Wednesday, 13 March 2013

FITNESS DVDs, a Review

As part of her quest to find enjoyable exercise, Lazy Girl has been trying out some new to the shelves fitness DVDs. Here's what she thought;

First up in a dvd from fitness stalwart Jane Fonda, with her AM/PM Yoga for Beginners (£13 from Amazon).

I really enjoyed this dvd, and one big reason for that was Jane! She has just the right calming voice which doesn't rush you, and she doesn't patronise either or make you feel bad if you have to copy the easier version of the movement.

Its set at the right pace for beginners, gently guiding you through a range of yoga exercises, and its split into morning and evening workouts which range from energy boosters to calming breathing to aid a good nights rest.

If you're curious about yoga but have been put off by the idea of twisting into uncomfortable shapes, this is perfect for you and will set you up for greater challenges. Excellent for all ages, and with the added incentive of how amazing Jane still looks!

Next up is the MuTu Focus system, a web and DVD workout aimed at the Mummy market (available for £57 direct from the MuTu website, including free access to the MuTu Mama Club online).

Yes, its an expensive DVD, but it is one of few which are targeted at the post Baby tummy. The research that has gone into developing the system is amazing, and, as it teaches us in the pre-workout science section at the start, is specifically to stop us Mums and our poor tums being beaten by traditional exercises which do nothing for the muscles after child birth.

This is much, much more than a standard music, lights, workout DVD, with ongoing free support online. Its more like a re-education into how the body works and teaches us not to rely heavily on the dreaded and widely pointless after babies sit up (which gives it massive brownie points in my book!). 

You still get to use the popular gym ball and resistance band, but rather than flogging your guts out on a grueling workout, it teaches why and how to put our guts back into place. I had no idea that certain work outs which I previously tried, and which left me despondent when they did nothing to shift my Mummy Tummy, were pointless, as other DVDs don't just target Mums but anyone who wants to up their fitness game.

After receiving the DVD, I had great extras sent via email, and I had the peace of mind to know that I could contact the team behind the DVD and others using it via their easy to use website. Wendy, who guides us through, is a Mum herself, and again she didn't patronise but rather educated in simple to understand terms and using easy to follow graphics. It teaches first how to use our muscles correctly, which is so important when trying out any form of toning exercise and which most other DVDs just don't cover.

The price may put some people off, but if you are trying to tone and repair the damage done by one or more pregnancies, this is the DVD for you.

Thirdly, I tried Tara Stiles This Is Yoga AM/PM Yoga for Everyone (£9.99 from Amazon).

The title may suggest this is for everyone, but I wouldn't recommend this for those who are just starting out at yoga. 

It is very fast paced, whereas most DVDs will explain the movement first, showing you how to perform it, Tara Stiles just goes straight for it, moving quickly from movement to movement. I found it quite hard to keep up, actually, and I consider myself intermediate at yoga after practicing daily for months- yoga is certainly my exercise of choice.

It was very American too, we find Tara on a beach with waves lapping at the shoreline. Its more like we are expected to watch Tara and applaud than work out with her! I found myself watching her first, then rewinding to copy.

I would worry that beginners may pull a muscle if copying the style here, nothing is really explained, and its not a DVD I would use until I was very confident at yoga and had a good grasp of all the movements available by name alone.

Lastly, I tried Stretchworks (£12.99 from Amazon).

I really enjoyed using this DVD, and I think you can tell that Alison Evans has a strong back ground in dance (she is an ex-Pineapple Dance teacher who has worked with Arlene Phillips amongst others).

The workout in the DVD has its basis in dance, and has been developed by Alison for the last 25 years to hone it, originally to ease injured dancers back into practice and now for us fitness lovers.

One thing I loved about this DVD was the back ground members who took on the workout. If a DVD promises to be suited for any age or fitness level, but then has a bunch of lettuce munching dolly girls in the background, it does put one off! Not so with Stretchworks, which has a group of eight people aged between 14 and 70, which certainly gives you the kick up the rear end to go for it when faced with people several decades older than my 31 years.

Its friendly, fun and the pace is spot on, the exercises are carefully explained, and you can choose how long you want to exercise for, so its flexible to time constraints.

A great all rounder for a faster paced workout than yoga.

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