What We Tried: Dream Body Cardio Series DVD by Fusion Fitness.
Where: In the comfort of my own living room, away from prying eyes but a little too close to my upstairs neighbor, who could probably feel her floors shaking.
For How Long: Each DVD is 50-60 minutes long. You're encouraged to do discs 1-3 over the course of three days. Then on the fourth day, do one of your own workouts (a jog, a yoga class or a hike are suggested). Do discs 4-5 the next two days, and on the last day take a rest and just go on a walk or play a game.
How'd It Feel: Weird. Because I was jumping up and down in my living room alone, I had to conjure up my own energy and enthusiasm for the workout instead of relying on a teacher or classmates for the vibe. And I'm just not good at that. I did most of the discs with a scowl -- or at least a furrowed brow -- on my face because it was all so new to me and there was no one to explain the forms in person.
On the other hand, what amazed me about the discs was that I didn't really need any of the gear they recommended for the classes. I had a yoga mat and some paper plates at home. Instead of one-pound weights, I held one-pound water bottles. And instead of buying a rubber band for the resistance exercises, I picked out a pair of my ugliest tights and tied a knot between the legs. My hacks worked for the exercises, and I still burned an average of 450 calories per disc -- about the same number I usually burn during a 45-minute spin class workout.
Also, the discs come with either a music mode or a silent mode, so you can play your own music simultaneously. If I got more comfortable with the moves, I could see myself opting for the silent version. The one thing I wish each disc had, though, was a timer at the bottom corner of the screen, counting down the minutes until the end of the class.
What It Helps With: Each disc, no matter how ridiculously named, focuses on a different body part and really exhausts it. The M.I.L.F. disc (which stands for Max Interval Laced with Fusion, so get your mind out of the gutter!) is mostly a cardio workout that feels like many different and difficult variations on the jumping jack. The inTENse disc is broken into 10-minute segments that burn out your arms and abs. The FUSION 50 disc lights your quads and hamstrings on fire. Bata Barre combines ballet exercises with tabata cardio intervals, and the Bikini Bootcamp is a lot of kick boxing and ab work. You'll be amazed at how tired you'll get simply jumping or lunging in place. And anything you do with the paper plates is killer.
What Fitness Level Is Required: The teacher is in the middle and demonstrates the workout. On either side of the teacher are two other women: one to show a more advanced pose or move, and another to show an easy, modified version. This DVD set can be done by all fitness levels, and people who are just starting out can get creative about modifying the moves even further.
What It Costs: The five disc set costs $129.99 and is available on fusionfitness.com. The site also sells a $35 "booty bag" package needed for the class, which includes 1-lb. weights, a purple ball, and two different kinds of rubber bands, in case you didn't want to stretch out a pair of tights with my method.
Would We Go Back: I am definitely keeping these DVDs in case I don't have time to go to class or go outside. I'd also bring a disc or two if I were traveling on business for a few days. But popping a new disc into the DVD player filled me with dread -- so much dread that I didn't make it to the fourth disc.
Perhaps it's because DVD workouts just aren't for me -- not because these classes weren't challenging, but because I was constantly surrounded by the other things in my life that needed my attention, like dishes and laundry. Doing the Dream Body series made me realize that I rely on my workouts as a much-needed break from my life, and doing jumping jacks a few feet away from my dirty kitchen was ultimately too stressful, not a stress-reliever.
The best thing about these DVDs is the big fat reminder that fitness can happen anywhere, at any time. You don't need any fancy studios or gear or clothes, you just need to move. That being said, they did pique my interest in the Fusion Fitness classes in Kansas, which the DVD series is based on.
Those workout classes combine spinning, yoga, barre work, kickboxing and bootcamp moves into 60-minute classes that sound really challenging and fun. I wish they would come to Los Angeles! Have any HuffPost readers in Kansas tried the classes?
For more from our We Tried It series, click here.
For more fun ways to get fit, check out the slideshow below.