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.
Premise: P90X started the trend. Now, the workout takes it one step further with the new P90X2. The training is the same as the original – you tirelessly exhaust your body rotating through 12 different daily hour-long workouts over 90 days in the hope of getting ripped and lean – but the new version has a whole new set of pain-inducing sweat. Using a mixture of intense exercises, including explosive plyometric drills, the system is divided into three, 30-day phases to help your body adjust to the plan. But you'll feel the intensity of this right from Day One.
Pros: You can do the program with little more than a few pairs of dumbbells (or resistance bands) and a pull-up bar. It also allows you to buy two booster packs (the Deluxe and Ultimate) that let you add more equipment and workouts to further raise the intensity.
Problems: Some of the moves require a higher degree of balance and coordination, so if you lack either, it might be difficult to complete without having to stop periodically.
Perfect for: Anyone that may benefit from better overall stability in their sport, or, those looking to challenge themselves beyond the average weight-training circuit. [$119.85; P90X2.com]