Friday, August 6, 2010

Variety Is Key: A List Of Some Of My Favorite Exercise Programs

They say that variety is the spice of life and I would definitely have to agree, especially when it comes to your workouts! Being the self-professed exercise video queen that I am, I switch up my workouts often. And when I say often it's not unusual for me to do 3 or 4 different workout programs in a 5 or 6 day workout week. I truly believe that variety is the key to achieving the best results for your body.

So what are the benefits to varying your workout routine? People should consider varying their exercise routines for two fundamental reasons: (1) to prevent boredom associated with doing the same things, workout after workout and (2) to avoid or delay reaching a plateau.
I love exercising (once you really start exercising on a regular basis you realize that there are a number of benefits besides weight loss that can be achieved from it - energy, relaxation, and stress relief just to name a few), but if I didn't vary my exercise routines from time to time it would be kinda' hard for me to find the motivation for it. Let's face it, no matter how much you love a particular exercise after awhile it just can get boring. I think if anyone wants any chance of making exercise a part of their daily life you've gotta' switch it up from time to time, whether that be trying out a new workout dvd, a new piece of exercise equipment or a new group fitness class. Varying your exercise routine can also help you stay physically challenged. Most people's bodies adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks. If you don't modify your exercise routine, you may reach a plateau because your body has adapted to the repetitive training and even though you are doing the same workout as when you first started, your body is now burning less calories. So for these two reasons alone I urge you, if you're not already, to put some variety in your exercise!

I try new workouts all the time. I love working my body in different ways which can equal new & different results! But I do have a few favs that I always try to incorporate in my routine and I get variety by mixing them up. So here are a list of some of my favorite exercise programs:

Leslie Sansone's Walk At Home

So let's start with the woman who started it all for me. It was with her help that I first began my love affair with exercise. She taught me that exercise doesn't have to be difficult to get great results and with her perky & bubbly personality exercise became a lot of fun, too! Something I actually looked forward to doing rather than dreading like I had with other exercise I tried. Leslie Sansone's Walk At Home program!

So What Is Walk At Home? 
Walk At Home is a system of walking based moves that allow you to choose a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or more miles of walking, and you don’t have to leave the area in front of your TV or computer! It’s convenient, because you can walk anytime of the day! Leslie's DVDs have been available since the 1980's and she is always coming out with new ones so there are a variety of workouts to choose from: Beginner gentle pace 1-2 mile workouts, Intermediate "power walk" 3-4 mile workouts or Advance 5 mile workouts that move you as fast as 6 miles per hour! In some workouts you can "walk" to speeds that are equivalent to a 10 minute mile! Now those workouts are some REAL calorie burners! I personally believe it's the best way to walk for weight loss because this is multi-muscle walking, not the type of walking that what you would do in a typical stroll around the block. You're moving the muscles in motion in many directions, the arms work the upper body, the core muscles fire to get the tummy area slim, and the legs move in new directions for maximum muscle activation!

It was with this program that I lost the majority of my weight and I highly recommend it! Especially if you're new to exercise! The Intermediate and Advanced workouts really can be challenging, though, so even if you're a long time, avid exerciser I think you will still be able to feel challenged. Check it out:


Now I love Leslie but after awhile, like I mentioned before, you get bored with doing the same thing over and over again, so eventually it was time for me to move on to something else and achieve some new results. I don't specifically remember how I heard of The FIRM (I think from an exercise forum I was reading at the time) but I went to their website, checked it out and decided to order the "TransFIRMation Kit", and I've been a FIRM believer ever since!

History of The FIRM
It all began in 1979 when The FIRM Studio opened in South Carolina. By combining cardio and weight training, The FIRM recognized that people could burn fat, build muscle and get the bodies they wanted safely, effectively and quickly. This revolutionary cardio-plus-body-sculpting fitness hybrid, called "Synergy Training" formed the basis for The FIRM method then and is still central to The FIRM philosophy today. When The FIRM decided to share their successful method with people who were unable to travel to the Studio, the at-home workout series was born.

The FIRM method is so effective for three reasons:

  • First, The FIRM workout varies in intensity level throughout. The peaks and valleys of effort are the basis of interval training.
  • Second, The FIRM uses a unique method of sequencing the exercises so that you alternate between upper and lower body moves. This gives you adequate energy to sculpt both for maximum effect and revs your heart rate for a higher calorie burn.
  • Third, The FIRM uses variable resistance so that you sculpt your muscles with just the right size weights. By incorporating weighted exercises you achieve greater body slimming and shaping benefits from just cardio alone. In fact, the combination of cardio and body sculpting burns 3 times the fat as cardio alone!

The FIRM guarantees visible results in 10 workouts and for me, The FIRM delivered! I lost 12 inches in the first 10 workouts!!! That's A LOT!!! Now I will admit, since you're using weights, you're building muscle which won't help with moving the scale in a negative direction, in fact you more than likely will see the scale go up 1 or 2 pounds, but don't worry, this is just temporary. After a couple of weeks on the program that scale will start moving in the right direction and you will not only have already seen inches lost but pounds as well! The FIRM actually started my love of pumping iron. Building muscle is essential to developing a well toned body and it should definitely be put into any workout routine! Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights does NOT make you big or bulky if you are a woman. Men have testosterone, a lot more than us women have, they're going to be the ones who build the bigger muscles, not us. For women, lifting weight is only going to make you smaller, tighter, and leaner and that's what The FIRM did for me! (Female body builders (as well as male body builders) only look the way they do because they are trying to achieve that look, it takes A LOT of hard work, A LOT of weight (pound wise) and A LOT of time! The average woman is never going to build muscle like that from lifting weights, so no worries there!)

As my love for The FIRM grew, I've bought more and more of their DVDs, old and new - and to be honest a lot of the older workouts from the '80s give you more of a challenge than the newer ones! I love it! Both old and new are available at their website. Check The FIRM out today!

TURBO Jam / Kick / Fire

Last but certainly not least are my Turbo workouts! Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick and Turbo Fire! When you try as many different workouts as I do, you're bound to eventually find your "soul mate workout" the workout program that you LOVE! In fact, you love it so much that it's not even considered "exercise" to you anymore, it's a hobby, a habit, your drug of choice - this is what my Turbo workouts have become for me! First let's talk about the Turbo program that I first started with and the woman who created it all: Turbo Jam and Chalene Johnson.

Turbo Jam

Turbo Jam is the workout that doesn't feel like work! Creator, Chalene Johnson packs each workout with calorie-blasting cardio, kickboxing, body-sculpting, and dance moves set to the hottest music ever! Popular Hip-hop and Pop tracks, old school and new, that you know and love! Music plays a BIG part in Turbo Jam (and all the Turbo programs, period), so I would advise you that if you're not one who likes Hip-Hop or Pop music or a big fan of dancing, this probably isn't the workout for you. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to be the best dancer to start Turbo Jam, it's not a "dance" workout, but the music is dancy and Chalene is always encouraging you to shake it! LOL! It's one of the things that truly makes this workout fun! That combined with Chalene's upbeat attitude which makes you feel like you can achieve the body you've been hoping for easily, just by doing a few easy kick boxing moves and jamming to the music! You're scorching fat and sizzling calories at a rate of up to 1,000 AN HOUR!!! It's fast! It's fun! It works! I lost my last 15 lbs with Turbo Jam and I recommend it to anyone who has ears! Check it out!

 So Who Is Chalene Johnson?

Chalene Johnson is an entrepreneur, Fit Life Expert,TV fitness personality, clothing designer, author, motivational speaker and choreographer. Creator of Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire, Hip Hop Hustle and PiYo (all of which I've tried and also love but I'll have to do a review on ChaLEAN Extreme, Hip Hop Hustle and Piyo another time). A diet and exercise professional who believes your relationships are more important than any number on a scale. Married and a mother of two, her personal interests are pushing people to be their best and living their life in balance according to their OWN priorities. I recently got the opportunity to meet her in person and she is just as nice in person as she appears on camera. She truly wants to help people "Do More" from the inside out. It's not all about achieving the "best body", she wants to help people reach their best potentials and I love that about her!

Turbo Kick

I discovered Turbo Kick through an exercise forum that I regularly go on and after trying it I have been an official Turbo lover ever since! While Turbo Jam was the first program that Chalene released nationally to the public through the Beachbody company, Turbo Kick was the group fitness class that Chalene first created that caught on like wildfire from gyms in Orange County, CA to all around the world!

A student at Michigan State University, Chalene studied Tae Kwon Do, dance and aerobics. After moving to California in the early 90’s she married these formats in a group exercise class that combined the sexiness of dance, the hip feel of funk with the power and strength of kickboxing. A self proclaimed closet DJ, she taught herself to digitally re-master and edit music to match the moves of every pre-choreographed routine, adding sound effects, highs and lows in an elaborately produced musical arrangement. Word spread about this unique version of kickboxing class and before long the demand for videos and trainings spread across the country. In 1997 Chalene began teaching other instructors how to deliver her unique brand of fitness. In 1998 Turbo Kick was born! Incorporated since 1995, in 1999 she formed a team of creative and talented professionals to develop reasonably priced, unique group exercise programming that would appeal to people motivated by the combination of movement to inspired music. Powder Blue Productions trained nearly 500 instructors to teach Turbo Kick in the first year. Less then 10 years later, that number had grown to a staggering 35,000 instructors world wide! Now the number of TK instructors is even higher, myself being one of them! Yes, I took the certification test this year and I am now an official Turbo Kick instructor! I'm not teaching, YET, but it's definitely a plan for the future!

Turbo Kick is basically the advanced version of Turbo Jam. You work a little harder and burn more calories. The Turbo Kick DVDs are mainly for instructors to learn the routines to teach to their classes but you don't have to be an instructor to own it at home, you can start with the Fan Volume DVDs, as I did, which are made for fans of Turbo Kick to workout at home. Also, Turbo Kick classes are offered at gyms all around the world! Check in your area to see where you can take a Turbo Kick class today! All this info. and more can be found at:

Turbo Fire

Now on to the latest program Chalene just created in the Turbo series: Turbo Fire!!! I just recently started doing Turbo Fire and it is the most intense Turbo yet! Chalene helps you get leaner with exercises that burn up to 9x more fat than regular cardio does. And with more than 20 smoking-hot music remixes, TurboFire will pick you up and push you past your limits! And just in case you've never done another version of Turbo before, Chalene's "New to Class" option also gives you the breakdown on how to do each move with the right form.

Burn Up To 9X More Fat!
Turbo Fire classes include Fire Drills, also know as "High Intensity Interval Training" (HIIT). These drills push you to your max for up to 1-minute bursts, with quick recovery periods. Studies show that HIIT ignites your metabolism, enabling your body to burn more calories for up to 48 hours after your workout. Not only that, with TurboFire, you'll work out less than half the time you normally would doing regular cardio—and burn up to 9x more fat.

Check out to get your Turbo Fire package today! 

So that's it! That concludes my favorites. People ask me all the time, "what do you do?" so I'm using this blog post as a broader way of answering. It's all about finding out what works for you. If you don't like something it's kinda' hard to get up everyday and do it so put some variety in your routine, try and try and try again until you find your favorites. And if you're lucky, you just might find that "soul mate workout"!

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