You probably already know that working out is one of my favorite things to do. Even though my ability and desire to make time for workouts in addition to the classes I teach regularly varies widely according to the rest of my schedule in any given week, once I do make the time, I really enjoy it. One of the changes I’ve made over the past couple of years is less driving to the gym for workouts (when I’m not teaching, of course) and more finding at-home ways to get my heart rate up. (I’m talking about exercise: stay focused, people!) I find that I often get much more enjoyment out of my workouts and more “bang for the buck” when I’m not adding in forty-five minutes of travel, roundtrip. I have been building quite the DVD collection since then!
When I met fitness expert Andrea Metcalf in New York City at the Plaza Tea with Dyson, she told me that she had a new three-DVD set coming out in the fall, and I was really interested in checking them out. After the BlogHer conference, she sent my information to the company she made the DVDs for, and they were kind enough to send me a complimentary set, to honestly review for my readers.
The set is called “Keeping Fit: Cardio, Strength, Pilates”, and when I found out that it’s intended for women in their 40’s, 50’s, “and beyond”, I was bummed out, especially when I realized that I’m IN that group.
JUST BARELY. But I’m in it!
Because of the age group it is intended for, I have to admit that my expectation for a challenging workout decreased a bit.
And then, after I did the workouts, I had to admit that I was wrong to assume anything like that. I was so happy!
All three workouts are divided into ten five-minute segments, so you can do the entire DVD or you can “customize” your workout by mixing it up or just doing certain segments. If you’re a beginner, you can start off by just doing a couple of segments and working your way up to the entire DVD if you want.
First, I tried the Cardio workout. I can’t say enough about how much I LOVED this particular workout. In fact, I sent Andrea an e-mail within five minutes of finishing the cool down and stretch, to tell her how much I loved it. Why did I love it? Several reasons:
1. Unlike so many other DVD instructors and trainers, Andrea actually USES (imagine that!) the music in the background. She teaches on the beat, and I love that.
2. Andrea is the only person on camera for all three workouts. I love this. First of all, she is actually doing the workout and demonstrating proper form (as well as modifications). Secondly, due to the fact that the camera shot isn’t constantly switching from one person to another, I can ALWAYS see what I’m supposed to be doing.
3. The workout was CHALLENGING for me, and I am a regular exerciser. I think a beginner would have to really use all of the suggested modifications Andrea gives in order to do the workout successfully, but it can be done. I think this workout is good for exercisers of any level. (Those of us who exercise regularly who might need an extra challenge know how to do that: just make the moves bigger!) (Note: I didn’t have to do that, though. The workout “as-is” was challenging enough for me!)
4. The fact that the DVD is split into ten segments made the workout FLY by, for me. (and who doesn’t like a great workout that goes by quickly??)
5. Andrea’s personality and encouraging words as she teaches really brighten up the workout; it’s almost like working out with a friend.
Here’s a clip from the Cardio DVD:
The Strength DVD was the second one I tried. Set up in the same way (ten five-minute segments) as the other two, I found this to be a really good workout as well. Andrea’s cueing was fabulous. She gave great modification choices, and was very clear about what makes good form. One minor thing bothered me: I’m used to doing strength in sets of three, and this was mostly sets of two because there were so many great moves to fit in. Other than that, the DVD is excellent. I just wanted MORE, that’s all!
Here’s a clip from the Strength DVD:
I tried the Pilates DVD last; to be completely honest, I took a Pilates class once, a long time ago, and wasn’t crazy about it. It’s not really “my kind of workout”, or so I thought. Over the past couple of years, I have learned that doing something like Pilates or yoga is really good for someone like me (a spinning nut!) because it’s good to crosstrain and balance those crazy workouts with something different.
Andrea’s Pilates workout didn’t disappoint me in the least. In fact, after I finished it, I had a thin layer of sweat on my skin as well as muscles that felt tired but refreshed at the same time. I liked it, very much! Again, it was divided into ten segments and the cueing was very clear with modification options. Andrea uses a Pilates/Stretch band for part of the workout, but she gives the option of just using a towel if you don’t own a band. (That’s what I did!)
Here’s a clip from the Pilates DVD:
Overall, on a scale of one to ten (ten being best), I give this set a 9.5. Andrea is a very down-to-earth, accessible type of instructor, who is very enjoyable to watch and exercise with. She truly is a fitness expert, having been in the business for nearly thirty years, but does not act like a know-it-all. That quality (I’ve gotta believe that some of it is midwestern charm, too!) is a magical ingredient that is the icing on the “cake” (haha: did someone say “CAKE”??) of three great workouts.
Andrea has a book called “Naked Fitness” that is due out this winter: I can’t wait to check THAT out! Stay tuned…