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Workout DVD Features (continued)

Goals and Fitness Level.

Obviously, you should choose a cheap workout DVD that's geared toward your fitness level and goals. If the routines are too hard, you'll never do them; too easy, and you won't get in shape.

Given the variety of cheap fitness DVDs out there, the best strategy is to settle on your goals and then pick an instructor whose style and exercises appeal to you.

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A focus on cardio gets your heart rate going and burns calories. Fat-burning workouts aim at measurable weight-loss. Toning and sculpting involves repetitive motions, often with resistance from your own body or a resistance band or light weights. A total-body workout focuses on cardio and strength training for nearly every area of the body. If gentle is your preferred style, you can opt for cheap yoga DVDs and cheap Pilates DVDs, which aim to improve flexibility while toning and strengthening core (mid-body) muscles.

All the cheap workout DVDs on our list include cardio and strengthening components. Cardio workouts alone are sufficient for weight loss, but the combination of cardio and strength training prolongs the calorie-burning process. In Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones, for example, the first circuit concentrates on the shoulders and legs with squats, shoulder presses, and lunges for upper- and lower-body sculpting. The goal of Leslie Sansone: Walk Away the Pounds is to ramp up your metabolism, stimulate fat-burning, and condition and stretch your muscles. Like the others, Denise Austin: Burn Fat Fast - Cardio Blast is designed to help you burn calories, lose weight, and strengthen your heart. The 10 Best Fitness collection takes an all-inclusive approach, with yoga-based exercises for toning, Tae Bo for cardio-building, and fat burning workouts.

Theoretically, any of these cheap fitness videos are suitable for just about any level of fitness. Although some, like Michaels' No More Trouble Zones, have a rep for being tough, beginners can follow those portions of the video that match their abilities and add in additional routines as their conditioning improves. Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds features four segments described as "progressively more challenging," so again, you can build up gradually. Austin's Burn Fat Fast - Cardio Blast includes four 10-minute segments, so you can pick and choose; the kickboxing and cardio dance are generally considered by users to be the most difficult. 10 Best Fitness is more of an amalgamation of workouts, including yoga, dance steps, and stretching, with no particular increase in difficulty.

Equipment.

If you want a cardio workout, make sure you have sufficient space in your home to freely move your arms and legs. Some cheap workout DVDs require equipment like dumb bells, which cost about $2 per weight, or workout bands, which start at around $5. Michaels's No More Trouble Zones calls for one set of three-pound dumbbells and a mat, which together add about $20 to your cost. Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds comes with a stretchy band, but you'll need to add light balls or weights. No equipment is necessary for Austin's Burn Fat Fast - Cardio Blast or for 10 Best Fitness. Pilates and yoga exercises generally don't require as much space, but you will need a mat and perhaps some other light equipment. For example, Kathy Smith Timesaver: Lift Weights to Lose Weight Vol. 2 (starting at $7) requires dumbbells.

Run Time.

Run time varies on cheap workout videos. No More Trouble Zones is 50 minutes long, as is Burn Fat Fast - Cardio Blast. Walk Away the Pounds comes with two discs for a total of 159 minutes, and the five-disc set of 10 Best Fitness offers a whopping 12 hours of exercise. Obviously you're not going to huff and puff for two hours at a stretch. The segment format of these videos (described above) lets you do as much as you can at any given time.

Review continues below

by Maralyn Edid (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: DVD, Excercising, Fitness,
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