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I realize the irony in posting a collection of workout dvd’s right after posting a recipe for macaroni and cheese but it’s all about moderation and portion control, right? At least that’s what the celebrities are preaching these days. I’ve always strived to find a positive balance between eating and working out. So far I’ve found that if I stay focused on increasing my energy and the feeling I achieve post-workout then I can usually stay motivated. Oh, and that occasional pint of Haagen-Dazs does the trick as well. If I’m not outdoors hiking or hitting the gym, I rely on these dvd’s to help keep me on track.

Jillian Michaels: Extreme Shed and Shred – This is Jillian’s most recent dvd. Since her last one she’s obviously tried a variety of different sports and activities because this one includes a little bit of everything – aerobics, yoga, kickboxing, kung fu, and capoeria (don’t worry I hadn’t heard of it either). I was little skeptical of the diverse mix, but somehow she manages to combine each move without it feeling awkward. This workout leaves me feeling recharged, not completely wiped out.

Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism – I come back to this dvd time and time again. Here’s why – the cardio moves incorporate strength using only your body weight,  it can be done in a limited amount of space, and it never bores me. It’s a heart-pounding 7 circuits in 40 minutes. I’ll admit I’m usually hurling four letter words at her around the 6th circuit, but I always finish feeling great afterwards.

Bethenny’s Skinnygirl Workout – I really enjoyed Bethenny’s first yoga dvd, Body By Bethenny, which is what prompted me to buy her second one. So far I like this one better. Mainly due to her instructor Mike McArdle. He’s not your typical yogi – he focuses primarily on the athleticism of yoga and doesn’t do traditional poses, he doesn’t ask you repeatedly to ‘find your breath,’ and he’s not overly spiritual (if at all). It’s straight up strength and stretching with him. Which is exactly what I look for in an at-home yoga workout – especially when my dog is usually chasing her ball five feet away from my feet. Stay centered, you say?

The only equipment you need for these workouts – light dumbells

Pre and Post Workout Fuel – Vita Coconut Water and an Apple