Website of the week
I'm going to preface this week's website of the week entry by stating that, yes, this one's a bit of a departure from the usual clothing or accessories websites, but to rationalize it in a Karl Lagerfeld-type way, the more fit you are, the better you look in your clothes. Now to backtrack a bit, I belonged to Crunch for five years but let my membership run out last December. When I first started going, I was all into the hip-hop and ballet classes; at some point, all these classes started getting really crowded, to the point that I'd get to the gym an hour early just to sign up for a spot. Then I started to hate the fact that working out became, like, a 2.5-hour debacle several times a week, so then I just went and lifted or walked on the treadmill. Which got boring really quickly, and then going to the gym really became a chore. So I quit. (And I love to triumphantly tell people I quit, because it reminds me of the episode of Friends when Ross and Chandler try to quit the gym in vain.) But for me, not working out at all would mean getting fat. So I did a little research and started working out at home. I know this sounds really dorky, but I push my coffee table out of the way, pop in a DVD, and do my little workouts. I love working out at home because I can do it for 30 minutes in the morning before work (and not spend 30 minutes or more commuting, changing, showering, etc.), and because I do it in the privacy of my own home, I don't have to worry about other people, whether it's people who hover when you're on the eliptical trainer for more than 30 minutes or the meatheads who grunt and spit and slam their barbells into the floor. The hard part, however, has been finding fun but challenging workout DVDs to do. Amazon reviews and word of mouth are good on one hand, but everyone's tastes are different. Which is why I love Collage Video, a straightforward website that's all about the workout tapes. You can search by title, instructor, or keyword, or use the search by type feature, where you pick the type of workout you want, then select the level of difficulty. Search results pages feature type of workout, length, level, title, and price. You can also browse videos featured in your favorite magazines, or read about the instructors (dorky, but kind of interesting). When you click on a specific title, you get a straightforward description, plus a bar showing the length of the warmup, workout, cooldown, etc. (if there are multiple workouts on the DVD, it has the breakdown for each workout). Need weights, a mat, or a step? You can get them here too. There's also a handy wish list feature, so you can save DVDs for future purchases. What's on my wish list? Crunch Cardio Salsa and Crunch Cardio Dance Blast, ironically.

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