How I Choose a Workout DVD

I’ve had gym memberships in the past and I’m more inclined to use them during spring and summer–you know, the warmer months when normal people don’t want to go to the gym because they can walk or run outside. But I don’t like to do either of those things for a workout and during winter it’s hard to convince me to brave the sub-zero temps, ice and snow to spend an hour on a rowing machine or in the pool. So instead of going to the gym, I’m a workout DVD junkie. Stay in the warmth of my house and pop in a DVD whenever I’m ready? Sold! Not only is it convenient, but even if you’re someone who gets bored easily (like me!) you can order a new set every few months and you’re (usually) paying less than a monthly gym membership. The only thing you might need is DVD storage. I have all of mine in DVD holders and have them broken up by category: pilates/yoga, yoga booty ballet/ballet, dance (these are my faves), kickboxing/cardio, and calisthenics-type workouts. Not all of these are completely full, but I do have a lot of DVDs. I’ve been collecting them since I was in high school. I also rarely get rid of them because I’ve found that even if I’ve grown tired of one, I’ll return to it later and enjoy it again for awhile.

I’m rarely disappointed when I buy a new workout DVD because I do a lot of research when picking one out. Today I thought I’d share a rundown of what I do, in case you might find something that would be helpful for you.

1) I look through Amazon to find a new DVD. It’s a good resource; they have pretty much everything and it tends to be cheaper.

2) Once I find a DVD I watch trailers and clips. Amazon will often have clips, but if they don’t Collage Video is a great resource. And, of course, there’s YouTube. I do this when I have plenty of time because I get sucked in watching workout clips. I just spent an hour watching clips (and added a bunch of DVDs to my wishlist) when I grabbed the link for Collage Video for this post! I’ve found that I can usually get a good idea of what kind of exercises I’ll be doing from watching these clips.

3) Next I read reviews of the workout. Amazon is a great place for that because they tend to have the most reviews. Usually, there will be a few reviewers who break down the DVD and tell you what kind of exercises you’ll be doing and if it’s easy to make a modification if you have bad knees or feet issues. These are my favorite reviews because I need to know if a program will be too hard on my foot. There are also some exercises that I just don’t like doing, such as lunges or planks. If I see that a workout has a 20 minute arm section that is mostly planks, I’m going to look for something different. I also read the negative reviews, but keep in mind the intention of the DVD. A belly dance fusion DVD is likely not intended to teach the basics of belly dance. The nice thing about Collage Video is that they also include the skill level, so if someone complains that the choreography is too hard but it’s an advanced dance DVD you can take that negative review with a grain of salt. I also scan positive reviews, but I don’t spend too much time on those, unless they’re discussing the results they achieved with the video, because it’s nice to have an idea of what you could accomplish with the program.

4) If I like everything that I’ve seen so far and I haven’t already, I head over to YouTube. A lot of times you’ll find longer clips of the workout (I don’t watch the entire clip, I watch at various points throughout) and sometimes, interviews with the trainers. I think those are interesting to watch and it’s what finally convinced me to buy the toning/strength workout that I absolutely love.

After all that, if I’m still in love with it, I’ll buy it. I realize that I do a lot of research before buying a DVD, but I’m pretty picky so I want to make sure it’s one that I’ll enjoy and will use for awhile and this process helps with that.

Other things to keep in mind:

1) If you have cable and a DVR, your cable company’s “On Demand” service might have workouts that you can try out. I’ve seen workout DVDs that I was interested in there before.

2) Some services like Amazon might allow you to rent a program for a smaller fee so that you can try it out first to make sure that you’ll like it. Also, if you’re on Amazon Prime there are a lot of workout DVDs that you can stream for free, including lots of Jillian Michaels. (I swear, I’m not trying to promote Amazon–or any of the websites mentioned in this post. I actually avoid Amazon as much as possible. It’s just a great resource when it comes to exercise videos.)

3) Check Netflix, if you have a subscription. You might be able to stream a program or get the DVD. I’ve done this a few times, though once I make it through the process above I usually want the program in my hands right away.

4) Check out your local library. Mine has some workout DVDs. I’ve also tried out a few this way.

Do you have any tips for finding the perfect workout DVD?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Deidre
    November 28, 2013 at 3:02 am

    My yoga studio has their own work out dvd so I purchased that one because for a while I was too sick to go to yoga class regularly. But I don't do a lot of workout dvds – although I really like the sound of some of the dance ones.

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