February 5, 2009

Work it Out: Masala Bhangra Vol. 1

With all the food and recipes on my blog these days, the fitness aspect is kind of falling by the wayside, but don’t let that fool you! I actually work out in my bedroom 5-6 days a week in front of my busted-looking little TV/VCR combo. It can be really hard to get good fitness instruction from a DVD, but through years of trial, error and persistence, I feel pretty confident that I’ve established a good routine with a rotation of about 8 great DVDs (the other couple days in the two-week circuit being made up of a new one to try from Netflix or a jog outside or whatever keeps me un-bored). The majority of my workouts are led by Jillian Michaels or The FIRM system. Jillian can kick my butt any day of the week…and I guess she does for five or six out of every 10 days, actually. Let’s just say that my guns didn’t come from a store!

Now that we have a sufficiently embarrassing visual of Diana lunging, curling and Firm-Fanny-Lifting, let’s make it a little worse. Anyone who knew me before May 2005, when I graduated from college, knows that I love to dance, and did so fairly seriously my whole life until that point, when the rat race intervened. Since then, I have to get my boogie on in what little spare time I have, and it just so happens that there are many a workout DVD devoted to just that. Since I’m no beginner dancer, I find the vast majority seriously lame, but that was until this morning when I tried Sarina Jain’s Masala Bhangra workout, Volume 1 (Basic Style).

Sarina actually teaches at Crunch here in NYC, and I got to take her class live at last year’s SELF Workout in the Park. I have been dreaming of Bhangra ever since! Only this week, however, did I realize that she had a whole series of workout DVDs, so I finally got the first one from Netflix, and it was on deck for my change-it-up Thursday morning sweat session. It’s not often that working out puts a smile on my face, but I couldn’t help it! There was no drudgery in this routine, it’s just high-energy and totally bad-ass. My only complaint was that it was practically over before it started! Half an hour is not enough because you hardly realize you’re getting some serious cardio in the process. I was just starting to feel like a Slumdog Millionaire when all of a sudden it was cool-down time.

Some might find this workout hard to follow, because she doesn’t break the moves down slowly or anything. However, I think that anyone even minimally coordinated could pick it up, as most Bhangra moves are fairly loose and natural, I find. It’s similar to hip hop in that it’s quite grounded and you don’t need any fancy technique to pick it up. If you’ve ever watched the musical numbers in Bollywood movies, you know what I mean. I always watch those dancers with a mixture of wanting to laugh at them yet secretly wanting to be them.

Bottom line: I highly recommend giving this a try for a change of (fast) pace and a break from lifting/resistance training. I finished this workout feeling positively giddy, which is a feeling usually reserved for riding Space Mountain.

If you're in the mood, check out this bhangra performance from last season's So You Think You Can Dance. LOVE IT!


Melissa (fitnessnyc) said...

OMG, I love Sarina and her MB workout. I haven't tried the dvds, but I also do her workout at Self's WITP every year. I actually have a guest pass to crunch I am planning on using next week for her class.

Do you do 30-day shred too?

Diana said...

Yes I love the WITP! Can't wait for this year's. And yeah I do Jillian's 30-day Shred as well - def one of the harder DVDs out there but totally worth it!

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

I loved the final dance scene in Slumdog Millionaire! Sounds like a fun workout.

healthy ashley said...

I have trouble actually working out at home. I try to but get caught up in so many other things! This workout looks so fun.