"Kari Anderson's Fitness Formula"
(Intermediate-Step Aerobics, Abs/Back Toning)
Anderson is known for her dancy, innovative step moves,
and this step class of hers is simply terrific, with
great music and production, a very thorough warm-up and a
challenging abs/back session. Slightly easier than Kari's
other step workouts, and lots of variations and
modifications are shown. Even the ending "Deep
Thoughts" lecture doesn't spoil it. This is the one
I'd take to a desert island.
This is a great step video. I have so much fun doing it
bc the choreography is so well-matched to the music. The
warm up is good, the toning section is great (killer ab
work). The only thing I don't like about this tape is the
final stretch music. It's this weird military anthem
style music. I never watch the Deep Thought thing at the
end. Looks a bit cheesy. It's by far my favorite tape,
and I hate that my knees haven't been into stepping
recently because I miss this tape on those days. A+++
Fitness Level: Intermediate/advanced
Impact: both high and low impact moves are shown for the entire routine
What you get: Introduction that includes quick review of stepping basics, 5-6 minute warm-up; about 25 minutes step aerobics; 10 minutes abs/back work; 5 minute stretch. And, oh, yes, the "Deep Thoughts" lecture:)
Pulse checks: 1
Music: Dynamix aerobic music. On my copy of the tape, the music is so low it doesn't really stand out very well.
Choreography: moderate once you get used to how Kari builds her combinations.
Setting: studio with wooden floor and almost sepia-toned photography. Mercifully, the camera people keep it simple and don't dance around as much as Kari does:)
First of all, I'd like to thank Pilar, my cyberbuddy at West Point and fellow mom of a two-year-old, for passing this 1993 release along to me. She's one of the many folks here who makes this website the best on the Internet!
OK, enough maudlin gushing. On with the review. ..My one and only caveat: while Kari is a great teacher, IMHO, if you're new to stepping, you're better off starting with a more basic tutorial-type workout before moving into this one. She does review basic technique in her intro, but this workout doesn't seem geared to a beginning stepper. The first few times I gave this a whirl, I was really glad that I already knew what "basic step", "straddle", and "repeater" meant. I was busy enough catching on to Kari's unique way of building her routines. If I'd had to try mastering safe basic technique at the same time, it would have been more frustrating than fun.
This workout is now the one I reach for when I'm just getting over an illness, coming back from a few days off, or just plain too tired/unmotivated/lazy to kill myself with Sweat Express or Energy Sprint. It's a great way to ease back into the old routine. The 25 minutes of aerobics can be as easy or hard as you want to make them. You've got one side of the class doing power moves, the other side sticks with low-impact. (Kari does a little of both, and so do I). The workout includes about five or six different combinations. In addition to the workhorse moves mentioned above, Kari breaks it up with grapevines, Charleston-style kicks, and lateral moves on the floor. Kari wins the Donna Richardson Award for including a variety of body types in this tape--and for mixing them up in the class. Whatever your body type, you'll probably find someone who looks just like you on either side of the group! I don't do the abdominal routine because for some reason, it strains my neck and shoulders to move that slowly. But it looks like an excellent one, nonetheless. "Deep Thoughts" doesn't really give me anything new, but during those periods I'm feeling REALLY unmotivated, I tune in for a little kick in the pants.
Kari has finally put out a beginner/intermediate level video with Linda Evans, so hopefully those new to fitness can get an earlier introduction to her than I did. But I will say that she was worth all the hard work I had to go through to reach intermediate/advanced level for this tape and those beyond it. If you're a somewhat experienced stepper who occasionally wants a shorter aerobic workout with abdominal work included, and love choreography that's a bit more dancy than basic step tapes, this tape could be for you. It's definitely a keeper for me!
Fitness Formula would be an excellent introduction to Kari for those who aren't quite ready for her normal complicated choreography. In this workout, she uses simpler choreography (intermediate), but you still have fun. The intensity is also intermediate.
I recommend this workout for anyone who has been wanting to try Kari Anderson but is nervous about not being able to follow her. Grade A!
I love this workout!! While it is a few years old, it is not dated at all. It is perfect for those people who are at an intermediate level but want to start working out to Kari's tapes. Several people have already broken down the routinein other reviews so I won't do that but I do want to make a few points.
If you want to try one of Kari's workouts but are a bit intimidated by the complex choreography, this is the tape with which to start. The workout lasts approx 60 minutes and includes a warm-up, two step sections, and a ten minute section on abs and back. Kari has a diverse class so different intensity levels are always being demonstrated. You can make this workout intense or less intense, depending on your mood. (I feel myself reaching for this work out when I want to do a good cardio workout but don't want to kill myself with one of Cathe Friedrich's workouts.)
I think I must point out, however, that if you are new to step altogether, this isn't a good tape to start with. Kari assumes you know a certain level of terminology and moves and doesn't always break it down to the absolute beginning level. Once you are familiar with the terms/basic steps, grab this tape and incorporate it into your routine!
The abdominal/back section is really thorough and I always feel it the next day. I think the cooldown drags a bit and its the only part I don't particularly care for.
I even like the 10 minute motivational speech Kari gives at the end of the workout--the first time I heard it, it really made sense and I still listen to it every now and then when I need a gentle kick in the pants.
Bottom line--this is a great workout for intermediate or advanced beginner exercises. Its a keeper!!!!
Instructor comments: It's all been said--Kari Anderson cues beautifully and choreographs workouts that are fun, refreshing, interesting, and intense. She also projects the attitude that she sincerely wants the best for you and wants you to get the most out of any workout--not just hers!
I only have 3 words for this video: Hall Of Fame!! This tape is so much fun. Right from the warm-up, the music just grabs you and you know you're in for a great workout. Kari's moves are a lot of fun (dancy, but not difficult) and the music matches perfectly. I usually hate warmups because they're boring, but this one is great (I love that sweeping arm she pairs with the grapevine).
I really appreciate how she demonstrated both hi and lo impact versions because as a beg/int. stepper it was very helpful. It can be hi all the way or lo all the way. So this is a tape that I can grow with. It's definitely a keeper!!
Instructor comments: Kari Anderson's energy is contagious. She has so much fun during this workout that you can't help but hoot and holler along with her!! Her cueing is wonderful, and the choreography is FUN.
I chose this tape yesterday because I didn't have a lot of time but wanted to get in a decent cardio workout and ab work. I also have not been in the mood to take on too much since this is my first week back after a slump.
One of the things I really like about this tape is that you get a really thorough warmup and cooldown. By the time you get to the aerobics section you are ready to go. Also, no matter how much I like a tape, I am watching the clock after about 20 minutes and wondering when it will end. Fortunately, the cardio portion of this tape is only 25 minutes and it seems like it's over before you know it. It's just fun. It is really perfect for days when I want to work out but don't want to be drenched or exhausted when I'm finished.
The ab/back portion is good too and very thorough.
I never thought about it before I read the other reviews, but I guess it is true that it might not be a good tape for someone who has never done step before. I do think it's a great intro to Kari though. Kudos to her for showing lots of modifications and body types. I really prefer her tapes with a class to the newer Great Moves Series where she is the only exerciser. It just seems more motivating to me.
Instructor comments: Kari is great in this video. She is so encouraging and energetic and she looks like she's having so much fun you can't help but want to join in.
I dig this video. It's fun, a great workout and offers options for a few different levels. The music is pretty cool and very upbeat. The whole cast seems to be having a great time. The aerobics are wonderful. Personally, I like to limit my high-impact sometimes with this one and really concentrate on expanding into my space and focus on the quality and integrity of my moves. Kari's movement quality really motivates me to go back to the years of dance I've had and use it. The ab work is good, and covers the whole area well. Again, there are options for different levels. I enjoy the stretch and find that her stretch segments are particularly relaxing, and almost spiritual. I don't find this as much on this tape as I did on Two the Max, but I do feel like this is a fine, effective segment that does the job and leaves me feeling uplifted and rested. I have watched her "pop psyche" segment once. If you want the boost, its not bad. And the scenary she picked is beautiful. One of my favorites workouts.
Instructor comments: Kari is a real pro. She moves beautifully, cues well and leads a fun class. Watching her reminds me that exercise is more than just step up, step down, but that there's a whole quality to moving and using space that fitness enables you to experience and enjoy.
I can't add much that other reviewer's haven't said already except that this tape is not impossible for beginners. This was my first step video and I began doing it very out of shape and overweight. Just do what you can at your own pace - and follow the modifications that are explained very well. I liked the music and Kari that I have ordered 2 more of her tapes - Two the Max is a definite challenge but not impossible.
My copy of the video also had a very subdued soundtrack - I have to max the volume on the TV to really get the music going enough to motivate me...
Instructor comments: She's a pleasure to watch and easy to follow for most moves (some of the arm movements take a little practice) Very encouraging and does great cuing.
I just purchased this tape because of the recommendations here and it was a great buy! I loved the dancy moves and the intensity of the workout--great for a mildly coordinated intermediate level stepper like me who's looking for more challenging and motivating choreography.
I also have to say that it was a great tape if you have knee problems like I do. Repeaters bother my knees but there weren't too many in this tape. Kari is great at showing both the high and low impact moves so you can make your own choices.
Kari is very good at cueing, but you really have to pay attention because it's not highly repetitive--no boredom in this tape! The time just flew for me and the tape was over before I knew it.
I just have to add my two cents to these reviews. I think this tape is
great for someone who is at an intermediate to advanced level of
cardiovascular fitness but is new to step, or for someone who is new to
Kari and wants to "audition" her. But it's not, in my opinion, for
someone who's looking for a video that will grow with her. You can up the
height of your step and add power to increase intensity, but you can't
change the fact that most of this video is just really basic stepping and
will get pretty boring pretty soon. There's very little traveling, very
little turning, and no TIFTing. I found myself looking at the clock, and
the workout, including warm-up, is only 30 minutes! The choreography does
get more complicated towards the end of the workout, but even then it's
only moderate, if that. I also found that some of the steps were
backwards from the way I'm used to doing them. For instance, she has you
do repeaters at the corners of the step, lifting your *inside* knee. This
tripped me up several times. Ditto with the knee-ups that she has you
travel along the bench.
Kari's cueing is just... well, weird. For instance, she's really careful
in the beginning to explain exactly what a basic step is, and she has you
do several at half-time. But by the end of the video she's having you do
*much* more complicated steps (after all, nothing's less complicated than
a basic, right? hence the name) without breaking them down at all. I was
fine with this, because I already knew the moves, but I thought it was
I thought the ab section was great and will hold on to the tape if only
for that reason. I watched the "Deep Thoughts" speech, just out of
curiosity, and personally I didn't get anything out of it, but some people
might. I just wish they wouldn't hype it so much on the box, where they
call it a "special bonus section."
I really think this is a good tape for advanced beginners or for people
who really don't like to learn a lot of choreography. But it's not for
the advanced stepper who wants moderate to complex choreography from the
There are already plenty of positive reviews of this, and it's already a VF favorite. I'm just adding my review to say that this one has withstood the test of time. I first got it several years ago, and found that it was one of the first Kari tapes where I didn't get totally tripped up by the choreography. Since then I have had an extended exercise hiatus, and only started back in about 6 months ago. It's been a very adjustable workout intensity-wise. I used to do it a 8" with power. This time round I've progressed from 6" and "small arms" to 6" and with power.
This is an older video and already a VF Favorite, but I wanted to add my general comments. I am so glad that Kari made this workout. Until now, I was afraid to try her hi/lo or step workouts, since I'm not great at learning footwork. Being a step novice, I was a little unsure about this one, but since it was on sale, decided to give it a try.
Throughout the 25 minute step routine, Kari reminds you to watch your intensity level and adjust accordingly. High and low-impact versions of the routine are demonstrated. Although the choreography is not basic, it not overly complex either, and Kari is a wonderful cuer. Except for a few missteps, I was able to keep up with her by doing the low-impact workout. The workout went by very quickly, and I was surprised when she said it was time to cool down.
The workout ends with some work for the abs and back, and a nice 5 minute stretch. At the end, there is a short segment where Kari gives her tips for reaching your fitness goals and maintaining your motivation. It may seem a bit hokey to some, but I thought it was okay.
Although Kari says this is "for all levels," I would not recommend this for the beginner who hasn't had much workout experience and has had no experience on the step. This is a great video for intermediates who have done some basic step workouts, and would like to try something with a little more choreography that is still doable. Advanced steppers who can already do Kari's more complex videos probably wouldn't find it difficult enough.
In my opinion, Kari is the most graceful instructor around. Her dance background is evident in every move she makes--everything just looks so smooth and elegant. Just watching her makes you try to be more graceful. She is calm, caring, and motivating, and never lapses into hyperness. I look forward to being able to do more of her videos.
I am an intermediate exerciser. Right now, my main health goal is weight loss, so I am doing a lot of cardio, and trying to make much of it longer cardio (45 minutes to an hour). I have never done the abs section on this tape because I do the step routine and then tack on another step tape after this one. The abs section looks like it would be a really good and effective section, but Iíve never tried it.
As far as the step section goes, I LOVE it. The tape got me to consider doing choreography that is more complicated. For Kari, it is simple choreography, but it is more complex than what I had been doing (Gilad, Kathy Smithís Step Workout, Firm). And, she is so good at building routines that I didnít notice that I are doing more complex steps until I got way into it and was moving in a way I never had before.
The tape is comprised of two sections the step portion and the abs portion. The step portion has two routines that she builds slowly. She demonstrates different levels of complexity and you can choose the level you want. She leads an aerobics class. One half of the class does low impact. The other half of the class does high impact. I generally stick with the low impact side, but follow some of the higher impact moves I can handle.
I would highly recommend this tape for people who classify themselves as basic steppers who want to try to transition to more complex routines. Plus, itís just a lot of fun!
Kari is one of my favorite instructors. She has a way of breaking things down and cueing well so that you feel you can do complicated steps, whether you are into choreography or not.