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Gilad Step Aerobics

Gilad Janklowicz

This is an older tape, made in 1992, but it has stood the test of time. I was very surprised to find no reviews of this tape in the VF Reviews Section. Unlike many of Gilad's tapes, this one was never sold in retail stores and it had a $29.95 price tag in the Collage catalog limiting it's appeal. Fortunately, it has now dropped to a more reasonable $19.95.

The tape has all the trademarks of a Gilad tape: a gorgeous Hawaiian beach setting, a diverse cast fanned out behind a charismatic instructor, and simple straightforward choreography that still manages to keep your interest. Gilad has found an approach that works and he sticks to it. His steps are always basic and his settings are natural so his tapes don't have the dated look that they might otherwise have.

The aerobic portion of the tape (which is the bulk of it) is 40 minutes long and divided into four 10 minutes sections. In the beginning the moves are very basic and the intensity is low. Gilad does each move eight times to each side, then four, then two. He adds in the arms as he goes along. After he teaches a sequence, he goes onto the next and then combines them before closing that section of the workout.

The intensity remains low until the third section when he introduces crossovers and then propulsion moves. Once they are introduced, the intensity really turns up a notch and the tape is no longer just a beginning step tape. I'm a high intermediate and I found this section quite challenging. Gilad never repeats a move too many times, he always seems to know when it's time to learn something new. At the end of this sequence he introduces a series of jumping jack moves on the floor in addition to the step propulsions, and my heartrate always climbs right up there. In the fourth and final section, he takes it from the very top and you do each of the moves over again in sequence three times, making the tape a very solid intermediate workout. The moves are demonstrated on a smaller step surface so you don't have to have a full size step to do this workout.

It's an excellent tape to use to learn propulsion moves because they are taught sequentially with no distracting choreography. It's also easily modified to low impact because the propulsion moves contain no directional changes. This makes the tape very versatile. Beginners can do the first two sections, intermediates the whole tape without propulsions, and high intermediates can do it as demonstrated. Advanced exercisers who dislike dancy choreography would also enjoy it.

After a quick cooldown, the tape has a short abdominal workout and stretch which, if not exactly memorable, gets the job done. I rate this tape A for beginners and A+ for intermediates.

Instructor comments: Gilad has a lot of charm and enthusiasm as well as a natural sex appeal which is never forced. I also like the fact that he presents the cast members at the end and lets us know their names. This is the only video I've ever seen that includes an older male exerciser in the cast.

Jane Powell
19 Nov 99

I'm glad that I bought this. I needed a low impact step routine while nursing a foot injury last summer. This video fit the bill. It offers an upper intermediate/advanced level intensity - keep in mind, I use 8" risers - but it isn't stressful on the knees or feet.

For all its simplicity, this workout is aerobically challenging. I'm an advanced exerciser and I love the workout I get without the impact on my joints. The problem with this video is that it can get really boring. The moves are so brain-numbingly simple that I tend to feel like a human metronome while doing it for more than 20 minutes. But I can't bring myself to trade this video because it's ridiculously hard to find decent, low impact cardio tapes that push me into my training zone. My way around the boredom problem is this: I just do the last couple step sections of this tape as a tack-on to my shorter aerobic tapes. It works for me.

So this tape is NOT recommended for the step doyennes out there. If you want to RiverDance your way through step, this isn't the one to pick. Try this video if you're a beginning stepper with an advanced level of fitness if you have joint problems ... or if you're an experienced stepper who is desperate for an occasional lower impact workout and doesn't mind zoning out while doing simple step choreography. It also works if you want to tack on a relatively lower impact step video to another cardio workout -- say, just 10 to 20 minutes of stepping.

Other bonuses? Gilad is handsome, the steel guitar soundtrack is lively, and the Hawaian beach setting is just the ticket for dreary days.

Michelle Easton
October 26, 2000

Looking for a basic step tape that still gives you the intensity you want? This could be your workout. This tape has been around since 1992, but Gilad's straightforward style makes it timeless. Moderate tempo, no fancy music, no fancy footwork, no-frills camera work, and excellent cuing allow you to follow easily along with Gilad and his group of exercise partners in a pleasant outdoor setting.

In three increasingly intense combos, Gilad changes the steps frequently enough to keep you from getting bored. He puts all three sections together at the end, and repeats the total combo several times. By then, you should really be pumping.

I'm an experienced stepper, with good cardio capacity. After previewing this tape, I decided to start with an 8-inch step because it looked so basic. Well...I was up to 75% of capacity in no time. And by the third combo, I was pushing 90%. Next time, I'll probably drop back to 6 inches, at least on the third section and combo finale. I like using arm motions and power moves, so the best way to keep my heart rate under control would be to lower the step. You can adjust your own workout accordingly. Also, it would be easy to rewind and repeat any section to create a longer workout if you wish.

After the step workout, Gilad does a short cooldown and stretch, followed by a 6-minute ab routine that's just right. Finally, there's a thorough stretch. This is 60 minutes well spent.

Instructor comments: Some days, I know I'll still want Cathe or Kari or Christi, to get that feeling of whirling and twirling around the step. But now, with Gilad, I have a fine alternative for days when I just want to step and sweat. He's got a nice voice, a pleasantly encouraging style, and a cute parrot.

Barbara Loots

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