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.
Les Mills Pump
Premise: Based on Les Mills' most popular class (BODYPUMP), this DVD features a series of seven workouts, each designed to have you perform circuits of specific barbell exercises (such as squats, presses, and curls) and other moves at an extremely high repetition range – up to 100 reps per exercise!
Pros: The program comes with its own barbell kit (complete with five and 10-pound weight plates), and, the 90-day routine only asks you to exercise three times a week.
Problems: The high price. Plus, if you're looking to build bigger, stronger muscles, the higher rep, lower weight approach of this program won't help you achieve as much size and strength as other DVDs.
Perfect for: Those purely focused on burning fat and improving their total-body endurance – those hoping to fill their shirts with serious sinew need not apply. [$199.95; teambeachbody.com]