Before a workout I inevitably find myself asking, “What am I in the mood for today?” If I permitted you a peek at a list of the workouts I’ve done over the past several weeks you surely would come to the following conclusion: I am one moody lady! Most days selecting my workout is like picking a cup of yogurt out of the fridge. It’s quick and easy for me since I enjoy every flavor. Sometimes it’s a little more complicated though, and the answer to “What am I in the mood for?”, lies deeper, relating to how I am truly feeling about a situation going on in my life. Sensitive, exuberant and doubtful are feelings which act as predictors in my workout choices. Luckily, I have three go-to trainers who help me deal with those emotions perfectly. I should note that no matter what my mood is going into a workout, I always end up feeling energized and grateful afterward.

Ellen Barrett

I head straight for a session with Ellen Barrett when I am sore from life kicking me around. Ellen’s workouts tend to be low impact and incorporate softer styles of exercise like Pilates, yoga, ballet and t’ai chi. I find Ellen’s use of natural imagery to be warm and comforting. Why Ellen? I had my “aha moment” when I read a review of one of Ellen’s DVDs on Fit Bottomed Girls where she says, “Workouts can be nurturing or they can be abuse. Choose nurturing.” I turn to the following workouts from Ellen when I feel sensitive and am in need of nurturing.

Fit TV’s Zen Sculpt is a 43 minute toning and conditioning workout done “peacefully and zenfully”. Lifting weights has a unique quality when paired with a yoga mountain pose or while creating the yin-yang symbol with your arms. The floor work includes Pilates toners like boat pose and frog legs. During the cool down we “return our energy” to ourselves in a hug-like stretch. Light pair of dumbbells and an exercise mat are required.

I found both Power Fusion and Grace and Gusto on the VOD channel, Sportskool. Each is 46 minutes, shot live, done barefoot, and requires an exercise mat.

Power Fusion is a blend of yoga, dance and calisthenics. Ellen takes us through fun moves like angel arms, warrior pulse, goddess, and bow and arrow. The natural imagery abounds in moves like the earth and sky and the waterfall stretch. It’s okay to go chasing this waterfall.

Grace and Gusto is a fusion of Pilates, ballet and yoga. Ellen offers us a fresh look at yoga moves like the cat and cow, moving tree, and prayer twist. She takes the Pilates off the floor with standing leg beats and the saw. But it was unique exercises like the giddy-up and the lasso that had this cowgirl saying, “yee haw!”

Jennifer Galardi

I love to dance! I can always count on Jennifer Galardi to meet me on the dance floor with original and innovative choreography. Dancing comes straight from my heart, and it is a vehicle I use to share my feelings. Jennifer and I seem to have that in common as she told Two Belles Fitness, “I express myself best through physical movement and my body and yoga and dance allow me that outlet.” When I have great news and I want to express my joy to the world I get my hip-hop, salsa, and retro groove on. (I also happen to have some stellar jazz hands.) Jennifer’s teaching style makes me feel like I am right there in the studio with her…dancing, dancing, dancing, I’m a dancing machine!

In 10 Minute Solution Fat Blasting Dance Mix we get three dance and two toning sections in one fun workout. Jennifer teaches the choreography add-on style then we put it together and take it from the top. Roll those hips, throw it down, figure eights, and swing it sisters are a few of my favorite dance moves in this varied video. The butt and thigh blaster and ab attack both offer standing choreographed toning at a faster than usual pace. No equipment required.

I also discovered Sweating Sexy on the VOD channel, Sportskool. This 48 minute routine starts with a technique Jennifer calls “using the floor” in which we learn the moves at a slower pace. Then we pick up the speed and incorporate all of those moves in a creative dance routine in the second section. Sweating Sexy Sneak Peek! offers a glimpse into how you will dance yourself sexy with inverted plies, hip pushes and rolls. The cool down is a standing stretch sequence. No equipment required.

Jillian Michaels

Sometimes I don’t know what to do about a situation or I feel doubtful about my ability to solve a problem. What does this girl do when she is feeling stuck? She does a session with Jillian Michaels. I know, I know, we’ve all watched Jillian make overweight people puke and cry on TV. But there’s so much more to her! She recently told the Huffington Post, “For years, I always thought it was hilarious that I was this fitness guru, because fitness was just a tool I utilized to help people improve their confidence. For me, it’s never been about fitness. It’s always been about helping to empower people.” While Jillian may be tough, her message is exactly what I need to remind me of my strength. While I don’t normally do burpees, Jillian gets me to do them well and do them like they are my J-O-B. I own you, Mr. Burpee. Challenging myself with an unfamiliar physical exercise leaves my mind feeling empowered to move through the impasse I am facing in life. Here are a couple of my favorite workouts by Jillian.

Jillian takes us through seven aerobic and toning interval circuits in Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout for a sweaty 55 minute session. We get lots of variety with kickboxing, mountain climbers, 180 degree jumps and single leg hops, oh my! Our core works double duty as there are both standing and floor abdominal exercises. Throughout this workout Jillian is super motivating and encouraging. She really does want us to succeed.

In Yoga Meltdown Level 1 Jillian leads us through an athletic-style 35 minute yoga workout. The emphasis is on utilizing yoga poses to increase muscle endurance in this session. She offers an original take on traditional yoga poses and “reps” them out. Jillian is like no other Yogi I have encountered! She pushes me to quite literally stretch out of my comfort zone which is exactly what I am looking for sometimes. Exercise mat required.

See you next week for another New Year, New You Workout Wednesday.

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