Not one bit.The workouts are fun yet challenging, and I've been surprised by just how not annoyed I am with Chalene Johnson. I like her delivery, instruction style and the class atmosphere of the DVDs. From the workouts, I've noticed more definition in my back from the punching, and I truly believe the HIIT workouts helped me bring home a PR in the 10K
There are two strength workouts that use a resistance band - sculpt and tone - but I don't find them to be challenging enough, and I find some of the moves to be awkward.
Bob Harper's Total Body Transformation. This workout is tough. Super tough. The workout is a total body one, utilizing compound movements and weights to build strength and cardio endurance. It's an hour of lunges, arms and abs. And, if you can get past a few things, it's definitely worth giving it a go.
Those things? Slow order processing and delivery, Bob's cargo shorts and some bad form on the part of the other people in the video.
Jillian Michaels' "Get Ripped in 30." Everyone seemed to love Jillian Michaels' "30-Day Shred," and this workout builds on that model. There are four workouts, meant to daily for one week before moving onto the next, and are about 25, 30 minutes in length. She leads the workouts in a circuit style - 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs.
And even though I feel like they shouldn't be hard, they are. I like to do a Jillian workout when I need a bit of resistance training but don't have the time to rehearse BODYPUMP. It also allows me the chance to lift a bit heavier than I would to improve overall performance.
Of course I have tried others - a ballet inspired promo and yoga workouts - but these were the ones that stuck. And, if they stick, they are a good investment. Or so says Mark.