Top o' the evening to you all! I've tried, I've really tried, to bring you a themed workout. Before eating all that corned beef and cabbage, you need to burn off calories, right? A brisk workout enables you to drink your Guinness with a clear conscience, right? And what could be more appropriate today than Irish stepdancing?
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men....
One of my favorite tools for staving off potential exercise boredom is Netflix. Yes, you heard me right -- not just for couch potatoes! Netflix has a deep library of workout DVDs. I rent one, keep it for a week or a month, and send it back.
This time, I thought I'd try Irish dancing. I've seen Irish dancing performed at local Renaissance fairs. How hard can it be? Even with its wide selection, Netflix has a grand total of one specific Irish dancing workout (althought it carries several filmed shows of Michael Flatley's Riverdance and the like): Jean Butler's Irish Dance Masterclass. If you have no idea how to begin, can't tell a hornpipe from a bagpipe or a jig from a jug of ale, and have two left feet, this is a great DVD...for your audience. My kid busted a gut watching me try. And fail. And epic fail. Approaching interstellar fail!
Pix will NOT be posted anywhere Here's the video; I am not the one wearing a green shirt.
Okay, I lied. I am not nearly as coordinated or photogenic as an 800 lb blubber-filled sea animal on land.
As a workout, Irish dancing is fairly effective. You jump, you hop, you kick, all very quickly; you work your calves, ankles, and balance quite a bit. The arms and upper body don't move at all, which decreases the workout intensity. It could even be fun, if I knew what I was doing. I clearly don't. Still, the beauty of a Netflix workout is keeping it for a week before giving up entirely.
Through Netflix, I've cardio-bellydanced with Veena and Neena, which was better for toning than as a cardio workout. Bellydance is, despite its name, more about thighs and hips than abs. Also, in my limited experience, it requires a lot of stamina to hold arms upright for a long time, but the workouts don't work or tone the arms at all.
Netflix has helped me kickbox with Amy Bento, Keli Roberts, and others. Kickboxing puts a boxing gloss on a traditional cardio workout, and it's especially effective when you need to punch and kick someone. Kickboxing also works for me because it emphasizes muscles other than the ones I use in running, and the footwork isn't (usually) too fast/confusing for klutzy types like me.
I've Tae-Boed with Billy Blanks, although not very much, as I tend to avoid celebrity workouts and those requiring proprietary equipment. I've felt like a seventh-grader with Jillian Michael's back-to-middle-school-gym-class-basics workouts.
I've marched through innumerable DVDs with names like "Extreme Bootcamp," "Death March Bootcamp," and "Die Maggot Scum Bootcamp," of varying quality and intensity. At worst, a perky aerobics instructor wearing a camouflage-print tank top encourages women to try girl-style pushups, please pretty please. Real Marines cringe.
stripped had fun with Carmen Electra. Her Aerobic Striptease workout should be required at bachelorette parties, preferably after the fifth Cosmo. For anyone who wonders solely about this DVD's effectiveness as a workout and has no curiosity whatsoever about its other effects, what color is the sky on your planet? Everyone else is wondering something very different!
The nice thing about Netflix workouts is the smorgasbord of variety. Next up, I'll be an Island Girl, cardio-hula-ing my way to...uh, something. Bollywood workouts, which seem to be the latest craze, might make an appearance. How about you? What's your most interesting, goofy, or boredom-busting workout? Post here before dashing to the pub! (And before you do, check out other great fitness related diaries. This week, Fitness Monday had Fitting in Fitness, with an awesome pootie pic, and CheckRaise told his sad story (with tongue partly in cheek...I think) of How I Lost Money Riding a Bike.)