Exercise Videos: A Cheap Way to Get In Shape
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I have a confession to make. Last month, I splurged on something that wasn’t in my budget.
Frustrated with my then boring exercise routine, I ordered a fairly pricey workout video series called Focus T25 off of Amazon.com. Even though I normally like to exercise outside, I wanted to do something different for a change. I also got hooked in with one of those snazzy infomercials with testimonials and before-and-after pics. Sue me.
Regardless, I think the $125 I forked over was a pretty good investment. Now that we’re been doing the program for several weeks, I can really see the difference, especially in my core and lower body. I also have a little more pep in my step, better focus, and more energy than I had before. The best part yet – I’ve lost around 7 pounds!
For a video series that requires no equipment at all, I was actually surprised at how intense they are. Even though each segment is only 25 minutes long, it’s still pretty hardcore. It’s amazing how much work you can put in just using your own body weight.
5 Reasons I Think Exercise Videos Are a Great (and Cheap) Way to Get in Shape
Even though I have access to other types of workout equipment, I’m starting to think that workout videos might be one of the smartest ways to get in shape. Here’s why:
You Don’t Need Any Equipment
With Focus T25 and many of the other videos I’ve done in the past, you don’t need any equipment to get started. Personally, I like types of exercise that don’t require me to keep a ton of weights or gadgets lying around. We all know people who use their treadmill as a clothes rack. Believe me, I’ve been one of them.
Videos Can Last Forever
Aside from a few Tae Bo VHS tapes I have, the exercise videos in my possession can basically be used until the end of time. I like to mix things up so I don’t get sick of any one routine in particular, but the videos themselves are pretty timeless. I should really gift my Tae Bo collection to someone with VHS player. Anyone?
You Don’t Have to Leave the House
I’ve joined the gym off and on for years. Aside from the cost, the main reason I don’t stick with it is because I absolutely hate driving there. Even though it’s a mile away, it’s such a hassle to find someone to watch my kids and get out the door. Exercise videos, on the other hand, can be completed after the kids go to sleep if necessary.
You Can Exercise Cheap or Free
As someone who goes to garage sales often, I can tell you that I see exercise videos at garage sales all the time. While $125 may be a lot to pay for a video, picking one up for $1 or $2 is an awesome value and a great way to save money. Even better, exercise videos are available all over the web for free. My friend John from Frugal Rules recently lost 100 pounds with Nutrisystem and Jillian Michaels videos off of YouTube!
You Don’t Have to Look Good
Although I have never watched myself do Focus T25 or any other video, I know I’m a hot mess. I can’t do half of the moves and am extremely uncoordinated. There are times during the videos when I completely ignore what they’re doing and do something else instead. Since I’m not in a class with others or at the gym, I don’t care. I do whatever the hell I want. And, as long as I keep my heart rate up, I’m pretty happy with myself.
Finding a Cheap Way to Get In Shape
If you don’t like exercise videos, there are plenty of other cheap ways to get in shape as well. I prefer walking or jogging, personally, but I know a lot of others who would rather go hiking, biking, or swimming. Most of these activities cost very little to get started, which is just another reason most excuses for not exercising are completely bogus.
I should know. In the past, I’ve made every excuse in the book. Hopefully, with the help of all the exercise videos I love to hate, I can break that cycle for good.
Update: Just so you know, this thing actually works! I lost a total of 12 pounds, which is a lot on somebody my size. However, Greg actually lost an amazing 35 pounds!!! My man looks GOOD, y’all!
Back off ladies! He’s mine!
What is your favorite way to get in shape? Do you think exercise videos are fun or silly?
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I’m not the only one with Tae Bo VHS tapes! Woo hoo! I used to love those workouts. I remember being pretty spent. Now I’m working through a post pregnancy program targeted at healing my diastasis recti. I think exercise videos can be great for really targeted stuff like that – you have a problem / problem area, why not try a video instead of hiring an expensive professional?
I would totally do Tae Bo if I had a working VHS player! I bet it would be a hoot. They are at least 10-15 years old.
Exercise videos are awesome! I’ve been a bit slack when it comes to getting out for my morning walk since the arrival of the cooler weather and dark mornings so I’ve dragged out one of my favourite videos… now I just need to put it in the machine. That’ll probably take another week! The thing is, it’s always there, and never expires. Two important aspects of a great investment.
I agree =)
I used to love my Tae Bo tapes ! I might get another tape here, maybe something l can play on the wii as we have no DVD player . I love it for all the reasons mentioned. The gym closest to us here wants €60 a month each..not gonna happen, and the other wants €45 and has like 4 machines.. :-). They are both always empty of course..ridiculous..
i joined the gym this winter but dropped it again. Too difficult to actually get there. Plus, I would rather be outdoors when it’s nice out.
I SO use and love workout videos … but I’ve got one even better: With Comcast On Demand you get a whole library of free workout videos. My wife and I have been using these for the past 3 years and they are awesome! There are so many to choose from that we rarely ever do the same one twice. Plus there’s no extra charge other than what you pay for cable.
Nice! Another great option.
My mom recently purchased this program and I’m excited to hear what she thinks! I do Jillian Michaels videos on YouTube, haha, and I love them (though it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one). After getting stuck in a gym contract for over a year and hardly ever going, I never plan on joining one again.
You’ve motivated me to do a video today haha!! Hopefully I will! 🙂
I love going to classes at the rec center, but it’s nice to have some exercise videos at home for days when I can’t make it. People use the excuse of no time as why they can’t work out, but if you have it at home, I don’t know anyone who can’t find 30 minutes in the day if they really want to. We have had P90x for years, and I pull out the Plyometrics from time to time. I’m sure I look like the biggest fool as well, but my dog doesn’t ever laugh at me!
Ha! My dog doesn’t laugh either. He just stares at me like, “What in the hell are you doing?”
I LOVE workout videos. I find them almost as motivating as being with an actual instructor at a club where you pay a fortune for a monthly membership. But videos are better because they are just a one-time payment and then you get to reap the benefits for years 🙂
I agree all the way. I think one of the best things you stated is the fact that most of the video series that are on the market right now have staying power. They stay relevant over time. I can pop in my “Insanity” series to this even though it’s four years old and it’s still great to work out to even now.
Nice! I would like to pick up Insanity at a garage sale sometime.
We like to use videos as well. Our schedule is nutty so it helps that we can just work out whenever we want and either put a dvd in or pull something up on YouTube and exercise whenever. For some reason, the money we’ve spent on gym memberships in the past has never really motivated me to go more – so it only makes sense not to spend the money.
Same here. I think it’s difficult to get to the gym when you have little kids like us. It’s much easier to find a way to work out at home during naps or after they go to bed.
I like watching exercise channels on youtube. There are some really good ones, everything from yoga to strengthening and their free.
Free- can’t beat that!
Congrats on the 7 pounds. Although I trade an expensive gym membership for video work, before that I used free or very cheap (like 99 cents) aps. Nike Training Club is really a favorite. Tons of workouts that are very hard and you’ll never get bored.
Ever since I moved and canceled my gym membership, I’ve been putting more effort into exercising at home for cheap. Since it’s summer I’d prefer to exercise outside as well but sometimes it’s just not realistic because it’s been raining almost every day in my area and sometimes it can get extremely hot in the summer. I refuse to jog in 85 degree weather. Workout DVDs are my top alternate and I personally love Sean T’s routines and methods, he has so much energy and really gets you pumped. I have Hip Hop Abs and Rockin Body. Those infomercials that he does are super tempting and very well put together. I’ve heard great things about Focus T25 as well, I hope you enjoy it!
I still run first and foremost, but I really love mixing it up with a little bit of everything. Exercise videos, trips to gyms (when I can get them for free), donation based yoga. I got a free week to classpass in the spring and it was totally amazing, couldn’t commit to paying for it though 🙂
I would say the best things that have helped me lose weight or maintain that are cost effective would be riding my bicycle and walking my dog. Both are pretty cost effective, I actually quit the gym and then started walking with my dog 2x a day and lost 10 lbs, kinda funny quit gym=lost weight.
I work out by going to the rock climbing gym that I’m a member at and doing free hikes and climbs outside. Workout videos are great as well!
Popsugar.tv also has some great free workout videos!
Sweet! Another great option if you don’t have the money for videos.
I don’t know why I don’t actually ever use videos, but I think they would be really great for at home yoga instead of paying to go to a studio. I think I will put that on my to-do list! 🙂
Good point about not having to find someone to watch your kids. Definitely not something I have thought about (for obvious reasons). I think that’s one luxury my wife and I will miss when we have kids. It’s so easy for both of us to stop at the gym on the way home from work. We’ll lose that when we have kids.
One thing I like about exercise videos (or classes for that matter) is that they help you maintain stamina. Sure you can slow down and/or stop, but I find my competitive nature steps in and I don’t want to quit. Sometimes when I workout by myself, I don’t always maintain a high enough heart rate, etc. Congrats on the 7 pounds! Sounds like a great investment to me. 🙂
The best exercise that helped me lose weight was running. I tried exercise videos once and did enjoy how the instructor pushed you along. Like you I couldn’t do some of the stuff and felt silly at times. Ain’t got no groove.
Is it just me or is there a stigma that exercise videos are only for women? I know there are men that do them but they seem very geared towards a female audience.
I definitely work harder when I\’m in a group exercise class – having someone push me makes me go further than I can typically push myself alone.
That said, I did p90x when I was last laid off and got a great workout in my living room. When I travel, I often do the 7 minute workout in my hotel room – gives you a good burn in whatever amount of time you have available with no equipment required.
T25! That’s still on my list to try. I’ve been a proponent of the home gym for several years now. Just this month we got a summer gym membership for the first time, mainly for my kids to swim. I am excited for you and curious to see how it goes!
And with Youtube making it free to do so, there\’s no excuse for anyone anymore!
I agree! Hard to make excuses when it’s free and you can do it in your living room.
This is a great way of saving money and working out at home. Just like you I work from home, so it is convenient to pop in a video and do some exercise to break up the day.
We have used Tae Bo tapes for years. If you really want to go for it, try P90X! Mix in some Yoga videos with all of this and you have a great way to cross train.
I really love magazine exercise programs too. If you can check magazines out from the library, or get them for 25 cents (or less!) at garage sales, magazines like Shape and Men’s Fitness have some great, targeted exercise routines that often don’t require much beyond your own body weight. Some include resistance band training or 5 lb. dumbbells, but those aren’t bad investments to make either!
My exercises include mostly aerobics, dancing and zumba, so I am a huge fan of videos 😀 I do go to the classes as well, because it is more fun with others, but on the other hand, it is also lots of fun to do it with kids in my house.
I exercise at home and use videos on Youtube. I think it has more advantages when there’s a video than doing it on our own because you have to catch up with the video, aside from it’s free. I use Fitnessblender, their videos on Yotube are great. You may want to try it out Holly.
I love Chalean / Turbo Fire videos, been using them for about 4 years (since my son was born). Never gets old when you mix and match the DVDs. Helped me shed 20 pounds post pregnancy and keeps me in great shape. I’m ALL FOR these videos. Did T25 as well, but was too intense for me, Chalene is my favorite beachbody trainer / soulmate workout. Now I’m preggers again and keep doing her exercises (a lighter version of it, of course). I’m in much better shape this pregnancy around, and I have to credit the at home workout regimen.
Ack! I”m no good at exercising on my own! I love working out, but if I’m not in a group setting, I’m totally unmotivated!
My wife just works out to YouTube exercise videos and she loves it. Originally I thought they wouldn’t be effective but I had to admit I can totally see how they can benefit people.
My hubby and I actually use a bunch of Jillian Michael’s videos that are available for free via Amazon Prime. Other than the fact that it takes us days to recover from the pain, we love it.
I’ve considered buying into something like that for the same reasons you outlined but not sure I have the commitment to actually do them lol. We invested in a good quality treadmill about 4 years ago and use it all the time, especially since having a kid!
I can’t agree more with this post. My wife and I also bought T25 – Alpha, Beta & Gamma. It sure beats the time it takes to get to the gym and the gym membership fees. We’ve seen an incredible transformation over the past 20 weeks or so. Now we rotate between T25 series and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise videos sound awesome! I think it would be great to do it alternately with my stroller jogging workouts. It’ll surely be a fun exercise schedule. High five for sharing a great idea! 🙂
I stay in shape because of these exercise videos online because I find it easy and interesting to follow and catch up with those exercises and I don’t have to go to gym. So, I recommend doing those exercise videos more than hitting the gym.