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Are new intense exercise DVDs right for you?

August 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are many new exercise DVDs on the market. Which ones are the best? "You look at yourself and you look at the people you see on TV and you're like, 'Oh my God, that's me, I want to be that person,'" said fitness pro Jill Brown. "So yeah, it'll make you pick up the phone."

"It is intense and it is hard, even for those who are super fit," said Nancy Rink, who tried the Insanity program.

"I'm looking for the 40-year-old," said Kim Castle, who tried the TurboFire program. "There's got to be somebody like me in there."

All three women are seasoned exercisers who've put some of the hottest exercise DVDs to the test.

Insanity, TurboFire, Brazilian Butt Lift and perhaps the most popular, P90X, which is a 90-day program that expert Jill Brown says is tough.

"Can you do P90X in 90 days or Insanity in 30 days if you've never done any weight-lifting or high-intensity cardio before? No. Joe Couch Potato or Jane Couch Potato, who has never done a workout in their life, they probably should start off with something a little bit easier," said Brown.

While P90X is extremely challenging, it's possible to make modifications. So before you get your credit card out to order, here's the breakdown.

"Brazilian Butt Lift is one that I like if you're a dancer," said Brown. "It's very toning for the lower body and the core."

"Insanity is high-intensity boot camp. There's no props, no weights, no nothing. It's you jumping up and down, gym class, fifth-grade style," said Brown. Very boot camp, using your own body weight.

"Slim in 6 is definitely geared towards the more middle-aged woman," said Brown. "People who can't get to the gym, who don't have time, who feel a little self-conscious going to the gym."

The latest entry, Turbo Fire is fast and furious.

"I tried Turbo Fire which -- I pulled this, I pulled that and I taught aerobics for many, many years," said Kim Castle. "If you're older like me, it may not be the one for you because you've got to be so protected."

Castle's not old and certainly not sedentary, but she pulled a muscle, yet still loves the variety the DVDs offer.

"I would have never thought that I would be this person that has DVDs, but now I have a library," said Castle.

One thing these DVDs offer is something called "muscle confusion." That's where they offer unique movements to prevent muscle familiarity. That, in turn, prevents muscle complacency.

"Our bodies are so smart, and they condition," said Castle. "Even if you think you're not conditioned, you're doing something for a while, your body catches on and you're going to have to change it up."

And once you buy them ...

"They only work if you do them," said Brown. "If they sit on your shelf, they are not working."

The DVDs average about $100 and offer good solid, sound science-fitness programs. But know exactly what you want before you call to order, as they'll try to sell you shakes, bars, supplements, tubing and more.

You will also want to take stock in your fitness level before you jump in.

"We do it at night, my sister and my husband and I after we put the kids to bed and we just kind of have fun together doing it," said Erin Zaval, who tried P90X.

Yet Zaval's husband, like many men, got carried away.

"He went so hard-core that he actually threw up," said Zavala.

For more information on these products, go to www.beachbody.com


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