Video Fitness

More Muscle, Less Fat

This video is broken into two 1/2-hour workouts; the first being low-impact aerobics, and the second weight training.

The low impact is a very good workout cardio-wise, but since I am a high impact person, I really didn't care for it much. But I can definitely see that a person who is looking for a good intense, low-impact workout would like this. Charlene uses a full range of motion to keep your heart pumping. The choreography is basic, and you don't learn a "routine" -- you just do one thing and then move on to the next. And the outdoor setting is a very nice change of pace. The second workout, weights, is also good, but not a "complete" workout like Cathe F's MIS or some of the FIRM tapes. It's mostly upper body work, but there are a few exercises for lower body and abs. The number one thing I love about her style is that she goes slow and does a small number of reps (10 in this tape). That allows me to challenge myself by using my very heaviest weights without fear that I'm going to drop them on my head or otherwise kill myself.

Grade A.

Annie S.
5-25-98

This 1997 video was my introduction to Charlene Prickett. It's a lot of fun and just flies by. I do both the aerobic and toning sessions (you can do each on a separate day) and am always amazed at just how quickly time passes. The gorgeous Canadian Rockies are a refreshing change of setting from the usual studio, too.

The aerobic workout ("Less Fat") is low impact floor aerobics featuring athletic rather than dancy moves. The warm-up lasts about four minutes, then is followed by 22 minutes of athletic moves (repeaters, taps, lunges, squats, v-steps, mambo). There's nothing dancy about the combinations, and the routine is easily learned. Charlene and her crew do chat non-stop throughout, sometimes bantering with one another, and other times explaining to the viewer what is going on physiologically in the sequence being performed. Charlene even demonstrates how to make moves easier for beginners or those who are having an off day or are too tired. Following the aerobic section, there is a five-minute stretch. Again, Charlene points out how to modify the stretches if you're pregnant.

The toning section ("More Muscle") lasts almost half an hour. Charlene and her crew use heavier than usual weights. There are fewer repetitions, but with the heavier weights, that's okay! Muscle fatigue can be easily achieved, particularly by using 10 pound dumbbells. Arms and upper body are worked well. The lower body portion isn't quite as thorough, but since this isn't the only tape in my rotation, I make up for the lack of real ab work elsewhere. Throughout it all, Charlene always points out proper form, and her crew demonstrates modifiers, always with an emphasis on safety.

Collage rates this video as intermediate/advanced, but I'm sure some VF Amazons might rate it low intermediate. In any case, it's a blast!

Instructor comments: Charlene cues well, is friendly with a good sense of humor, and can be politely termed as chatty. I'm sure she drives some viewers nuts with her incessant chatter. She certainly knows her stuff, and she's encouraging and motivating.

Paula Weber
10/11/98

What a great video. On days when I just don't want to do a long or complex workout this tape is perfect. The first section is a short 25-30 minute low impact cardio workout featuring lunges, leg lifts, mambos, grapevines, side kicks in various combinations. I'd rate its level advanced intermediate. The second section, which can be done the same day or a subsequent day, is weight work with heavy weights and few reps. The main focus is upper body, but there are some lower body, abs and balance exercises. As I said, this video is perfect for days when I want a short workout that covers both cardio and weight work and doesn't require a lot of effort, not that it's so easy but the choreography is simple and each section is short.

Instructor comments: Not for everybody, Charlene is upbeat, and yes, chatty, but I enjoy her style. She has great rapport with the other two participants, and as always gives lots of exercise information.

Pamela B.
PBComm@aol.com
3/29/99

What a great video. On days when I just don't want to do a long or complex workout this tape is perfect. The first section is a short 25-30 minute low impact cardio workout featuring lunges, leg lifts, mambos, grapevines, side kicks in various combinations. I'd rate its level advanced intermediate.

The second section, which can be done the same day or a subsequent day, is weight work with heavy weights and few reps. The main focus is upper body, but there are some lower body, abs and balance exercises.

As I said, this video is perfect for days when I want a short workout that covers both cardio and weight work and doesn't require a lot of effort, not that it's so easy but the choreography is simple and each section is short.

Instructor comments: Not for everybody, Charlene is upbeat, and yes, chatty, but I enjoy her style. She has great rapport with the other two participants, and as always gives lots of exercise information.

Pamela B.
PBComm@aol.com
3/29/99

Two good points -- I feel like I get a decent workout, and it's short.

Now for the bad points: The choreography is so old-fashioned --80s style high impact. I felt like I should be wearing shiny spandex. She is also way too obsessed with sambas, and most of the rest of the moves are way too cutesy for me. Most of the time I like Firm work-outs, but I find myself getting really annoyed with this one.

The only reason this one's still in the rotation is that it's short and I can do it when I don't have a lot of time.

Instructor comments: I've liked her in the past, but there were some mess-ups on cues, and this wasn't my favorite choreography.

Sharon

11/10/2004

This video is comprised of two sections, an aerobics section (low impact) and a 30 minute strength training routine.

Charlene advises to do the workouts on different days, which you could do if pressed for time or do the strength training after the cardio (when the muscles are nice and warm).

I must note that this workout was filmed in 1997, when there wasn't a strong focus on postural alignment and the role of the core as there is today.

I will list the strength exercises and comment that there were no visible safety issues in viewing them. Charlene will comment to keep "a pelvic tilt", so very common in this era of workouts - as long as you keep a neutral spine, you should be fine. Interestingly enough when Charlene mentions a pelvic tilt, she is pretty close to neutral spine anyway.
The other comment is that sometimes Charlene is a little sloppy in technique, particularly in the static lunges on the step, however, on viewing newer videos, this has been eliminated. Her background exercisers can get sloppy with their technique as well, so keep your focus on Charlene. You will need to look out for the front/lateral raises where sometimes the weights are lifted up too high with the risk of shoulder impingement occurring.

STRENGTH SECTION:
Lunges on Step (keep hips stable!)
Abduction/Adduction - standing exercise requiring a lot of core stability
One armed Rows - good
Tricep Extension - good
Biceps - rotating conc. curl
Shoulder press - would have done these before triceps and biceps as already prefatigued.
Front/lateral raises - watch out for shoulder impingement
Post delt raise
Chest flyes - good, but concentrate on neutral pelvis
Glute lift - good technique, but doesn't mention keeping hips still
Abs - speaks about abdominal bracing and pelvic tilt - as I have mentioned previously, this teaching technique has changed since 97.
Hamstring Curl - nice technique, maintain neutral pelvis.

AEROBICS - LOW IMPACT: I am going to review this from my perspective of being a group fitness instructor (this year is my 18th anniversary). Charlene cues very very well and takes her time putting the routine together which is good news for those new to aerobics/workouts and connects in a very encouraging way. I felt like I could have easily been on the set with her. She builds the routine step by step and repeats it which is perfect for an intermediate exerciser. The routine is a very solid low impact workout and with concentrated effort could be advanced if you put every bit of energy into it.

Conclusion - This is a great workout for inexperienced exercisers as Charlene is so informative and encouraging. A person with an advanced level of fitness could also get a great workout by lifting the intensity of both sections. I would imagine it would get its best use in a situation where time was an issue - this is a good "holiday" workout.

I would give this a B, more because of the information available at the time rather than the competence of the instructor.

Instructor comments: This video was filmed in 1997 - with the available knowledge at the time, Charlene does a good job.

Liz N

December 2 2004

I only did the cardio portion of this workout and found I really liked it. It is a nice, mostly low impact, 30 minute floor cardio routine. There are no complicated moves. She teaches the base move and then moves on to something a little higher intensity, does that for a while and goes back to a less intense exercise. It reminds me a little of Prevention: Walk Your Way Slim and Get Moving: Walking for Weight Loss in that there are little “bursts” of activity interspersed with lower intensity. There is no taking it from the top—once you finish each little section it is gone.

I did get a little frustrated with the changing camera angles as they sometimes went to diagonal angles while I was still making sure I was getting the steps right. I really prefer to see workouts from straight on, so I can mirror the movements easily. The outfits are a little “dated,” but not incredibly so.

The strength portion of the workout is also about 30 minutes. There is a little upper body and lower body work in the workout, so it doesn’t fatigue every muscle group. I can’t comment any further than that since I didn’t do this part of the workout.

Instructor comments: Charlene is true to what I expect of her in this workout. She is a little chatty, but I don’t mind this. Most of it is informative and about exercise, but there is a little bit of chatter back and forth with the crew and what they’ll be doing later and what they’ve been up to lately.

Karen (Rhae)

02/06/05



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