I recently shared in Sneaky Exercise for Busy Moms some of my most embarrassing ways of sneaking in exercise as a busy mom of three who also works part-time. One of my tips is to use a variety of workout DVDs at home, since they are cheap (I listed a few great Amazon deals below) and take minimal time. Here are a few of my favorites for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike.
1. P90X – My favorite workouts are Plyometrics, Core Synergistics, and Cardio X because they keep my heart pumping and work every part of my body. These are very challenging workouts, so I always enjoy these more when I have a friend or my husband there to push me.
2. The Firm Ultimate Fat Burning Workout – Only $5.90 on Amazon and eligible for free shipping right now. I like this one because I get a full body work out, including cardio and weights, in about 45 minutes. All you need are some light to medium dumbbells. (I use 5 lbs for most exercises.)
3. Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred – Only $7.99 on Amazon and eligible for free shipping right now. If you only have 20 minutes to workout, this should be your go-to exercise DVD. It is a challenging entire body workout that moves quickly between circuits of cardio, weights, and abs. What I also like is that there are three difficulty levels to choose from. You’ll need a set of small hand weights.
4. The Firm Bootcamp Maximum Calorie Burn – Only $8.39 on Amazon and eligible for free shipping right now. Like the other Firm DVD I mentioned, this will give you a full body work, including cardio, plyometrics, and abs, in about 50 minutes. You don’t need any equipment.
5. Hit the Spot – Pilates with Denise Austin – Only $6.78 on Amazon and eligible for free shipping right now. I like to put this one in the mix on days that I don’t feel as “hard core.” It’s a nice alternative to the typical weight lifting workout. It’s divided into 10 minute sections that focus on certain problem areas (hips, legs, abs, etc) and then one 20 minute power pilates section that works the whole body. You can make the workout as long or as short as you like. No equipment required.
6. The Perfect Pregnancy Workout – I did this one all the time while pregnant, but I must admit I still pop it in from time to time. The pregnant chic who leads the routine is in amazing shape! This workout DVD provides a 25 minute full-body weight-lifting workout that is safe for the preggos and non-preggos. Just be forewarned that it is a foreign-made DVD, so it’s a little funny at times. The front cover may tip you off.
7. Denise Austin: Yoga Body Burn – Only $7.14 on Amazon and eligible for free shipping right now. Like the Pilates DVD above, I like this for a change of pace. It has short segments that focus on different body parts. It’s easy to follow and actually provides a decent weight-bearing workout and along with stretching.
Tips for Using Workout DVDs
Admittedly, it’s hard to stay motivated when working out at home. Here are a few tips I use to stay motivated.
– Drag a friend, husband/boyfriend, or kids into doing it with you. Everything’s more fun with a friend.
– Plan ahead. Choose the DVDs you want to do at the beginning of the week and set them out on your TV stand or counter, so you’ll see them.
– Schedule it. Put your workout time into your daily calendar so it’s built into your day.
– Switch it up. It’s important to have a variety of different kinds of workouts available so they don’t get boring. I swap workout DVDs with friends, borrow them from the library, and buy them for next to nothing at garage sales. My friend, Jeannette, says Hulu is a great resources for free workouts, too.
A Note to Pregnant Moms
To all you pregnant moms out there, I actually adapted and used all the exercise DVDs above except for P90X while pregnant. My rules were to pay attention to what my body was telling me (I slowed down, adapted exercises or quit when needed), drink lots of water, and don’t lie flat on my back after the first trimester. And, of course, I listened to my doctor and sought her advice about exercise first. With those things in mind (and some totally uncomfortable prescription hose for my veiny legs), I was able to workout throughout all three pregnancies. I encourage you to stay active as much as you can and your doctor allows. Your baby and post-baby body will thank you later.