what are the best workout dvds for weight loss? here are five. {+ a quick lunch idea}

What are the best workout dvds for weight loss?

I cannot tell you how hard it has been for me to get in exercise every day. We all have very good reasons to not workout. And I feel absolutely justified in thinking that I “don’t have time to workout.” But, as we discussed a few weeks ago, daily exercise (of some sort), ought to be a non-negotiable part of a healthy lifestyle.

But it’s hard. (Have I said that yet?)

I used to get paid to exercise. Now that was some great motivation. I used to wake up every day to teach 6 am classes, & I loved starting my day with exercise. But with a nursing baby (plus no one is paying me to do it), I’m not going to wake up any earlier than I have to.

So my solution?

We go on lots of walks. I walk my kids to school & try to walk & pick them up from school. And as much as I’d love the convience of working out at a gym with childcare, that’s just not in our budget (getting out of debt you know), plus all the gyms with childcare are quite a drive from where we live. Therefore, working out a gym, for the time & financial expense, is just not worth it.

In addition to the walking, I work out at home. I sometimes do my own workouts (a little weird working out to myself, I must admit) or I use DVD’s. Here are five of the best workout DVD’s for weight loss.

5 DVD’s that you need to check out*:

What are the best workout DVD's for weight loss? Here are 5 must haves. // bring joy

1. Jillian Micheal’s One Week Shred (2014): $11 on amazon
Two workouts–38 minute toning, 34 minute cardio

Jillian Micheal’s is filthy stinkin’ rich & has built a fitness empire because she’s a smart business woman and her workouts work! It’s that simple.

I love interval training & weights, & this workout utilizes both. This DVD isn’t that different from her others–just slightly different exercises & sequencing. But, the idea is to do the toning workout in the morning, & the cardio at night. (I have yet to do that–I’m pretty happy if I’m able to complete one in a day.)

The workout is challenging (probably not the best workout to start with if you’re a beginner or brand new to working out though) & I love how I get my heart rate up & work on strength training, which is crucial for building muscle (especially important when losing weight to prevent loss of muscle mass).


2. Jessica Smith’s 10 Pound’s Down (2012): $9 on amazon
Three, 20 minute workouts–abs/core, arms, & legs

This is my fave workout so far. Jessica Smith has awesome stage presence as an instructor. To be honest, it’s the way I strive to teach when I teach fitness classes. Excellent cueing, & she’s not a drill sargent (so decidely different from Jillian!). She’s down to earth & highly motivating. I love the sequencing of her exercises, as well as her exercise choices (they’re all very effective). I also like the three different themed workouts. I try to do abs on MWF’s, & arms & legs on the other days. Also, 20 minutes is totally do-able. If you want to get toned & sleek, this workout will help get you there.


3. Gaiam’s Cardio Burn w/ Tanja Djelevic (2008): $11 on amazon
Four  workouts–10, 30 & 50-minute intensive cardio sequences (+ a bonus abs workout) combined w/ strength building for total body conditioning

Tanja also has great presence & cueing. Gaiam’s workouts are usually very classy & well put together. This one is no exception. I love the blend of cardio & strength training. The 50 minute sequence is my fave, but since I don’t always have 50 minutes, the others are great too. I also like that she incorporates a bit of yoga at the end.


4. Gaiam’s Calorie Killer Yoga w/ Coleenn Saidman (2014): $12 on amazon
Five energizing practices that are geared to increase metabolism, strength, flexibility, & balance.

Workouts include:
Constant Cardio (20 min)
Energy and Endurance (20 min)
Sustained Burn (20 min)
Rise and Shine (15 min)
Balance & Restore (15 min)

You know I love yoga. Coleen Saidman provides workouts that keep you moving & on your toes. Love how the workouts are short, effective, & fun. This is a great workout for anyone who wants to do a yoga practice that has a bit more movement than say, an Iyengar or Kundalini practice. Like the other above mentioned workouts, this DVD includes classy, effective, challenging exercises & great sequencing.


5. Gaiam’s Mandy Inger’s Yogalosophy (2011); $10 on amazon
Two workouts–
Express workout (30 mins), two versions–one with cueing, one with music only
Fully loaded challenge (55 mins)

Mandy Inger is Jennifer Aniston’s personal trainer (among other Hollywood-ites, I’m sure). Her workouts focus primarily on strength. I enjoy her sequencing & choice of exercises, which are meant to sculpt & tone.

I have to say, though I recommend this DVD, a few things about what I didn’t like: 1) I don’t care for her cueing, or really her style of teaching. I’d prefer to do the workout without her conversation & little side notes, which I felt were very Hollywood-ish (“I have a great **s, I have a great *ss,” she says at one point). 2) Since she is a trainer to the “stars” I’m not surprised her approach to yoga is rather shallow (do it to get a great body). If you’re looking for someone with a deeper yoga philosophy, look into someone like Kathryn Budig or Shiva Rea who both have a great vibe & energy, as well as very effective & challenging workouts.


*I don’t actually own these DVD’s. I stream all of these videos online at Gaiam TV. A subscription is $10/month. They literally have thousands of fitness videos (most of them top-notch). You can try a free trial for 10 days here.

{You might also want to check out these posts:
the best laid plans & finding time to exercise
exercise Q & A
10 tips for frugal fitness}


weight loss update

As I mentioned last week, I felt it was time to stop tracking calories & food intake & just go for a complete intuitive approach. It’s always a little scary to do this, but after several months of measuring & tracking I have a good grip on what my food intake needs to look like each day if I want to lose weight.

Starting weight: 204 lbs.
Last week’s weight: 175.2 lbs.
This week’s weight: 173.5 lbs.

Net loss: 1.7 lbs
Net total loss: 30.5 lbs. (I’d say hitting the 30 lb. benchmark is something to celebrate!)

{Here, for a recap of all prior weeks.}

Pretty good, especially considering I ate my carrot cake for dessert every day this week. (Which is soo good you guys. You need to make it. It will change your life.)

Since I wasn’t counting calories (or WW points, as I prefer), I tried to really focus on beans & greans.

Here’s a quick recent lunch you can easily make.

chickpea + pumpkin seed romaine salad

quick & easy chickpea + pumpkin seed romaine salad | vegan + gluten-free // bring joy I made a big batch of chickpeas at the beginning of the week. I love chickpeas–I snack on them plain, make them into hummus, throw ’em into soups, salads, mains.

This “recipe” doesn’t even require a recipe.

Here’s how I made it: 
1 c. chickpeas
1/2 c. leftover cooked grain (I used white rice!–hey, I’m not perfect 🙂 )
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 3 cups?)
1 tomato, diced
a handful of sprouted pumpkin seeds
a little pepper, a little salt, & a dash of balsamic vinegar

This is the kind of quick, filling dish you can make in about five minutes (or less). It was especially quick because I already had chopped lettuce in the fridge. Chickpeas & rice were leftover. A nice little throw together meal that satisfies.

{More meal ideas & quick recipes, including all the details on what I’m doing to safely & healthfully lose weight (while breastfeeding) in my ebook, Fit, Strong, Lean: The Diet. You can check it out here.}

Do you have any fave workout DVD’s to add to the list?
Do you work out at home, at the gym, outside?
Do share!

Hope you have a great weekend.


Thanks for coming to bring joy today!

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  1. Ryan
    on July 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm said:

    Check out my reviews about the best workout DVDs for women at my site. Read them here – www.bestworkoutdvds.org!

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  4. Natashia M
    on May 5, 2014 at 10:10 am said:

    I enjoyed this post. I tell people all the time, if I wasn’t getting paid to workout I know I wouldn’t do it as much. And hey walking is really good for you, so nothing wrong there. BTW great job on the weight loss!!

  5. Alanna
    on April 30, 2014 at 9:01 am said:

    Congrats on the weight loss.

    Thank you for the workout suggestions and recipe!

  6. Loni
    on April 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm said:

    I love Jessica’s style, too. My all time fav DVD of hers is by Women’s Health called Train for Your Body Type. Its got cardio, arms, legs and abs with 3 little extra workouts. So easy to mix it up and get a great workout. I like Jillian, too, and when I’m in for a long (over 50 min) home workout I love the Ballet Beautiful workouts. They are killer but my three kiddos aren’t sold on mom working out for that long.:) Love your recommendations, going check them out now!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm said:

      “They are killer but my three kiddos aren’t sold on mom working out for that long.:)”
      I’ll have to check out the Ballet workouts–I love ballet! I took it in college & loved it (though never quite felt comfortable in leotard & tights!). My girls run circles around me when I exercise, & if I’m doing yoga they join in. It’s not quite as relaxing if I was doing it in complete solitude, but it does make for a more interactive workout ;).

  7. Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent
    on April 25, 2014 at 9:52 pm said:

    I used to have a gym membership; I hardly ever went, though, so I canceled it. Then, I bought a stationary bike, which just collected dust. Lately, I’ve been walking around the neighborhood on weekends. The weather has been perfect for it—and it’s free! 😉

    • Janae Wise
      on April 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm said:

      “Lately, I’ve been walking around the neighborhood on weekends. The weather has been perfect for it—and it’s free! ;)”
      This is exactly why I’m a fan of walking–free, get some fresh air…& for me, I can take my kids along. Win, win, win.

  8. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on April 25, 2014 at 8:37 pm said:

    I love workout dvds too, but definitely need to work on my stash! I love Jillian’s DVD’s. I remember when I was doing either her 30 day shred and Yoga one 5 days of the week I was in the best shape of my life. Maybe I should start doing that again…hehe

    • Janae Wise
      on April 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm said:

      “I remember when I was doing either her 30 day shred and Yoga one 5 days of the week I was in the best shape of my life.”
      I know, she really knows how to whip a girl in shape, doesn’t she?

  9. Katrina
    on April 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm said:

    Another great loss! Good for you!! I’m back on track the last two weeks and strangely, you and I are almost the exact same weight and height! You are a little bit lower than me so I have your success as my motivation! I’m doing the WW points online. It’s working and it provides the accountability that I need. I’m so impressed that you are able to still lose while not tracking!! That type of intuitive eating must be great for maintenance. PS I have your Hemp-y Orange Julius smoothie a few times a week – I love it!!!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm said:

      “I’m so impressed that you are able to still lose while not tracking!!”
      I’ve had *years* of practice, believe me 😉 If I have a no-loss week, I can go back to tracking, & I know what foods I need to refocus on. Really, if you do the weight loss thing enough times, it gets to be a fairly intuitive process. It’s my 5th time around after all…

      That’s so funny we’re the same height & weight! (Is your husband taller or shorter than you? Joseph is also 5’9″ & I really like being the same height & when I’m at my “normal” weight, we’re also about the same weight too!)

  10. Heather @ The Soulful Spoon
    on April 25, 2014 at 7:09 pm said:

    Hi Joy!:) This is such a great list!:) I love workout DVD’s too!:) I’m the same with walking and just doing DVD’s. My favorite are Kathryn Budig’s Aim True Yoga (Gaiam), and Ellen Barret’s 10 Minutes Pilates DVD (which is by Crunch Gym). Those two are amazing!:) I have others but those are always my go to:0 Yummy salad by the way!

  11. Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness
    on April 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm said:

    I’m lucky because right now I get a free gym membership with my job, so I have some of the gym basics (not as much as a nice gym though!). I bike (and have a trainer to put my bike on in the winter) and run at home, as well as doing mat pilates (and barre too by holding onto a chair!). I teach pilates and barre so I can put myself through quite a few workouts. I’ve been thinking about getting a Jillian Michael’s DVD just to mix it up a bit!

  12. Laurie
    on April 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm said:

    I love yoga and have done it on and (mostly) off for years. For Christmas, my husband gave me a year’s subscription to Lilias Folan’s site. Her PBS shows are quite old now and her practice doesn’t feel like a hard workout, but I love her mind-body approach. I’ve also just bought a Groupon for a year at yogadownload.com because I like their audio yoga sessions in particular. There’s a yoga DVD series a friend of mine adored but that I haven’t ever done led by Rainbeau Mars (I think that’s the spelling!). It’s also always fun to check out whatever workout DVDs happen to be on shelf at the library. I’ve seen some very bizarre things that way!

  13. Emily C.
    on April 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm said:

    Congrats on hitting a major benchmark!

    Janae, if you love Jessica’s style (and love free!) you have to check out www.jessicasmithtv.com. She has a wide variety of workouts (types of exercise, intensities, levels, lengths, etc.). The videos aren’t filmed/edited quite as professionally as her workout DVDs but I’m impressed with them and how often she adds new workouts. Lots of fun ones too! I also like Ellen Barrett’s Studio DVDs like Fat Burning Fusion, Skinny Sculpt, and Yogini…and lots of walking since it’s gorgeous outside right now.

    Do you have a favorite workout for just strength training or do you prefer workouts that combine cardio and strength?

    What an endorsement for your carrot cake! I think I know what we’re making this weekend. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on April 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm said:

      Emily, thanks for the recommend for her site. I didn’t know she had one. I’ve had several readers recommend Ellen Barret’s DVDs–will definitely check them out.

      For strength training…hmmm. I actually love Cindy Crawford’s 2nd workout video. It’s like 20 years old, & may only be available on VHS, but it’s one of my all time faves. I also like the Firm’s strength training videos, of which there are a ton. I do like a mix of strength & cardio, but if I’m short on time, I’ll just do the strength training (since I get plenty of “natural” cardio in my day-to-day).

      Thank you so much for always giving such great recommendations. I really appreciate it!