There’s no place like home

Winter is far from releasing its fierce grip. If you’re one of many beginning to experience cabin fever from subzero temperatures and blasts of snow, there’s a solution.

A heart-thumping, sweat-inducing workout video is just what you need to achieve your fitness goals while avoiding Mother Nature. While there are myriad options, I tried the popular Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism with the loud-mouthed, badass Jillian Michaels, just for you.

A close friend shared this particular DVD with me, while bellyaching about the strenuous workout and the love/hate relationship you tend to form with “Jill” (just one of many nicknames I gave her, and quite possibly the only one fit for printing).

The beginning warm-up is chock full of dynamic stretches to loosen your “rubber band” muscles, and as soon as it is over, you jump (literally) right into the workout. The meat of it is broken into seven circuits, six minutes each. When the video begins, you have the option of performing the entire workout or one circuit at a time.

Each circuit focuses on a mixture of cardio moves without any required equipment, other than a mat if you are working on a hard surface. During each move, modifications are shown for beginners, as well as the elite, balls-out athlete. The circuits often include body-bursting maneuvers that have you wolfing for air. Your chest burns, your muscles quiver, and as a slight urge to shed a tear arises, so does exhilaration.

On day one of trying the workout, I recall thinking, “When do we get to the floor portion for a breather or maybe a nice little crunch?” Boy was I way off. The floor circuit resulted in the utmost amount of sweat and discomfort. Burpees, planks and mountain climbers were just a few of the pleasant surprises that awaited me. After the seventh circuit, you can breathe a sigh of relief as you enjoy the cool down. The last five minutes help relieve the leg shakes you might encounter, and a few encouraging words from my friend Jill make you feel pretty damn accomplished.

One of the perks of this particular workout DVD is that it isn’t brand new, which means you can pick it up online for an $6-$10. The moves are as modern as ever, shifting between kickboxing and calisthenics. Many of these exercises are used in typical boxing classes, so you can enjoy a similar butt-kicking in your own living room. The whole workout was about 54 minutes and required no materials. Recommended usage is five days per week, with the possibility of losing up to five pounds in that first week. I began the DVD with no weight-loss goals; I just wanted to continue staying fit during our blustery winter. But I lost two pounds after five days of the workout, averaging 440 calories burned per session. If you need to mix up your routine, or need something to cross-train with other activities, Jillian Michaels’ Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism will certainly do the trick.