Video Fitness

Cardio Soul

Fitness level: Beginner/low intermediate.

What you get: 7 minutes warm-up; 32 minutes aerobics; 5-minute cool-down and stretch. Impact: Low. Pulse checks: one. Choreography: Moderate, occasionally the camera cuts people off at the waist or torso, but that seems to be par for the course in most videos these days! Music: mostly generic funky-type tunes. Setting: studio

This is a long review, but I figure you're better off investing the time reading it before you invest $19.95 in the tape. I'm also in a really goofy mood today, so please bear with my off-the-wall comments.

First, the disclaimers: I haven't used this tape but maybe once every three weeks, on lazy nights when Paula Abdul or Donna Richardson are just too energetic for me and I don't want to drag out the step. And frankly, even though Collage classifies this as intermediate, I think it's more for a beginner or someone who'd like to start on funk aerobics but finds Donna Richardson's Donna-Mite too intimdating or complex. I've seen some of the same steps in Kari Anderson's work, as well as Donna's. Victoria just does them at a slower, more accessible pace. She teaches a move, adds optional funky arm movements and turns, and then you go through the everything you've learned at the end of the first song before the pulse check. At the end of the second set, she does the same thing for the moves in that song, then you go through both the first set and second set. Then at the end of the third song, you do one big run-through of all the moves she's taught. So you don't fall behind, and the routine's fairly easy to learn. Once you've learned it, though, you become quickly aware that there's an awful lot of marching in place while she either sets up the next move or chats on about how your friends are gonna be SO jealous of you on the dance floor, and they won't know what hit 'em, etc. etc. I'm thinking, "show me the move, for Pete's sake!" It's the exercise equivalent of stop-and-go traffic. Or marching band with invisible instruments. At last, when we combine everything we've learned, it's great, but she only runs through it once--leaving me wanting to do it once or twice more because FINALLY I get my heart rate up. Well, I guess that's what the rewind button's for :) I do think that true intermediate exercisers would be better off with a workout of more consistently intense routines, if that makes any sense.

This tape isn't without its laugh-out-loud moments. At one point after learning a tricky move, Victoria says, "you did it! Come over here and high-five me on the TV!" A tune in the set where she does this includes some type of instrument or sound effect that sounds either like a bedspring or rubber duck. Put together with the thumping bass and guitar, it sounds something like this: "Dum, dum, da-dum--squeak. A dum, dum, da-dum--squeak." Makes me want to run get the WD-40 and oil my VCR every time.

This tape sells for $19.95 in Collage's catalog. It's "Not available in stores," which means that you also pay shipping charges. If they're going to charge that much, then the product needs to look and feel more like a big-budget enterprise. This one falls short. (Lucky for me, I got it through the Video Exchange here at VF) I like Victoria,even though this tape isn't a favorite, and agree with Sue Bryant that she deserves better producers and a bigger budget. If she could get herself into the hands of the folks who produced "Donna-Mite", then Ms. Richardson could have some serious competition on the funk aerobic scene :) And how could you not love someone who says during the stretches: "What a great feeling it is just being able to move."

Grade: B- for beginners; C for intermediates.

Melissa Cooper
8-6-97

Victoria Johnson: Cardio Soul


Workout type: floor aerobics

Workout length: warm-up (6), cardio (33), stretch (6) = 44 minutes

DVD chaptering:

3-3. warm-up and beginner cardio(13:30)
3-4. intermediate cardio (10:20)
3-5. advanced cardio (15:10)
3-6. stretch (5:30)


My background, relevant to this review: I usually do cardio workouts that Collage Video rates intermediate to intermediate-advanced. I pick up aerobics choreography fairly easily, but I donít do as well with dance workouts.

This is a dancy beginner-intermediate floor aerobics workout. The choreography is moderately complex and very dancy, with a few fast turns. It isnít a real space hog, but youíll need at least enough room for a grapevine to each side. The impact is mostly low, and there is a fair amount of marching in place as Victoria explains the next move. There are three progressively more challenging cardio segments, which are TIFTed during the workout.

There are four background exercisers: three females and one male. The set is a studio with wood flooring. The music is nothing special. Itís background exercise music with a funk or hip-hop flavor. This is an older workout, so the outfits are dated.

I did the beginner and intermediate section before giving up on this one. I really should stay away from funky hi-lo workouts! They arenít my style, and I donít dance well enough to get my heart rate up with this type of choreography. My ribcage and shoulders just donít want to move that way. Victoriaís cueing is usually good, but sometimes the camera zooms in on the upper bodies of the participants. This annoyed me because I tend to feel lost when doing hi-lo if I canít see the instructorís feet.

I wonít be keeping this workout. The feel was similar to Donnamite (which I disliked for the same reasons), but Donnamite has much better music. If you liked Donnamite, you may want to look for Cardio Soul at your local Target. Some Targets are selling Victoria Johnson DVDs for $1 right now. The picture and sound quality of this DVD are fine.

Instructor comments: Victoria is peppy and encouraging. She does more whooping in this workout than in her other ďDiamond SeriesĒ workouts.

Colleen (VF username: Colleen)

1 Jan 2005

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised about how much I liked this video. (After all, it was only $1 at Target.) This is a DVD re-release of a previous video of the same name.
I am an advanced exerciser and group fitness instructor who likes dancy, fun routines to get ideas for classes. In this regard, the video did not disappoint. (So if you don't like dancy stuff, head straight past this DVD.) :) I like how she provides funky moves that are fun and kind of make you forget you're working out. Most of the moves are low impact, another plus for me. This video builds from a less complicated beginner routine to somewhat more complex intermediate and advanced dance aerobics routines. I was surprised that when my heart rate began to build when I did the entire advanced routine (TIFT with beg and int) and had to do it again because it was so much fun. Another plus is that Victoria gives a lot of form pointers and is careful to note the muscle groups being worked with various stretches and exercises.
Some minuses are that Victoria does a lot of marches in place and 1/2 time moves which may be good for beginners but will frustrate the intermediate and advanced exerciser looking for a harder cardio workout. I'd say that once you learn the routine, leave out the marches and slower moves and do everything full speed. This will definitely give you a workout. Also, I tend to like to work a routine on both sides of the body (i.e. changing lead legs) whenever possible for balance, which she doesn't really do.
All in all, I really enjoyed this video. If you want to get your dance on-for cheap-this is the video for you.

Instructor comments: Very enthusiastic and encouraging

Tiffany

January 4, 2005



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