This collection of handy bite-sized fitness routines has robbed Appellate Judge Amanda DeWees of her cherished claim that she has no time to exercise. Must...find...new...excuse...
Easy-to-follow, classic exercises.
Fitness veteran Kathy Kaehler has constructed an easy-to-learn workout routine that targets all three points of the fitness triangle—cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility—in bite-sized increments. It's primarily a muscle-toning workout, but cardio and stretching segments are also included. For flexibility of scheduling and to adapt to different fitness levels, the workout is presented in seven five-minute segments, which can be performed individually or in combination. The DVD format makes it particularly easy to select one, several, or all of the following segments according to the exerciser's convenience or comfort:
• Warm Up—mainly stretching; no equipment required
The moves are all straightforward and easy to learn, largely variations on classic moves like ab curls, pushups, and lunges; whether they will be easy to perform depends more on the exerciser's fitness level than on their ability to master choreography. By and large, this routine operates at an intermediate level of intensity, although some moves are a little easier or a little tougher. Kathy holds a plank position for 75 seconds, for example, which is a feat most exercisers will have to work up to over the course of many, many workouts. The segments all move along quite briskly to fit in a maximum of benefits in the short time allotted. This efficient, streamlined approach does mean that the viewer will need to assemble all the necessary equipment beforehand in order to keep up with the routine (or be prepared to pause the disc). The only time this approach is a real disadvantage is in the upper-body toning sequence: Using only one set of weights does allow one to transition very quickly from one move to another, but it means that there's no opportunity to switch between different sets of weights to customize the workout to one's own fitness level. For example, the five-pound weights Kathy recommends may be too taxing for the tricep moves but not nearly challenging enough for the bent-over-rows, which target the larger muscles of the back.
Kathy is a good coach, with a friendly, nonintimidating manner; she isn't super-bubbly like some fitness gurus (such as Denise Austin) but warmly encouraging. She conducts this workout solo, with no backup exercisers, on a set designed to look like an ordinary living room—showing how you can fit this routine into your own home. Her cueing is good, although once in a while I wished she would use the precise term for a move, such as saying "grapevine" instead of the more vague "move to the side." Nevertheless, the lack of jargon should make this workout more accessible to novice exercisers.
Audiovisual quality for this release is quite nice. The music in particular comes through with great oomph, with nice sharp beats to keep the workout on track; the use of a gentle classical piece during the final stretch segment is a nice touch, and again the fidelity of the music is very good. Video is clean and bright, and the editing and framing always give you a clear view of the moves so that you have no trouble staying with Kathy.
Some useful extras accompany this workout. Kathy offers three bonus short workouts that target the legs, abs, and upper body for those who want a super-quick way to work some strength training into their day. These are quite similar to the body of the workout: Classic moves are demonstrated on the same living-room set, and a mat or towel is the only equipment required. A selection of text "Health-E-Tips" divided into three sections offers solid general advice on fitness, healthy eating, and all-around lifestyle. The text biography on Kathy highlights her extensive fitness credentials. There is a preview of her other recently released fitness DVD, Kathy Kaehler Basics: Workout Class, as well as an ad for her recent book about the fitness moves she has developed for her celebrity clients (who include Jennifer Aniston and Cindy Crawford). Though not an extra per se, after the cooldown section of the workout Kathy offers some good general tips on form that will be helpful for less experienced exercisers, who should check out this segment before, not after, doing the workout. Since there is no individual menu listing for this section, however, viewers may have to go to the cooldown and fast-forward to this part.
Overall this is a solid workout with effective, often classic moves that should give results to consistent exercisers. The way the workout is divided up into manageable pieces should make it particularly appealing for less-fit exercisers who wish to improve their fitness level but don't yet have a lot of stamina—or long periods in which to work out.
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