Each winter around this time, I start getting bored with my fitness regimen. I can’t do much outside so cardio machines, Thera-Band and free weights are my only exercise friends.
Or are they?
Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to try a new fitness video every week or two. Not only will I try it, I’ll post a review and give you a chance to win it! (Yes, I’m dragging ya’ll along on my “spice of life” campaign.)
Having said all that, however, I’m not the one wrote today’s review of “Element Slim and Tone Pilates with Kara Wily.” My daughter Cassie, mother of my g-babies, was crazy about this video and so I thought I’d let her tell you what’s up.
First a little info about Cassie: She’s 25 years old, 5’8” tall, 145 pounds. She’s in the process of losing weight, down 30 pounds since Luca was born in May and eyeing 135 if her body will let her. She joined a gym when Luca was 3 months old and works out there when she can, usually 4 or 5 times a week. If the kids are well behaved at the gym daycare, she can get her cardio and strength training done in 45 minutes to an hour. Cassie also likes to use fitness DVDs at home (Claire “helps”) and that’s why I’ve asked her to review this and future workouts. I’ll throw my two cents in as well. Just not this time.
Here’s Cassie’s review.
“Element Slim and Tone Pilates with Kara Wily” (approx. 40 minutes long)
Rating: ***** of ***** stars. LOVED IT!
Difficulty: **** of ***** stars.
Presentation: **** of ***** stars. Unless you’re familiar with Pilates, you will need to be able to see the screen to follow, which can be difficult since this is a very fast moving exercise. I recommend watching it first prior to actually performing it.
Benefit: *****of ***** stars. I felt it working with every exercise. This is going to be a DVD I’ll keep around for the long haul.
I think of Pilates as Yoga on speed. While it still requires using your breath and centering, it is more fast-paced and has a cardio benefit.
“Slim and Tone Pilates” is wonderful for intermediate to experienced Pilates users. I felt every exercise and got a full body workout without feeling completely winded and exhausted at the end. It was also nice and short so I could get it in during the kids’ naps.
“Slim and Tone” uses a voice-over format, with the instructor performing just the movements. This allowed for much more fluidity with the exercise as a whole. This format works well for me since I’m familiar with Pilates and don’t require extra explanation of the movements. That’s why I recommend beginners watch it and perform the moves a few times to get familiar with the flow.
Each movement is performed only a few times, enough to feel it working, but not enough to exhaust the muscles. The rowing series is a very nice yet different exercise that uses both core and arm strength and flexibility. When preformed correctly, and you use your own resistance, it works the arms in such a unique way – I felt it working my deltoids, triceps, forearms and the muscles of the upper back (especially those along the bra line.) It’s a very refreshing movement.
I’m not as flexible as I once was, but by the end of the video I had much more movement because of the constant stretching throughout the workout. Also, the breathing instruction was great for extending my flexibility.
The jumps and leg lifts at the end really completed the exercise. It felt like all my stretched out muscles got a good shake out.
One downside, if you have weak knees or wrists, this will be a little more difficult for you. I found the six pushups required at the end were next to impossible since my muscles were surprisingly weak.
Overall, though, the workout was so fun that I hardly realized I was working hard. I didn’t once look at the clock or wonder when it would be done. I felt relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for my day after completing this exercise.
I know I’ve implied that “Shape and Tone Pilates” is probably not for beginners, but I’m afraid that by saying that, you might be timid to try it. I think if you’re new to Pilates, I’d just recommend watching it a few times and taking your time to stop and watch while going through the movements the first few times. Please don’t be intimidated or frustrated by the movements. This isn’t an exercise that will be mastered after a few times, it will take months of practice. This requires a lot of flexibility and for some people that doesn’t come naturally.
I also feel that if done often, this will show quick results. I have since done this DVD three times and already notice a difference in my flexibility and strength in my back and spine.
Now for the giveaway part: To enter the drawing to win this DVD, leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com and let us know if you’ve ever tried Pilates before. We’ll draw a random name and announce a winner on Thursday, Feb. 25!