I did The Studio Fat Burning Fusion and am impressed! This is the second time I've done it and it's really a gentle, wonderful workout. It's 45 minutes of standing stretches, twists, plie's, ballet leg work, and a variety of flowing moves.
I never took dance lessons when I was growing up. I always wished I could take ballet. There are some cues of "first position" or "second position" which are ballet talk, but it's not hard to see what they're doing. None of the ballet leg moves are difficult, but they stem from the core and work the lower body muscles.
If you have knee issues, like I do, you'll want to be cautious on a few moves that have you lunging from side to side or doing a plie' and a twist at the same time. I really watched what I was doing and was fine, but I did have to be mindful of it.
The set is a dance studio and has hardwood floors, wooden floors on the stage behind, and white walls, windows and draperies, with white lattice screens & drapery on the stage. It's very pleasant and peaceful. Ellen and her cast do the workout on yoga mats, but I did mine on the carpet yesterday without a mat and it worked just fine. I did notice a little bit of movement in my feet sliding a few times on plie's, so a mat might be nicer to use. I think I used it the first time -- my only problem with the mat is sometimes it comes up with my foot and interrupts the flow of my movements. Perhaps I need a mat that isn't so sticky. (I actually think I do have a Denise Austin yoga mat that I bought really cheap at Ross -- It isn't as sticky and I don't use it much, but it might work for workouts like this).
The music is gentle -- almost jazz-y. It reminded me of the music on Karen Voight's Streamline Fitness (which is probably my favorite of Karen's).
I will admit that I watched the clock about 14 minutes into it. Ellen is wonderful and the moves felt great, but for some reason, my mind was anxious and wandering. I got past that and enjoyed the rest of the workout.
At the end, I watched the Special Feature where Ellen talks about her Studio workouts -- the concept behind them. There were testimonials by women who come to Ellen's studio to workout with her. Ellen emphasizes that the mind-body connection is key in her workouts to feel and receive the benefits. She also mentioned in her workout and in this feature that the dance/Pilates fusion moves she uses help beautify the female physique. From looking at Ellen and her cast (and testimonials), they all have curvy lean (and toned) figures instead of super firm like you might see in Cathe's workouts
Ellen has definitely found her nitch in the Video Fitness world, instilling that essential mind-body connection. Ellen's workouts are either pure Pilates or have Pilates inspired moves. She incorporates ballet, yoga, strength, and cardio, while keeping the mind engaged with that core center. Ellen has a pleasant, fun personality. She's a joy to work out with.
October 7, 2008