with Donna Read
I took her class at CIA and wasn't really looking forward to this workout because it didn't grab me there. But, it was only a couple of combos, I was tired and not that into learning new choreo and there is nothing worse than doing hi/lo with a bunch of people and bumping into them constantly. Big difference doing the workout fresh. Even the combo that didn't grab me there was fun and enabled you to go big. THere are six combos, which are divided into sections of three and three. Finish the first three and never see them again style. IN between combos, she does athletic drills to get your HR up. Come to think of it, the whole thing is set up exactly like STep This Way, minus the splicing (though I found myself really wishing she would splice; why didn't she?). The combos were fun but not difficult to learn and Donna does not break them up ad nauseum, but moves through at a good clip. The intensity is up there, in par with Christi and I averaged the same HR with this as with Mindy's Awesome Intervals. SHe follows with a fun little cooldown (the warm-up was nice, too, just enough to get you warm and not too long) and stretch, followed by some core and abdominal work using yoga and Pilates. This was tough and neither Sharon or Maria showed any modifications (and they looked like they might have liked to!). End with a really nice stretch.Definitely a keeper, and when it comes to quality hi/lo, there aren't too many of those.
Donna is very low-key and friendly in this workout; I really liked her.
Donna teaches a high/low workout interspersed with "athletic jams" which are brief sprints between choreography segments to give your brain a break and let you get your heart rate way up. The workout is divided into two parts: combos 1-4 and then combos 5-8. After you get done with 1-4, you don't do them anymore in the second part. I love Donna's step workouts, and I wasn't sure I was going to like this high/low workout as much, but I am happy to say it's every bit as good as her step. In fact, I love the workout -- except for the jams. I find the athletic jams a nuisance that break the flow of the high/low choreography. I have the DVD and was hoping for a menu option to exclude the jams, but no luck. So I either just do them or fast-forward through them. The high/low choreography is excellent. It's complicated enough to stay interesting, but not so complicated that you're stumbling all over the place. And Donna teaches it very well. The music is so-so, nothing to get excited about. If this workout were put to some good music, it would rival the best of Christi Taylor. Grade A.