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The at-home workout from hell

Have you ever seen those people running outside in the depths of winter?

Have you ever seen those people running outside in the depths of winter? You know, the ones huffing and puffing along icy sidewalks while wearing full-face masks and chains on their sneakers. I refuse to be one of those people and as such, I’ve had to bring my workout routine indoors.

Since I also refuse to sign up for a gym membership — I’ve probably signed up and dropped out of every fitness facility within a 30-kilometre radius of my apartment — I decided that this winter I would embrace the at-home workout DVD.

Have you ever done an exercise video in your living room? No matter how reputable your workout of choice is, you will always feel like a complete moron.

These fitness DVDs take place in an entirely different kind of reality. Filmed in fluorescent studios and exotic tropical locations, they feature super-human instructors whose bodies look as if they’ve been chiselled out of spray-tanned marble. They have terrifying titles like INSANITY! and promise to RIP AND SHRED YOUR BODY, as if those are actually desirable outcomes.

Despite my initial reservations, I decided to give it a shot.

I don’t own a television but I do own a $1,500 MacBook Pro (priorities, people). I agonize over finding the best location to set up my laptop — desk, chair, ottoman? It doesn’t really matter because I still end up spending the next 50 minutes tilting the screen back and forth as I hop around my living room.

Despite his retro appeal, there is no place for Richard Simmons in today’s modern home video exercise world. My 2012-ready instructor is a hard-bodied blond dressed in a pink camo-print sports bra. She flaunts her Britney Spears’ circa 2001 abs as she leads me through a sequence of torturous exercises.

Forgetting that I am in a basement, I almost break a finger as I whack my hand on the low ceiling while performing a series of “power jacks,” a maniacal cousin to the traditional jumping jack.

When the instructor’s unremitting perkiness becomes too much, I drown her out with my own inner monologue. Am I engaging my core right now? What does that even feel like? Is that my phone? Will my apartment smell like sweat after this?

Finally, the instructor utters the two most beautiful words in the English language: “cool down.” As I stretch out on my yoga mat, I find myself wondering where I could pick up some of those chains for my running shoes.

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