Perhaps I’m romanticizing the past, but I do recall fondly my days at the gym when I could use a dozen different weight machines or try three types of toning classes. But several years ago I gave it up because I realized that in the time it took me to make the 15-minute drive to and from the gym, I could be half-way done with my workout. (And we all know what 30 extra minutes can mean in our days.)
So, like millions of moms since the ’80s fitness video craze emerged, I took to the living room/basement workout regimen and have been on a quest to find a workout DVD I can not only watch 101 times, but one that works and I enjoy doing. My top five:
Zumba • It’s truly a movement—not to mention, quite a sight to see three dozen people executing these steps in a corporate park during their lunch hour. But the fact is, it’s so much fun moving to the cumbia, salsa, and reggatone beats, you actually want to do it. Beto Perez is adorable and he and his team sport some motivating bodies. I think the Cardio Party is a great workout but don’t find the Sculpt & Tone as intense as I like, even with hand weights.
Core Rhythms • I ordered this because I thought it could not only tighten up my mid-section, but improve my Latin dance form—indeed, it has done both. International dance champions Jaana Kunitz and Julia Powers take you through salsa, merengue, samba, and rumba-inspired sequences. You have to focus on isolating each movement to feel the burn, and I wear wrist weights to up the intensity, but I don’t have to suck in my stomach anymore.
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Hip Hop Abs • You’re probably noticing a trend here—workouts disguised as dance routines. Yes, they are much more fun than circuit training, but I admit that I also like pretending I am at a hot dance club working these moves wearing some great outfit and killer shoes. However, after trying to hang with Shaun T and his crew in this workout, it was apparent that I had lost a few shakes or never had them. But it kept me challenged and entertained. And what Shaun T lacks in his Will Smith impression, he by far compensates with his six pack—ladies, it is ridiculous.
Cindy Crawford: Next Challenge Workout • No, Cindy is not dancing in this. She’s the exception here. The DVD came out in 2004, and I know Cindy has moved on to her skin care line, but her workout with trainer Radu still holds up. What I love about it is how real she is—she too cannot wait for the crunches to be over. And yes, she’s gorgeous, but her body doesn’t look fake like those of so many women on workout DVDs. I’m sure some of you will say it’s dated, and that I am as well, but it works. And by the way, big hair is back too, so warm up your curling irons.
DeLinda’s Dumbbell Workout to So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) • Note: This is not officially endorsed by Nigel Lithgone and the producers of the show, they have their own workout DVDs (which I have not tried, but I will if someone sends me a copy). I created my own dumbbell workout to do while I watch my most favorite show. I am not a fitness expert, but I have been working out since I was 10-years-old—my brother had me training with him, doing calf raises on Webster dictionaries—and I know the best way to change your body is by lifting weights. So while those inspiring young dancers lunge and fly, I lunge and curl and row and actually do flies. Give it a try! Just because we like to watch television, doesn’t mean we have to be couch potatoes! Send me your favorite workouts.