Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Good and Bad about workout DVDs.

With the dawn of the new year, everyone is thinking about exercise and making new commitments to renew that sluggish body into a healthy body.  One great option for many is the workout DVD.  Whether it's pilates, aerobics, kick boxing or turbo jam, everybody's doin' it.  

The benefits of a home workout DVD are obvious: they are affordable, easy to set up and can be done at your own convenience.  Even if they cost $100.00, they still are the price of about one month at a nice health club (the Y is cheaper than that, but you get the idea) 

Consider this email that I got from someone who just dropped a pilates class that I am teaching :

It's not the cost nor is it you as an instructor by any means. It has

been about a year since I've done the brand name Pilates or any Pilates for

that matter, but I'm used to the pace of brand name  Pilates. I also feel

that I can get more "bang for the buck" if I purchase the latest brand name DVD's and do the exercises at home.

Hey, I feel your pain! We're all on a budget, and I see the benefits of doing things at home. But here's my concern. To illustrate my point, I've got a story.

Let's say that you are kid growing up in a family, and every day your mother serves you tofu, but she calls it "chicken".  After a while, you grow to like "chicken" and like it to be called "chicken", even though it's really tofu.  It's not the tofu isn't good for you, but it really isn't chicken.  So one day, when you go out to someone's home for dinner and they tell you that you're having chicken, you get all excited for "chicken".  You are so surprised to find this foreign thing sitting on your plate that they call "chicken".  

O.K. maybe that is a lame illustration, but it is sort of what happens when people order DVDs and then attend a fitness (pilates) class that has a teacher who is wanting to check "technique" on your body, and not just have you keep time with the music or pace of the class.  

Speaking of technique, that is what is lacking from DVDs.  Even though I was a trained dancer, I still was not able to assimilate the correct techniques into my personal body until I took a class from a trained teacher.  

So, what's the big idea anyway? In pilates, failure to use modifications or utilize good techniques can result in injury.  In aerobics and cardio workouts, failure to take a break or slow down (especially if one is morbidly obese) can be dangerous also.  Even if no injuries result, the actual results you are looking for may not be apparent for failure to do the exercises correctly.  

Sometimes compromises are made for appealing more to the interest level of the customer.  People want FAST results and a FAST workout, so that is what the DVD manufacturers are producing.  Real life is not fast.  Weight that stays off is a result of a healthy lifestyle change, which is a slow process.  Exercising for a lifetime of health is also a slow procedure.  I feel your pain.  I am not very patient either, but moderation is key for loosing weight, exercising, and maintaining balance in life.  

So, am I opposed to a workout DVDs?  Not necessarily.  I think they have a real place in peoples' lives,  as long as the participants keep in mind technique and safety.  If possible, work group fitness or personal training into your life, just to make sure you are getting a balanced and healthy workout.  


Anonymous said...

Very interesting stuff. I've always found the "real" thing to be a better work out than my DVDs, but I can't get to the gym every day, so I combine the two.

LobotoME said...

i prefer a workout class to dvds but in the winter its nice being able to work out at home without leaving the house... i like jillian's and tracey anderson dvd's...