Before I launch into my Top Five, I need to send out a few Thank Yous! I’ve received blogging awards over the past week or so and the kind folks who shared them with me deserve a big shout out. From My Cooking Life and The Misfit Baker came the One Lovely Blog Award; Inkspeare passed along the Illuminating Blog Award and Vegan Sparkles shared big award love as well. Please stop (just kidding!) before my ego gets out of control!
I don’t write very often on this blog about one hugely important component of my life; something I began doing for my health long before I ditched Coney dogs and chocolate milkshakes: physical activity. Without my daily dose of running/walking/rowing and strength training, I get real squirrely real fast. My routine is pretty simple: 45 minutes of cardio of some kind followed by ~30 minutes of strength training or targeted abdominal work. When the day goes right, I add a 30-minute yoga routine to my afternoon. The strength training/ab work often centers around fitness DVDs for two reasons: 1) I’m not a joiner. Fitness classes are just not my thing. I prefer being the sole witness to looking clumsy; and 2) I live in the boonies. There is no gym closer than 25 miles from me and so, my home is my gym.
Over the years I’ve amassed a decent collection of fitness DVDs, though I haven’t quite reached junkie status. Some routines I go back to again and again and some just never lit that essential spark that meant I would stick with it. Without further ado, here is my Hall of Shame of fitness DVDs.
Five: Stott Pilates
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this DVD. It’s perfectly nice. Much like a glass of warm milk is perfectly nice. If you like that sort of thing. Sometimes the routines just don’t grab you and this is one of those times. I have a ton of Pilates DVDs, most of them hosted by Ana Caban and I guess my heart kind of belongs to her.
Four: Pilates Reformer
You remember that boyfriend/girlfriend you broke up with for some silly reason like they put too much salt on their food or they like to listen to Air Supply? Well, I broke up with this DVD because the “hostess” too many turn-offs to ignore. Her voice is grating, she looks unkempt (and out of shape) and her cues are annoying. I was often too busy grumbling about her to get into the routine. That being said…it is a pretty good workout.
Three: Tai Chi
One word that has never been used to describe me is graceful and I’ve come to grips with the fact that I will never be gazelle material. This DVD underscored that reality. I was looking for a way to reduce stress while challenging my muscles in a new way so I picked up this DVD on sale at Target. I mean, how easy does Tai Chi look, right? Some arm floating action here, a little leg bending there. Yeah. After several days of this DVD, I’d only gotten through the first four moves. After that I was hopelessly lost. I’ll stick to yoga.
Two: Cathe Basic Step + Cardio & Weights
All the stuff I wrote above about Tai Chi? Ditto and then some. I’m a clutz. I cannot for the life of me follow or remember routines or dance steps and all of my life I’ve avoided making coordinated movements with, near or alongside groups of people. Working through this DVD brought a slight whiff of me – the dorky, trumpet-playing pep band member – in high school watching the cute cheerleaders go through their routines on the sidelines of the basketball court. I confess that there is still a tiny part of me that carries around the resentment and utter terror I had of the
wolf pack cheerleaders. This DVD brought all those negative feelings rushing back and suddenly I was the flat-chested, metal-mouthed, spectacle-wearing wuss getting pummeled in dodge ball. Out, damn Cathe. (I do love her ab circuit DVD, however.)
One: The Tracy Anderson Method.
Here it is. My biggest fitness DVD mistake. I remember precisely the frame of mind I was in when I purchased this. I’d reached a fitness plateau. I was bored with my usual routines. I figured a six-pack (hell, I’d settle for a 4-pack) belly was a mere press of the DVD player remote – if I could just find that magical DVD. In my lowest moment, in a time of vulnerability – a perfect storm of weakness – I stumbled on an interview with Gywneth Paltrow where she extolled the virtues of Tracy’s unique workout. The high-and-tight buns, the firm quads, a tummy as flat as a pancake griddle: mine for the taking. Here’s the thing. This sucker is over an hour long. Combined with my daily 45-minute cardio session, it was a commitment I couldn’t make.
Maybe, just maybe I would’ve stuck with it, but then there are the gyrations. Yes, I wrote gyrations. I could handle the pseudo-ballet moves and the awkward positions, the dining room chair over which I had to drape myself (placing the chair in exactly the right spot to avoid slamming a foot into the couch), but when I got to the segment targeting the abs, I had to holler ’nuff. I still had some pride left, dammit. I would look around the living room to make sure Kel couldn’t see me in action and then I’d gamely attempt to gyrate. Even Tracy looks embarrassed doing it. After making it through, oh, three or four times, I shoved the disc to the back of the TV cabinet and moved onto something else.
Now for the fun part. Just because these DVDs didn’t do it for me, doesn’t mean they’re not perfect for somebody else. So – I’m giving them away. If you’d like one of these babies, leave a comment below telling me which one you’d like (one per commenter, please) and I’ll mail it to you, no questions asked. First come, first serve.