Judge Katie Herrell first thought this was "plate spinning" for weight loss.
Lengthen, strengthen, and tone using Pilates to develop a slim, lean physique.
I am a bit of a skeptic when fitness DVDs use the word weight loss in their title. True weight loss is fundamentally achieved by burning more calories than your body consumes. One low-impact, 51-minute DVD is not going to incite weight loss in isolation and I feel that by putting that term in the title the DVD is, in a way, falsely promoting itself and fueling unrealistic expectations in the buyer. That said, this is a solid beginner's Pilates DVD and when used as part of a well-rounded diet and exercise loss plan could contribute to weight loss.
This two-part DVD covers "Pilates-conscious cardio and mat Pilates." The instructor, Brooke Siler, is a second generation Pilates instructor meaning she trained under someone who trained under Mr. Joseph Pilates himself. It is a relatively low-key and basic routine and is truly intended for beginners.
The first thing I noticed about this DVD is that it's very Zen. Where many exercise videos rely on perky instructors and flashy outfits to motivate their audience, this DVD focuses on breathing and awareness, two fundamentals of Pilates that make it more like yoga than, say, aerobics.
The setting is outdoors against a tranquil water (apparently the Pacific Ocean) and flower-lined backdrop, and the instructor is very loquacious. There is nothing flamboyant or flashy about this DVD, and I would imagine that is truer to Pilates roots than the celebrity-endorsed notions of Pilates.
Besides the Zen atmosphere, another unique aspect of this DVD is the fact that the instructor's words are heard as a voiceover. The instructor goes through the physical motions silently while her omniscient voice talks on and on. This form of instruction has pros and cons. It is a bit disconcerting at first as you expect the instructor to be actually speaking like she would be if she were teaching a live class. At the same time the narrator is able to give a little more background information about the moves because she doesn't have to worry about exercising and talking. But, by not being restricted by an exercise-regulated breathing pattern, the narrator's words overtake the physical movements making it hard for the viewer and participant to concentrate on the words and the movements at the same time.
The cardio section is not like typical cardio. There's no running or bouncing or sliding. It's more like an active stretch that becomes a little more active as the segment wears on. Think lunges and windmills and some Pilates pushups. It's a less constricting and more fluid version of Pilates. I was a little misty after I finished but certainly not as exerted as 30 minutes on the elliptical machine at the gym; that being said I have a high level of cardio fitness (due to running) and it is going to take more than 30 minutes of stretching to really get my engine going. For an inactive person this segment is a nice way to warm up the muscles and get moving.
The Pilates mat portion follows a traditional Pilates routine, starting with the hundred and ending with Pilates pushups (hands tucked under the shoulders and bend/push with the elbows/triceps). The routine seems to focus more on the abs (as do all Pilates routines in my opinions but maybe that's because my abs are weaker than other parts of my body—although my arms would beg to differ) than other body parts but the legs, arms, and backs are all hit. Most of the routines are demonstrated with bent knees which is definitely the beginner version. Seldom is an option offered to make the exercise harder so this DVD is truly intended and limited to beginners.
Buy this DVD if you want a low-impact introduction to Pilates. But keep in mind your goal should be to grow out of its teachings quickly.
Half guilty. I'd delete the words after Pilates to guarantee my vote.
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Scales of Justice
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