The Secret Of Building A Healthy Body (For People With Little Time or Money)

Best Exercise DVDs

April 1, 2011   30 Comments

Obviously, the women above got great bodies by going to the gym. Look at how fit they look!

But, most of us don't have either time or money to go the gym. I'm one of those people who in my 20's had a gym membership and could be found spinning like a gerbil every other day.

Now in my 40's with two children, I have a lot less disposable income and time. Where would I get the time to drive to the gym, change into my athletic gear, spend an hour spinning a bike, shower, and get back to work? And, then, where am I going to find the $70 per month to pay the gym?

The first solution is to just put on my sneakers and walk out my door for a work out. Simple, easy, and I get the added bonus of fresh air while I watch birds and little rodents. Except that my rural neighborhood lacks sidewalks and the weather has been crappy (I would like to use a stronger word here -but I will refrain from expletives.)

What to do?

The solution can be found right here in your computer! You have a DVD drive right? All you have to do is find exercise DVDs that you like, buy them, and schedule 20 minutes every other day to start.

Most exercise DVD's retail for between $10 - $15, and you can borrow them from the library or NetFlix before you commit. I find the reviews on Amazon to be VERY helpful in deciding which ones to attempt.

Finding the time is a bit trickier because most of us have every minute of the day packed with activities. Here is where you are going to have to look hard at your television, web surfing, and reading the paper habits and change them! Start with just FIVE minutes of a workout.

(By the way, you still have time to read Snack Girl :)

I started with just five minutes of Jillian Michael's, "30 Day Shred". This DVD has three workouts of 20 minutes each - and I could only do five minutes of the easiest workout. AND, I got injured doing it.

Yes, Jillian thinks we are all lithe 20 year olds and you have to be careful to warm up if you are an old fogey.

Even with the injury, I found this DVD to be a really good one and I enjoyed Jillian's banter (where she yells at you). I bought both "Banish Fat - Boost Metabolism" and "No More Trouble Zones" and use them as well.

Why did I keep buying DVDs? I get bored really easily with one routine and I will quit if I have to do the same dull exercises over and over. To keep it fresh and interesting (and to work other muscle groups), I have amassed a collection of exercise DVDS.

I haven't spent $70 yet (one month of gym membership) and I get to workout with some great trainers. Another favorite is the "New York City Ballet Workout" where I hear classical music and watch ballerinas kick butt.

This workout includes the same moves as a ballet class and enjoyable because it is SO different compared to other workout DVDs.

Another favorite of mine is Petra Kolber's "Elegant Strength". I met Petra at a foodie gig and she is SO positive. Unlike Jillian who shames you to exercise, Petra motivates with sunshine and love (and her workout is tough). I love the way she opens up my shoulders.

Finally, there is Rodney Yee and his "Power Yoga Collection" which I purchased at the check out line in Whole Foods. This guy moves slowly through yoga positions to completely stretch you and strengthen you at the same time. He does his workout on a mountain in Hawaii so it is fun just to pretend I am there with him.

Below I have shared all the DVDs that I like to keep me fit. Please share you favorite exercise DVDs.

I need MORE ideas for my collection.

Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred


Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism


Jillian Michaels Fitness #2


New York City Ballet Workout

$19.98   $11.53

Elegant Strength


Power Yoga Collection: 3 Full-Length Programs

$19.98   $12.84

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 30 ]

Another awesome option that I used pre-gym membership was iTunes podcasts. You can find some great ones out there, and they're free and/or very cheap. You can also save them in your iTunes and bring them back up any time, and they automatically refresh when a new podcast is released. :)

on April 1, 2011

@LindseyAnn - Thanks so much! I didn't even think of that - I'm so OLD school with my DVD's :)

on April 1, 2011

I have a membership to the YMCA and it is hard to get out the door. I really like to do the videos that I can stream from Netflix. I think they even have a Jillian Michaels one on there too. Okay, now that I am done reading Snack Girl, I guess I should try 5 minutes of working out...

on April 1, 2011

I just started using Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and I am so sore. I like the video but seriously, who does those butt kicks?

on April 1, 2011

I LOVE Totally fit with Mel B. She's one of the former Spice Girls and her body is killer but she says all kinds of funny things that put a smile on my face while I'm working out. The great thing about this DVD is that it's broken down into 8 segments that you can play in any order you like:

Warm Up (5 min)
Cardio (15 min)
Advanced Cardio (20 min)
Abs (10 min)
Legs (10 min)
Bums (10 min)
Tums (10 min)
Cool Down

on April 1, 2011

They're kind of pricy in my opinion but I really enjoyed the Zumba DVD package. It's what I turned to when I first started exercising and found they kept me motivated to keep going.

I also have A LOT of Jillian Michaels DVDs and will keep buying whatever she puts out. I am (now) a very fit person and still have trouble getting through Banish Fat, Boost Metablism. I have to play it backwards chapter by chapter in order to get mostly through it.

I think I'm going to break out 30-day shred for tonight's workout and maybe live on the edge and try to do all 3 levels!

on April 1, 2011

Thanks for the post! I'm a huge fan of! It is a partner of eBay and you can find the absolute best deals on DVDs (and tons of other stuff) for a fraction of the price if bought outright. I'm gearing up to purchase Self: Bikini Ready Fast! and Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates after reading reviews on Amazon. And the total, with shipping is only about $12.

on April 1, 2011

I like my workouts on the wii active. There are other good ones too, but I am working every muscle group. I also like indoor walking with Leslie Sansone. She gets your muscles warmed up and it's a great workout with no injury and crazy moves..I can't bend well..30 minutes with you is great for your heart. She also has more challenging workouts like 5 miles of walking and running ones.

on April 1, 2011

I walk my dog every day - except in winter. I can't get motived to go out in the cold! But otherwise, knowing that my dog really needs a walk (he's a huge lab!) keeps me going. But thanks for the recommendations - I'm REALLY excited about checking out the New York City Ballet Workout!

on April 1, 2011

I like Jillian M's power yoga DVD--$8 at Target. Don't forget to add workout DVDs to your Netflix instant as well so that you can pull up a library of workout DVDs anytime for free. Also, I'm glad I live in an area where my gym membership is not $70/month. For me, that hour at the gym is not spent mindlessly spinning. It's an hour I take for myself. I really enjoy my teacher for a class that I take and it's worth every penny each month. My gym also has childcare for those that are busy Moms.

on April 1, 2011

The Bar Method, hands down the best low impact yet high results workout. You will lose inches and gain muscle tone that you never knew you had.
Yes I'm a 20 something but my mom loves it and got all of her friends hooked too. All ages can do this workout. It's basically short pulses that tone the muscle by keeping it engaged the entire time, after most reps you stretch which makes all that hard work feel sooo good. I would start with the beginners DVD and then move up from there. If you start too hard you might find it too challenging and get discouraged.

Good luck!

on April 1, 2011

Nike makes a free iPhone app called Nike Training. You can choose from Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced and they have all sorts of works outs to chose from. You set your music to play and a "personal trainer" interrupts your music to tell you when to switch and what to do. I LOVE it so much that I decided to give up the gym membership and just use this at home. The only equipment necessary is jump rope, medicine ball, or small dumbells. You could do them without but it wouldn't be as effective. The other iPhone app I use for cardio is MayMyFitness. It tracks your workout with a GPS on a map and logs your pace and time. Both a free and awesome!

on April 1, 2011

I have comcast cable and there are TONS of free workouts on demand. It's under Exercise TV. Includes Jillian Michael's 30-day shred, Leslie Sansone's walk away the pounds, zumba, yoga, cardio, you name it! I am vowing today to hop to it a bit more often! Our weight loss challenge at work started TODAY!

on April 1, 2011

For free, check out Not sure if I will ever look like her, but it really gets my heart pumping in less than 30 min each day!

on April 1, 2011

I bought Jillian's '30-day-shred' about two years ago, and I tell you, I love it, but I don't even put it in the machine anymore. what I do is her concept: three minutes of weight-training, two minutes of cardio, one minute of abdominal work. instead of minutes, though, I do 'sets'. I picked exercises I feel I needed, put them in the weight section, then for aerobics, I am NOT a fan of jumping-jacks, or jogging-in-place (Jillian likes these), so I pulled out my old step (from step aerobics), and do two minutes of different stepping; then some type of crunches/or the like, for abs.
I do three sets, which generally takes me between 20-30 minutes, and I'm done. this is EVERY day. okay, I might take Saturday or Sunday off, but I get up at 6, do this, and by 6:30, I'm in the shower, and my workout is already done for the day!!!

on April 1, 2011

the only thing i'm seriously glad about, is that my work has a GYM. and it's a pretty damned nice gym too, with a full set of weight machines, a row of bikes, and row of treads. i try my best to take a 30 min exercise break in the afternoon at around 3PM (when i feel is the slowest, and it's right before i start to feel starved for dinner, but after i feel like i overstuffed myself for lunch).

I keep it easy with the exercise bike, and part of the reason i feel motivated to go at all is that I'm a videogamer and i take my Nintendo DS in there with me! since it's a bike it's hands free, so i just put on my earbuds, bust up my newest game (which can't be tooooooo control intensive btw, otherwise i end up concentrating on my hands than moving my feet, but thankfully i'm an RPG girl so it works) and go at it for 30 min. because my game is usually so interesting, requiring me to think about my play strategy (but not in a "gotta move my hands super precisely!" way) that i often forget i was exercising until sweat starts to pour down my face LOL and even then it's hard to forget or ignore any boredness or burning on my legs or whatever. sometimes i feel even sad when my 30 min's done, as i would've loved to keep going and play!

granted doing it this way basically means i'm never gonna do treads or weight lifting (unless i have the extra time,which i usually don't) since those require hands or too much movement to play, but hey, at least i'm going!

i just had like a good 3 month break from the gym due to traveling for work. now that i'm back, it's time to get back to the routine! :D

in the meantime, i'm gonna go vacuum my house. that's an exercise all by itself LOL

on April 1, 2011

I bought 2 Jillian DVDs - I think when you first mentioned them - unfortunately they are still in the shrink wrap! I should dust them off & put them in! But for me, my closeby, low-frills gym membership ($33/month) gets me out to classes - yoga & Pilates - I try to go to the same ones consistently (only 2 per week, but better than nothing) & make it part of my routine.

But thanks for the reminder about the DVDs, also playing them on the computer - hadn't thought of that... it would be good to squeeze in a little more exercise before summer!

on April 1, 2011

I'm a workout DVD fanatic! Glad to see I'm among many out there. My favorites right now are the Jari Love Get Ripped series.

on April 1, 2011

I subscribe to - $18/month - with tons of different yoga options that you can sort by teacher, duration, type, level, etc. I don't use it enough but keep thinking I will. Love all these other options too. Thanks everyone for the ideas!

on April 1, 2011

I used to be a huge procrastinater and was excellent at finding reasons not to go to the gym. I finally made it a priority and realize that if I don't go to my kickboxing class 3 times a week, the only one I'm hurting is me! I also made a deal with myself last fall to be in better shape and to lose the extra weight by this summer and am sticking to it!

on April 1, 2011

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