Road Test: Best Workout DVDs

A Breezy Mama reader emailed in and requested we cover this topic (thank you… and double thank you for the 8 pounds and counting I’ve lost…) and it couldn’t have been better timing for me as I was pregnant with my twins at the time trying to figure out when I would fit in my workouts once the babies were born. Turns out, basically, a fitness DVD is about all I’m going to fit in, aside from my walks with all five of my kids. To get to the testing of each of the majority of these DVDs, let me preface that many of the days went like this: After picnicking with my 2 year old, then picking up my 4 year old from preschool, I had about 45 minutes once I got home before I needed to nurse the twins in time to then take the crew to pick up my 7 year old from elementary school. I would get home, change, put the 2 year old down for her nap, cross my fingers that the twins stayed asleep, then encourage my 4 year old to test the DVDs with me (he did). All THAT being said, my requirements to get a high score were pretty specific. Clearly, I didn’t have a moment to waste, so I wanted to really feel as though I got a thorough workout with what little time I had. Of course I had several times where I had to pause and run upstairs to comfort a baby or re-apply a paci. Therefore, in addition to needing the workout to really make me sweat, I also needed to be able to “pause” when necessary and needed to be able to follow along with ease. Keeping my criteria in mind, the following EIGHT were the selection I was even willing to try. Even if they weren’t necessarily for me, make sure to read about them because it might be the way YOU prefer to exercise.

Kimberly Fowler’s The No Om Zone

This is a very busy mom friendly workout. What I love is that it’s in three 15-minute increments. You can choose to work your core, upper body or lower body and you only need 15 minutes for each. I like getting my workout done at once, so it’s still only a 45-minute commitment. However, if a baby (or two) starts screaming mid-workout, I can complete the session I’m on and get back to the next.

The poses are standard yoga poses and may be difficult if you are new to yoga. This was my first attempt at yoga postpartum (I did prenatal yoga through week 25), and I had no problem following along and yet felt challenged as well.

Kimberly is very straightforward in her teaching, no music, no-nonsense. So if you are looking for something more lively, this might not be for you.

Overall rating: 3 Stars (out of 4)

$13.49 — To purchase, click here!

One Day Fat Blast with Karena & Katrina

Two words often came out of my mouth while attempting this workout: holy crap. Me being completely out of shape (other than doing walks in my first 6 weeks of postpartum), this kicked my butt. Granted the instructors –Karena and Katrina – reminded me of Alex and I doing a video together (okay… maybe 10 years ago, but who’s counting), meaning they were a little goofy and even mess up the moves at times, but this is one tough work-out. I started with Workout 1 (Workout 2 focuses more on abs, which I have been instructed to take it easy on post-C-Section so I will come back to it). Giving me cardio and building muscle all in one 30 minute time frame, this was everything I was looking for and I have added this DVD to my regular fitness routine.

Overall rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 4)

$17.99 — To purchase, click here!

Post Pregnancy Workout by Jazzercise

If you like repetitive dance movements, this is a fun workout for you. It’s not really my thing, but don’t let that stop you. I definitely broke a sweat despite stumbling over some of the moves. Seeing that the entire work out was 50 minutes stressed me out a little bit (and I did have to hit “pause” and do some pacifier reapplies), but you can also opt to do the 35-minute cardio and the 16-minute strength work separately. In addition, there is a 35-minute routine that incorporates your baby in the Bjorn. Again, it all depends on your style of exercise, because I did get a good workout, but would likely only go back to the 16-minute hand weight routine.

Overall rating: 2 Stars (out of 4)

$13 — To purchase, click here!

Bounce Back Fast! Post Natal Core Conditioning

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this slow moving selection. It’s not yoga and it’s definitely NOT cardio, but by the end, I was hooked. Granted, while testing this particular DVD, I was 7 weeks postpartum and had just been complaining to the hubby of aches and pains the day before. After completing this set of exercises, I have to say, I felt a lot stronger and my pain in my lower back and abdomen subsided. In fact, I regretted not trying this out sooner since there is a selection that you can start immediately after giving birth (always check with you doctor), “Gentle First Moves.” Clocking in at 35 minutes, the “Bounce Back Fast” portion that I tested, again, took away my aches and pains and was the abdominal conditioner I had been looking for (read: not allowed to do sit-ups yet due to risk of abdominal diasitis). However, I was in desperate need of breaking a sweat and had to find time later in the day (and bribe my four year old to come with me as I pushed the twins in a stroller) for a good walk. That being said, I honestly would love to do these exercises daily, but because I’m a busy mom short on time, I really need something that combines core and cardio. But for JUST getting started (think: after the first few days post-delivery for the “Gentle” option, working your way up to the “Bounce Back”), these exercises are excellent. And I definitely see myself returning to this workout on days when I’m too tired for much else.

Overall rating: 3 Stars for early postpartum participants (out of 4)

$20.00 — To purchase, click here!

Core Fusion Bootcamp

And we have a winner! This DVD combined everything I loved all in one great workout that made me sweat! With yoga like poses done at a fast pace to get my heart rate up, I got the best of both worlds. It really kicked my butt, but was easy to follow and keep up. To top it off, the workouts are in 10-minute increments, SO, if you are interrupted, you can always come back or, just short on time, you can get at least something in. I’m a huge fan of this one!

Overall rating: 3.5 Stars (almost perfect)

$13.99 — To purchase, click here!

Rockin Models

Explained as Yoga Ballet with a dash of Burlesque, this DVD is 65 minutes in length. The plus side is that you can pick and choose, but I was concerned I wasn’t getting the full workout. You follow along as “cool” rock music plays and images of Santa Monica pop up with models frolicking. In other words (ahem), a little cheesy. That being said, if you are able to fit in over an hour and find adding a touch of dance to your exercise fun, you may like this DVD. It wasn’t a fit for me (read my Jazzercise review and first paragraph again). There are a lot of repetitive motions (think: standing on tippy toes while squatting over and over and over), which I am not a fan of. Also, the “yoga” portion would have completely lost me if I didn’t already know the poses – they move fast. Maybe it didn’t help that when the workout called for a “bar” I was using a broom (and my 4 year old had a Swiffer Sweeper that he accidentally turned on at one point), which made it nearly impossible to feel that I was anything like the “models.” However, I do still feel that if this type of exercise appeals to you, it’s a great workout.

Overall rating: 2.5 Stars (out of 4)

$24.99 — To purchase, click here!

Shred-It with Weights with Jillian Michaels

Admittedly this sat at the bottom of my pile for a while for two reasons: 1. I’m afraid of Jillian Michaels. 2. I didn’t have a kettlebell. However, I realized finally that you can use a hand weight. In fact, I have actually been wanting to try a kettlebell workout because my husband is really into it, but I wanted to test this DVD out before I purchased the weight that looks like a cow bell. At this point my twins are about 8 pounds each and I am carrying one in each arm, so I think my five-pound hand weight that I used was too light. In short, I felt I needed more after doing this workout. Again, what I’m hoping to achieve when exercising is the biggest bang for my limited time: as many muscle groups as possible with cardio mixed in. I felt this did a good job with my arms and butt, but I still felt I needed cardio afterward. However, I tried this on a day when I was pretty burnt out, so it was good to do on a “down” day. And, in fairness, I needed to try it with an actual kettlebell, likely 8 pounds versus the 5 I was using.

THAT BEING SAID: I told my hubby all of this and he said I should try HIS DVD then. So, with him at my side and my 5-pound weight in hand, I gave “Extreme Kettlebell Workout” a try. As he huffed and puffed, I barely broke a sweat. We both agreed my 5 pounds wasn’t cutting it and headed to Sports Chalet to test out kettlebells. I could barely pick up the 15 pound, so we purchased a 10 pounder ($26… am I devoted to this workout DVD testing or what?). We decided to THEN try Jillian Michael’s level 2 with my new weight in hand. NOW I know why I was afraid of her. These rotations of moves got me winded and worked about every muscle. In fact, I just finished and am having trouble typing. To top it off, the hubby NOW uses this DVD instead of his previous. Both of us have incorporated this choice in our regular routines.

Level 1:
Overall rating: 2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Level 2:
Overall rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 4)

$7.99 — To purchase, click here!

To purchase a Kettlebell, click here!

BabyBuilding 101

Last but certainly not least (can you believe I actually got through my whole pile!?!?), this workout incorporates exercises using your baby. Extremely busy mom friendly, it teaches moves to use with your little one anywhere throughout the day to get back in shape. Lately, my twins are wide-awake and totally bored at 4ish in the afternoon. The only thing that makes them happy is being held, so fitting in some exercise was win-win. Taught in increments, you can come back to these or just memorize them. It’s not the all-in-one workout I am looking for, but again a great way to get some fitness while entertaining your wee ones.

Overall rating: 2 Stars

$19.95 — To purchase, click here!

NOTE: Please check with your doctor before starting any exercises. Personally, I started these videos six weeks postpartum. Aside from birthdays, date nights and MNOs, I also started trying to eat a healthy diet… I swear (ahem) it happened most days. That being stated, I lost 8 pounds after doing the above DVDs 4 to 5 times a week for four weeks. I am a fan.

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  1. What are your thoughts on the Pregnancy Fit Kit? Their website is I was thinking about getting one because a friend just loves hers. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  2. No WONDER you lost 8 pounds! I am exhausted just READING this article! And NOT just because of the workouts, per say but because of the running up and down the stairs to put a paci back in, pick ups and drop offs, working out with your four year old…at THAT rate you are going to give Heidi Klum a run for her money in NO time, Chels! Granted, SHE only has four kids. 🙂

  3. Lol Kelly! I know your schedule and it’s quite the workout!
    Heather, I did not try that workout while preggers. In fact, I couldn’t move much post 25 weeks with twins 😉

  4. Yas is the best! i’ve been taking spin and yoga at the studio in costa mesa for the last couple months and it totally works!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mary Hayes, Mollie Thompson. Mollie Thompson said: Road Test: Best Workout DVDs |: Ready to get back in shape? Breezy Mama tested several exercise DVDs to find the… […]

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