Disclosure: This site contains sponsored posts, affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale) and is part of the Amazon affiliate program, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Portable Pilates Studio from Empower {Review}

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

I feel like every day is either an “I’m really motivated to go to the gym today” or a “There’s no way I want to drag myself and the kids to the gym today” kind of day.  For days that sound more like the latter, I’m all about home gym type equipment, especially things that don’t take up prime real estate in tight quarters.  I also love equipment that comes with dvds or other instruction because if you just handed me a barbell and said “exercise”, I wouldn’t know the first thing to do, and I would get bored.

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Add all this together and you can see why the Portable Pilates Studio and I are a good team.  This ‘kit’ comes from Empower, who supplies all sorts of work out equipment along with videos, many of which I’ve reviewed and all loved.

With that, here is the Portable Pilates Studio, sold for $24.99, which contains one bar with bungees and attached foot straps:

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The two pieces of bar fit together very snug, and I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to get them apart again, though I think that is what the white circles are intended to help you do.  The seal is so tight and so strong that I’m not going to bother.  The contraption is very well-constructed and I don’t have a sliver of fear that this will ever come apart while in use.  The bungee cords are thick and very well secured at both ends, and the straps are large enough to fit any tennis shoe while also being totally comfortable with bare feet, which is how I’ve been using it.

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For the most part, I really like this workout.  Pilates, by nature, isn’t very sweaty or aerobic from the get-go, but if you’re doing it right, a few minutes into it you’ll really feel the burn and start to sweat.  This video workout does just that.  My first time through, I found myself bugged by all the time spent sitting and listening to explanations, but I can see how the next time, I can jump straight to the exercises and get more toning in the same amount of time.

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The instructor, Gin, is helpful and kind and easy to understand.  There are four different sections to this workout video, each focusing on a slightly different area.  The actions are simple and easy to follow, and provide much more of an arm workout than I anticipated.  IMG_0485If you’re a home-gymer, this is a great set!  You can purchase this on the Empower website for $24.99, along with MANY other products for all sorts of toning and exercise.

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*The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation.  

 

 

 

Collage Video–Ballet Beautiful {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Have any of you ever taken one of those Barre classes? I took ballet growing up and am currently teaching ballet and tap to 3-7 year olds, so I have always wanted to take one! I hear they’re pretty killer. I also hear they’re pretty pricey, which is probably why I’ve never been to one. So, in my search for ballet-inspired workouts, I came across Mary Helen Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful Series. I first tried a video out online and LOVED it, so when I found a bunch of her videos on Collage Video, I had to have one!

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You remember Collage Video, right? The super awesome, chock-full-of-every-type-of-workout-video-you-could-ever-want website? Yeah, it’s still awesome. It’s super easy to search for a specific video or to browse a type of workout (dance inspired, walking, circuit work, etc.) and find just the right DVD. If you are into workout DVDs then this is your one-stop shop, my friends.

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So the video I reviewed was “Ballet Beautiful Cardio Fat Burn.” I’ll be honest: during the warm-up I couldn’t help but hate Mary Helen with her AMAZINGLY toned body. I mean, seriously, she has like every muscle perfectly defined but she’s still lean and graceful like a ballerina should be. I kept thinking, “This girl’s just lucky. She was born with a ballerina-perfect body and she probably doesn’t have to work at it. I could never look like her.” Once the workout began, I was singing an entirely different tune!

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This workout was HARD, but in a good way! I quickly appreciated Mary Helen for her strength and dedication to her art. I could tell that she earned every defined muscle through her exercises. The video is broken up into four 15-minute segments that start with an “Allegra” fat-burning interval (i.e. constant jumping and leg kicks) followed up by a mat workout that focuses on your arms, abs, butt and legs. Mary Helen likes to do four sets of eight counts of most exercises, and by set two I’d be dying but she was hardly breaking a sweat. She was cool as a cucumber the whole time, though I know she was working twice as hard as I was; her legs were straighter, her kicks were higher, and she held positions much longer than I could dream of. But she was good motivation to keep going and try harder–if she could do it, so could I!

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Bottom line: I LOVED this DVD! I know I will never look exactly like her, but I think if I did this 60-minute DVD 3-4 times a week I could have beautifully sculpted arms, legs and abs in only a few months.  And after doing the same workout for a while, I would truly appreciate the option to workout to the music only (beautiful Beethoven melodies) without Mary Helen’s instruction. If you want to look like a long, lean ballerina, this is the DVD to try! Ballet Beautiful Cardio Fat Burn can be purchased on CollageVideo.com, along with several other Ballet Beautiful/Ballet-inspired DVDs. But you can try to win this video (or another of your choice) for FREE today!

Win Ballet Beautiful OR a Workout DVD of Your Choice!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of February 3, 2014, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Collage Video, but all opinions are strictly my own.

Collage Video: TaeBo {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

In high school, I was kind of crazy. I would get up at 4:15 a.m. every weekday so that I could do a TaeBo workout video, then get ready for school, which for me started with a 6 a.m. church seminary class. Insane, right? Once I started working junior year, that habit had to stop because I was up way too late at night to get up so early, but for all of freshman and sophomore year, Billy Blanks and I were buds, which is why I chose to review his TaeBo Power Workout video!

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Once again, I got to choose any video I wanted from CollageVideo‘s massive online catalog. This time I searched for Tae Bo, and TaeBo Power was the first video that popped up that caught my eye. It is a 60 minute workout with a bonus 17 minute Power Ab workout–and let me tell you, that ab workout is POWERFUL!

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In high school, TaeBo was the first workout DVD I owned and about the only style of working out I knew, so Billy’s style of leading didn’t bother me. But as an adult who has watched several different kinds of workout videos and attended countless exercise classes at the gym and at college, I was bugged by Billy’s cuing and style. He would say “two more sets of eight” and then after that two he’d say “one more,” but then we’d actually do one or two more. Doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but when you’re doing an intense move and you think “okay, I can do two more sets” and then he throws one or two more on you, it can be really frustrating. Also, his big thing in this video was the weighted gloves. The gloves were “optional,” yet he referred to them about every 5 minutes, which got real old real fast. Frankly, the workout was hard enough without the gloves! It was a good upper arm workout with lots of punches, curls, pull-downs and punching bag moves.

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Overall, I liked the workout. It was challenging, high intensity, and by the end I was definitely sweaty and sore! I had to give myself a day to recover before I attempted the Power Ab Workout, which was only 17 minutes long but felt as long as the full workout! It was done sitting in a chair, which meant that not only were my abs getting worked, but my hip flexors/top of my thighs as well. I can already tell that I’m going to be in pain tomorrow. But I can also tell that if I did that every day (or even every other day), I’d have some pretty sculpted abs/upper thighs, which is something I definitely wouldn’t complain about!

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Billy Blanks’ TaeBo Power can be purchased at CollageVideo.com for $9.99. That’s what I love best about Collage Video; their prices are SO reasonable! And again, today you can enter to win the same video that I reviewed–TaeBo Power–or you can pick a video of your choice from Collage Video’s massive collection of workout videos!

Enter to win a Workout DVD from Collage Video!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of January 13, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Collage Video, but all opinions are strictly my own. 

Collage Video {Giveaway}–CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Raise your hand if you like the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.” I love it, and every summer when it comes back on, I live for Tuesday nights to see what new and exciting numbers they come up with each week. I’m a huge tapper, but unless there is a tapper still in the Top 20 (which is rare), they don’t do tap numbers, so my next favorite dance style to watch is Bollywood! I’ve always thought it looked like a ton of fun, but definitely a lot of hard work. So when I got a chance to pick a workout video from Collage Video and found a Bollywood Dance Fitness Workout DVD in their selection, I knew I had to review it!

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CollageVideo.com is a massive online shop for every kind of workout DVD. It’s almost overwhelming the amount of videos that they carry, but if you know what you’re looking for, it’s super simple and organized. You can search for videos with keywords like “Weight Loss,” “Dance,” “Muscle Toning,” or “Jillian Michaels,” or you can search for brands like Jazzercise, Tae Bo, 10 Minute Solution and The Firm. You can also search by Workout Type, Goals, Instructors, Equipment Used and Specialty Videos (i.e. pregnancy, seniors, arthritis, kids, etc.). Seriously, their selection is incredible. They carry exercise videos I didn’t even know existed–definitely something for everyone!

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As I said, I chose the Doonya: Bollywood Dance 3-DVD Set and I LOVED it! The first DVD, Beginner Breakdown, was a little slow, but necessary as it broke down all the Bollywood terms and moves that you would be using in the next two DVDs. There was a fun routine to learn at the end and I felt so cool performing with the awesome Bollywood dancers with cool moves of my own 🙂

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The next two videos were great. DVD #2 is a Cardio Dance and Conditioning video, in which you get a Warm Up, a Basics Refresher Drill that keeps you warm and moving, and then 11 different targeted segments to pick from to work specific parts of your body. You could choose to do just a few routines or do all 11 plus the warm up and cool down for a 70 minute workout. DVD #3 is Abs, Glutes and Cardio, and let me tell you, they work those areas for sure! Some of the routines were a little repetitive, but because the instructors are smiling and having a good time, I found myself having a great time, too. The moves were easy to follow and the instructors were clear and looked good, though I was surprised that one of the girls always wore baggy clothes instead of showing off her sleek, toned abs and hips!

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That’s real sweat on my back, no photoshopping necessary! Doonya is a great workout!

The video was only $24.99, which for three DVDs and a total of 174 minutes of exercise is a steal! That’s the great thing about Collage Video: their prices are all pretty reasonable, with some DVDs as low as $8.99! But today, you can enter to win the same video that I reviewed–Doonya: Bollywood Dance 3-DVD Set–for free! Or, if I haven’t convinced you that this is the most fun and exciting way to work your core and your entire body while feeling sexy and grooving to awesome Bollywood tunes (or if Bollywood just isn’t your thing), then you can pick a video of your choice from Collage Video’s massive collection of workout videos!

Enter to win a Workout DVD from Collage Video!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. entries only.

** The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the morning of January 8, 2013, and will be emailed within 24 hours.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

** This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Collage Video, but all opinions are strictly my own.  

Ellie.com outfit and DVD giveaway!

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Ladies, remember my super cute workout outfit from way back?

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Still love it.  If you were also wishing you had more Ellie attire in your workout wardrobe, here’s a sweet giveaway I thought I’d clue you in on.

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Up for grabs is a top and bottom from any Ellie collection and a DVD set with a 108 day yoga program valued at $200!!  The DVD set in the giveaway features 12 DVD’s and a 108 day yoga program, and Travis Eliot (teacher in Santa Monica) is the influential yoga teacher featured.

You can enter HERE!

Check out all the glamorous workout clothes from Ellie and get you can also get 20% off by clicking through this link.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation. 

Empower Fitness {Giveaway} – CLOSED

Disclosure: This could be a sponsored post or contain affiliate links (which means I earn a percentage of the sale), but all opinions are strictly my own.

Sooooo….how are everyone’s New Year’s resolutions working out?  Speaking of working out, how many of us put “go to the gym regularly” on our list?  As motivated as we are early January, who here knows the fizzled feeling of deflated enthusiasm regarding the gym come February?  It’s hard to get over there, I know!

I have always been a fan of home-gym equipment, probably because I have not always had the funds nor means of obtaining a gym membership, especially one with child care.  Since I was in junior high, I remember waking up early to use my living room for step aerobic videos before my brothers could wake up and tease me about it.  I love being able to work out at home!  I love not having to worry about wearing my cutest gym clothes, I can push “pause” and get a drink or answer the doorbell, and lately I love that my kids can “dance” along with me!  We all have such a good time!

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I busted out this incredible Boxing Boot Camp from Empower last Saturday, and thought it was great!  I love a good workout–none of that sissy stretching yoga or chair pilates for me.  I want to break a sweat and feel exhausted when I’m done.  This workout was exactly what I had in mind, and exactly the kind of workout I was looking for.  Holy arm workout!  I’m pooped!

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The exclusive DVD has 12 rounds of 30-minutes workouts, just like a real boxing match.  I like how each round is a little different, but doesn’t stray from the basics, so its easy to jump right in to the next round without taking time to learn something new.  Throughout the DVD, there are modifications for beginner, intermediate, and advanced “boxers”.  I think the timer in the bottom right corner throughout the DVD is an excellent feature, and I wish it were present on all workout videos.  I love being able to countdown with it, and it motivates me to push through till the end.  PS–I think 30 minutes is perfect.  It easy to chisel out a half our for a great arm workout like this.

You can build strength with the 6-lb medicine ball, burn calories with the comfort jump rope, and tone muscles with the 2-lb. weighted gloves.  I found all the equipment to be tip-top quality!

Empower-Boxing-Gloves The gloves are comfortable, and have a one-pound sack of sand on top of each wrist.  With four loops for fingers, a thumb hole, and secure velcro straps that can tightly adjust to any wrist size, you can get a snug custom fit.  I was initially worried that they would slide around during the rounds because of my small wrists, but they held their place just fine.

 Medicine-BallThe medicine ball is thick, a sure 6 pounds, and can withstand a lot of throwing and dropping, since my toddler continued to shoot it into his toddler basketball hoop when I wasn’t using it.

  Jump-Rope The jump rope is great.  Cushy handles, strong rope, and a good full range of motion, and I even read in the included instructions about a way to shorten it.  I only wish the jump rope was incorporated a little more into the workout.  It is primarily used in just one of the rounds.

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Jaime Clampitt is a machine!  I think she is a great instructor, not obnoxious, not too peppy, and she has my utmost respect for what she can do!  Doom on whoever crosses her in a dark alley.

Empower products have been featured in several fitness magazines like Prevention and Shape, and seen showcased on lots of shows such as Good Day LA, and NBC’s Today Show.

With long-term use of this box set, I can definitely see how it would improve your endurance, posture, and arm strength!  I think its a great addition to your list of favorite workouts.

Best news ever: you too can become a product tester for Empower!  You can sign up on their website, and they are looking for all ages, fitness levels, and locations!  Head on over and get signed up like I did!

Today’s winner is going to receive their own Boxing Boot Camp from Empower!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is open to US entries only
*The winner of this giveaway will be drawn no later than the evening of Thursday, January 24th and will be emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
*This posting and giveaway were sponsored by Empower Fitness, but all opinions are strictly my own

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