Skip to content

A Midwest Life Posts

The best home workout DVDs

Welcome to the first full week of the new year!  If you haven’t started your New Year’s resolutions yet today is the day!  One popular resolution is to loose weight, get fit, or simply become more healthy.  While I don’t have a ton of weight to loose I definitely have some room for improvement and hope to loose that last little bit of baby weight while getting back into shape this year!

Having a baby right before the holidays I knew weight loss and getting back into shape was not going to happen right away.  I wanted to have fun and enjoy a few treats!  However, now that the holidays are over I am going full swing into healthy eating and continuing to exercise regularly.  David and I have not had a gym membership since moving to Minnesota four years ago.  (Have I already endured FOUR Minnesota winters!?)  Prior to moving I was quite the gym goer.  I love group fitness and love being able to walk into a class and simply follow along rather than try to come up with a routine by myself.  For this reason I have acquired quite the DVD collection since living in Minnesota and have found that I am able to get in some fantastic home workouts with minimal space and equipment. For those interested in getting back into shape with me, or just learning about a new workout DVD here are some of my favorites.

Jillian Michaels.  What can I say about her?  I feel as though nearly everyone knows who Jillian Michaels is and has an opinion of her.  I like here DVDs for a few reasons:.

1. I get results!  Seriously, her workouts kick my booty every time.  That being said, make sure you choose heavy weights.  Her workouts are meant to challenge you which means you need to lift heavy!

2. There are a lot of 30 minute options.  I have two kids under 18 months old and a husband who has an awesome yet rather time consuming career.  30 minutes is often all the time I have to workout.  I also for some reason am more likely to complete a 30 minute workout at the end of a long day rather than a longer workout.  I can handle this, it’s only 30 minutes.  For some reason it seems so much better than 60 minutes, I know I’m not the only one who thinks this 🙂

3. The price.  Jillian Michaels’ DVDs are super affordable and are readily available through multiple retailors.

A few of my favorite Jillian Michaels DVDs are:

jillian michaels

30 Day Shred.  This one is older but still probably one of her most popular.  It is a great DVD with three levels and one of my go to workouts.

Yoga Meltdown.  This is not a typical Yoga workout but it is a great workout, especially for those who tend to dislike holding poses for extended periods of time.  This DVD has two levels.

Ripped in 30.  Oh boy.  I did this workout after having my oldest and it kicked me right back into shape!  It has four levels that will leave you sweating in no time. No More

Trouble Zones.  This is a workout I love but don’t do very often because it is closer to an hour long.  If you have an hour, this one is great, it hits all the major muscles and is a great total body workout.

Hard Body.  I haven’t tried this DVD yet but am interested in trying it.  The main reason I haven’t tried it: each workout is 45 minutes.  Again, the time issue!

All of the DVDs I have tried from Jillian Michaels have been great and effective.  These are simply my favorites that I tend to go back to over and over again!

If you aren’t a Jillian fan, which I actually hear quite (seriously though, give her a try) often you still have options!  Another one of my favorites is Suzanne Bowen.  She also has quite a few DVDs available mostly through her website and  I am a fan of her barre workouts because again, they require little equipment and are even to do while travelling because I can easily toss in a pair of light dumbbells into my suitcase, yes the airlines have no problem with this as long as your suitcase isn’t too heavy!  (I have become a very efficient packer over the years.)  A side note for all of those expecting or hope to be soon: her prenatal DVD is also great!


Suzanne Bowen’s Barre AmpedBarre Amped Bootcamp, and Barre Amped Cardio Fat Burn.  These DVDs are great as they each offer 3-4 full workouts!  They are bit more at around $20 each but you get four workouts for that price (or one long, total body workout) so it is still a great deal!  The DVDs are set up in a way that you can choose to complete all the workouts for a total body workout or just choose the areas you would like to focus on each day.  I am a huge fan of Barre workouts and enjoy Suzanne Bowen’s instruction.  She also has a website with a monthly membership option for those interesting in regular new workouts with the option of streaming anywhere anytime!

Burn SF.


I discovered this DVD through Pop Sugar Fitness’ Youtube channel.  Here is the link to the 30 minute workout by Lisa Corsello, the owner of Burn SF if you want to try it out for free on Youtube.  I instantly fell in love with this workout and apparently wouldn’t stop talking about it because my parents bought me the DVD for Christmas this year!  The workout is 55 minutes long and is a great mix of cardio, strength, and pilates.  Again, remember to choose challenging weights!  I use five pounds rather than the three and my arms are dying by the end!

Xtend Barre.


I bought this DVD a long time ago and still love it.  It is a great blend of cardio and strength.  The instructor moves through the movements quite quickly which is how you get such a great cardio benefit but it can also be a little more difficult to follow along for beginners.  However, when I have an hour to workout I find myself turning to this DVD quite often.  This DVD also has an option to choose certain segments for a shorter workout.

Chalene Johnson.  I am a huge Chalene Johnson fan.  I was even certified to teach PiYo way back before I had children and before it was a part of Beachbody.  And of course I love PiYo, I love all things Pilates!  However, if I am being perfectly honest, the live classes are a thousand times better than the DVDs.  The DVDs are still awesome I just love the live classes.  That being said, I love PiYo and still completely enjoy the PiYo workout DVDs that are total body and a little longer 🙂

chalene johnson

TurboFire is also an amazing and fun workout.  This workout lacks in any strong strength training but it is fun cardio and time flies!  I have never taken a live class so I can’t compare the DVDs to the live class but I assume it would be similar to the PiYo DVDs, the full length workouts are much more like a live class while the short workouts are just that, short.  However, for some reason the short TurboFire DVDs have not disappointed me the same way the shorter PiYo workouts did when I first tried them.

Chalene Johnson also has TurboJam and ChaLEAN Extreme which I have heard great things about but have never tried.

There you go!  A few of my favorite workouts that can be done at home!  My biggest tip for working out at home is to challenge yourself!  Just because the professionals in the DVD are only lifting 3-5 pounds doesn’t mean you can’t go heavier.  They often record several takes of the workout in order to get enough screen shots.  For this reason they often go lighter in order to not burn out 🙂  That being said everyone starts out new at some point and if no weights leaves you in a sweaty mess and feeling as though you got a great workout then that’s awesome as well!

I wish you all the luck in your future fitness endeavors!

Leave a Comment

Our holiday celebrations

Hello!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!  We were quite busy and had so much fun sharing Christmas with family.

On Christmas Eve we celebrated as a family of four!  It is nice and important to make time to celebrate with your own family before speeding off to several other Christmases!  Since this was Asher’s first Christmas and Max’s second neither of them really fully understood but had a fun time opening gifts and playing with new toys.  At least Max did, Asher is still a little young 🙂 .  We decided to buy them a couple big items together and it was so fun setting them up and making sure everything was ready for Christmas!

PicMonkey Collage


Again, Asher isn’t quite able to fully appreciate his presents but I foresee many fun days ahead!

We drove up to my parent’s house later, in the evening, and attended church with them.  When church was over my brother and sister in law were already at the house as well!  We had a great time Christmas Eve night eating snacks and talking.  Christmas day came quite early with church again, brunch, and then presents!  Max and Asher received some really fun gifts before it was time for them to take a nap.  While Max and Asher napped I fit in a workout and cleaned up the mess Max had made while opening gifts.


At one point both he and Asher were wearing cute Christmas sweaters of which were not photographed due to multiple messes by both before I had a chance.

Then it was time to start dinner.  To be honest, with two small children I was not able to help out with the preparation as much as I have in the past but still tried to help out when I was able.  My grandpa and his girlfriend stopped by for dinner and more celebrating Christmas evening.  Shortly after dinner we had a special guest, Santa!  Asher of course didn’t have a problem with Santa being just 2.5 months old and accepting to anyone willing to hold him.  However, Max has many more opinions at the wise age of 18 months and decided that Santa should not be visiting and definitely should not be holding him, even if he did have a present.


However, Santa didn’t mind and left Max’s present for when he was ready for it and waved goodbye to go deliver more presents 🙂 .

The rest of the weekend was filled with games, movies, and spending time with family!

New Year’s Eve was spent at home this year which was much needed as we have all been a bit tired.  Max and I made some delicious banana bread early in the day and then David made some appetizers for us in the evening.  As it turns out, Max loves appetizers!  (The pizza bites may have been his favorite!)  While it is not the healthiest meal it is a tradition to do appetizers for New Year’s.  Everything in moderation!


From my Instagram!

Sadly, I did not make it to midnight (or take any pictures).  Did I mention I was exhausted?  David and I watched a couple of movies (of which I fell asleep during) and called it a night.

Here is to a fabulous New Year!  I am wishing everyone great happiness for the year 2015!

Leave a Comment


I am a wife and mom to two wonderful little boys living in the Midwest!  I am passionate about health, fitness, and living life to the fullest.  As a family we enjoy travelling and fun adventures.  This blog is where I hope to share stories, what I learn, and anything else interesting.  I am looking forward to writing and sharing!  I have tons of great ideas for this blog so be sure to visit often 🙂


Leave a Comment