Collage Video Newsletter: April 2012

Success story winner

"Life-long exerciser discusses working-out"

"Like many women who are 69 years old, I identify with..." See Ivy's full story. See how YOUR story could win $100 and help your favorite charity. Three of the most popular forum threads: Workout "systems" vs individual DVDs Michelle Dozois' new "More" videos Working out and appetite Q. I've been getting ready for swimsuits by gradually losing weight. I'm eating well and exercising regularly. I feel great. However, last week I actually gained two pounds. I didn't change anything — why am I now gaining weight? A. First, congratulations! You should be proud of your progress.  There are several reasons why you may see a slight weight gain. First, muscle weighs more than fat. As you add muscle and lose fat, your weight may actually increase. This is a good thing — even though the scale tells you otherwise. More muscle mass results in a higher metabolism and a more sculpted look. But, there may be other reasons why your scale is reading higher. Here are some additional thoughts to consider: Hormonal Changes: Due to hormonal variations, women tend to retain water during their menstrual cycles (that wonderful bloated feeling we all know so well...). But, don't worry. Any weight gain due to water retention is almost always temporary. If you're particularly concerned about that, Mayoclinic.comsuggests that limiting sodium, caffeine and alcohol can help reduce those symptoms. Plateaus: Or, you may just be hitting a plateau. This means that your current program is either getting stale or too easy. Maybe it's time to make some changes. Add a few different videos into the mix. If you love interval training, try a new interval workout (each instructor integrates different exercises and has their own style). Or, pick something totally unique like burlesque dancing! Also, make sure you're working hard enough. You should be tired after each workout. If not, you need to step it up a notch. You're stronger now, so it's time to challenge yourself a bit more. Your Scale: Make sure you're always using the same scale. Every scale is calibrated differently. Your upstairs scale may weigh differently than your downstairs scale. It's important to use the same measurement device every time. Finally, try to remember that the benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise go far beyond a weight level. Regardless of what the scale shows, you almost certainly have more energy, more confidence and just feel better overall. So, keep moving forward. You won't see those annoying couple pounds on the scale for long!
Your new catalog will arrive this week!New videos by Leslie Sansone, Jillian Michaels, The Firm, Tae Bo, Tracie Long, Exhale...Are YOU ready for swimsuits and shorts?Look for our new print catalog this week. You'll find 44 new videos, including:Leslie's newest is Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan. It has five all-new workouts; they each end with a short toning segment.Jillian's Kickbox FastFix has three complete workouts. They all feature kickbox intervals with targeted body-sculpting sections. The Firm's Cardio Dance Club is a fast-paced fat-burner with three different dance styles: club, Latin and Caribbean. Billy Blanks' Tae Bo Express has short mix-and-match segments. They range from pure cardio to aero/tone intervals to pure toning. Mari Winsor's newest, Lower Body Pilates, brings back all the elements that made her famous. It targets three areas: hips/waist, thighs and buttocks. Tracie Long has two new releases.Reboot Volume 2 combines intervals of high-intensity cardio with fast-paced toning. Figure 30 Butt is a non-stop series of totally glute-focused exercises (just in time for summer shorts!). Exhale Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt has thirty short workouts. They all start with yoga and end with body sculpting. Dancing with the Stars Cardio Dance for Weight Loss is lots of fun. Led by Kym and Mark, it keeps you energized with three dance techniques. Mindy Mylrea fans will love her three new advanced-level workouts. They all maximize variety with lots of equipment. Check out Tabata Bootcamp with Toys,Core Connection and Booty Camp. A great way to get started with yoga is Rodney Yee's AM & PM Yoga for Beginners. You get two easy-to-follow workouts filmed in a beautiful Hawaiian setting. Other new programs include: Stretch, Flex and Tone with three outdoor workouts.ChogoFlow features real yoga done in a chair. Yoga Journal's Living Yoga, it's a great 26-workout series by eight different instructors. Also! Take a look at these previously discontinued videos that have been re-released. Kathy Smith's Flex Appeal Bellydance and her Step Workout. Chris Freytag's 2-Week Total Body Turnaroundand her Kick Start Your Metabolism. Also the 10-DVD Ultra-Kettleworx set. Finally... You may want to check out the new workout music audio CDs: Whitney Houston Tribute and Latin Zoom (Zumba-style music). See ALL the new releases.
Instructor interview

Leah Sarago

Like many video instructors, Leah Sarago planned to launch her career in Los Angeles. But she actually found exercise-video success back in Nashville.  "I decided to move to Los Angeles because I wanted to debut my Ballet Body class. And, at the same time, I had a DVD project in the works with a small video production company. The DVD project fell through, but I continued to teach Ballet Body classes while also continuing to refine my training techniques. "However, frankly, I found Los Angeles too fast paced at that time. I think that all the yoga in the world couldn't have reduced my stress levels. So I moved back to Nashville to be closer to family and in more peaceful surroundings. Looking back at it now, I realize that I didn't need to live in Los Angeles to produce exercise DVDs. I realized that there is lots of great talent all over the country." How did you get interested in fitness? "I grew up in a big family. My mom had all of us girls in ballet at a young age. My dad, of course, encouraged us to play sports. And I've always been active (my parents said I was the one constantly doing cart wheels or handstands). I remember pretending to play dance teacher/choreographer in our basement as a child — working out with my mom's exercise videos. In high school, human anatomy and science were the most intriguing subjects for me. At that point I decided I was going to pursue a degree in  Exercise Science." With your degree and your experience, you ended up working with the NFL. How did that happen? "I had the opportunity to work with some of the 2009/2010 top NFL Combine picks, including Tim Tebow. I was brought on to help the athletes with flexibility and recovery while they prepared for the NFL Combine. It was great." Do you have any plans for the future? "Sure. I want to continue to grow and expand the programs that I offer, including training programs tailored to athletes and special populations. Additionally, I'm working to create a Ballet Body certification program for those interested in helping spread the fun and benefits of Ballet Body across the country. Lastly, I want to further my education in nutrition, and possibly even attend some cooking schools to publish a recipe book — I love to cook and bake!" You like to cook and bake... really? "It's true. If I have a craving for chocolate or sweets, I usually go right into the kitchen and bake something. By baking it yourself, you can cut out a lot of the preservatives and make it much healthier. Also, I find that after I bake it, I really only want a bite or two." Finally, a question we hear from a lot of our readers... How do you motivate yourself to work out when you just don't feel like it? "On the days when I lack motivation, I try to talk myself into just 20 minutes. That's because 20 minutes is better than nothing and I know I'll feel better afterwards. I usually find that I end up working out even longer than what I had planned. Also, sometimes I'll even throw a yoga mat down on the kitchen floor while I'm cooking and do some exercises. Or just play around with some new techniques. It's fun!" See all of Leah's videos.
Weekly super-specials (ends Mar 27th)
The Firm: Calorie Explosion Was $13.99 now $6.98
Self Magazine: Bikini Ready Fast! Was $12.99 now $5.98
10 Minute Solution: Hot Body Boot Camp Was $11.99 now $6.98
Cardio Sculpt with Pam Cosmi Was $14.99 now $11.98
And more! Click to see ALL the sale items! Sign up for weekly sales announcements!

Shoulder Bridges

Almost anyone who has worked out has done a few planks. Planks are great. They statically work nearly every muscle in the body, especially the core. But today, let's focus on the plank's less popular — but just as effective companion — the shoulder bridge. It's incorporated into a lots of traditional sculpting workouts, as well as Pilates. In fact, you've probably already done a version or two. To help you remember, let's go through a standard shoulder bridge. Start by lying on a mat with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor — like a traditional sit up. Make sure your ankles, knees and hips are all in line. Keep your shoulder blades anchored to the mat and your palms connected to the floor by the hips. Now lift your mid-section to the ceiling until your knees, hips and shoulders are in line. Hold that position. There you have it — a shoulder bridge. Seems pretty basic, right? Well, don't worry. There are lots of variations to keep boredom at bay and your muscles challenged. Like most static exercises, the longer you hold it, the harder it is. But, to instantly make the exercise a bit more intense, try raising your hands up toward the ceiling, shoulder-width apart. By removing the support of the hands, your body needs to work even harder to stabilize itself. For an even more active variation, try hip dips. Start in your standard shoulder bridge. Then bring the hips straight down, tap the mat, and come right back up into bridge. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up while contracting the abs, glutes and hammies at the top. For an even more advanced exercise, try a one-leg dip version. How about one more option? Let's try bridge leg extensions. While holding the bridge, extend one leg straight (keeping your knees in line). Contract the quad, and then place the foot back to the floor. Alternate with the other leg, and continue. Make sure you keep your knees, hips and shoulders in line. Just like the plank, shoulder bridges work the core. But, as a bonus, they also heavily recruit the glutes and hamstrings. Think: great looking legs and buttocks. Planks do provide upper body work. But, if you want to include an arm element, just add dumbbells for a chest press, pullover or overhead triceps press. As with any strength training activity, start with one set of 10 to 15 repetitions. Then, add on more reps when appropriate. So, keep the familiar plank, but also bring in its newer variation. Or do both for a totally balanced workout. A few of the newer videos that include bridges are: SuperModel Butt & Thighs, Mari Winsor's Lower Body Pilates, Tracie Long's Figure 30 Butt and Jillian's Killer Buns and Thighs.
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