I really like this workout and would recommend it to all Kari fans. If youíre new to Kari, I would probably recommend Body Tech (for step) and Danceworks (for hi/lo) before this one, because the choreography in those is a *bit* simpler, and the production values (set and sound quality) are better.
Set and Sound: The set is not as pretty as those in past Kari videos. There are three translucent panels against the back wall, each with a window pane-like grid on them. Two are backlit with yellow light and one with red. The floor is gray with black lines dividing it into big rectangles, so the grid on the floor echoes the ones on the wall panels. The exercisers are all wearing black bottoms and light blue or periwinkle tops. Overall, I thought the color effect was nice, but the room seemed a bit too large and unfriendly. The large feeling is amplified by the fact that Kariís voice echoes a bit, and a camera shot that looks down at the exercisers from kind of far away is used sometimes. I noticed the echo quality of Kariís voice at the beginning, but it didnít bother me during the workout. Itís similar to the sound quality in Slim Series, if youíre familiar with those. You can hear the background exercisers throughout Ė avoid this at all costs if you have a low whooping tolerance! (If you have moderate whooping tolerance and love Kari, itís probably still worth it, though!) The music is loud enough to hear well, and I enjoyed it.
Format: The DVD allows you to choose Step Workout, which includes warm-up and cool-down for 30 minutes total (23 minutes cardio time), Hi/Lo Workout, with warm-up and cool-down for 30 minutes total (20 minutes cardio), and Final Stretch. The chaptering does NOT allow you to skip the warm-ups, so you canít seamlessly go from the step workout straight to the body of the hi/lo workout. This is the most serious problem with this workout. You can fast forward your DVD player to the beginning of the hi/lo combos, though, by keeping an eye out for the calf stretches and squats that end the hi/lo warmup.
The Workouts: The step and hi/lo workouts are both quite fun. The step section has a quick warm-up Ė only 5 minutes Ė which is nice; sometimes Kariís warm-ups seem too long to me. There are 3 combinations. The first one is a bit simpler, and the second and third have more twists and turns in Kariís usual dance-inspired style. The choreography is about the same level of complexity as Hot Steps and Body Tech. If you usually feel like Kari breaks things down too much and teaches too slowly, youíll feel that way here, too. (Though she teaches a bit faster than in Hot Steps, I think.) While I sometimes feel that way about other instructors (for instance, Gay Gasper in some CIA videos), with Kari I feel like she breaks it down so nicely and the movements themselves are so fun and flow so well that I enjoy the teaching phase as well as the put-it-all-together section.
The hi/lo section has only 2 combos; both are pretty involved, though, so it feels like enough material to span 20 minutes. They are both *very* dance-inspired. This section is similar to Danceworks, but I think the choreography is a bit more complex Ė it took me two times to get it down, and Iím still working on a couple of the turns. With Danceworks, I felt pretty comfortable with the choreography by the end of my first try with the video. I felt a bit frustrated the first time I did this section, but after the second time I found it completely delightful! (The same way I feel about Danceworks.) Kari is her usual graceful self in this part, and she and her crew seem to be having great fun.
Overall, this is a great video. Iím still getting over feeling miffed about the lack of chaptering, but if you like Kari, you really shouldnít let that keep you from getting this DVD.
Kari is friendly and encouraging, as usual. She and her background exercisers seem to be having a lot of fun, which is very infectious. She picks good music and uses it really nicely with the choreography in this and all her videos.
July 28, 2005
On cardio work, I am an intermediate to advanced exerciser who enjoys with complex choreography at some level. I also enjoy my ďeasierĒ workouts on those mornings I donít feel like thinking that much. After trying many different cardio workouts with varying complexity, I have found that I enjoy many different workouts, but my absolute favorites are those that many complexity lovers on VF would classify as intermediate because the instructor takes awhile to build combinations and/or explains more than the most complex instructors (like Christi, Patrick, or Andre).
Kari is one of my all-time favorite workout instructors and I really enjoy her workouts. After all the mixed reviews and comments I had heard though, I was hesitant to order and someone loaned me the DVD to try. I am glad they did because I did end up enjoying the workout more than I didnít, but I donít think I will be buying it. Eventually, maybe, Iíll trade for it.
There are two sections, step and hi/lo and a stretch at the end for both those segments. When the step workout first started playing, I was startled by how big the set was, even though I had read that comment. It really was too big, but once I was into the workout, I didnít even notice. There was some whooping, but not too much for me. The worst thing for me was that there is no easy way to combine both sections into one workout. Each section starts with a warm up you canít easily or quickly skip over it.
I thought the step workout was fun. It could be good for intermediate steppers, but advanced exercisers who like to move along quickly wonít like it. She builds both sides, as she usually does, although I thought she moved along quicker than in previous workouts. She does combos #1 and #2 and then combines them. Then, she adds combo #3 and combines the whole thing. I liked the first two combos and had a lot of fun with them, but found the third workout tedious and slow.
In the hi/lo section, there are two combinations. I enjoyed them both. I basically got all the choreography the first time through. It was a good half-hour workout.
She so seems to understand the home exerciser and targets her comments and workouts to them. I felt like I was in the room with her. She has a good interaction through the camera with the exerciser.
September 9, 2005
This workout consists of:
STEP 30 MINUTES
HI-LO AEROBICS 30 MINUTES
The DVD is chaptered to give you the following options:
STEP W/COOLDOWN 30 MIN.
HI-LO W/COOLDOWN 30 MIN.
STRETCH FOR BOTH WORKOUTS 5 MIN.
Kari's style is dance oriented as always. Both of these workouts are very dance inspired. I found the music on both of these workouts to be great. Kari knows about music selection and dance moves. The set is similar to her new "Go" workout. Except that in this workout the camera angles are different. They make the people look smaller and the camera doesn't always show you the moves. That is a problem when the workout is new to you and you are trying to learn new moves. I've done this workout a few times now and this doesn't bother me as much.
In the step section. The first time I noticed some echo sound effect with the microphone. It seemed to start in during the warm up. However now that I've done this workout a few more times. I don't notice this as much at all. I think it is because I'm focused on the dancy steps. This workout could be dangerous if you are not aware of your foot placements. (But I guess that is true for most). I was able to learn all the moves by the end of this workout the first time. After doing it a few more times the workout seems to flow better. This is not an extremely difficult choreography workout.
The hi-lo section has some tricky moves right from the start. The first time I did this workout I did it twice. Because I wanted to learn all the moves. Now that I've done this workout more times the moves are better. But I must say I enjoy the step workout more. The hi-lo is very dance oriented. Kari moves very fast. As a matter of fact I feel like I've been dancing in a dance studio instead of doing an aerobic workout. In this hi-lo section as well, you need to focus on proper foot placement and be careful w/the carpet. You will be gliding and spiraling through the air. Kari just loves those ballet turns.
I like that this workout is dance oriented. It gives me a change of pace from my other athletic oriented workouts. That is why I keep Kari's workouts. I enjoy Kari's workouts alot. This one is a keeper as well. I can see myself doing the step workout more often than the hi-lo. That could be due to the fact that the step portion was easier to learn and is easier than the hi-lo section.
But I also enjoy step. I would rate the step workout as a solid intermediate to advanced and the hi-lo as advanced. I will reach for this workout often.
Kari is an exceptional instructor. Her voice is soft. She is energetic, graceful, encouraging and delightful to workout with. Nothing annoying about her. She still looks great!!!