Video Fitness

TNT Cardio

Leisa Hart

I have been meaning to write a review of this tape for some time now. What spurred me into action was seeing it listed on the last page of the Fall Collage catalog. I really consider this tape to be almost perfect for what I need. This review is somewhat long, but I fear it may be the only review this tape receives on VF, so I wanted to be thorough.

Let me explain that I am an advanced intermediate (I think). I have flirted with advanced level, but found I could not keep up the momentum. I am very happy and comfortable to be advanced intermediate. I can do Tough Tape using a 20 to 25 pound barbell without pausing. I do Cathe's MIS and Pure Strength using 25 to 30 pound barbells. I can get through Cathe's Cardio Kicks with a little impact modification towards the end (am I the only one who cannot and probably will never be able to do those high impact knee ups followed by the chorus line kicks? She uses those in MIC and elsewhere and I always have to modify these moves. My spine and knees absolutely refuse to allow these moves!) So, that's about where I am. I hope this helps you gauge the usefulness of this review to you.

I am also one who seems to be frequently side lined for achy knees and tendinitis whenever I get cocky and try to do more than I should. Therefore, in four years of devoted exercising (a devotion greatly facilitated by VF--thank you Wendy and all VFers!), I have learned that I cannot do two high impact or two very tough workouts in a row. I absolutely MUST insert a light day in between workouts if I want to workout five to six days a week (six is rare).

Therefore, I am always on the lookout for good light workouts. My standard is Leslie Sansone's Two Mile Walk. I keep hoping she'll do another just like it. Her latest series is unfortunately more like her earlier tapes. I sent back the 4 Mile Power Walk. I guess the choreography in TMW was a departure for her. TMW a perfect light day workout for me!

SO IS TNT CARDIO! If you need a tape for similar reasons, I can highly recommend this one. It is 30 minutes long and the intensity is actually a notch above Two Mile Walk. I am always surprised by the amount of sweat produced by this workout!

Leisa Hart's series (there are two toning tapes in addition to this cardio tape, I do not have these) is based on research that shows that two or three ten minute workout sessions daily are as good as one longer thirty minute session. Ergo, Tone "N" Ten. TNT also stands for "Dynamite Workout." Too bad she didn't have better marketing, because if the other two are as well put together as this, the series would great for beginners.

The instruction and cuing is excellent, but it is geared toward the rank beginner exerciser. Moves are explained in painstaking detail. This is not a criticism. I did not find it at all bothersome and beginners could only appreciate it.

The warm up is five minutes (I am using their times here, I did not time the workout myself). It is basic and consists of heel lifts, squats and grapevines. The stretches are basic also--standing hamstring, hip flexor and calf stretches held for eight to twenty seconds (she was talking and explaining a lot on the 20 second stretch). I was pleased the stretches were held for a decent amount of time. She likes back stretches and includes a lot of them. This I did find a tad tiresome.

The cardio section is twenty minutes long and consists of three very gradually taught combinations. The first is a squat sequence that moves into side dips, a walk forward and back ending in knee lifts and step behinds. This done to one side and then the other.

The second combination is a walk forward and back sweeping the arms followed by a grapevine and a cute little shoulder dip step.

Combination one and two are combined and then there is a break where you march in place. I assume, again I did not time this, that this is your ten minute mark. You could stop and finish later or continue on. She doesn't make this clear (although she does talk about it in the introduction). There's some amount of walking in place while she explains to you how you should be feeling. She asks her two background exercisers how they are feeling and they respond. The rapport between Leisa and the background exercisers is very appropriate. It is not cute or chatty, but purposeful and minimal.

After she makes the intensity level check she continues to walk in place and verbally reviews the two previous combinations. I think the walking in place here is a bit excessive.

The second ten minutes consists of the third combination and then all three together done twice each and then once each. The combinations are kind of fun and you get plenty of chance to do them several times. The third combination consists of a V-step, side shuffle, box step, and then your choice of mambo, dip or lunge. This is followed by a few marches in place.

The workout DOES NOT take up very much room. It takes up less space than Two Mile Walk, however you must be able to walk forward four steps and do a single grapevine sideways. The choreography is not difficult, in fact it's very basic, but it flows well and is fun to do.

The cool down is five minutes and includes the same standing stretches from the warm up held from eight to twelve seconds. The cool down consists of chasses, little hip wiggles and side steps. It was fun and breezy. I could have seen stuff like this in the regular routine!

One complaint I have about the cooldown is the seemingly endless back stretches. You do eight lower back stretches followed by the leg stretches and then end the workout with eleven more lower back stretches! I just get a little bored with this.

This is an enjoyable LOW IMPACT 30 minute workout that anyone can do. It would be excellent for beginners. I can throw on my athletic shoes and do this in just about anything I normally wear. That makes it a real "no excuses not to workout today" workout. It is PERFECT for my needs for a light day after a tough day schedule.

Leisa is an excellent instructor. She is a no nonsense, professional and is engaging and personable. She once lets out a little whoop-di-doo kind of yelp, but otherwise the script is all cuing, instruction and form pointers. The background exercisers complement Leisa perfectly. They are both strong and healthy--they have a "real person" look to them and are not "glammed up" in any way. Their workout wear is modest and athletic.

Now, after singing the praises of this little gem of a tape, I must tell you that the set is the worst I have ever seen on video (well, except for a couple of Leslie Sansone tapes)! It is just HORRIBLE. The stage looks like a Las Vegas burlesque number. My husband said they should be wearing feathered headdresses!

The backstage is actually clouded in smoke. Yes! Billowing smoke! It gets worse. The smoke is illuminated with multicolored lights. As good as the workout is, the set is bad. It is just dreadful.

The camera work is very good, as is the editing. The rest of the production is just fine. But the set is really, really, really gawd awful.

I can highly recommend this tape and use it often. I feel it has been sorrowfully neglected and I was very surprised to see it relegated to Collage's back page the issue directly after it was introduced. Tapes usually get a little longer in the main part of the catalog. It was probably the set designer's fault. :-)

Katie F
skfisher@ids.net
10/24/00



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