Fitness videos these days are multidisc bonanzas with workouts that change frequently to keep you interested.

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AS I BOUNCED on my toes around my living room, listening to Tracy Anderson discuss the benefits of working small muscle groups, I thought about telling her to shove it. She wouldn’t have heard me anyway.

The great thing about fitness DVDs is we all have access to Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer. The bad thing is we can shut her off at any time.

Those of you with more commitment might turn on one of these celebrity trainers, keep them on and do what they say. If you do, they all claim great results. I can’t vouch for the end, but I do know you can get your butt legitimately kicked in the comfort of your living room.

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Fitness videos these days are multidisc bonanzas with workouts that change frequently to keep you interested. I might even do one again.


by Tracy Anderson, $89.97

Anderson’s handiwork is visible in every Us Weekly near you. With four discs and strength-training routines that change every 10 days, Anderson pushes hard. But the cardio routine doesn’t change. Imagine dancing wildly at a loud club for 30 minutes, kicking, jumping around and pumping your arms overhead. It’s exhausting. She doesn’t give a lot of advice or cues on technique, but she’ll make you sweat. Throw in 30 minutes of strength training and you’ll be fine with the fact that only Gwyneth gets the “opportunity” to train with Anderson in real life.

“Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System”


On the days you can’t make the gym’s Zumba schedule work for you, go for the DVD set. Seven discs offer multiple dances to choose from, including a 45-minute “Activate” dance and a 20-minute “Rush” dance. Less intense than some of the strength-training you’ll find with other videos, it’s still fun and gets your body moving. It will take time to master all of the moves on all of the DVDs, unless, of course, you already know them. The instructors are perky-cheerful and insistent on getting you into the feel of the dance, even though it can be hard to feel truly groovy dancing solo at home.

“Janet Stone Yoga”

Ananda Vinyasa, $19.99

janetstoneyoga.comThis San Francisco-based instructor has made a name for herself in the yoga world with her creative, vigorous flows. Her Ananda Vinyasa DVD is an opportunity to get in a challenging practice with a great, grounded teacher. Stone gives clear instruction while bringing in different yoga concepts, so if you want to clear your head while getting stronger, try her out. The practice itself is challenging and tends more toward intermediate practitioners. If your jaw is not on the floor watching this limber lady demonstrate poses, check out more of her creative sequencing on her iTunes app.

“Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30”


Of all the trainers out there, I might be the most terrified of Jillian Michaels. But then I look at her toned body and wonder if she knows something the rest of us don’t. Michaels takes a more assertive approach, promising she will “try not to draw blood” as she alternates you through 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. It’s a hard road to acquire rippling muscles, and I didn’t even get to the last week of workouts. Jillian was the most focused on form of all the trainers, and despite her intense persona, it feels like she cares about making sure we are safe while working out. You will need hand weights to get the most from her video.

Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at Email:

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