Fitness for the Time Crunched

Some days you don’t feel like going to the gym or maybe you’re in a time crunch. It’s easy to pop in a DVD, but which ones really work?

We put on our leg warmers and sweat bands to test the most popular workouts on the market.

What it is: 12 high-intensity DVDs with new moves and routines each time so your body never plateaus. This 90-day program comes with a nutrition and fitness guide and online support. Expect a mix of strength, yoga, cardio, core, and kenpo karate.

Difficulty level: Very challenging but doable for all fitness levels. Some women found this program made them bulky.

Live class alternative: Women’s Fitness ASAP Boot Camp

Insanity: The Ultimate Cardio Workout and Fitness DVD Program

What it is: 10 high-intensity DVDs with cardio, strength and core training, as well as a nutrition guide and free online support. No equipment or weights are needed. After 60 days of rotating the DVDs for varying workouts, expect to have lost inches and pounds.

Difficulty level: Very intense and according to customers, more difficult than P90X, but the results can be quick and incredible. Not good for people with knee or joint issues.

Live class alternative: CrossFit at various gyms around the area.

Workout: One-On-One Training with Jackie
What it is: Bravo TV star, Jackie Warner, breaks interval training down into three 20-minute long sections: upper body, lower body, and core/abs.

Difficulty level: Many viewers claimed the presentation was boring, but all found the workout challenging and effective.

Live class alternative: MissFIT Complete (personal trainers who’ll come to you)

Body By Bethenny with Bethenny Frankel
What it is: Mostly yoga, but also some strength work. The DVD is broken down into 3 sections: yoga, butt blaster and weights. You can do the entire DVD or just a section.

Difficulty level: Great for all levels with modified moves for beginners. Expect to sweat and feel sore the next day.

Live class alternative: Intermediate flow yoga at Niyama Yoga in Wilmette, Barre Burn at Equinox Highland Park, or Baptiste Power Vinyasa at  Forever Om Yoga in Lake Forest.

The Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout DVD
What it is: Trainer to the stars, Tracy Anderson, has designed a method to make you strong and lean without bulking. A combination of cardio and mat work is used to work the often ignored, smaller muscles groups.

Difficulty level: This workout isn’t easy, but because of the leveled various DVDs, a novice or a pro will be challenged.

Live class alternative: Take a high-intensity aerobics class such as Cardio/Combo at Rhonda Gordon Fitness in Winnetka combined with a yoga or pilates class.

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