Three Workout Programs to Supplement Your Running
With an infant and a 2-year old, the opportunity to run was extremely limited. The best I could muster was doing a DVD workout in the basement while the oldest was at preschool and the youngest was napping. And even then the workout was often interrupted if the baby woke from his nap too early. I would pause the video, run upstairs to rock him back to sleep and then run back downstairs to finish the workout.
I am going to date myself here but I credit The Firm workout series (picture leggings and leotards) with helping me get at least a little semblance of my pre-baby body back. By the time our third son was born, the older two were in school during the day so I could pop our youngest in the jogging stroller, load up on books and snacks and head out.
Despite the freedom to better schedule my runs both then and now, I still rely on DVDs and web-based workouts either as a supplement to or in place of a run if the weather or my schedule doesn’t cooperate. I also relied on them (and my stationary bike) heavily when I was working my way back from injury. I routinely use three different programs and like them all for not only the variety of workouts they provide but also for the differences in approach.
You may be familiar with the P90X family of workout DVDs since there are quite of few of them. A product of the Beachbody company, P90X was the first in the series, followed by P90X2, P90X3 and now P90X Plus (https://www.beachbody.com/category/p90x-online/shop_programs.do).
Based on the science of muscle confusion, which attempts to avoid the plateau that often happens with fitness regimens, P90X employs a 90-day rotation of its workouts to get the maximum results. To be honest, I have never used the 90-day plan but just do the workouts based on my own specific needs and goals.
I have done a number of the original P90X workouts and they were all challenging and beneficial. But, I got to the point where I was too busy to spend an hour plus working out (the yoga DVD play time is an hour and 30 minutes) so I moved on to P90X3, which includes more intense workouts that are only 30 minutes long.
The 30-minute timeframe makes it super easy to fit these workouts into a busy day and because there are a wide range of options—from cardio kickboxing to upper-/lower-body targeted routines to yoga and Pilates—you can pick a workout that works best with what you have going on that day and with your fitness plan for the week. I also like Tony Horton, the developer of the program and who leads you through each workout, offers real-time tips on proper form and the reasoning behind the movements and techniques.
In the world of exercise DVDs, it seems like a new type and style of training hits the market almost daily. Rushfit was introduced in 2010 by MMA pro, Georges St-Pierre and his trainer. Despite its age, I think it still delivers a good workout and it is still available for purchase online.
Rushfit includes seven workout DVDs and is designed as an eight-week training program. The program’s focus is total-body, functional fitness using dumbbells and body weight and each workout is 45 minutes long. Although you might expect a workout program developed by an MMA fighter and his trainer to be boxing-/kick boxing-/martial arts-centric, a number of the workouts include fairly common moves and lifts like burpees, hammer curls, push-ups, and squats, for example.
As with P90X3, I never followed the plan, I just used whatever workout fit my schedule for the week. And like P90X3’s Horton, St-Pierre, and his trainer offer advice on proper form and the benefits of the moves and lifts.
St-Pierre now offers an app-based program titled Touchfit (http://touchfit.com), which offers more than 500 exercise videos. The app is touted to automatically tailor workouts just for you, based on what you have done and achieved in previous workouts. The app scores your performance and has the capability to track the increases in your ability as you continually use the app.
The third program in my routine is the web-based Fitness Blender (www.fitnessblender.com). Husband-and-wife team Daniel and Kelli offer more than 500 free fitness videos along with nutritional information, meal plans and recipes. Although there is content you can pay for, I have found that the free videos offer enough variety for my needs.
Web-based programs are great when you are traveling and many of the workouts use only bodyweight, so don’t require any equipment. You can filter by the body parts you want to work (upper, lower, core or full body), difficulty level, workout duration, calories burned, training type and equipment needed. More than 400 of the workouts don’t require any equipment at all.
There is great variety in the workouts, including HIIT, strength training, cardio, Pilates, low impact, yoga/flexibility, toning, and kettlebells. There really is something for everyone no matter what your fitness level.
Equipment needs range from nothing at all to just a mat, dumbbells, bench, exercise band, kettlebells, jump rope, physio-ball and medicine ball. With so many workouts that don’t require any equipment, you don’t have to have a well-stocked home gym to use this program.
For beginners and fitness buffs alike
The one thing all three of these programs have in common is that they are all self-paced and are good both for those who are just beginning and those who are already fit but want to change up or supplement their routines. Although some have a certain number of repetitions to complete, some are just timed…meaning you do 30 seconds of bicep curls for example. You can choose the weight that is right for your fitness level and go as fast or slow as you want.
Most have built-in water breaks or transition time from one move to the next and if you need a little longer break, simply hit pause. Most include directed warm-up and cool-down/stretch periods.
Of course, there are myriad choices in the workout world and these are just three I have found beneficial. If you are in the market, there are plenty of resources online in the way of previews/trailers and reviews to help you make the best choice for not only your current fitness level but also for what you hope to achieve.