by @kelsocks

Which DVD Workout Works For You? Reviews!

Due to the positive response to my post about why I love DVD workouts, I decided to write some quick reviews comparing the series I have tried.  Hopefully this is helpful to someone! (please enjoy this terrible photoshop job)

Important tips before starting a new fitness routine:

  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Try to find a series that’s appropriate for your level, but don’t be intimidated by challenge.
  • Consistency is key.  If you do any exercise regularly, you’re going to see results.
  • If everything goes according to plan, you’re going to be watching these videos… a lot. Find someone you can stand to listen to for an hour a day.
The following are all coincidentally programs by Beach Body.  I don’t work for them and I’m not getting any kind of kickback for gushing about them, all I have to offer is my personal experience. Also it should be noted that I haven’t done these “programs” by the provided schedules. Rather, I’ve kept it loosey goosey by just integrating these workouts into my own routine.

P90X (original)

Probably the most successful fitness series ever. The (in)famous Tony Horton will expose you to a wide range of exercise: weights, bands, yoga, martial arts, jump training… you name it.  Variety, or “muscle confusion” as he calls it, is key.  This series is so solid it’s going to be a classic to fitness gurus like Caddyshack to comedians.  P90X people are crazy about it for a reason: it works.  And it is just a hilarious club to be a part of. (Watch me end a sentence with a preposition, bitches)

Stuff needed: weights or bands (although many exercises are possible without), mat, pull-up bar (optional)

Duration: 50-60 mins avg (90 min for yoga)

Good for: everything- strength, cardio, flexibility, balance, power

Difficulty: beginner to advanced

ChaLEAN Extreme

Chalene Johnson is easily my favorite lady fitness guru, but her workouts are far from girly.  Possibly the most positive, encouraging person on the planet, Chalene will get you pumped with tough but efficient workouts.  In this series, she’s all about building muscle (something so often neglected by the fairer sex) because it’s the best way to boost your metabolism and get a lean body.   Great for men and women.

Stuff needed: weights or bands.  The more the better, as CJ touts low reps at max weight

Duration: 30-50 mins

Good for: strength/toning (primarily), cardio, flexibility, balance,

Difficulty: beginner to advanced


You will sweat your ass off. Literally. Chalene combines plyometrics, kickboxing, and a little bit of dance for two styles of cardio workouts that will get you nice and lean.

I fucking love Chalene’s workouts. As a busy lady herself, she understands how pressed for time we are so her videos are short and sweet.  She also has great music cues to keep you moving.  Warning: FIRE workouts are a little dancey, so it involves a bit of choreography that is confusing at first (but which you will quickly learn because you’re going to stick with it). Some of you bros might feel self conscious dancing around your house, but you can always get your hetero on by ogling all the hot ladies.

Stuff needed: nothing except bands for the supplementary toning videos

Duration: HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training) 15-30 mins, FIREs (cardio) 30-60 mins, toning/strength supplements 20-30 mins

Good for:  cardio (primarily), strength/toning, flexibility, balance, power

Difficulty: beginner to advanced


Appropriately marketed as one of the hardest workouts available, this series is almost all plyometrics.  Shaun T does not fuck around.  No bands, no weights, no yoga mat, no frills. Just you and your shoes jumping until you can’t jump no more.  Because it is so tough, a) it’s intimidating, b) you have to be careful about your joints especially knees/ankles, c) you will see results fast.

Stuff needed: nada

Duration: 25-50 mins

Good for: power and cardio (primarily), strength, flexibility, balance

Difficulty: intermediate to super duper advanced (beginners could definitely be successful, but it might not be a bad idea to get into a manageable routine before diving into something this intense)

Slim in 6

Slim in 6 is more reminiscent of older style fitness tapes, but it holds up (I still do them regularly). I also love Debbie Seibers because she is no nonsense.  Her workouts are straightforward but effective, so they’re good for anyone who can’t get the hang of complex choreography or the strange “new” exercises popping up in recent years.

Stuff needed: weights or bands, mat

Good for: strength/toning, cardio, balance

Difficulty: beginner to intermediate

Hip Hop Abs

This series is fun and playful, like Shaun T when he’s not making your lungs explode during Insanity.  It’s a good gateway for anyone trying to break into fitness who maybe struggles with intimidation by other series. However, I will say that there’s no way you’re going to want to actually bust these moves out on the dance floor, SHAUN. Nice try.

Stuff needed: weights, bands, mat

Duration: 20-45 mins

Good for: cardio, flexibility, balance, strength/toning

Difficulty: beginner to intermediate


There you have it. Maybe I’ll write another one of these after I’ve tried P90X2 and all the other new goodies.

PS- Don’t buy supplements, it’s a scam. Just eat real food.


6 responses to “Which DVD Workout Works For You? Reviews!

  1. Pingback: Workout DVDs, How I Love Thee « a musing.

  2. urbanebeast April 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    These are great – I need to do some DVD shopping apparently! I just tried Piloxing by Viveca Jensen – a combo of Pilates and kickboxing. Sounds pretty girly (and actually, the video totally is), but a day later, I’m super sore in places that I hope will shrink/tone, and it was actually fun!

  3. mzsura April 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I’m now going through my second round of p90x doing the doubles routine. I love the workout and definitely feel stronger (in a lean, not bulky way). Insanity seems interesting too. I am considering combining it with p90x. Have you tried that?

  4. trokspot April 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    have you ever tried bodyrock workouts? they’re “quick hit” workouts, but effective – especially when you’re short on time. also sometime will do one with ab ripper, or after a short run.

  5. Pingback: Workout DVDs, How I Love Thee | HipsterFitATX

  6. Amos Cozadd February 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    You all probably know how great aerobic activity is for your heart, body and mind. After all, regular cardio exercise has been shown to reduce body fat, decrease total cholesterol, boost mood, lower resting heart rate, and improve heart and lung function. It’s almost like a magic “health” pill when you think about!*

    Our own web blog

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