Monday, December 27, 2010

The best home workout DVDs I reviewed this year

Since it’s the end of 2010, I’ve taken a few minutes to reflect on all the DVDs I’ve reviewed on Fantastic Fitness DVDs this year.
   I’ve picked the ones that I think are the absolute best categorized by areas they target most effectively. These categories are based on the changes I’ve witnessed with my own body!
   Here's what I came up with:

Best for toning abs, butt and thighs
Workouts inspired by the Lotte Berk Method are coming out by the dozens these days, and it’s no wonder – it’s an amazingly efficient way to tone up problem areas in record time.
   These DVDs are the best Lotte Berk Method-inspired workouts I have reviewed so far:
Physique 57
Squeeze Stronger
Pure Barre
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

Best over-all heart pumper
The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper promises a routine that will work the heart to its maximum on Bob Harper Inside Out Method: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning, and he delivers with a combination of cardio moves and weight training.

Best for arms
To get some tone and definition in your arms, I highly recommend the Get Ripped and Get Extremely Ripped! series of DVDs from Jari Love. In addition to toning your triceps, biceps and back, the DVDs are good cardio workouts, too.
   My favorite Jari Love workout is Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped to the Core, though I have reviewed many others on this blog.

Best for over-all leg toning
Ballet dancers have the most incredibly beautiful legs, thanks to intense, constant training. You can get a taste of that training, and watch your calves slim, by using the New York City Ballet Workout.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Beachbody® Chronicles: The start of our adventures with ChaLEAN Extreme, TurboFire, P90X and Insanity

Yesterday morning the gift my husband and I gave each other for Christmas arrived at our doorstep: Bowflex® SelectTech Dumbbells.
   We decided a couple of weeks ago to go halfers on a set after seeing them being used by Chalene Johnson in her ChaLEAN Extreme® DVD workouts from Beachbody®.
   ChaLEAN Extreme emphasizes slow lifting of heavy weights.
   My husband and I plan on following the program to its fullest potential, and felt getting a good set of weights was essential (although you can do the program with a resistance band).
   I tried out the SelectTech weights for the first time this morning with a ChaLEAN Extreme workout, and they are the coolest things.
   You “dial up” a weight, from five pounds to 52.5, then lift the dumbells upwards. Voilà – there’s the amount of weight you need.
   We also ordered the Bowflex SelectTech 552 / 1090 Dumbbell Stand, so we don’t need to bend down each time we pick the weights up or set them down. The stand easily moves around on wheels – perfect for our small apartment.
   ChaLEAN Extreme is one of four new Beachbody home workout systems on DVD that I recently purchased.
   I have also bought P90X®, Insanity® and TurboFire®.
   I’ve already been using TurboFire along with ChaLEAN Extreme.
   Starting in January, I’ll be filling you in on our experiences using these extremely popular DVD workouts.
   I’m sure it will be an adventure!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Physique 57 - Volume 1

“In the next 57 minutes, we are going to strengthen and lengthen every muscle in your body,” says Tanya Becker at the beginning of the Physique 57Classic 57-minute Full Body Workout DVD.
   She’s definitely right. The workout, a combination of small, intense moves done at quick intervals, works the body from arms to butt to abs, leaving them burning with the knowledge that something definite has been done.
   Decker promises the Physique 57 technique will improve on what nature and genetics gave you, whatever your body type. And she says a person won’t plateau, that there’s always a chance to improve at the moves.
   From what I can tell, Decker’s promise appears true – workouts like Physique 57 which are based on the Lotte Berk Method of exercise do definitely contribute to toned arms, a lifted butt, thin thighs and flatter abs. And such workouts are always, always tough, continually challenging the mind and body.

If you haven’t guessed already, the Physique 57 workout technique, created by Tanya Becker, is so named for the length, in minutes, of the classic workout.
  The Complete Physique 57 Workout Kit from amazon.com includes three DVDs: 57-minute classic workout, an Express 30-minute workout and a 30-minute Abs and Arms boost. The kit is volume 1 of available Physique 57 DVDs. All three workouts feature one person in the exercise crew effectively modifying the exercises at an easier level.
   Also included in the kit is a playground ball and pump to inflate it. The playground ball is used in many of the exercises.
   The classic 57-minute workout begins with a short warm-up, followed by arm work with hand weights – bicep curls, shoulder lifts, upright rows. Dropping to the mat, arm work continues with push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   Next comes thigh work standing at a ballet barre, chair or sofa. With hands on the support and feet off the ground, ankles meeting in a narrow V, a person bends up and down at the knees.
   With variations on these bends, including swinging the hips as you move up and down and pressing the thighs back, the heart gets pumping and the thighs get burning. The playground ball is then placed between the knees and the thigh exercises continue.
   After thighs comes the booty burn. First facing the barre or chair, then turning to the side, the leg is bent and pushed back, repeatedly and in different variations. Then comes the pretzel, a difficult exercise that involves sitting on the ground, leaning to one side and lifting the bent leg off the ground.
   The abdominals section is next, and it’s long and challenging.
   First are a series of leg scissors, leg lifts and cycling motions done on one’s back – killer not only on the abs but the thighs and hips as well.
   Next, the playground ball comes into play. An exercise mat is placed over a sturdy cushion, and person leans back against it. With the ball between the knees, a series of crunches with leg lifts off the floor, escalating in difficulty, are performed.
   After some pelvic tilts and back work, a welcome final stretch finishes the workout.

The Express 30-Minute Full Body Workout DVD, also led by Tanya Becker, is best done after a person gets used to the 57-minute workout or has done other Lotte Berk Method workouts.
   It gets right to the thigh work almost immediately after a short-warm up and some push-ups.
   There is a big concentration on the behind, with several minutes of standing exercises performed at the barre or chair.
   The abs section gets right to using the playground ball between the knees and a series of crunches.

The 30-minute Arm & Ab Booster DVD is led by Physique 57 master instructor Shelly Knight.
   The first part of the workout concentrates on the upper body, with bicep curls, shoulder lifts, rows, tricep kickbacks, push-ups, tricep dips and plank position.
   There is a challenging transition between the work of the arms and abs. With the playground ball behind the small of the back and leaning against it, legs straight and on the ground, an exerciser lifts weights up and down and taps them together in front. The balance required does overtime work on the abs and thighs.
   The abdominal section that follows is prolonged and demanding – perfect for those looking to flatten their tummy and tone their core.

Other good Lotte-Berk Method-inspired barre workouts:
Squeeze Stronger
Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review of Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners

When it comes to Pilates and yoga, I am definitely a beginner.
I find both those modes of exercise to be challenging to my body and mind.
   Thus, I’m a fan of a good beginner’s workout in both of those disciplines.
   Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners is perfect for me: I find it demanding, though not impossible.
   Brooke Siler, who leads the workout, never stays in one exercise position for too long, ensuring that the muscle fatigue and burn doesn’t get too overwhelming.
   I love the 20-minute “Pilates-concious” cardio section that begins the complete 50-minute workout.
   It is a terrific way to wake up the body and mind and get the heart pumping for the mat section ahead.
   The cardio section begins with breathing exercises, arm circles and side reaches, and ends with challenging moves such as deep pliés, lunges, push-ups, side-angle pose and the elephant press (facing the mat, lifting up on the forearms and feet in a plank position, then lifting the butt up and back down to the plank position several times).
   Then it’s on to the 30-minute mat work section, where several classic Pilates exercises are found including the 100, pelvic lifts, rolling-like-a-ball, the seal, side kicks, the saw, the bicycle and leg beats.
   All of these exercises are challenging, but because workout’s pace is reasonable, I am able to keep up and do them all in proper form (though I need to modify some along the way.)
   The workout finishes with some push-ups.
   There was no final stretch, so I did my own.

Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners at amazon.ca

Another good Pilates workout: Trudie Styler's Core Strength Pilates


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review of Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series:
AM Latte and Goddess Abs

“Good morning, and welcome to your day,” says Teigh McDonough at the beginning of the Yoga Booty Ballet AM Latte routine.
   Her words are the bright and happy welcome to a light workout that gets the heart pumping a bit and the body limber before the day’s action begins.
   It’s a perfect routine for when you’re not in the mood to do a hard-core strength or cardio workout, but still want to wake up the heart and mind with some physical activity.
   The Yoga Booty Ballet exercise technique is the creation of Teigh and Gillian Marloth, and this routine employs the key parts of the technique – predictably yoga, dance and ballet.
   The 33-minute routine begins with about 15 minutes of opening meditations and breathing exercises – a great way to drag yourself from the shackles of sleep.
   Teigh and Gillian then move on to a funky little dance routine and some ballet moves – about 12 minutes worth.
   A series of yoga sun salutations, then a closing meditation, conclude the routine.
   “Bring goddess energy, empowerment and excitement to the rest of the day,” says Teigh encouragingly at the end.

Goddess Abs, the companion DVD to AM Latte in a two-disc set, is a compact, 20-minute workout that concentrates on the abdominal region.
   Teigh and Gillian use a small exercise ball during much of the routine, but it is not absolutely necessary to have one.
   The abs will certainly burn at times with this workout, but there are periods of relief, particularly when Teigh and Gillian change body positions to work the abs and core from a different direction.
   The routine starts with an exerciser sitting cross-legged on the floor, passing the exercise ball in front of the body, then twisting back, one side then the other, and touching the ball to the floor.
The longest part of the workout is done lying on the floor, and using the ball in various ways in combination with crunches.
   For example, with the ball placed under the knees, the lower body is lifted off the floor while the upper body does a crunching motion. The ball is then put between the knees, and is squeezed together each time the lower body comes off the ground.
   Another exercise is holding the legs straight, ball in between the thighs, and lowering the legs to a 45-degree angle off the floor and then lifting them straight up again.
   A closing meditation finishes the routine.

Yoga Booty Ballet AM Latte and Goddess Abs at amazon.ca

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of Squeeze Stronger

Squeeze Stronger, a DVD from Hollywood trainer Tracy Effinger, left its impact on me long after its 80 minutes of gruelling work was over.
   My sides ached, my legs felt like they had undergone some sort of trauma, and my triceps had never felt quite so sore in the couple of days after I did the workout.
   But it added to my sense of accomplishment for finishing the workout and keeping good form while doing so – my body was recognizing my efforts.
   Squeeze Stronger is Effinger’s sequel to her first DVD, Squeeze.
   Squeeze Stronger is harder and more vigorous than Squeeze, and is so a good “next step” workout.
   Squeeze is Effinger’s formula of small, intense muscle movements that target and tone the entire body. It is descended from the Lotte Berk Method, an exercise technique that has inspired other workouts such as Pure Barre and Core Fusion.
   The Squeeze Stronger workout is comprised of two main sections: a 35-minute upper body and waist routine that includes a warm-up, and a 45-minute lower body and abs routine that includes a final stretch.
   The arms are targeted first in the workout. A set of light hand weights is needed – and I really mean light. Starting off with weights that are too heavy will cause immediate exhaustion. As it is, the arms will burn as the biceps, shoulders and triceps are worked from several angles.
   Then comes the waist work, for which you need to haul out a broom. The broomstick is placed over the shoulders and the arms along it, and an exerciser bends from side to side. It will be felt the next day.
   Push-ups finish the upper body section.
   For the lower-body section, a chair is needed for balance. The feet are placed in a narrow V and lifted from the floor, and from this position deep thigh bends are done. Other standing thigh work, such as deep pliés, follows.
   “Knee dancing” is featured next. Sitting back on the feet, an exerciser pushes their hips up off the feet and forward, repeating this action over and over.
   The “pretzel,” a nightmarish move, involves sitting on the ground and swinging both legs to one side. While leaning on one’s arms to the opposite side, the background leg is lifted off the ground. It’s very hard, and thankfully Effinger shows a modification – leaning completely over on one side on the elbows, which makes it easier to lift the leg.
   An abdominals section comes next. Gripping the broomstick with both hands, an exerciser leans back and does little crunches, then proceeds to move the stick above the head and back down again.
   The hips are worked last with a series of pelvic lifts.
   A welcome final stretch concludes the workout.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Review of The New York City Ballet Workout

“Ballet is for each dancer a private affair of the soul,” remarks Peter Martins, balletmaster in chief of the New York City Ballet, during the closing stretches of the New York City Ballet Workout.
   It’s just one of the touches that made me feel a bit like a real ballet dancer while following the DVD.
   The workout is chock-full of passés, relevés, tendus and arabesques, all set to ballet music.
   And Martins narrates it all as actual ballet dancers complete the moves.
   The DVD answers a question I’ve always had: Do ballet dancers do abdominal work or push-ups?
   Yes, they do! Crunches, bicycles and push-ups were all present in the workout.
    Floor exercises came first after the warm-up and before the standing ballet poses, an approach I liked. Usually, it’s standing exercises before floor or mat exercises in many other workouts, but I was happy to get crunches and push-ups out of the way first.
   Also included in the floor work are leg lifts done while lying on the back and the side, and back work done by lifting the arms and legs while lying face down.
   There is one section I skipped on the DVD: Section 4, which is a series of slow and deep stretches. I prefer to stretch deeply after a workout, and so breezed past this.
   After the floor sections, the standing dance work begins.
   Here we encounter the moves Martins says ballet dancers do every day – plié (bending at the knees), relevé (lifting up the heels), degagé (lifting the leg off the ground), tendu (pointing the toe to the ground in the front, side and back), passé (lifting the toe to the knee of the opposite leg), and arabesque (lifting one leg to the back at a 45, then 90-degree angle to the floor).
   It is all great fun, and I definitely felt the impact later in my thighs and butt.
   The thing I like most about this DVD, though, is that it forces me to keep my tummy pulled in all the time.
   It just doesn’t feel right doing ballet with your stomach hanging out – it seems to be counterproductive.
   People who like a lightning-paced workout with a techno beat backing it may be disappointed with the New York City Ballet Workout.
   Although it is certainly challenging, it is subdued.
   But if you’re a fan of classical music, ballet, or of holding your stomach in while you work out, this DVD is for you.

The New York City Ballet Workout on amazon.ca

Another good ballet-based workout: Trudie Styler's Sculpt and Tone Ballet

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review of Keeping Fit: Strength, Pilates and Cardio

The Keeping Fit series of DVDs is targeted at women in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
   But I’m 36, and I was sweating like crazy and getting a fantastic workout with the DVDs, particularly with the one called Strength.
   I think most people will find the DVDs to be challenging, except perhaps the most advanced exercisers.
   The DVDs, called Keeping Fit Strength, Keeping Fit Pilates and Keeping Fit Cardio are available individually or in a package of three.
   Andrea Metcalf, who designed and hosts the workouts, is extremely personable and motivating.
   She offers plenty of easier and harder modifications for all the exercises, allowing beginners to give them a good try, and to challenge people who are getting fitter and stronger.
   Each DVD workout is about 50 minutes long, and is comprised of 10 five-minute segments, including a warm-up and cooldown. Beginners can sample a few segments if getting through an entire workout is too difficult.
   The Strength workout, which really got me sweating, requires hand weights.
   Metcalf uses compound movements to work the body – this is moving the upper and lower body at the same time. Examples of these exercises are squats and bicep curls and shoulder press with reverse lunge.
   She also offers balance challenges to work the core, such as balancing on one leg and lifting the arms to the side.
   The workout then heads to the mat, and includes moves such as the tuck and roll and pelvic lifts.
   The Pilates DVD was like a dream come true for me – the workout was so doable!
   It was unlike any Pilates DVD workout I have done or seen. There wasn’t a constant emphasis on keeping the legs at a 45-degree angle to the floor, and there was no Pilates 100!
   However, there are some moves that resembled classic Pilates, such as small leg circles and roll-ups.
   Rather than a full-blown Pilates workout, this DVD more like a total body toner done on a mat – and it’s challenging.
   There are exercises done from a position of lying on the ground facing up, such as tapping one leg to the ground at a time, pelvic lifts, and tricep dips.
   Other exercises face the ground. One starts with all fours on the floor, then lifting an opposite arm and leg for a balance challenge, while another is lying with the whole body on the ground, then lifting the arms and legs to work the back.
   The Pilates DVD ends with some great stretches for the core muscles.
   Keeping Fit Cardio is an easy to follow, energetic routine that features low-impact moves inspired by popular dances.

Keeping Fit - Strength, Cardio, Pilates three-pack at amazon.ca

A list of every review on Fantastic Fitness DVDs

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Review of Shiva Rea: Creative Core Abs

When I watched the introduction to Shiva Rea - Creative Core Abs, I felt like I was seeing a late-night infomercial that was speaking directly to one of my deepest desires – working the core without repetitive crunches or sit-ups.
   “Many people have a resistance to doing focused core work. It’s often approached as a duty, something that must be done without much pleasure and usually for external reasons,” says Rea, a world-renowned yoga teacher, in the introduction.
   “This pressure for outer appearance can stifle the creative fire inside through repetitive, mechanical movement.
   “The purpose of this DVD is to offer you a set of creative and innovative tools for core strength and integration.”
   So – strengthening abs without repetition. Is it really true?
   Yes, I was pleased to find. The Creative Core Abs routine uses fluid movements that change often – just like yoga.
   The fluidity of movement, combined with the terrific music and lovely location on a dune in White Sands National Park in the United States, makes for a much more pleasant way of working the abs than crunches.
   But don’t think this workout is for sissies: There will be burning in the core, particularly in the third and most difficult segment (you can do each segment on its own or all three together.)
   The first segment, 10 minutes long, is called Water Core. “(With the) invocation of the circular and fluid power of water, we will cultivate a receptive, creative and playful core strength,” says Rea at the beginning of the segment. Doesn’t that sound fun?
   The segment starts from a kneeling position, from which an exerciser leans back and forth in a pulsing motion. Then there are moves such as lying on the ground and drawing up the pelvis and circling it about; twisting the lower body from side to side from a position of lying on the ground; and then lying on the side and reaching out the hands and legs as if doing a sidestroke.
   In the second segment, Spontaneous Core (eight minutes long), Rea takes the exerciser through a series of movements done facing upwards while lying on the ground. These include reaching legs out one at a time, then putting them together and pushing them upwards by lifting the pelvis off the ground.
   Rea then encourages the exerciser to put the moves together in a spontaneous pattern – strengthening the core through freedom of movement.
   Fire Core is the third segment, and it is 17 minutes long.
   It’s the toughest of the three segments, as it uses variations on a sustained plank position to work the core.
   In yoga, plank position is holding the upright position of a push-up (it can be done on the knees.) From plank, Rea draws the knees in, one at a time, to the navel, and increases the speed that this is done until it almost resembles running.
   After the plank variations, Rea stands for some yogic squats and warrior poses, and finishes with a twisting “kriya” – twisting from side to side along the axis of the spine at a faster and faster pace.

Shiva Rea: Creative Core Abs at amazon.ca

Another good workout for the core: Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review of Bob Harper Inside Out Method:
Pure Burn Super Strength

Thirty-five minutes into his Pure Burn Super Strength workout, The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper innocently announces it’s the halfway point.
   There’s no warning that those who stay on past this point will be physically punished more brutally than they were in the first half of the workout.
   It’s a perverse concept, getting it worse if you continue.
   But that’s when I found that the part deep inside of me that wants to conquer the world came out and I was able to finish the full 60-minute workout with pride in my heart.
   Pure Burn Super Strength is extremely challenging. I’m sure it would even give advanced exercisers a run for their money. Bob’s very fit-looking crew of two women and one man have sweat running down their bodies and they grunt their way through parts of the workout.
   Armed with a pair of hand weights, an exerciser moves through muscle-training moves such as bicep curls, overhead presses, rows, deadlifts, tricep extensions and chest presses. Weighted squats and lunges keep the heart rate elevated.
   There are few moves that don’t use weights, such as push-ups, forearm plank and crunches.
   And then there are some moves for which Bob’s crew use weights, but for the sake of actually getting through the workout, I dropped mine.
   The T-stand is an example of such a move. It’s a variation on side plank, with the body in push-up position and then twisting to one side and then the other, extending an arm into the sky. A push-up is done in between twists. It’s difficult enough without weights!
   I did what I needed to do to finish the workout in good form – modifying moves, pausing the DVD occasionally and dropping weights.
   Bob says at the beginning and end of the workout that it can be done every day. Not quite! I can only do it when I’ve had at least one day’s rest between workouts and lots of sleep. Otherwise, Pure Burn Super Strength will do nothing but frustrate and annoy.
   The DVD also has a 20-minute beginner’s segment that is a decent workout in its own right. Bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, lateral raises, push-ups and crunches are some of the moves in this segment.
   Even though Pure Burn Super Strength is maddeningly tough, it did bring out a part of me that I enjoy encountering – the part that rises and conquers a challenge.

Bob Harper Inside Out Method: Pure Burn, Super Strength at amazon.ca

Click for a review of Bob Harper Inside Out Body Rev Cardio Conditioning

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Review of Element: AM and PM Yoga for Beginners

I like to work out in the morning before I start the day. I find a good sweat from cardio or weight training to be invigorating, and it seems to kick start my metabolism.
   Sometimes, however, my body wants to move, stretch and feel effort in the morning, but in a calmer mindset.
   That’s when I reach for Element: AM and PM Yoga for Beginners.
   Lately I’ve been doing the a.m. workout on Saturday mornings to welcome the weekend.
   Elena Brower, a New York yoga teacher, leads the two 30-minute sections (one a.m., one p.m.) on the DVD.
   I like doing yoga at a relaxed pace -- I find yoga workouts that move from pose to pose quickly difficult and frustrating -- and that’s what Brower brings to the mat.
   The a.m. routine, as expected, is designed to invigorate.
   The routine starts from a standing position, and moves through a series of poses including sun salutations and warrior poses.
   Although the moves are done at a moderate pace, this workout isn’t a cake walk.
   In fact, I was actually surprised at how often Brower throws in a plank position (holding the top position of a push-up) into the early part of the workout. It’s not an easy pose for beginners, and combined with doing the downward dog pose, it really gets the shoulders burning!
   There is a short seated meditation at the end.
   While the a.m. routine is meant to give you energy for the day, the p.m. routine is meant to help you release and relax after a hard day.
   This routine starts in a seated position, and includes poses such as pigeon, seated twists, bound angle and seated forward bend.
   The workout is done at a nice, slow pace, with a concentration on deep breathing.
   Those who come home from work with a sore back will appreciate Brower’s attention to inhaling and exhaling while rounding the back in many of the poses.
   The p.m. routine ends with a few minutes of deep relaxation and meditation.

Element: AM and PM Yoga for Beginners at amazon.ca

Another good yoga DVD: Shiva Rea: Flow Yoga for Beginners

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review of Bob Harper Inside Out Method:
Body Rev Cardio Conditioning

“The trainer you wanted to have is in your house,” proclaims Bob Harper at the start of his DVD Body Rev Cardio Conditioning.
   It’s a statement meant to remind you that you bought the DVD and wanted him put you through the torture ahead.
   This workout, one of three new “Inside Out Method” DVDs from the co-trainer on TV’s The Biggest Loser, is hard, hard, hard.
   Advanced exercisers will be the only ones who will be able to get through the complete 60 minutes of sweat and toil at full-blast effort the first time around.
   I was able to do the entire workout the first time I tried it, but only by doing all the modifications and releasing my energy at moderate levels throughout – I knew I would burn out very quickly if I went full blast at the beginning.
   Even Bob’s crew of two women and a man look like they are in agony at certain points in the workout, and I know they weren’t acting.
   However, you don’t need to do the whole workout the first time, and Bob even tells you this.
   I’m going to be turning to this DVD often, especially when I want to challenge my heart and muscles for a sustained period.
   Body Rev: Cardio Conditioning is Bob’s ode to the heart, which he reminds us pumps every minute from the day we were born to the day we die.
   The workout is a combination of cardio moves and weight work.
   The weight work is comprised of moves such as deadlifts, upright rows and overhead presses.
   At several points during the workout, the hand weights are swung out to the front of the body with the left and right hands, a move that kettlebell workout fans will immediately recognize.
   Then there are the cardio moves, such as jumping jacks, speedskaters, weighted jump rope and tuck jumps.
   Some of the workout gets down to the ground, with push-ups, hand-walks, mountain climbers and side plank raises.
   In addition to the main 60-minute cardio workout, the DVD also has a 24-minute “Butt and Balance” section, with its own warm-up and cooldown.
   This section mainly uses single-leg weighted work to target the glutes and legs.
   This means deadlifts, rows, and lateral raises are done balancing on one leg at a time.

Bob Harper: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning at amazon.ca

A review of Bob Harper's Inside Out Method: Pure Burn Super Strength

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Review of Personal Training with Jackie:
Xtreme Timesaver Training

Jackie Warner’s last DVD, Power Circuit Training, featured a 40-minute workout.
   On her latest DVD, Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training, she’s cutting the time back even more to just 30 minutes.
   This time around, the celebrity Hollywood trainer has turned to compound movements – using hand weights and moving the upper and lower body at the same time – for a top-to-bottom workout.
   I really liked this workout. It was simple to follow, but not boring. It wasn’t impossible to do, but at the same time got the sweat going.
   After 30 minutes, I felt like I had definitely done something beneficial, but I wasn’t completely exhausted or frustrated.
   The workout deserves its title of Xtreme Timesaver Training.
   I also like Jackie as a trainer. She has a motivating air about her, but it’s not too bubbly – she seems to be a tomboy. I liked her saying: “Hate me now, love me later,” at a tough point in the workout.
   There seems to be a special concentration on the shoulders in the workout (mine were sore for a couple of days after), and Jackie explains that toned shoulders results in a V-taper effect that makes the waist look smaller.
   When celebrities come to her and ask to be red-carpet ready in just 10 days, she works on the shoulders to achieve the effect.
   Each compound movement during the workout is done for one minute.
   A few examples of the compound movements in the workout are: From a curtsy squat, kicking a leg and pushing an arm holding a weight out to the side at the same time; coming up from a plié squat and lifting up the weighted arms as if you were making a snow angel, and squatting forward and doing a row.
   The compound movements get the muscles working and the heart pumping, essential actions for getting and keeping fit.

Personal Training with Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training at amazon.ca

A review of Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review of Squeeze: 30-Day Body Transformation

Squeeze: 30-Day Body Transformation, a DVD from trainer Tracy Effinger, calls on you to methodically go from top to bottom on your body and squeeze each body part to tighten and tone.
   And it’s tough.
   I was sore for a couple of days after initially trying it, especially in the waist area, which Effinger concentrates on in one section of the workout by reaching down the body from side to side repeatedly with weights in hand.
   Actually, there are two workouts on the DVD: the 60-minute “Full-Body Squeeze” and the 30-minute “Power Squeeze.”
   Although you’ll be tortured for a full half-hour longer in the 60-minute workout, it is done at a slower pace, and so can be much more manageable, mentally and physically, than the 30-minute workout.
   The 30-minute workout also has an intensely difficult abdominal section. The ab section in the 60-minute workout is longer but less intense.
   Both workouts require light hand weights, and optionally, a small exercise ball.
   Like some other workout series I’ve written about on Fantastic Fitness DVDs, such as Core Fusion and Pure Barre, Squeeze extrapolates from an exercise technique called the Lotte Berk Method.
   Body parts are exercised with small, intense movements, and tucking the pelvis under and keeping good posture is important.
   Squeeze, like Core Fusion and Pure Barre, is very effective at lifting buns, slimming thighs, tightening abs and toning arms.
   Effinger wears sneakers during the workouts, which surprised me. On other Lotte Berk Method-based workout DVDs I own, the instructor and crew wear gripped socks or go barefoot.
   I went with bare feet, which I am used to now!
   The 60-minute “Full Body Squeeze” starts with a challenging arms section. I made the mistake of starting with heavier weights, and my arms were killing me very quickly. Light weights, from one to three pounds, are best for this opening section.
   After the opening arms routine, the sections that follow concentrate on triceps, waist, chest (push-ups), thighs and legs, abdominals and buns and thighs.
   Buns and thighs are worked in two intense sections: First, the “L,” where an exerciser lies on his or her side, putting both legs out in front to form an L (mine looked more like a V because I couldn’t sustain keeping my legs out straight in front of me the whole time). From this position, the leg is lifted up and back repeatedly – a bun burner!
   The second buns and thighs toner is done against a wall. The legs are bent and put on the wall, with the calves parallel to the floor. From here, the buns are repeatedly lifted off the ground. It’s difficult, too.
   The 30-minute “Power Squeeze” takes aim at the same body parts, but at a much quicker pace and with more intense exercises. An exercise ball is used between the legs when working the thighs and abs, which increases difficulty.
   While the workouts are challenging, Effinger’s personable instructional style helps a person reach past the burn and keep working to a more toned and tight body.

Squeeze: 30-Day Body Transformation on amazon.ca

A list of every review on Fantastic Fitness DVDs

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Review of Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series:
Goddess Booty/Yoga Core

I love Gillian Marloth and Teigh McDonough, the creators of Beachbody’s Yoga Booty Ballet.
   I’ve seen some online reviews slay one or both of them, but I think those naysayers are wrong.
   I find both women very motivating and encouraging.
   Who can’t help but feel terrific when she’s told to “sit up tall like the beautiful goddess that you are”?
   Their encouragement is a great help when you’re working out to one of their Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series DVDs.
   Goddess Booty and Yoga Core are the titles of a two-disc set in the series, and the exercises are tough.
   When you’re lying on a mat, your legs held at a 45-degree angle to the floor and your abs are burning, it does help to hear something distracting like “feel your connection to the universe.”
   The 45-degree angle hold is just one of the challenging exercises on the 28-minute long Yoga Core.
   Sitting in a V position is another – that is, sitting on your butt on the floor, your back tilted slightly back and your legs lifted off the ground. They do show modifications for this tough pose!
   Plank, side plank and forearm plank are other featured poses – terrific for toning up the abs and back, the focus area of Yoga Core.
   Goddess Booty, which is about 20 minutes long, gets to work on the butt, with standard (but challenging!) exercises such as leg lifts standing up and on the ground, and some more unusual poses, too.
   One such pose is sitting on the ground, bringing one leg forward, bent and parallel to the side of the mat. The other leg, swung out to the back, is lifted off the ground repetitively. Ouch – this is a butt-burner!
   Another is the frog pose. Lying facing the floor, the face and chest, and the legs bent into a triangle shape, are lifted off the ground. The legs are pulsed upwards repeatedly to work the muscles around the base of the spine.

Goddess Booty/Yoga Core at amazon.ca

Another good Yoga Booty Ballet DVD: Total Toning Basics and Advanced Fat Burning

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

How utterly horrible, I thought to myself as I finished this workout recently.
   But as the feeling of exhaustion and burning passed, a feeling of refreshment and accomplishment replaced it as I stretched, and I patted myself on the back for finishing Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2.
   Pure Barre is a technique created by Carrie Rezabek, and Pershing Square 2 is the third instalment of her DVDs. Pure Barre heavily borrows from another exercise technique, the Lotte Berk Method.
   I’ve reviewed Rezabek’s two previous DVDs on this blog: Pure Barre and Pershing Square 1. (Pershing Square, by the way, refers a Los Angeles square that's home to the Pure Barre studio where this workout was taped.)
   On each Pure Barre DVD, the thighs, butt and abs are worked using a series of intense, small movements. It’s very challenging.
   But the results are definite – my booty has definitely seen more lift and tone since I started doing Pure Barre workouts.
   Each Pure Barre DVD offers different exercises to work those the thighs, butt and abs.
   Rezabek and her crew use a small exercise ball during some parts of Pershing Square 2, but it is not essential to have.
   What is essential is to have courage to try the workout!
   On Pershing Square 2, as with the two previous Pure Barre DVDs, the warmup consists of pushups, plank positions and tricep dips.
   While a person’s body gets warm quickly, and it’s a great way to work the arms, the abrupt transition to working out so heavily at the beginning of a workout isn’t for everyone.
   If you need to, warm up more on your own before you start the workout using traditional methods such as knee raises. I certainly have!
   On Pershing Square 2, we encounter such challenging exercises as lifting one leg off the ground in front of the body, holding onto a support such as a chair, windowsill or countertop with the opposite arm, flexing the foot and lifting the leg up in tiny movements. Trust me, the top of the thighs will burn in no time.
   There’s one stretch Rezabek uses after the work that is quite difficult, and she doesn’t let the exerciser know that he or she can stay with the first pose of the stretch rather than try the others.
   It’s a runner’s stretch done on the floor, with one leg forward and bent and the other leg backward at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
   Rezabek goes on to do other variations on the stretch that progress in difficulty, but I can only do the basic one. I can’t always hold the stretches as long as Rezabek and her crew do, either.
   I wanted to point this out as a reminder that even though the trainer on a DVD may not explicitly point out you can stay with the most basic variation at all times, you certainly can! Always go at your own pace and ability.
   One of the exercises for working the behind is leaning on the support at a diagonal, lifting the opposite leg up, bending it, then pulsing it up in tiny movements. It’s hard after many repetitions.
   The last exercise sections concentrate on the abs.
   While sitting on the ground and leaning back, the exercise ball is placed between the thighs.
   While keeping one’s shoulders off the ground, the thighs are held, the ball is squeezed between the legs and the hips tucked under. Then comes a series of small crunches.
   I feel all the muscles working – and burning – in the abdominal area.
   While I sometimes wonder if I’ve lost my mind after doing a Pure Barre workout, because it is so challenging, I quickly rebound and can’t wait to tackle it again.
   I like it so much, in fact, that I’ve ordered two more Pure Barre DVDs. Stay tuned!

   Note: The Pure Barre crew wear some type of special gripped sock during Pershing Square 2. I go barefoot, and it’s absolutely fine.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Review of The Facial Workout

We’re concerned about exercising and toning our arms, legs, and core, but what about our faces?
   It’s a question that the DVD The Facial Workout aims to answer and address.
   Its slogan aptly says: “Because the muscles don’t end at the neck.”
   While I just ordered and started using this DVD earlier this year, I first saw the concept of a facial workout several years ago on an infomercial for some skin product.
   I hadn’t really given the matter much thought again until I started working out regularly.
   I began to enjoy the sensation of my muscles working at full capacity, but started to become aware that my facial muscles craved the same feeling.
   And because I am getting older, I thought it was time to take a step in the facial workout direction to combat sagging later on.
   I ordered this DVD and started using it. The routine was developed by physical trainer Tal Reinharts.
   Now that I’m familiar with the exercises, I do many of them in bed before I go to sleep.
   My facial muscles experience the lovely, refreshed feeling I get after a workout for the rest of the body.
   The DVD wisely points out that in the face, when one muscle sags, it affects all the other areas, so all need to be exercised.
   With that in mind, the workout is divided into sections for forehead, eyes, mouth, cheeks, jaw (which includes the chin) and neck.
   Here are some examples of exercises on the DVD. There are several others.
   Forehead: The eyebrows are lifted as high as possible for a set of slow, then fast, repetitions. Then the index fingers are placed above the brows, and pressed down while the eyebrows are lifted up.
   Eyes: Narrow the eyelids, then open them fully again, for several repetitions.
   Cheeks: Move mouth side to side.
   Chin: Work the tongue muscles by curling the tongue and pressing its bottom on the upper teeth.
   Neck: Uses moves borrowed from eastern dance. With arms raised over the head, the neck is moved forward and back and side to side.

The Facial Workout on amazon.ca

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review of Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped to the Core

Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped to the Core occupies a middle ground – it’s somewhere between Love' searlier DVDs that concentrate on training individual muscle groups one at a time and her later DVDs that are comprised of compound movements (using the upper body and the lower body at the same time.)
   It’s kind of like the little bear’s porridge: It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – it’s just right. It’s nicely paced, too – not too fast and not too slow.
   While I’m a big fan of Slim & Lean and Get Ripped and Chiseled , which train one body part at a time (biceps, triceps, shoulders) and I also like her compound movement DVDs such as Get Extremely Ripped, this is a perfect transition between the two types of workouts.
   For example, on this DVD, there are straightforward muscle-training exercises such as dead lifts and rows, but there are compound exercises, too, such as a squat with an upright row and a side squat with a lateral raise.
   As the title “Get Ripped to the Core” implies, there are some exercises that are geared to working the core muscles – and they’re tough!
   Spider, for example, starts from the top of a push-up position, then a person lowers herself or himself to the ground by bending one elbow at a time and then straightening it. “Up, up, down, down,” is the rhythm. This, along with plank position later on (holding a push-up in the top position), are both core burners.
   Triceps are worked by facing the ground on all fours, then lifting one leg and the opposite arm. Kickbacks are done with the raised arm. The balance challenge works not only the arms, but the core and gluteal muscles as well.
   There are some traditional abdominal exercises at the end of the workout, too.
   The workout requires a set of hand weights or a barbell. Use of a Step platform is optional; I don’t have one and I’m easily able to adapt all the exercises.

Get Ripped! to the Core on amazon.ca
Jari Love 3-Pack: Get Ripped/Get Ripped to the Core/Get Ripped Slim & Lean at amazon.ca
Jari Love 3-Pack Get Ripped/Get Ripped to the Core/Get Ripped Slim & Lean at amazon.com

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Review of Pure Barre

Pure Barre is fitness instructor Carrie Rezabek’s first DVD, named after the exercise technique she created.
   The Pure Barre technique is heavily derived from the Lotte Berk Method, which uses small movements to tighten and tone the body, particularly the thighs, butt and abs.
   It’s a method to which a a person needs to get used. There are no sweeping movements, no leaping, no jumping – just concentrated toning exercises.
   It’s tough and intense.
   I’d recommend the Pure Barre DVD for someone who is looking to lift and tone their butt – the workout really concentrates on that area to the point of ridiculousness! The behind will burn viciously.
   First, the butt is worked from a standing position at a barre (you can use a chair or countertop). Lifting one foot from the ground, first flexed, then pointed, the leg is lifted in a tiny motion. After awhile this gets quite gruelling.
   Next, the work moves to the floor, and facing the ground on hands and knees, the legs are lifted one at a time for further butt exercises.
   The behind exercises are preceded by a series of thigh toning exercises, which are done by keeping the feet together in a V, lifting up on the tippy-toes and doing a series of plies. After a while, my thighs go numb!
   The ab work is the last part of the 45-minute workout before the final stretch, and, as is typical with Lotte Berk abdominal work, it’s hard. The shoulders are lifted off the floor, and the body is kept in this position through a series of very small crunches.
   Rezabek doesn’t remind exercisers much about tucking under their pelvis during the moves.
   But in other Lotte Berk-based DVD workouts I’ve done, there is a constant emphasis on keeping the tuck, holding in the abdominal muscles at all times and keeping good posture.
   I find this seems to make a difference – my ab muscles feel as if they have worked harder if I remember to keep them in and stand tall.
   For other DVDs that use the Lotte Berk Method and more constantly emphasize proper form, see my reviews on the Lotte Berk series of DVDs from Natural Journeys, and Core Fusion: Lean & Toned.

Note: Rezabek doesn’t always remind an exerciser that he or she can stay with the most basic stretch or position, rather than move on to the progressively more difficult variations. Know you can always stay with the first, most basic position. Always go at your own pace and ability.


Pure Barre on amazon.ca

Another Pure Barre workout: Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review of Women's Health: Ultimate Fat Burn!

Trainer Amy Dixon promises to “burn a massive amount of calories in short period of time” with her DVD workout Women's Health: Ultimate Fat Burn!
   While I’m certainly on board with that promise, right now I’m liking that the workout seems suitable for a beginner.
   I’m not a fitness expert, of course, but with its easy-to-follow moves that can be modified for different levels, moderate pace and relatively short duration (40 minutes from start to finish), I think this workout presents an opportunity for those who are trying exercise for the first time.
   But that doesn’t mean the workout is easy – it offers plenty of challenge to the heart and muscles. A lot of sweating will be going on!
   The workout is a mix of cardio and compound strength moves (using a set of hand weights and moving the upper and lower body at the same time).
   There are two cardio sets alternated with two strength sets.
   The cardio sets use common moves such as marching, jogging, hops, knee lifts, kicks and jumping jacks.
   The strength sets require light hand weights, and include squats with bicep curls and lunges with rows.
   There was only one small detail I didn’t like about this DVD – the laughter of Dixon’s crew!
   She makes a comment, and the crew members react with laughter and hoots. Rather than being motivating, however, it’s actually distracting – it’s like being in a comedy club rather than working out.
   But it’s a small complaint for this otherwise likeable workout.

Women's Health: Ultimate Fat Burn! on amazon.ca

Reviews of other Women's Health DVDs:
Women's Health: Train for Your Body Type
Women's Health: The Wedding Workout

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1

Pure Barre: Pershing Square 1 is a tough workout.
   I was extremely pleased that I was able to get through it without wanting to curl up and die.
   Carrie Rezabek created the Pure Barre technique, and it is adapted nearly entirely from the Lotte Berk Method of exercise.
   Because I have used other DVDs using that heavily incorporate the Lotte Berk Method, I was mentally prepared for my thighs, buns and abs to burn with Pershing Square 1.
   And that’s just what they did during this compact, 45-minute workout.
   When doing workouts that use the Lotte Berk Method, a person really needs to give themselves a break.
   Don’t expect to the complete workout all at once if you’re trying it for the first time.
   That’s what I did going into Pershing Square 1: I decided to be happy with what I could do before I started the workout. When I could do it all, I was thrilled.
   Pershing Square is an intersection in downtown Los Angeles (I thought when I bought this DVD that is was some sort of exercise pattern.) Rezabek and four other women are in a studio on the square for the DVD.
   The women use a small exercise ball, but you can do the workout without it (one of Rezabek’s crew demonstrates moves without the ball). I dropped the ball, so to speak, quite often as the moves with it are quite hard.
   The crew is also wearing some kind of sock with grip on the bottom, but I did the workout in bare feet and was fine.
   Pershing Square 1 is divided into three main sections: Thighs, behind, and abs. You can do sections of the DVD if you’re starting out.
   Each of those sections, in turn, are divided into three smaller ones, with a different exercise used. After each section is a welcome stretch for the part that was worked. Stretching after strengthening is key to the Lotte Berk Method.
   The first part of the workout, though, is the warmup. Lotte Berk workout warmups often contain pushups, planks, side planks and tricep dips.
   It's a bit shocking and even upsetting! If this seems to much for you, forget about it, do your own warmup and then skip to the main workout, which starts with thighs.
   Thighs are exercised by putting one hand on a balance (Rezabek and her crew use a window sill, I used a chair), standing up on tippy-toes and doing a series of squats, some with feet in a V, others with the feet together. Some exercises use the ball positioned between the thighs.
   The behind section starts with a person standing upright at the balance. One foot is raised at a 90 degree angle to the other, and the bent leg is pushed back repeatedly. It’s absolutely killer on the hamstrings.
   The behind section then moves to the floor. Lying on one’s side, feet slightly forward, the top foot is moved back and forth and in small circles.
   By the time the behind section was finished, my poor butt was burning. A double-pigeon yoga stretch done afterwards was hard to do. Rezabek said if the area felt tight that was good – it meant it had worked.
   Next came the ab section. In the Lotte Berk Method, abs are worked by placing one’s feet on the ground or the thighs parallel to the floor, and the shoulders are lifted off the ground.
   The shoulders never go back on the ground once they’re up, and the only crunching that’s done is small.
   It’s very hard, and the abs burn, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment if you can finish even just a part of this section.
   The workout ends with a final stretch.
   The DVD also includes a body positioning tutorial to show the proper form for each exercise.
   Although workouts that use the Lotte Berk Method are tough, they are also oddly addictive. The workouts offer the muscles a challenge like no other, and help to make the body look sleek and toned.

Note: Rezabek doesn’t always remind an exerciser that he or she can stay with the most basic stretch or position, rather than the progressively more difficult variations. Know you can always stay with the first, most basic position. Always go at your own pace and ability.

A review of Pure Barre: Pershing Square 2

A complete list of reviews on Fantastic Fitness DVDs.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review of Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped & Chiseled

Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped & Chiseled is one of Love's “all weight training all the time” DVDs, and I really, really like it.
   Get Ripped & Chiseled and Slim & Lean, which I have also reviewed, are strictly weight training DVDs. Nearly all the exercises are done with weights (dumbbells or barbells), and each exercise is done methodically one at a time.
   For example, one exercise track is biceps, another is chest flies, and so on. There are no actions that are strictly cardio, though your heart rate will be up and you will sweat buckets!
   This compared to some of Love’s other DVDs, which mix cardio and compound weight training (upper and lower body working at the same time.)
   I really enjoy doing Ripped & Chiseled and Slim & Lean.
   I can feel my muscles rejoice that they are being used to their full potential, and they burn with that intensity. Each muscle group gets worked completely and fully, and I’m able to concentrate on form.
   I also like that Love’s weight-training workouts are challenging but aren’t impossible.
   The exercises are easy to follow, and if a person needs to scale back on weights, or even stop, he or she can.
   There is even the option of completely skipping an exercise track, which are each approximately 3 ½ to five minutes long and concentrate on particular exercise. (The tricep dips may be one to skip, for example!)
    Ripped & Chiseled has many of the same exercises as Slim & Lean, such as shoulder presses, bicep curls, dead lifts and chest flies, but there are some completely different ones or new variations on others.
   Ripped & Chiseled, for example, includes pullovers for the lats, in which a person lies on their back and pulls a single weight up over their head, and scull-crushers, a violently-named exercise for the triceps.
   R & C also moves along between exercise tracks more quickly than Slim & Lean. Slim & Lean has a few seconds between each track where each exercise is demonstrated. This is also the case on R & C, but the demos are cut back quite a bit.
   Ripped & Chiseled is a great DVD for those looking to add weight training to their workout regimen.

Note: The participants in Ripped & Chiseled use a Step platform for some of the exercises, but I was able to adapt all of them to the floor. Dumbbells are required for this workout.

Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Get Ripped & Chiseled on amazon.ca

Another Jari Love DVD review: Get Extremely Ripped!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Review of Women's Health: The Wedding Workout

Although I’ve been married for more than 10 years, I was curious about the DVD Women's Health: The Wedding Workout.
   What workout would the editors of Woman’s Health magazine deem to be the one a woman could use to burn fat and tone muscle in advance of her big day?
   It’s fair game to think that someone who buys this DVD might be an exercise beginner, or someone who is returning to exercise, and she may have bought the DVD mere weeks, or even days, before her wedding.
   Of course, the introduction on the DVD points out the workout could be used for any big day.
   I was happy to find this DVD fits the bill of a likely buyer. It’s good for beginners or people returning to fitness, yet provides enough of a challenge that it will keep people who have a few weeks to go before the big event coming back as their fitness level improves.
   All the exercises are easy to follow.
   The instructor, Marie Forleo, is sympathetic to the idea that push-ups and ab work can be difficult, and keeps these sections at a level many will be able to accomplish.
   The DVD also has an emphasis on body parts that may concern women before a big event: Core, inner thighs, triceps and glutes.
   The DVD is divided into sections: Warm-up, power cardio, upper body, lower body, abs and core and a cool-down.
   You can customize a workout by mixing and matching the sections, or use the pre-built workouts.
   Pre-built option 1 is the “strapless dress workout,” which, as implies, uses the upper body section of the DVD more often.
   Each day of the week is prescribed certain sections, for example, on Monday, upper body and cardio is set; on Tuesday, it is abs and core.
   Pre-built option 2 is the “short or hip-hugging dress workout,” in which the lower body segment is used more often. Workouts by day of the week are also outlined.
   These options are great for people who want a guide on what to do on which day.
   Others, like me, can put the segments together for a full 50-minute workout.
   The 11-minute power cardio section, which is terrific for a beginner, uses knee-ups, kicks, jumps and some kickboxing.
   The 11-minute upper body section requires dumbbells, and an exerciser does back pulls, shoulder presses, rows, tricep kickbacks and bicep curls. A short and very understanding push-up section is also here.
   The 11-minute lower body section features moves such as standing squats, lunges and piles in different combinations.
   The abs and core section is also practical and sympathetic to those who find such exercises challenging. The section starts with standing ab twists and crunches, then moves to the floor for plank position for the core, and bicycle for the abs.
   A four-minute standing stretch concludes the workout.
   There are a couple of bonus sections on the DVD a future bride may find useful: Love Your Honeymoon, in which Forleo demonstrates how to do a simple striptease, and Walk Gracefully, with tips on how to walk in heels.

Women's Health: The Wedding Workout on amazon.ca

Another DVD from Women's Health: Women's Health: Train for Your Body Type
Another good get-fit-quick DVD: Shape: Ultimate Bikini Body Workout

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