Donna D'Errico with Bret Johnson
This is a intermediate level strength tape that does have some cardio elements to it (although Collage classifies it as toning only). There are some jumps and other high-impact moves, and there is a nice variety of exercises (I didn't get bored doing the same routines over and over). The set is very dark and the music is not the greatest (although again, Collage implies that it is good).
Despite all of my negative comments so far,I actually don't mind the video and use it for toning on days when I don't want to "push it." A big plus of this video is its length. It's maybe 40 minutes from start to finish--so on days when I'm tired and rushed for time it fits in nicely and is a change of pace from FIRM vol. 4.
Instructor comments: O.K.--she's no rocket scientist, but she's not that bad. Granted, she uses three pound weights, but she seems to be in pretty good shape. What I found most surprising is that she does a better job cueing and demonstrating moves than the "expert" male instructor who also leads the workout. He is terrible, and seems out of shape.
I actually like doing this workout on a day I'm not up to doing anything too tough. It's a great intermediate workout although it's very short. After the warm up you go into standing moves, alternating upperbody and lowerbody. You do a variation of lunges, dips, squats, calf raises mixed in with some upperbody moves like over head tricep extensions, military presses, front raises, side lateral raises and you do short sections of cardio which involves sports moves like boxing, skiing, basketball & skating and you do this cardio section twice then it's on to more upperbody/lowerbody combo's but this time doing them at the same time followed by another short cardio section. The standing section lasts only 20 minutes. Then you go to the floor for push ups, chest flyes, and abs and with the final stretch, it lasts only 10 minutes. Its a great total body workout and you can make it as intense as you want by using heavier weights. I happen to like it and think it's a fun, short workout. It's definetely not a firm but when you're not feeling up to doing a firm but want a total body workout, this one fits the bill.
Instructor comments: A guy actually leads the workout while Donna just follows along with the class. He is off cue a few times but it doesn't mess up the workout.
This is an intermediate tape. There's a good mix of exercises. There's different lunge combinations, squats, calf raises, and upper body weight lifting. Sometimes the lower body exercises alternate with the upper body ones. Sometimes they are done together, for example, squats with bicep/overhead presses. The weight lifting sections alternate with sport sprints. These sprints include skating, boxing, jumps, etc. At the end, we do pushups, flys, and ab work. The ab section is very good. I also like the music. It's a nice change from other tapes. It's a mix of blues/rock. The setting is a Hollywood nightclub called House of Blues. It's too dark for my taste, as dark as the warehouse type settings. The workout is only 35 minutes so it's too short for me and the aerobics are not too long or difficult. But then I would consider myself an advanced exerciser and would combine this with another tape. Cuing could be better but the exercises are simple so it's not difficult to follow. I wish we had time to switch from one set of weights to another. I don't like when videos use the same weight sizes for all the exercises because different muscles need different size weights. I would rate this tape a B- or C.
Instructor comments: Like most celebrity instructors, Donna mostly smiles and provides encouragement. She mostly is used to sell the video since I never heard of Bret before. I think the music drowns the instructions. I didn't like Bret's cuing. I think he's more of a personal trainer than an aerobic instructor so he doesn't have the charisma or motivational quality of a good instructor. Sometimes he makes us stand while he demonstrates the next move.
I got this on eBay, and expected it to be a bomb, but it's really not bad at all. It's an intermediate-level total body workout. You do everything from light aerobics to squats, lunges, pushups, and all kinds of other toning exercises. The set and music are sort of MTV-ish, which adds interest. Donna really doesn't teach; she just adds pointers or other comments here and there. Her personal trainer, Bret Johnson, does the teaching. Overall, this is a pretty decent intermediate workout. It's 35 minutes, so it's hard to get a true total-body workout during that amount of time, but you could use it on a lighter day. Grade A-.