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'10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fix Mix,' 'Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training,' 'Denise Austin: 3 Week Boot Camp,' 'Bob Greene: Total Body Makeover'
Date: 01/04/2010
Author: Melinda Fulmer
If you're like many of us, you overindulged your way to a few extra pounds during the holidays. When you're ready to start on those New Year's fitness resolutions, we've got the videos for you. We've compiled a list of programs to help you burn calories and whip that body into shape regardless of your fitness level.

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix

This DVD, with personal trainer Amy Bento, is for people who crave variety in their workouts but have little time. Known for her intense video exercise programs, Bento delivers five challenging workouts that will get your heart rate up and sculpt muscle at the same time.

The video starts with fast-paced cardio and weight-assisted strength intervals before moving into standing abdominal work and floor exercises; a lean-body sculpt segment that works the upper and lower body at the same time for greater calorie burn; and cardio kickboxing combinations -- jabs, hooks, uppercuts and kicks. It ends with a power yoga series of fast-paced sun salutations that will leave you breathless but relaxed and limber.

The segments rotate through exercises quickly -- maybe a little too quickly for beginners -- but variety keeps the moves from becoming tedious.

You'd have a hard time finding a video that packs more calorie-torching work into such a short period. Still, you'd probably want to combine two or three segments at a time (or throughout the course of a day) to maximize your results. And you'll probably need to supplement these workouts with a little additional stretching to avoid becoming stiff or sore.

Price: $14.98; available online and in stores.

Personal Training With Jackie: Power Circuit Training

Looking for a workout to whip you into shape quickly? Look no further. In this video, Jackie Warner, owner of Beverly Hills' Sky Sport & Spa and the star of Bravo's fitness reality show "Work Out," guides intermediate exercisers through fast-paced weight sets targeting muscle groups.

Each of the sets (composed of three one-minute blocks) for each muscle group is done back to back and without a break, before concluding with a short "Power Burn" set of all three moves. The speed of these "supersets" will drive your heart rate up and burn a lot of calories. Because the program moves quickly, you don't have time to get burned out on any one move.

The 40-minute video works all the major muscle groups, including biceps and triceps, back, hamstrings and abs. There's nothing flashy or fancy here, just the sort of back-to-basics but effective program you'd get at the gym, with personal trainer Warner acting as taskmaster and urging you to "go to that place in your mind" that will let you finish each section.

This workout isn't for fitness neophytes. There aren't many modifications or much coaching on proper form or stretching. But intermediate exercisers will feel that they've worked just about every muscle in a short period of time. The workout can also be divided into sections.

Price: $14.98; available online and in stores.

Denise Austin: 3 Week Boot Camp

This is a good choice for beginners interested in a fitness jump start or those easing back into a routine. Make no mistake: The two 20-minute routines -- a cardio/strength interval program and a sculpting workout -- aren't easy. Some intermediate exercisers will find themselves breathing hard.

But Austin's relentlessly peppy coaching will motivate many newbies to keep plugging through the aerobic intervals of jumping jacks, boxing punches, cross-country ski moves and leg lifts, as well as the upper-body sculpting moves with light weights. Short recovery periods also help to ease burnout.

The kettle-bell-inspired sculpting series provides less of a cardio workout, focusing more on combinations of strength moves. These include squats with swinging movements using hand weights, plus lunges with weights passed through your legs.

Austin's three-week program has you start with the cardio intervals before advancing to athletic training, then combining them in the final week. Both are needed for burning enough calories and getting an effective total body strength workout.

Price: $14.95 available online and in stores.

Bob Greene: Total Body Makeover

Oprah's personal trainer has designed a video fitness program for people who like to spend more time walking or hiking outdoors and less time exercising in front of their television.

The eight-week program, outlined in a DVD and booklet, recommends that users alternate days of self-directed cardio and the video's 10-minute strength training segments.

Each week the strength segment -- with classic moves such as rows, lunges, squats and planks -- increases in intensity and adds more of a balance and cardiovascular challenge. The final week includes such moves as jump squats and push-ups with a weighted side plank. (You're also meant to be doing 50 minutes of walking every other day.)

There's not a lot of repetition here, and Greene provides solid coaching on form, and ample stretching. But more experienced exercisers may be unsure where to start. And the video alone won't provide enough of an aerobic workout for effective weight loss.

Users have to be disciplined enough to guide themselves through the recommended amounts of walking (or have a walking program in place already) to see real results.

Price: $14.98; available in stores and online.

health@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times