Ever since Daylight Saving ended, I’ve been waking up around 7 AM every morning, staring at the ceiling and unable to sleep. Sam’s alarm goes off at 8:30 AM, so I usually put my iPhone on silent and play a few games, read a few chapters on my Kindle app, browse a few blogs, passing the time until Sam wakes up. That was until Thanksgiving, when I noticed that the weight I’ve gained back (since losing 20 pounds when I was sick) has come back with a vengeance… most notably when buttoning my jeans. I’m glad I’m at a healthy weight again, but now I’m ready to tone up a bit. I’m finally at the point, post-surgery, when my scars are healed and I can comfortably lay on my stomach, twist around, and lift weights. Sounds like the perfect time to start working out again!
When I was in college, we had an awesome gym at our university, and I loved going to aerobics classes. Especially my senior year, when I was stressed out from student teaching, classes, and the upcoming wedding; I was borderline obsessed, going to aerobics classes every day of the week, usually two classes at a time. Awesome Arms, Ab Attack, Funk, Step, Power Yoga, I loved it!
Fast forward a year, and I was working full time, exhausted, not to mention sick but as yet undiagnosed with thyroid cancer and Crohn’s disease. I bought Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred on dvd, optimistically wrote down a workout schedule on my calendar, worked out twice, and was so sore that I never tried it again. My school started a workout program after school three days a week, but the sessions weren’t very challenging, it was too easy to skip on days that there were after-school meetings or activities, and everyone dropped off after the holidays.
Fast forward two years, and here we are: I haven’t done anything aerobic in months. But I did pack those three-pound weights when we moved, and now I’m finally using them again!
For the past two weeks, I’ve been getting up as soon as my eyes open in the morning, gearing up the Xbox to open Netflix, and working out for 45 minutes with one of their instant-watch videos. I like the Pilates-inspired workouts best, because I like the attention to breathing and ab work; when I get too sweaty during intense cardio, I tend to slack off and the workout isn’t as effective for me. When I slow down and really concentrate on each exercise, I get a lot more out of the workout.
There’s a pretty good selection of videos on Nettflix, but I’ve enjoyed the Crunch series the most. I am definitely a beginner when it comes to Pilates, and the videos with more traditional Pilates exercises are really challenging for me– the Crunch videos are much easier and seem more like aerobics with emphasis on posture and breathing. Ellen Barrett leads a few different Pilates-inspired workouts that are fun and easy to follow. I like to switch up low- and high-intensity workouts throughout the week, and I love having a variety to choose from each morning.
In case you’d like to start using Netflix videos to supplement your exercise routine, here are the videos I’ve liked the best–
Crunch: Super SlimDown
This video combines Pilates and Yoga, and really concentrates on stretching. (42 minutes)
Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates
This video has three 10-minute sessions for “belly,” “thighs,” and “butt.” (34 minutes)
Crunch: Fat-Burning Pilates
Two-part workout with aerobics and mat work, plus lots of fun dance moves. (43 minutes)
Crunch: Burn and Firm Pilates
Great workout using Pilates techniques, incorporating a few ballet moves and stretches. Need a set of weights for this one. (48 minutes)
Have you ever worked out at home using Netflix? I love it–I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to buy any DVDs, and we’re already paying the (reasonable) monthly subscription to watch movies and television shows. I have so much more energy after I work out in the mornings, and feeling good about myself is a nice bonus too! 🙂