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