My first impression of this video was that it would probably be my
favorite of the new series. Actually, I now find I prefer some of the
other videos more, but I still feel that this is a good solid video that
I would recommend. Overall this video is a little repetitious, so I
can't use it too frequently, but I still enjoy it.
This workout is slightly less than 50 minutes. I consider it an
intermediate workout. I usually do advanced tapes, but I found that with
good form and modifying up I was able to get a decent workout. The first
combo is more of a beginner completely low impact combo, the second
combo is intermediate, the third is high intermediate, and the final
combo is an advanced combo with mostly higher impact. The choreography
was interesting enough for me, not super complex, but not boring either.
The biggest problem with the routine it that there is a lot of TIFTing
and it gets repetitious. I would have prefered if there was another
combo to learn instead of repeating the moves that we already know so
many times. I might get bored with it if I did the tape frequently, but
I don't do any tapes frequently, so I hopefully this won't be a problem.
Gay does a nice job of putting the workout together and teaching the
moves. She balances the workout on both sides, better than many other
CIA instructors. I would recommend this workouts for intermediates, and
advanced exercisers who don't mind modifying up and can appreciate lower
I think this is an excellent low advanced workout that can easily be
modified both up and down - allowing both intermediates and advanced
exercisers the ability to enjoy this tape. This workout switches between
6 minute step sections and 4 minutes kickboxing sections. This makes the
workout go by pretty quickly for me.
The step choreography was fun but not overly complex. On its own, I
might get bored with the choreography (or wish for more), but with the
kickboxing segments I think it works well. One move seemed a little
awkward at first, where you hop up backwards onto the step to get over
it, but I enjoyed the move anyway. There is a pregnant woman showing
modifications and she also has Jay (the lone male) doing more advanced
modifications. My complaint with this is that Jay was slightly behind
Gay and so it was hard to follow him at first. Now that I know the
moves, it will not be so hard. In each of the 4 step sections she
teaches a new combo and towards the end of the section she adds it on to
what you have previously learned. The step choreography has enough plyo
moves to keep the heart rate up, but she doesn't always show the plyo
right away. I think it will be easy enough to put them in earlier, if I
want to keep the intensity up.
The kickboxing sections are fun. I am not a big kickboxing fan, but
the 4-5 minutes short sections are fine. My biggest complaint is that
she really slows it down in the 1st section, because she is teaching the
moves you will use later. The 2nd-4th sections are combos of kicks and
punches. These sections are fun, and like most kickboxing you can get
the intensity out of it that you want. She adds on the new combo to the
earlier ones just like her step sections. There is less choreography to
this kickboxing than you would have with Janis Saffell, but it is a lot
more interesting than just repeating the same move over and over, like
I think the workout would have been even better if the kickboxing
sections came before the step sections. Intensity-wise it would have
flowed better since that first kickboxing section is very basic. I
usually skip the first 2 minutes of the first kickboxing section which
helps. I do end up feeling like the workout should be over after the
final stepping section, and sometimes it is hard to do that last
The music in this video is almost completely new. I liked it because
it included real songs and not instrumentals which I get bored with more
Instructor comments: Gay is a great instructor - very professional. I
would buy more tapes from her.
I could have written Lisa C.'s review (well, probably not so well),
because I agree with everything she said. So, reread hers for my review
(how's that for being lazy)! :-)
The hi/lo section has fairly basic choreography for a CIA, and is at
an intermediate level overall. For me, who prefers complex choreography
most of the time, it was a bit on the basic side. I don't mind basic
choreography at times, but I feel that keeping the target audience in
mind, there could have been one more combo and a lot less repetition.
The moves are all ones that I've seen many times before (mambos,
cha-chas, knee-ups, step touches... you get the idea), and it felt very
late '80s to me. The saving grace to this routine is the music. Fun! I
would recommend this section mostly to intermediates who want an intro
to CIA tapes, and for advanced exercisers who want a lower-impact
alternative without lots of complexity. I know that if I did this
routine frequently (for me, that's more than once a month or so), I'd
quickly tire of it. I think that for a lower impact hi/lo workout, you'd
be better off with CIA 9807.
I do like the Step & Strike section a bit better. Some people
have mentioned that they wish that the step and the kickboxing were all
separate; I actually really like the way Gay alternates 6 minutes of
step and 4 minutes of kickboxing. I agree with Lisa when she said that
she wishes that the kickboxing cycles came before the step cycles. It's
too bad that Gay didn't use the first kickboxing cycle as part of the
warm-up, because she slows down so much to teach it. Your heart rate
will really plummet. The other sections are good, though; you just have
to make sure to make the moves big to keep your heart rate up. The
kickboxing is somewhat choreographed, which I like. As I said before, I
usually like complex choreography but NOT in my kickboxing workouts (I
don't care for Janis Saffel's style of kickboxing but I do like Power
Kicks, CIA 9902 by Keli Roberts and Tae Bo), so this was just enough for
me. The step choreography was fun, too. Complex enough to be
interesting, but not so much that it can't be followed fairly well the
first couple of times through. The choreography in this section is a bit
repetitive as well and there is a lot of TIFTing, but with the
back-and-forth format of this workout I don't find it tiresome. And as
Lisa mentioned, it is hard to see Jay demonstrate the advanced moves
from his position behind Gay, and he only does the advanced moves about
half the time anyway. I do think, however, that it's wonderful that Gay
used a pregnant exerciser to show modifications in a non-pregnancy
workout! There is a short ab section after the stretch, which seems to
have been added as an afterthought. I'd call the overall intensity of
this section high intermediate to low advanced. All in all, I'll keep
the tape because of the Step and Strike section for a change of pace,
and also because I like Gay. Grade for the hi/lo: B-. Grade for the step
& kickboxing: A-.
Instructor comments: I like Gay Gasper as an instructor. I have Step
'n Stones I and II and like them both; that's the main reason I ordered
this CIA. Her cueing, while decent in both Step 'n Stones videos, is
even better in her CIA video. She really describes kicking and punching
form quite well during the kickboxing segments. She seems to have a
great rapport with the background exercisers. Those of you who have one
or both Step 'n Stones will recognize Carol and Amy (who is 6 months
pregnant in the video), as they both appear in the Step & Strike
section. And it's also nice to have a male exerciser in a video (Jay)!
Gay's physique is inspiring!
This is a two-workout tape I purchased to add cardio variety to my
routine. I'm a step-a-holic and wanted to try some hi/lo. These two
complete workouts from one of my favorite instructors looked like a good
deal, and comments on the VF forum encouragement me to give it a try. It
consists of a hi/lo workout and cooldown, followed by a combo
step/kickbox routine, with a short ab routine and stretch. First, the
hi/lo workout. I'm not a big fan of hi/lo. With my space limitations, I
don't feel like I can go all out, and I don't much care for high impact
moves--but that's about the only way I can get my heartrate going during
hi/lo. Also, pivots on carpet can be hazardous, and I have to be extra
careful with foot placement to avoid twisting my knees. This hi/lo
workout moves quite fast, so concentration is important. That said, I
like Gay's style, the workout is fun, the music is fun (vocal), and it
isn't hard to learn. The first section is low impact. The next two
sections have kicks, hops, knee-ups with turns, etc. There's a
hop-hop-hopping turn I think is dancy and cute. Gay "takes it from the
top" often, so if you're impatient with repetition, this probably isn't
for you. I'd recommend it for anyone looking to move up to intermediate
in both intensity and complexity. Step and Strike This workout really
poses a problem on my floor. The kickboxing portions feature a front
kick that requires a foot pivot I just can't do safely on carpet. I
haven't quite figured out how to modify that. Also, I'm inexperienced in
kickboxing (and somewhat left-right impaired!) so it will take me a
while to get into the rhythm of these sections. I keep punching with the
wrong arm and getting off balance for the sequence of moves. But I'll
eventually get it! And when I do, I know I can kick up the intensity.
Meanwhile, the step sections are lots of fun, with some moves I haven't
encountered before and need to work on--a step backward off the step,
with a pivot (I don't know how to describe this!) followed by a walk
around the step. However, I was amazed how much easier it was to follow
the second time around. Guess I really did learn something! Gay's cuing
is consistently helpful. The time flies by. There's a short ab section
at the end that I appreciate. In both workouts, the music is vocal rock
(I guess it's rock), and loud enough. Funky cooldown. This tape makes me
smile and sweat, and provides the workout variety I was looking for.
Definitely a keeper.
Instructor comments: Gay Gasper has a friendly, natural attitude I've
liked ever since I found her "beginner" tapes years ago. I'm glad to
have these new advanced workoutswo from her. She is excellent at
providing cues and indications of direction.
This video consists of a high/low and a step section. The high/low is
fun, but quite repetitive. In fact, when I previewed it, I was so
disappointed because it looked downright boring with all the repetition.
Fortunately, when you actually do it, it's not that bad. You definitely
wouldn't want to do it too often, though, or you'd die of boredom. I do
find the warmup and cooldown almost intolerable, though. Now those are
Boring with a capital B! She could have used that time better for more
stretches. The step is really a circuit workout. You do stepping
intermixed with kickboxing routines. This is pretty good, but the
kickboxing can take up LOTS of space. You're moving forward, backward,
and side-to-side. I found I couldn't do it correctly AND have my step
laying out. So I modify a lot. Sometimes I even skip the kickboxing
parts and just do the step. Overall, this is an intermediate/advanced
workout that is fun, but has lots of room for improvement. Grade B+.
Instructor comments: Gay is an awesome instructor. She cues very
clearly and shows a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
All I have to say is F-U-N!
This was my "debut" with Gay and these were the things I loved:
1. The music was fantastic! Especially in the Step N Strike workout, I
found myself singing to it!
2. Gay's cueing, instruction, choregraphy & performance were outstanding!
With this my very first time, I knew what direction to go, what move was
next; I was clearly motivated, challenged, yet not over-strained, and Gay has
clearly been blessed with great genes! She's in such great shape! Her
confidence radiated throughout the whole workout. She is definetly a role
model for a novice group fitness instructor like me!
3. In some CIA's the cast usually gets so terribly lost....not here, a few
slip ups (very few) but they also weren't cheesy or irratating as some cast
members can be...(like I would be if I were casted in a video!) This is a
big plus for me as I watch it over and over again. (Remember that guy in
Method's Boot Camp Cardio? He kept staring at Tracy Mallet's butt the whole
entire time, I was like, "What a GEEK!!!!" and worse, he got lost so many
times...it was sad, he stuck out like a sore thumb!) She had a wide variety
of cast members, down to gender, nationality and even one gal was 6 months
pregnant! They all were great, like Cathe's cast members...
The only thing I didn't care for were some of the specific moves (a
roundhouse kick then a cross punch?) in the kickbox combos in the Step N
Strike portion. They felt a little unnatural but of course, it could be that
I've not done kickbox in over a month! They were decent moves, I just didn't
believe it was smooth...I guess I'm a Tae Bo-PowerKicks kind of person...the
transitions (combo to combo) flowed together well, except for the last combo
that started with half-time step-cross-back and then side kick, you really
need to rewind that at least once!
Overall, the workout was over 100 minutes (I split it up);
intermediate-advanced level (2 cast members modify for advanced and
beginners); and a great choice for a tough cardio day!
Myra Marangi :-)
CIA 2K01, Two Jammin' Workouts
I know a lot of VFers have dissed this tape as "not intense enough". I just acquired it via the exchange and find myself wondering "what's not to like about this video??" The instructor is excellent, Gay is very professional, friendly without being overly talky, and one of the MOST excellent cuers in the known world. The music in this tape is excellent, it comes close to rivalling the music in Christi Taylor's Hi-Lo Heaven, which in my humble opinion is the GOLD STANDARD in the video world today. The hi-lo is intermediate in both intensity and complexity. Gay teaches well, starting with a simple pattern, adding small variations at a time with adequate repetition, until she has transformed her simple pattern into a fairly complex one quite painlessly. For those who would like to move up in complexity but are frustrated by Christi Taylor's "watch me" style and quick cuing, Gay might be just the ticket. This hi-lo will not satisfy choreography junkies (like myself) but I wish I'd had this tape as an intermediate step when I was trying to move up from simple choreography to Christi and Franny! I think a good intermediate tape is worth its weight in gold, as it provides a challenge to the advanced beginner and a respite for an advanced exerciser. I expect to use this tape on days when I need a break from too much intensity/complexity but want to work up a decent sweat and need good music to motivate me to do so. It might be intermediate in intensity, and intermediate in choreography, but it is TOP NOTCH in quality and definitely fits its niche well.
The Step and Strike portion is also excellent. The music is less inspiring than in the hi-lo portion but it is OK, there is a segment with Shania Twain's "Feel Like A Woman" which is a real hoot! The step combos are a TON of fun, taught more slowly than we're used to in CIAs but as I mentioned above, that can be a good thing! These are really fun, flowing combos as taught, and the advanced modifications (which, as others have mentioned, CAN be a bit hard to see) are even more fun! The kickboxing segments frustrated me. I think someone experienced in kickboxing would like them but I got really confused. I'm sure I'll master these with a few times through. The intensity goes way down during the first kickboxing segment as you stand still to learn good punching form. . . the other segments don't have this problem. This is fairly choreographed kickboxing, not the drill-type kickboxing of Tae Bo. It is similar to Kathy Smith's kickboxing only the combos are significantly more complex.
I give Gay Gasper a big thumbs up, she strikes a very professional and friendly tone that avoids the extremes of a Karen Voight/Moira Stott on the one hand or a Denise Austin/Charlene Prickett on the other. Her cuing rates right up there with Cathe's if not slightly better (is such a thing possible?). This is a great step-up-to-CIA tape, a very effective "warm-up" to more complex choreography. The ONLY reason I give this tape a mere A instead of an A+ is because Gay uses kicks in the warm-up (ack!) for hamstring stretches! What was she thinking?? --I guess a tape has to have a flaw or two so the reviews of it sound realistic, LOL.