- Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates!
One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother jazzercising away in her pajamas along with the local public TV aerobics instructors. Thanks to our relatively spacious family room, she could kick and high step as instructed without breaking the coffee table, or whacking her legs into the couch. I was 5, and I was mesmerized.
In my teeny New York apartment, finding space to exercise at all, let alone jazzercise, gets a bit more challenging. The closest I get to an open area is a spot I can create if I move my coffee table and my arm chair, and unroll my yoga mat half in my living room, and half in the walkway to my kitchen. When I lay down on the mat and extend my arms over my head as directed by Ellen Barrett, of the fabulous "Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates" DVD, (to be reviewed below in moments), my hands get a little extra exfoliation courtesy of the coir area rug by my front door. And when I do my bicycle leg circles, I have to move my armchair all the way into my kitchen to avoid inadvertent injury. I like thinking of it this way: The furniture rearranging is part of the workout.
"Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates" is one of gazillion workout videos you can stream on Netflix, so it's accessible anytime. And it's perfect for "I don't want to work out but I know I should" days. It's broken into three ten-minute segments: core, butt, and thighs. Just do core, and you feel pretty good. Throw in butt, and you feel like you're really getting somewhere. Complete thighs, and Ellen makes you feel like a total star for doing all three. It's standard Pilates, nothing too crazy or new, but it gets the job done fast.
An added bonus is that all the people in the video are normal looking and are wearing normal looking workout clothes, normal amounts of makeup, and aren't smiling while doing moves that are making you grimace in agony. Okay, there's one chick in the back with super tan abs, a skimpy sports bra, and distracting fake boobs, but she's the only one. Ellen herself is a lovely, accessible, everywoman, with just a bit more tone. I point this out because I'm usually at my schlumpiest during my home workouts -- haven't brushed my hair yet, and wearing the sweatpants with the grease stains.... In this mode, some workout DVDs make me want to give up before I even start. Not Ellen's! My Old Navy tanktop and my bobby-pinned back bangs are A-okay. I may be an unshowered slouch, but as Ellen reminds me with every passing minute, I'm an unshowered slouch who is doing my body good.
[Eds Note: You may have noticed that we're sponsored by Crunch. That fact had absolutely nothing to do with Charity's choice to review Ellen Barrett's DVD, or her positive feelings about it. And here, for once, we're not being sarcastic or ironic. These things happen. We'll tell you if we're compromising our editorial integrity for business reasons.]