I’ve been avoiding the gym lately. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with avoiding that “stuck indoors” feeling that winter brings. (I do not like winter. )(At all.)
The good news is that I’m not avoiding exercise. I have a treadmill at home, and over the past couple of years, I’ve acquired a few other at-home exercise tools. One item, a going-away gift from a friend/former co-worker, is a Reebok 5-Position Step Deck*. I’ve used the step a few times for basic step-ups with weights, but not much more. Until last week, that is.
This particular fitness step comes with two DVDs, one for toning and one for cardio. I’d set them aside and forgotten about them, to be honest, but last week I decided to give them a whirl.
Verdict? Not bad. Not bad at all.
Both DVDs allow for beginner and intermediate levels. Since they do not have a clumsy-and-uncoordinated level, I decided to start with beginner and fill in with other exercises if I didn’t feel I got a proper workout.
I really do need to film myself doing the cardio workout. I could upload it to YouTube for your benefit. (I have it on good authority that belly laughing probably burns a couple hundred calories.) As I mentioned, I have zero coordination. I can do the basic step on/step off movements just fine. Ditto the kicks and the “repeater knee.” I can even clumsily do the side steps and crossover steps. The problem (and the hilarity) comes in when the demo lady says, “Okay, get those arms moving!” I try to match my movements to hers (and that of her two sidekicks–which, btw, why do these exercise DVDs always have two sidekicks?). The results are dismal, but amusing. At some point, I give up and just flail my arms about. I figure movement is movement. Who cares if it’s synchronized?
I’m sticking with the beginner level on cardio for my next two workouts, as I try to master–or even just tame–the coordination. I have, however, raised the step to its highest level. At the end of the 30-minute cardio workout, I have a nice little sweat going. On days when 30 minutes is all I have time for, this will work, and on those days when I want to do more, I can always repeat the DVD or hop on the treadmill. Or Mother Nature willing, bundle up and walk outside!
The strength training DVD also provides a decent workout, if a bit too short at 15 minutes. Instructions for beginniner, intermediate, and advanced are given, with the differences primarily related to auxilary equipment used (resistance bands and dumbbells) and step position. I started at the intermediate level, because I couldn’t find the right resistance band. I found the more resistant band yesterday, so I’ll move to advanced level today. To get the benefit I want, I think I’ll repeat the DVD at least once and toss in a few extras, like jackknife and hamstring curls. Maybe some pushups and lunges. After all, bodyweight is free.
My goal with strength training is to find that edge between soreness (I’m opposed to it) and knowing that the targeted muscle groups are fully engaged and pushed. I believe that if we properly warm up before and stretch after a workout, soreness is totally unnecessary. And for me, soreness is also detrimental to the process. I’m not going to consistently do something that makes me hurt.
It’s nice to have this at-home option for a gym alternative, and I’m looking forward to developing it into a full strength training workout. If you have any other step DVDs to recommend, I’m all ears.
And flailing arms.
Do you have a gym alternative for indoor exercise? Or is the gym your One True Love?
*Link is through my Amazon Associates account. You can also find them at many sporting goods stores and Target.