DVD Review: The Best of SHAPE Kosher Workouts!

As someone whose daily workout includes a two and a half mile hike through the hilly terrain that is my neighborhood, winter presents quite a challenge.  Despite the mild weather we have been having, the days are short, frequently cold and any snows really wreak havoc with my exercise routine.  A new fitness video, titled The Best of Shape Kosher Workouts, may just be the answer to my dreams.


Comprised of four twenty minute segments, each offering a different type of workout, Shape does a remarkable job bringing the gym experience into the privacy of your own home.  The instructors are appropriately attired, the music, while certainly not MBD or Avraham Fried was not in the least way objectionable, and each segment offers a warm up and cool down in addition to a nice workout.  Shape offers a choice of Zumba, Kickboxing, Pilates and something called Bootcamp which, as you can imagine, involves some pretty serious exercise.


I am sure there are those who will have objections to this video, saying that by definition Zumba isn’t kosher, it is not “our type of music” and that nice Jewish girls shouldn’t be doing any routines that involve punching or anything called kickboxing.   I suggest that you not buy this video and instead go look for a nice heimishe dance video that has Shaavtem Mayim and Shmelke’s Niggun instead.   For anyone looking for a fun, funky way to exercise, burn up calories and make fitness part of your routine, Shape is for you.


For all you men out there reading this, no need to read the rest of this post.  Let’s be realistic.  As much as your wife might enjoy this workout, if you come home, hand her an exercise DVD and say “here, I thought you might like this” she is likely to think you are suggesting she needs to lose weight and will probably throw the nearest heavy object (or the Shape DVD) at you and you will be eating peanut butter and jelly for the next three days.  If you can find a way to buy Shape for your wife without getting your head handed to you, feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to hear how you pulled it off.


For all my female readers, there really is a lot more to say.


For starters, I was very curious to see how they were going to present this in a way that would afford a real workout and yet still be tzniusdik and honestly, I think they did a great job.  Dressed in lightweight below the knee flared skirts over of leggings, t-shirts and shells (duh, all black, of course…this is New York, black is the only color in our fashion rainbow) they are modestly clad but still able to move.  Yes, there are instructors doing workouts in sheitels.  I don’t know how they do it, but they do.


As for the workouts themselves, two of them (Pilates and Bootcamp) are more like typical exercise segments and are fairly easy to follow, although somewhat challenging for the not-so-physically-fit.  The other two (Zumba and Kickboxing) are dance segments, broken down into four and five minute dances and, like any other dance, it does take time to master the steps.  The instructors call out most of the steps as they are doing them and as an added bonus, they are shown at both an easier and a more challenging level in order to accommodate people at different levels of physical fitness.  The instructors, who appear to be made out of rubber and have no internal organs given how flexible they were and how easy they made every move look, were encouraging without being annoyingly perky or demanding and the routines were fun, if a little intimidating at first.  The routines must have accomplished something as I could feel numerous muscle groups aching the next day.


The sound is a little off on the Bootcamp segment, but it is still easy to follow Tammy as she finds new and creative ways to make you torture muscles you didn’t even know you had. Be aware that you will likely embarrass yourself the first few times you watch this video until you get the routines down pat and you probably want to lock the door so that you don’t humiliate yourself in front of anyone who happens to be around.  But hang in there, it is loads of fun once you get the hang of the routines.


All in all, I really enjoyed this video and think it will yield tremendous results for anyone who takes the time to incorporate it into their daily routine.  Available at your local Judaica store or at for $22.99 it is probably one of the cheapest exercise plans out there and well worth the money.

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