Judge Lacey Worrell will forgive this good disc for its bad title grammar.
"With these fun, easy-to-follow moves, you will trim and tone all over and achieve the body you've always wanted in as few as four weeks, regardless of your current fitness level."
This workout is designed to get women ready for the most dreaded time of the year: swimsuit season. I'm not sure what's worse: seeing long-denied ripples of cellulite under the greenish lights of department store dressing rooms, or actually having to step onto the beach for the first time, knowing that at some point, that pair of ratty cutoffs is going to have to be removed, showing one's backside, thighs, and midsection in the blindingly bright sun. Ah, the treasured rituals of womanhood!
After the usual ominous admonition to check with a doctor before beginning, and a full five minutes' worth of truly shameless plugs for Reebok shoes, Lady Foot Locker, Fruit of the Loom, Yoga Zone workouts (which actually look pretty good, mind you), and Core Fitness workouts, the DVD actually begins.
It is very clear from the beginning what equipment is necessary (sneakers, hand weights), and host Ellen Barrett, a certified aerobics instructor, is excellent. She is in phenomenal shape, but for some reason she does not come across as intimidating. She is not annoyingly peppy like Denise Austin, who always sounds as though she is speaking to a group of 18-month-olds, is thankfully free of bleached-out hair or breast implants. She actually looks like a real person, as do the other two women who accompany her during the workout. Fancy that.
Barrett offers gentle advice as the routine changes, and the moves are quite easy to replicate. There are many lunges and squats, as well as arm movements both alone and with hand weights. The movements are strategically varied enough so that boredom won't set in; repetitions are usually done in series of eights, and while the exercises aren't exactly innovative, they are simple enough to be followed by even the biggest klutzes (who me?).
That said, the claim that "you will trim and tone all over and achieve the body you've always wanted in as few as four weeks, regardless of your current fitness level," is a stretch, to say the very least. What if someone's "current fitness level" is a sedentary 300 lbs.? Or, like yours truly, is a normal weight, but completely lazy and unmotivated? The beach setting helps. When using this DVD, I can at least pretend I am somewhere warm, instead of trapped in Pennsylvania, where the winters last for six months. The beach backdrop of Bikini Ready Fast is absolutely gorgeous, and the picture quality is actually quite good. This DVD was shot at Las Alamandas Resort, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which accounts for the beautiful scenery.
Viewers may feel the desire to supply their own music, as the music that accompanies the workout on this DVD is so faint that it is almost impossible to hear! I don't know about you, but when I'm working out, there is nothing more distracting than the sound of my own shortness of breath wheezing through my ears. Time to get out the old iPod, turn it up just short of the setting that causes nerve deafness, and just mimic Ellen's movements rather than listening to what she is saying.
The workout concludes with a nice summary by Ellen, with simple tips on diet and other methods of exercise. Although she looks uncomfortable reading the cue cards, the fact that she emphasizes a balanced diet rather than fads more than excuses her inexperience. Be sure to check out the extra feature, which is a 5-minute, Pilates-based abdominal workout. That, combined with the 32-minute main workout, however, only adds up to 37 minutes of workout time, not the 45 minutes claimed on the DVD packaging. This unforgivable, obviously deliberate discrepancy does a disservice to consumers, as the length of a workout is of the utmost importance to those who purchase workout DVDs and videos.
Based on host Ellen Barrett's excellent teaching skills, however, I would recommend this DVD anyway. The routine is easy to follow and appears to be effective with regular use, and the overall sound and picture quality is very good. Bikini season may be over, but as women around the world know so well, there's never a bad time to begin a new exercise routine. This one may well help you to reach your goals.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
• Body Bonus Extra: Pilates Abs Workout
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