Top 5 Exercise Programs for Women

by Claire Minnaar

I have weight issues! I unfortunately missed the train when it was handing out fast metabolisms. And, after having children, it isn’t much better and with having even less opportunity to work out, I have had to go searching for ways of getting exercise in during the day. And, this isn’t an easy feat!

I think there are very few magazines that don’t have at least one mention or article about the importance of eating well and doing exercise, so we hear it all the time. Often, knowing something doesn’t mean you will actually go ahead and DO IT! And, exercise is NOT exception – I know exercise will help me lose weight, I know exercise will make me have more energy and I know that exercise will give me more energy ….. that doesn’t mean I will do it!

I’ve always been someone that exercises, BUT my major flaw is that I give up when I get bored or tired or demotivated (don’t see results). EXERCISE is my weakness – I will give this up so quickly because I find it really difficult. I have done triathlons, programs and Sports Science Institutes, diet programs, running programs – you name it, I’ve probably done it, but haven’t STUCK to it after completing it or if something makes it a little more challenging!

If you’re a MOM looking to exercise, lose weight, get your heart rate up, get your energy up and start looking great, here are some exercise programs that I know I can recommend AND most importantly – you can do from home! I’ve given you my input on each!

INSANITY (more info here)

I re-started this one this morning actually. I got 4 weeks into it just over a month ago and then got nailed with this awful flu that has been going around. So, I’m back into it again.

Ladies, this is a VERY challenging 8 week DVD program by Shaun T. It’s REALLY TOUGH, but it does have EXCELLENT RESULTS and reviews. You will find yourself cursing and if not, close to it! 🙂 I recommend this one if you love cardio and are prepared to take 40 minutes each day for exercise. There are LOADS of videos on YouTube showing results – take a look: INSANITY RESULTS

TURBOFIRE (more info here)


I did this one for a while and then things went downwards because I was lacking sleep with my new-born and again, I gave it up. I WILL be doing this one again, but I’m sticking to INSANITY for now. This is a 12 week DVD program by Charlene Johnson. She’s amazing! She has the most amazing energy, she’s also a Mom of 2, she’s got an amazing following on Facebook and is just all round a fun, vibrant and inspirational person which is a fantastic combination for exercise.

I LOVED Turbo Fire! It’s VERY different to INSANITY. If you love music, this is the one for you. There’s kickboxing, a bit of yoga moves, boxing and a lot of shaking your booty going on. It’s great fun and I really enjoyed it and as I said above, will definitely do it again! Every day you do a different program – some are longer than others.

There are excellent reviews and results with this program as well – you can see some of them here: TURBOFIRE RESULTS

P90X (more info here)

This is a 12 week DVD weight and cardio training program done with Tony Horton. I started this one and did it for about 2 weeks, but stopped as I really didn’t enjoy it. I love getting my heart rate up and doing things that are fast (which is why I love Insanity and Turbo Fire). P90X is an excellent program and a lot of women do like it, so if weight training (combined with cardio) is your thing – go for it and you will have results! Take a look at some people’s results here: P90X RESULTS

HIP HOP ABS (more info here)

Hip Hop Abs is another Beach Body program like INSANITY, TURBO FIRE AND P90X that has been produced with Shaun T (who also does Insanity). If you want to work on your abs and your stomach WITHOUT having to do crunches on the floor, this is also a great one to do. I have it, but have not done it YET! However, I know a few people who have done it and they loved it AND I saw the results. It’s one of the bestselling programs on the market and it’s also upbeat and fun. Take a look at some people’s results: HIP HOP ABS RESULTS

BODY FOR LIFE (more info here)

This is an old one that has been around forever and a day. I did this for 6 months (BEFORE KIDS). I lost 10kgs and got my body fat down to 18%. My husband, Ryan, did it with me and he lost 20kgs. You will have to buy some weights and have some equipment to use at home, but it does work and you will get results. The only downfall with this particular program for ME is the amount of protein you eat. Unlike the others, this is a book that you follow. I prefer to do the video personally, but if you like your weights, can stick to your routine and schedule, then go for it! BODY FOR LIFE RESULTS

Final Comments

I hope this helps you a bit if you are looking for some inspiration to lose weight or do something in the health department. All the exercise programs above are available from and you can buy the Body For Life at most book shops.

Good luck!

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leigh-ann September 25, 2012 - 9:32 am

I absolutely love Hip Hop Abs and it works after only a few weeks you see the difference but to find the courage to get started that’s another story.

Renda Harding September 25, 2012 - 9:32 am

Hip Hop Abs works!! I lost loads of weight for my wedding, all in the comfort of my own livingroom. 🙂

Fit, Fun and Sexy Giveaway | Momtrepreneur September 25, 2012 - 10:36 am

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Fatima September 27, 2012 - 4:32 am

Another program you might want to look into is the Tupler Technique by Julie Tupler – she focuses particularly on abs for women who have developed a diastases (gap in the stomach muscles) post-pregnancy.

Amor October 5, 2012 - 3:10 pm


I stumbled on the transformation videos of P90x om YouTube and decided that I just HAVE to look like those woman.
I have a gym membership, but I am not motivated to go, as I don’t really know where to start or what to do to tackle certain areas on my body! And the fact that I don’t have a time goal whereby I KNOW I will reach my goal by a certain time frustrates me!

SO I thought P90x would be perfect! BUT now I discovered that it’s part of Beachbody which offers a whole range of programs like the ones you mentioned above…NOW what?

How do I decide? I don’t want to look like a body builder, but would like to be ripped and toned…AND I REALLY want some calf’s!!! My main concern is definitely my legs! I don’t mind doing a very intense workout…And also, I want the quickest results possible! Which one will suit my needs best? PLEEEAAASE help!?

Main Mamma October 8, 2012 - 6:29 am

Hi Amor

The chances you will look like a body builder is very slim. Generally speaking, to look like a body builder, you would typically be taking a lot of supplements including creatine among many other things. The best is to do a program you know you will enjoy. If you like cardio, opt for the cardio options mentioned above. If you prefer weight training, then P90x or Body for Life are good options. I hope that helps you!


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