Sometimes, going to a personal trainer is the right move – especially when you have specific, goal-oriented needs like losing 20 pounds or achieving a personal record in a 10K. But if you're simply looking for new ways to stay fit, your money may be better spent elsewhere, say, on group classes or, the cheapest and most convenient option, a fitness DVD. To cut through the infomercial hype and find a fitness video that is high quality and actually delivers results, we got our hands on the five most popular videos and took them on a weeks-long, intensive test ride. What we found while sweating in our living room: Not all videos are equal, but that's a good thing, since there's a different workout for everyone.
Insanity: The Asylum
Premise: This 30-day, six-DVD program vows to make you stronger, faster, and quicker using a series of sports-based movements, including foot speed and agility drills, strength training exercises, and core stabilization moves.
Pros: Because many of the moves are ones you typically see in sports training camps (and not in the gym), the routine is as unique as it is extreme. It also uses equipment (which comes included) that many pre-made routines ignore, including a jump rope and a 5-foot agility ladder, which also helps it stand out over other home programs.
Problems: Because of the ladder drills and constant jumping and plyo exercises, you'll need a lot more room to exercise than usual – and very patient neighbors below you.
Perfect for: The seriously fit – think at least six months of intense circuit training experience under your belt – who want a new way to burn fat and get lighter on the feet. [$119.85; beachbody.com]