A chubby 5th grader, I first fell in love with fitness when a middle school teacher popped in Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS tape in gym class. My nerdy 11-year-old self couldn’t get enough of the over-the-top dance numbers and, after begging my mom for my own copy (true story), I started to do the workout every single day after school. Within six months, I looked like a new kid. I eventually broke up with Richard and graduated to more intense workouts, sports, and finally group fitness classes and yoga, but if it wasn’t for fitness videos I have no doubt my life path—and my pant size—would have been very different.
The right workout DVD can change your life. I know this not only from personal experience, but from speaking to hundreds of real women who’ve shed pounds—some of them more than 100 pounds—right in their own living room, following along to their favorite workout.
The tricky part: Finding a fitness DVD that you like enough to do it regularly, which is why we rounded up some of the best new fitness DVDs on the market. My personal fave: the Kettlebell Kickboxing Scorcher Series, which you can read more about below.
Whether you want to recommit to your New Year’s resolution, can’t stand the thought of braving the overcrowded gyms, or would prefer to sweat in the privacy of your own home, here are six picks to get you started.
Best For: Cardio junkies who also want to build strength Why You’ll Love It: Each workout on this four-disc set targets trouble zones (belly, butt, thighs) through a mix of kettlebells and martial arts–inspired cardio drills. You’ll burn major calories!
Best For: Everyone—even if you have two left feet Why You’ll Love It: The Latin-inspired dance workouts in this three-disc set are so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re exercising. Steps are simple, so newbies will feel confident quickly. Meet the 71-Year-Old Co-Founder Of Zumba Gold!
Best For: Beginner yoginis looking to stretch and de-stress Why You’ll Love It: This four-disc set includes 10 different routines, each with a specific focus, whether it’s working your core or boosting your energy. Pick your fave daily, depending on your goal. 6 Ways To Flatten Your Abs With Yoga
Best For: Anyone who’s pressed for time Why You’ll Love It: Customize your workout by mixing and matching the 7-minute cardio and sculpting segments based on how packed your schedule is. The sessions are short, but you’ll sweat.
Best For: Sculpting long, lean muscles Why You’ll Love It: This DVD makes cross training easy. Play one of the three 25-minute routines—pick between boot camp yoga with weights, Pilates core training, or a charged yoga flow on busy days—or do all three together for a 75-minute challenge that burns nearly 500 calories while leaving you feeling lengthened and strengthened in all the right places.
Ballet Beautiful: Total Body Workout $15; amazon.com
Best For: Getting a ballerina bod Why You’ll Love It: Develop the grace of a ballerina without the cost of expensive barre classes or an actual barre. The hour-long, mat-and-standing workout—created by Mary Helen Bowers, Natalie Portman’s trainer for Black Swan—is broken into six sections, each targeting specific muscles like inner thighs or arms. You’ll work muscles to exhaustion with weight-free, ballet-inspired exercises like arm circles, plies, and relieves (rising up on your toes). Hold on to a chair for balance, if needed.