First off, confession time. I have not been good Alice this past week in regards to nutrition. There were milkshakes, bruthahs and sistahs, and fast food, and sometimes veggies were nowhere to be seen! There are many excuses, some of them pretty good, but mostly I just have to start over again and move forward. I have, at least, still been exercising. So we’ll talk about that.
Okay, if you remember last time I talked about the gym and how there were other people and it kind of sucked. But there are alternatives! You can, with today’s fabulous technology, exercise at home all by yourself with the exception of any annoying family members that might pass by and laugh at you. There are ways to avoid this. For instance, working the abdominals tends to release unwanted gas. Good way to clear a room.
One way to exercise at home is to use exercise videos. There are eleventy billion of these things on the market, though, so how do you know which one is the right one to use? That’s fairly easy. You use the one that least makes you want to vomit. This means going through trial and error at times. Also, you can read the reviews on Amazon until your eyes start to cross because 80 people think that “Get Great Abs with Jesus” is as great as the Second Coming, while 80 others just don’t believe in it at all. So what to do?
I have the solution. Or a solution. I have tested some of these videos out, and right now I’ll tell you my favorite one. It’s rather old, as I originally got it back in the 1990s, which is when, sob, some of my readers may have been born. This should not be humanly possible. Anyway, this “oldie but goodie” is a video by former bodybuilding champion – back in the dark ages I can only assume – and certified fitness trainer Tony Little.
Now you might be thinking – a body builder? Yuck! But he’s got a back story – about his back. See he hurt it in a near fatal auto accident, and was in chronic pain. So he left bodybuilding (this was probably not the worst thing ever, considering) and got depressed and ate a lot of twinkies and gained a lot of weight.
But rather than drown in a Hostess coma, he decided to turn his life around and design a non-impact exercise format (I’m liking the idea of not impacting things) that he could do even with an injured back. He has several videos, but my favorites are his Fat Free series which contains two videos – one for upper body, and the other for lower body. No part of the body is safe.
I have the VHS versions, but you can get them on DVD still. But you lose something in the DVDs, namely getting to watch him move around at super fast speed. Anyway, there are several things I like about his videos. (1) He’s a man, not a teeny-tiny bouncy cheerleader that you just know is going to talk smack about you with her other teeny-tiny bouncy cheerleader friends as soon as you’re done. (2) He teaches you all the exercises at once before he starts on the routine, so you can learn them, but not have to go through the training every time you do them later. (3) He’s a goof and yammers through his videos about believing in yourself, but actually seems sincere about it. (4) There are three exercise levels, so you can start slow and work your way up.
The best part, truly, is when he’s demonstrating the exercises. He has a model friend (I bet she’s a bouncy cheerleader) come in to help him. First he does the exercise himself, and then he has her demonstrate it. Sometimes she goofs it up, so he fixes it for her by manipulating her arms and legs like she’s a puppet. I love this so much that sometimes I rewind and watch it all over again. You know, to, um, get the technique down. He advises you not to use weights immediately (I think this is an excellent idea as I could easily kill myself with one) and to make small movements, not fling yourself around where you can break your neck. I love it when he tells the model to stop doing that, she’s going to pull something.
In other words, I trust the guy, because I know he’s been through some crap before. He’s more concerned with you doing it safely, than he is in you keeping up with fast dance moves and observing how hot he is. And trust is fairly important, especially when you’re dealing with someone on a T.V. screen. He doesn’t hide much, and he’s fairly self-deprecating. If it’s hard for him, he admits it. At one point during one of his videos he nearly trips on his carpet and keeps filming, laughing goofily at himself the whole time. It’s hard not to like this goofball, even if he does make you do lunges that screw up your quads so that you’re walking like an old lady for two days.
The only problem I have is that they’re fairly long – roughly 35 minutes each if you’re just doing beginner level. So fitting them in can be a bit of a challenge. But I usually feel better after I’ve done them, and I know they work because back in the nineties – sigh – I used them for a while and I was actually in shape. So I’d recommend this one.
There are other videos, as well as video games that can help you get in shape. Wii pioneered the dance games. They can be pretty fun even if you look like an idiot. I’ll continue to review different videos and games and give you the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m willing to do almost anything, and especially willing to skewer any exercise guru who really sucks. So if you have anything you want me to try, let me know in the comments below.