Video Fitness

Cathe Friedrich's "Mega Step Blast"

This is the first Cathe Friedrich tape I bought. Collage warned about it being hard to follow, but I didn't think it was particularly so. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to finally find a tape that wasn't boring, or dancy, or too easy, or had corny music, or had an instructor that was so annoying I couldn't stand to do the tape. Cathe's cuing is right on, so if you've done step before and know what she means when she says "basic right" or "V-step", it's not too hard to follow. The workout is divided into three parts; parts 1 and 2 have lots of variety and build the moves into combina tionss. Part 3 is called the "leg and bun-blaster" section, because it has lots of lunges and squats to work those areas. The tape is geared towards advanced steppers; there are a lot of high impact moves, and sometimes your back is to the TV, so you really need to listen to what she says. I find this workout fun and challenging even after doing it many times. Cathe Friedrich is by far my favorite step instructor.

Debbie Kenny

I bought this tape after Debbie (above) highly recommended it, and it impressed me enough to get me to try her subsequent tapes, which I like even better. The music is a little repetitive at times, though. When I bought it, I had mastered most of the other advanced tapes on the market and wanted a new challenge. Mega Step delivered, though the first 2 sections aren't as hard as the 3rd ("bun blaster") section. I will confess that I don't do this tape as often as I did at first because I prefer Cathe's Step Max and Step Heat, but it's still a great tape, better than most advanced tapes.

Wendy Niemi Kremer

Mega Step Blast

Wow! This one kicked my butt more than Step Max! At first the choreography wasn't the greatest (a little more repetitive than her newer tapes), but it got better with time. I loved the last section (butt blaster...I think she called it). Definately a video for advanced steppers. A+

Shonie Maxwell

Mega Step Blast

This tape was my first introduction to Cathe Friedrich's step videos. Collage Video rated the choreography complex, and that in itself stopped me from placing an order several times over even though I desparately wanted to try it. Luckily, I met Debbie Kenny in m.f.a, who was kind and patient enough to actually type out many of the moves in email messages, until I finally had a good enough feel for the choreography. After about a month, I decided to order the tape.

Surprisingly, I found it pretty easy to follow the first time through thanks to Cathe's superb instruction and cuing abilities, and the few parts that gave me trouble had me in sync again after a handful of rewinds. Cathe uses the add-on technique, teaching two moves, putting them together, going "from the top", teaching two more moves, adding them together, going from the top again, etc. This really reinforces the steps and by the time you go from the top without breaking the moves down to their simplest components, it is easy to follow along and get a great, fun workout.

All of Cathe's follow-up videos use base choreography moves from Mega Step Blast, so this is a good starter workout for Step Max, Step Heat, and Step Jam. I highly recommend it for people who are bored with their other step videos. Once I tried Cathe, I gave away most of my other step tapes. There is only one other I still use and love (National Step Champions, One Step Beyond) but other than that, my step video library is dominated by Cathe.

Roberta Kagno

Mega Step Blast was my very first "advanced" step video. I think I bought it in 1994. Without it, I don't think I could have graduated to Cathe's more powerful workouts (Step Max, Power Max Step Jam). It's a great tape. I now use it for my zone out days, when I want to feel refreshed though not exhausted after working out. Each of the three sections uses the add-on technique.

The first section builds very slowly. This is in contrast to Cathe's later videos, which have you stepping from the warm up onward. You do basic left-right with interesting arms thrown in. I remember being frustrated with the arms at first; they are do-able after about 2 workouts, though. She *slowly* adds power in V-steps and step-jumps. Finally, you move on to basic right lefts and T-steps that move around the bench.

Section two starts with a knee lift series that travels the length of the bench. You do these "flapping" type arm movements that are standard fare in all of Cathe's videos. This move goes on a bit long, but it does elevate the heart rate, since you're using Karen Voight-style "large limb movements." This section also combines across the bench moves, hop turns, and a "shoot the basket" power move. I really like the arm movements in this section as well.

The leg and bun blaster is definitely the hardest. You do richochets, step leaps onto the bench, lunges, and straddles. With the exception of step kick, walk around the bench, there are no recovery moves in this section. It's sure to challenge even those who do Step Max, etc.

Overall, great video. It's a little repetitive in the first two sections, but certainly no moreso than Energy Sprint or the Firm. When I find myself getting bored with MSB, I lay it aside for a few weeks and return to it later. All in all, this tape is a mainstay in my collection. Cathe's choreography has grown more inventive and intense over the years; the fact that this is still a great tape 3 years after its release speaks volumes about her skillful choreography and cuing.

Eulonda Skyles
3/24/97

This tape has been thoroughly reviewed, so I'd like to add just a few comments. First, this is an excellent tape - cued very well and fairly easy to learn, which really surprised me. The first two sections are basic, with several over the tops and hop turns. The third section, Bun Blaster, is the most difficult, especially the ricochet step. However, I was able to get through 75% of the tape my first go round on a six inch step. I was able to complete it the second time I tried it. Up to this tape, I had been doing Reebok tapes and Firm tapes on a ten inch step.

There have been some comments that MSB is too repetitive. Yes, it is repetitive, but I really enjoy that. I've come to prefer tapes with basic, repetitive moves that are as difficult as possible, and MSB is perfect for that. Great music too! I'm looking forward to Step Heat.

Cathe's whoops don't bother me at all - they add to the feeling that I'm in a live step class. When I took ethnic dancing, some dances required whooping. I believe when used properly the whooping adds to the quality of the workout.

Two minor things that irk me are: Cathe's hair and those pink leotards! She's an attractive woman - WHY does she wear her hair like a teenager? And those pink leotards are just too adolescent. I hope her hair improves in her more recent vidoes.

Instructor comments: Motivating and challenging! My husband even thinks she's great.

Nancy Webb
12/19/97

I'm new to step. I bought this video, the wedding video and the Step Heat video. Being new to step, I did the Wedding video first because I figured it was the most basic. It was ok but I was kind of bored. But Mega Step Blast is great. I really like it alot and it's not that difficult to get the moves down even for this beginner. I usually get my aerobic workouts from running and have yet to find a video that I'm not watching the clock on. This video just seems to fly by and before I know it, it's time for the cooldown. So if you've tried step before and didn't really like it, try this video, it just might change your mind.

Instructor comments: Very likeable, upbeat but not at all annoying.

Sheila Rich
4/3/98


This is a winner in my book! This step workout has about 45 minutes of stepping, plus a warmup and cooldown. The stepping starts off a little on the basic side, but that's okay, because it gets you ready for what's to come. Pretty soon, you're doing lots of jumps, hops, over-the-tops (long-way), and even the ricochet step. The very last segment, Cathe calls a bun-blaster. It has somewhat of an interval effect. She includes the ricochet here, but she doesn't teach you how to do it, which kind of surprised me. I've done it in another video, so it was no problem; but if you haven't done it before, I think you'll want to practice a little before you dive in.

The music in this video is very good; it keeps me wanting to move. The stretch at the end is a little bit longer than most workouts and I like that. The only criticism I have is that for the last stepping segment, you turn your bench long-ways, but then for the cool-down, you have to turn it back again. Minor, but something I didn't really like all that much.

This workout is one I'll keep for a long, long time, if not forever. Grade A!

Instructor comments: Have you all ever noticed how amazing Cathe's hair is? I wish I knew her secret. Whether it's short, long, or in-between, it always looks fabulous. Okay, so that's not really exercise-related -- but I can't help but notice it every time I see her!

Annie S.
8-9-98


Iím sorry but I find this tape really boring. No, not the entire tape. The third section which she calls the bun-blaster is fun. But from the warm-up to the end of second section bores me almost to tears. It has too many basic steps and they are the main part of the choreography, only she uses some arm movements to add variety. Whenever I do this tape, I find myself thinking all the time that, "When will this section end?". And a little while later I will comfort myself, "Since we come to this point, it is close to the end now." Nevertheless, this is not a bad workout. The intensity is solid. It will definitely improve my cardiovascular level if only I can bring myself to do it but I canít. Come to think about it, maybe it is my own fault. This is my first Cathe tape and I make a wrong choice. Since I am familiar with CIA style, I should try her more recent tapes. But this realization comes after the fact. So if you are familiar with complex step choreography and new to Cathe, this is not a good start.

Instructor comments: I still donít find anything, whether cueing or personality, specially distinguished in Cathe Friedrich. If not because of many good reviews on this site and her nice personality in her forum, Mega Step Blast might turn me away from her forever.

pakavadi
12/04/98

I dodged aerobics for the longest time - especially dancy difficult moves. I have a knee that needs to be babied so I stuck with power walking and simple choreography (aka beginners). I got this tape on an exchange (I know its one of the older ones)and did it start to finish with no problem. I only had to modify one or two places but not being much of a dancer, this one moved right in to my "favored" part of the storage cabinet.

The moves are simpler than in later tapes but I still felt like I was doing pure Cathe!

I own a great many of Cathe's tapes, and would not normally recommend them to anyone who felt they were choreographically challanged or just beginning, but I would recommend this one. It would be a good 1st Cathe tape.

Instructor comments: Cathe is a pioneer of the nth degree. I find myself wondering why she isn't a national sensation and receiving more recognition. Her cueing and instruction is nearly flawless.

Donna Nihill
dnihill@sonoma-county.org
2/22/99



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