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Cathe Friedrich Interview

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PowerMax and the rest of Cathe's videos are available from Step N Motion (1-800-433-STEP) and Collage Video (1-800-433-6769).

Reviews of Cathe's videos

WNK: Do you work out your combinations before you select your music or do you tailor your combos to the specific piece of music?

CF: I prefer to have the music first and then develop my combinations; however, it is not always possible to get the music early enough and therefore I sometimes have to develop the combinations before the music.

WNK: Do you have any form pointers or other tips for power steppers to maximize the effectiveness of their workout and to decrease the risk of injury?

CF: Yes, I find way too many power steppers who want to just jump & leap with an excessive bounce in their step. This can eventually lead to achilles tendinitis and unnecessary knee stress. It also lends itself to poor form because once you get used to putting that bounce in your step you usually don't put your entire foot on the board. This "bouncy" stepper tends to step only on their toes and does not land toe-ball-heel which is where the achilles tendinitis can eventually come into play.

So please step with control, contract your muscles, use good form and land toe-ball-heel. If you can't do all of the above you need to reduce your step height and/or rewind the video and practice the section over and over until you can safely follow the routine.

Another pointer is to use full range of motion with all of your movements. When doing outer-thigh-lifts really extend your leg (keep your form -knee should not turn to the ceiling) to the side.

When using side lateral arms, really extend them away from the body. When doing elbow to knee or moves where the arms come into the center of the body...make sure to contract the muscles.

WNK: Do you participate in other activities in addition to step aerobics to stay fit?

CF: Yes, I feel that variety is important. Our muscles as well as our minds constantly need to be challenged. Besides aerobics, to stay in shape I workout at a health club on both weights and cardio equipment. I love to run... so I spend a lot of time on a treadmill and at the local college track.

WNK: Those of us who have several of your videos have noticed that the same participants reappear in later videos. Are they students or instructors at Step N Motion?

CF: The majority of the people in our videos are students, but some are instructors. More importantly, they are all my dearest friends! It takes a lot of work to make a video and they have to spend over a month working long hours, weekends and even holidays. It is hard to find that commitment from people these days and I am very fortunate to have such good friends!

WNK: In response to the Surgeon General's recent report on the importance of physical activity, many more people may try exercise videos. How do you think the video industry will evolve over the next few years?

CF: Direct response companies like us and Collage Videos are doing very well- while retail store sales for fitness videos are flat. We believe this is because most stores predominantly carry celebrity fitness videos that are more hype than substance and catalog companies mainly carry professional aerobic instructor videos.

We believe that stores are going to have to give the consumer a better quality product than they presently do. Thus, I feel you're going to see more professional aerobic instructor videos in your local video store.

WNK: I've received several e-mail messages asking whether or not your tapes are available in stores. Do you have plans to market your tapes more widely, or will you continue to sell your videos through Step N Motion and Collage Video only?

CF: I am glad you asked...We have recently hired a consulting firm in California to help us market our videos in the retail market. You should start to see my videos in your local video store in a few months...If you don't, tell the store manager that you would buy Cathe Friedrich videos if they carried them and that they could order them through Baker & Taylor or Tapeworm (These are wholesalers that sell to video stores).

WNK: Do you still teach live classes at Step N Motion or give demonstrations?

CF: Yes, I still teach 5 to 7 classes per week and have done so for the last 16 years.

WNK: How do you develop innovative moves such as "ricochets," "shuffle repeaters", and the "explosion/starburst" ? What is your creative process like?

CF: This is a tough one to answer, but I'll try... Aerobics is a full time job for me so I spend a lot of time and hard work trying to develop new and challenging choreography. I keep a notebook of any interesting moves that I come up with and I refer back to this notebook when I start to choreograph a new video. I also test my new ideas in a live aerobics class so that I can actually get some feedback. From this testing I will tweak and remove things that people have trouble following or don't seem to enjoy. Once we start video rehearsals I will get more feedback from the other people in the video and I will make further changes and refinements.

WNK: Many of the readers of this guide are advanced level exercisers who appreciate your challenging choreography, but do you ever plan to target a beginner audience?

CF: Not at the present time. I feel that there is an over abundance of beginner step aerobic videos already on the market. I should never be your first video, but once a person masters the basics I hope they will turn to my videos for a more fun and challenging workout.

WNK: You are the only instructor who has three videos listed as "Favorites" on the Video Fitness Web Site. Only videos with 4 or more favorable reader reviews receive this designation. Are you aware that you have a loyal following in cyberspace?

CF: Yes, though I must admit I will probably be the last person on this planet to learn how to use a computer...So I have to depend on my business manager who is constantly pulling comments about my videos off the net and giving them to me. I think it's really great that everybody has found a place in cyberspace to get together... And I must say I find the video reviews to be the most accurate, detailed and honest that I have ever seen.

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