Friday, December 21, 2012

FAQ FRIDAY: What Are The Best Apps, etc. for Quick Workouts?

I am a hypocrite.  For years I disliked Jillian Michaels because she annoyed the heck out of me when she was on The Biggest Loser (oh, and did you hear she's coming back this season?!).  I didn't like her because a) I was jealous (yeah, it's true, how could you not be jealous of someone with a job like that?!) and b) she gave out nutrition information on the show, even though she had (and most likely still has) zero background in nutrition.  Maybe she took a few classes about nutrition, here and there, but she's certainly not a trained and licensed dietitian, or any type of nutritionist. So, yeah, she made me mad.  But about two years ago my parents bought her workout DVDs and one day while I was visiting I decided to try one out (I live about 5 minutes away so I pop in often to go on walks with my mom at night).  I loved it.  Now I have three of her DVDs (and a pilates DVD that I use sometimes in between Jillian workouts).

I hated doing her workouts at first, because they were difficult, but I loved them because they were a challenge and my workouts were finished in 30 minutes or less (although I typically follow my videos with an elliptical "run").  Now I'm able to do some of her level 3 and 4 DVDs with ankle weights and 8 pound weights instead of 5.  I'm so proud!  So yeah, I still don't like that she gives nutrition advice without the proper background, but I adore her workout videos and her ability to push me until I want to slap her in the face and scream in her ear.  It's wonderful.  Although my knee was in bad shape after doing this move (below) too many times, the wrong way.  See how Nick's knee is right above his ankle, and not over his toes? That's the proper way to do this move, just an FYI.

I digress.  

Do you have some simple workout equipment in your home?  Forget the gym pass, and forget having to get into your car and drive anywhere. Instead grab your smart phone and get ready for some great workouts!

We have a few random weights, but mainly 8 and 5 pounders.  We also have 2 sets of ankle weights, an ab ball, and a resistance band.  These were all purchased at a local used sporting goods store for less than $150.

Other than a good workout DVD, one of my favorite ways to get an effective and quick workout is with a phone app.  I like this "Workout Trainer" app picture below.  It was free and has upgrades that cost a small sum of money if you choose to use them.  So far I haven't needed the upgrades. If I want the workout to be more difficult I just get heavier weights or do faster reps (or I don't take the 5 second breaks they often include during the workout).

The Wall Street Journal wrote this article about a few other popular workout apps.  Check it out for some good ideas.

No smart phone? Grab a magazine such as Fitness Magazine.  They always have great workouts for you to try (you can also check out their website for some ideas)

Or you could make up your own mini routines.

Or check out the variety of great blogs, like Lindsay's (she's always posting fantastic workouts that I pin on my "Workouts" Pinterest wall (The Candid RD....check it out!)).  Another great site to check out is FitSugar.  They post some great routines too, including some effective yoga and pilates workouts.

QUESTION:  What's your favorite workout app?  Do you have a strategy for fitting a fast and effective workout into your day?

As the holidays continue to consume our life, remember that it's not always the food choices we make that keep us from sticking to our health goals, but our lack of exercise.  Try to keep up with your exercise routine as much as possible, and fit in quick workouts if that's all you have time for (I'm about to do a 20-minute power elliptical workout, just because I have to be at work early today, but I want to do something).

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, which will discuss how some dietitians eat during holiday parties.  I'll give you my favorite "party strategy".

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd
NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.


  1. its funny, i never look into apps because we have s o many great fitness gurus posting workouts, like lindsay. But it doesn't hurt to look, for sure!

  2. Woah, woah, woah... what?! Jillian is coming back??? I know some people find her annoying, but I actually really liked her when she was on BL. The one thing I'm not crazy about is her endorsing weight loss pills, but everything else about her I love. I'll definitely have to watch this season!

    1. Yep, the rumor is she is back!! Maybe I'll watch this year...who knows.
      I agree, her endorsement of weight loss pills is completely LAME. It pisses me off, to say the least.

  3. I like Jillian's DVDs for a quick workout at home. I also like Jackie Warner's DVDs. Her workouts are also challenging and she motivates you, but she is a bit calmer.

    I have never used an exercise app, but I think I'll look into it.

  4. It's funny... you mention the issue with jillian giving nutritional advice without having the qualifications, and that's how I feel about unqualified people giving fitness advice. Lol. I love the app idea, although I don't use them (yet)... It's true we can all come up with our own little workouts too, but it does feel "easier" in some ways to just follow directions and follow a workout!
    You're so right---it's not necessary to have a gym membership to get in shape!

    1. Agreed. I never cross the line with exercise tips. I furthest I go is THIS post!! I leave that to the pros. Definitely.

  5. Interesting words and I hope your knee is feeling better! My two cents is that probably the best overall program for people is a circuit training program where people move from exercise to exercise with little to no rest. doing this will give people
    a little strength
    a little muscle endurance
    a little cardiovascular endurance
    a little muscle power

    Circuits are efficient, are generally safest for beginners and people with health issues and most importantly, are not boring.

    1. I'm all about circuit training! I do it on my elliptical, in a way (fast, then slow, fast then slow)....or is that intervals?! I do stop and lift, then get back on the elliptical, then do lifting again, that's circuit....right?? I always feel the burn!
      And thanks for asking about my knee, it fels MUCh better :)

  6. Nice technique, Nick! lol :) I'm always trying to get Peter not to let his knee wander over his foot (especially as he has a bad knee!), but I think it goes in one ear and out the other. Hope your knee feels better soon!

    I'm glad to hear the Jillian Michaels DVDs are working for you! I've actually never done an exercise DVD or used an app, although I know both are a great way to switch things up - now I have some great ideas!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Gina!

  7. As a fellow dietitian, I TOTALLY know what you mean about Jillian giving nutrition advice and having NO background in nutrition!!!!! it seriously drives me crazy!! I do have a few of her work out DVD's though!

    I typically use Fitness magazine for my work outs, but I'm fairly active without needing to "work out" too. I play basketball 2x/wk, play on an ultimate frisbee team, rock climb at least 3x/wk, and run a few times per week. But Fitness' work outs are great because they have videos, too! And now I find so many great work outs on Pinterest, its so addicting!

    and since I emailed you the other day (about the pomegranate salsa!) I figured I should officially start following your blog! :)

    1. Thanks so much!!

      Yeah for Pinterest workouts :) They can be so helpful!! Quick and effective (usually....)

  8. I have the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred dvd and I LOVE IT. I really started to see results and felt like I was improving after a while in terms of how much weight I could handle, etc. I have been meaning to buy more of her DVDs. I usually run or walk for cardio but Jillian is def my girl for strength training. I also love the fact that the workouts are 25 minutes so no matter how challenging a move gets; I always keep in mind it will be over soon! lol

    My favorite phone app so far is the Nike+ app. It tracks my mileage, calories, etc. when I am running or walking and then I can go on the website and see more details about my progress, consistency, etc. Its great! I am about to go read the WSJ article you recommended here. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. I have gone through several of her DVDs, multiple times, and I have added ankle weights and heavier hand weights to make it more difficult. For Christmas I am in desperate need of her latest DVD!
      I've heard a lot of great things about the Nike app.... I should look into it!

  9. I too don't like Jillian Michaels. I guess I just don't like her personality. I do have the 30 day shred and it's HARD! This is a great post. Even if you have a gym membership it's nice to have an alternative to the gym. :)

  10. Love this post-- I'm always looking for new fitness apps! And yeah, Jillian and I have kind of a love hate relationship too. She annoys the crap out of me most of the time, but her workouts ARE good!

  11. I've never watched the Biggest Loser, so I have no reference. But I listen to her podcast when I'm working (found her on iTunes somehow) and I have to say that while she might not have a degree in nutrition, in her podcasts she seems to offer solid advice when it comes to eating a balanced diet. Lots of veggies, fruits, healthy fats, lean meats etc. I also have a few of her workouts on DVD and love the challenge.

    no apps
    Ive never jillianed
    Im a misfit.