Years ago, I ran a personal training business. I felt a wonderful sense of satisfaction each time a client thanked me for making their hour-long workout so engaging and effective. Well, now I’m about to give away one of my biggest secrets.
It would arrive every few months in my mailbox, a narrow catalog from Collage Video that showed the most unusual and creative ways to increase heart rate, burn fat, and build muscle. I’d pour through the pages, then go online where snippets of the featured DVDs streamed into my computer. After studying the most interesting moves I could find, I’d see which best fit each of my client’s needs and create new workouts.
When the 60-page booklet arrived yesterday, I knew it was time to share it with you EcoSalon readers. Each workout can be done in the privacy of your own home, or in your health club. The key is to mix things up so you look forward to your exercise. And choose your DVDs wisely, meaning don’t dive into advanced salsa dancing and cardio kickboxing if you’ve never tried them before.
The tried and true are here: 12 days of workouts that are sure to inspire, taken from collage video, and edited by us.
This an introduction to the graceful and sensuous art of bellydance. The video begins with a dancer’s stretch followed by thirteen isolations, individual movements like Hip Circles, Rib Cage Isolations, and Egyptian Shimmies. Moves are broken down slowly, then blended into complete combinations. Finish with a 10-minute bellydance performance. Includes authentic Arabic instrumental music.
The Foam Roller Workout
I actually witnessed this firsthand when I wrote a story about the fitness routine for the dancers of the Broadway show “Movin Out,” by Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp. These rollers build flexibility and core strength with Pilates-style routines. Lawrence Biscontini (Reebok University Master Trainer and ACE Fitness Instructor) uses both technical and lay terms to identify the muscles you’re working and summarizes the benefits. (Requires a 6″ x 36″ foam roller which can be purchased online.)
Body Bar Strength and Conditioning
This workout uses a weighted pole to strengthen both upper and lower body, incorporating everyting from rear kickbacks with your legs, to drop sets and supersets, to muscle-group pre-fatigue routines.
Bosu Cardio Fusion
A nonstop workout designed to challenge and burn fat. It contains a blend of stabilization moves and classic step patterns like squats, and athletic routines on the Bosu like hops, jumps and pivots. Last is a dance-influenced series, from mambos and chassés to spins and step touches.
Urban Rebounding Compilation
Be sure you have high ceilings before attempting this one. J.B. Berns uses specific techniques like engaging abs as you jump on the mini trampoline. Moves range from simple straddles, jogs, and kicks, to fast-paced sprints and twists, which are often integrated with arm and upper body movements.
Core Stability Ball
A varied, fast-moving series of on-the-ball body-sculpting moves (the DVD comes with a 25-inch stability ball and a hand pump.) You’ll begin by moving the ball, increase range of motion to work the obliques, and end with a lower-body-focused side plank/leg lift series. There is never a wasted motion.
Great for home and travel as this workout uses various resistance bands that boost intensity. Moves target muscles from different angles. Workout is followed by traditional floorwork like scissors, roll ups and leg circles.
New York City Ballet Workout
Performed by authentic NYC Ballet dancers, these are the actual routines they use to build their strong, flexible, well-sculpted bodies.
Dance off the inches Sizzling Salsa
A fun Latin fat-burner with high-energy music and lots of variety. Stella Sandoval’s progressive teaching makes it easy to follow.
Bringing back the step
The perfect introduction to step workouts. Video has six distinct segments so you can advance at your own pace and stop when you want.
Yoga for beginners
Features smooth flowing movements, not just an endless series of sun salutations. Gentle voiceover cuing carefully guides you through each exercise. More than just the basics, this program also includes some twisting poses, hip openers and backbends.
Kelly Coffey 30 minutes to Fitness
This is like having a workout partner in the weight room. This woman is jacked! The first workout targets back, legs and chest; the second shapes biceps, triceps and shoulders. Coffey combines classic exercises with subtly tweaked variations like a push-up with a balance element, and a squat with added pulses. There’s also a 12- minute ab section (requires 8 to 15 lb. dumbbells).
Discouragement is a real self-esteem killer. First log on to collage video - or Netflix if you’re a member – and see if anything looks interesting. Do you love going to clubs and dancing all night, or do you prefer pumping iron? Are you stiff and looking to lengthen and stretch your muscles or are you in need of building and toning? You’ll find things from Ashtanga Yoga: Beginner’s Practice to Bollywood Dance Workout. During a quick Blockbuster search, I found such obscure titles as Nude Yoga & Tai Chi and Aerobo Cop: Super Hero of Fitness.
Please check in and let us know how your workout is doing!
Image: Olivier Bareau