Get fit when no one’s watching: 4 of the best ways to workout at home

We get it: between work, social events, and all the other things you do, sometimes hitting the gym just isn’t possible. But that doesn’t mean you have to forsake fitness altogether! The at-home workout is nothing new (’80s aerobics TV shows, anyone?) but it’s definitely at an all-time high. The downside to this, however, is that the fitness DVD section at your video store can be just as intimidating as a testosterone-infused weight room. Which is why we’re here to help: we’ve found four of the best ways to get a little exercise in at home, including webisodes, video games and something you can do with your iPhone.

Push your coffee table aside, clear some room and get fit at home! »

Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for XBOX

Hit da club without worrying about the bouncer, the line and the overpriced drinks: with Dance Central 2 it’s just you, the jams and some hilarious alter egos on the screen to dance with. Working with Xbox’s Kinect motion censor, Dance Central sets up the choreography to popular songs by the likes of Usher, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, all while monitoring your body as you follow along. You can simply perform the moves, use the workout setting which tracks the calories burned or try our favourite, the dance battle—where you can dance to choreographed moves alongside your friends and see who comes out on top. When your “crew” wins, your virtual self will seriously get all up in there. (Take it from us, the shorter the alter ego, the louder their bragging.) And get excited now: Dance Central 3 is due out this fall with even more songs to break it down to.

Dance Central 2 ($50,
Xbox 360 4GB and Kinect sensor ($300,

Created by ballet dancer Miranda Esmonde-White 20 years ago, and perpetuated by her lithe and lovely daughter Sahra, Essentrics is a unique combination of stretching and dynamic movement that works toward a long, lean body as well as flexibility, injury healing and anti-aging (who ever saw an inflexible grade schooler?). The body-improving key here is eccentric movement, which means the muscles are strengthened while they’re in an extended, lengthened position—no weights required. In Montreal, visit the Essentrics studio for classes, or follow the workout anywhere with the range of slickly produced DVDs.

Essentrics DVD ($20 and up,

Subscribe to the Vancouver-based website for access to hundreds of yoga videos. Stream them from your laptop or iPad and stretch it out in your living room or office, on the dock, in a hotel room, wherever. You can search by yoga type, level, instructor and length—sometimes all you want is a 20-minute morning kickstart; other times a full 90-minute workout is required. There are enough videos that you’ll figure out your favourites but you’ll never get bored. Our favourites include the oceanside “Blissology” sessions by B.C. surf/yoga dude Eoin Finn. ($10/month subscription required,

Condo-dwellers, it’s time to take advantage of your gym when no one’s around! Tracy Anderson, personal trainer extraordinaire (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Madonna are just some of her A-list clients) is well-known for her DVD series of at-home workouts. But did you know she also does free webisodes? The most popular one is her treadmill routine: instead of running, Anderson’s developed a series of skips, jumps, and borderline dance moves that might seem silly to do but after 12 minutes will definitely leave you breathless. Call up the video on your phone, start the treadmill and feel the burn.

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