Jan 5, 2009  •  In Personal, Reviews

Bring on the Pain!

Back in the days when I had a lot more free time and the luxury of The Bank of Mom & Dad supporting me, I was a regular feature at my local gym. Fifteen minutes on the elliptical, thirty minutes of strength training, and another fifteen on the elliptical (or a few laps in the pool) to cool down.

I have never been skinny. In fact, I’ve always struggled a bit with my weight, because unlike most Asians I was cursed with a curvy body. However, during this year of religious workouts, I was at my most fit with tight limbs and a 25″ waist. I didn’t have a six-pack, but I had a well-defined line extending down my tummy. I also developed a habit of visiting tanning salons during this period (bad, I know) so I looked tan, trim, and healthy.

I strove to get this body back for the wedding, and I’m sorry to say I failed. The stress of wedding planning while purchasing my first home led me to gorge on calories and depend on my old college frenemies, coffee and cigarettes, whenever I felt fat.

Now, after turning 28, I’ve decided that I want my old body back.

I realize this may not be realistic; after all, I am 8 years older than when I was at my fittest and my metabolism has noticeably slowed. However, I am not getting any younger. If now isn’t a good time to start, when is?

Unfortunately, gym memberships can be quite costly. In addition, their hours are not always ideal and I’ve never liked working out in front of strangers.

I have decided to turn to exercise DVDs as a result.

The first is the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred:

Although I’ve never watched The Biggest Loser, I read so many wonderful things about this DVD that I needed to try it. There are 3 levels, each 20 minutes long, and you are to start at Level 1 and progress to the next as you start getting more comfortable with the workout.

I started at Level 1, thinking that it wouldn’t be too bad. After all, I can still run 3 miles comfortably – this can’t be too bad, right?

Boy was I wrong!

The next two days after the workout were pure torture. I think even my earlobes were sore. I hobbled around the apartment, moaning and groaning, while J proceeded to call me a “silly girl” and asked why I overdid it.

“But I didn’t overdo it! That was just Level 1!”

Needless to say, the workout works. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The next DVD I purchased was the New York City Ballet Workout:

There are two DVDs in the set, with the second designed to be more intense and advanced.

The main reason I purchased this set is because I had been thinking about taking adult ballet lessons. I have always admired dancers’ bodies, with long, lean necks, lithe limbs and perfect postures. In addition, I am such a klutz that I figured ballet could help me become more graceful and ladylike.

I’ve only done the first DVD since I am still a beginner. The workout didn’t seem too intense, so I was surprised to see that I was sweating up a storm. At the end of the DVD I felt refreshed and somehow leaner than before…and I realized that this is one of those workouts that will force you to exercise those muscles you didn’t even know existed. In other words, pain the next morning, hobbling around like a gimp again, etc.

I will be rotating these two exercises through my new regimen, and will do my best to work out at least 5 times a week. I will definitely keep you updated on the progress, and I’m pretty excited!

Are there any exercise DVDs you recommend? What are your favorite weight-loss tips?

7 Responses to “Bring on the Pain!”

  1. I’m dusting off my my belly dancing DVDs and I even signed up for a weekly class! I find that belly dancing (or maybe just any type of dancing?) uses a lot of those muscles you forget you have in your arms, torso, hips and legs. It’s kinda amazing how achey you can feel after just 20 minutes of using muscles you’re not used to acessing!

    The NYC Ballet workout looks AWESOME, I might have to look for that one….

  2. Thanks for the recommendations! I prefer to exercise at home (so convenient.. and free!) and I’ve been doing so for some months now. But since I sort of "make up" my own routine, I think I’m not getting a balanced workout and I could possibly be injuring myself through overuse of certain muscle groups. I’ve been looking for a more legitimate, professionally-approved routine, and these sound great! Will order them immediately!!!

  3. Hey what equipment do you need to do the 30 Day Shred at home? Any particular weights or bands or anything? I want to try it!

  4. Geek in Heels:

    Hi Laura!

    You want to have lightweight hand weights (I’d say about 3 lbs) but even that gets sooooo heavy after the first few sets! Also, if you don’t have carpeting I’d definitely recommend a yoga mat or something similar.

  5. tipperella:

    My husband and I started the 30 Day Shred on New Year’s day. I was seriously groaning when having to go up and down stairs for the next 2 days! I wondered if this was really supposed to be an every day workout. But, the second try (2 days later), I felt MUCH better and more of a good sore. Good luck to you!

  6. greenellephant:

    I’m with violarulz.
    Belly Dancing is actually a lot more work than it looks! I used to do the free belly dancing on one of those free cable channels (Oxygen? Lifetime? I forget, had the benefit of DVR back then) and have to admit I was sweating up a storm!

    Right now since I’m a poor student, I bundle up and run outside with pebcilla =)

    The New York City Ballet Workout looks awwwwweeessssome! Let me know how that goes!

  7. Good to know. I’ve been looking for some new and *worth it* fitness dvds. I think I might get both :)

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