Video Fitness

Donna-mite

Donna Richardson - Donna-Mite Workout

This is a wonderful "wake-up" video - the kind you like to do early in the morning to get revved up for the day. Approximately 50 minutes long, this aerobic workout is easy to learn, but alot of fun to do. And the music is the BEST of any of my many videos - all Motown oldies, from the warmup ("Heard It Through The Grapevine") all the way through. Donna's cuing is excellent, and she clearly demonstrates more intense moves you can do to make the workout harder.

Sally Waters

I loved Donna Richardson's "Donna-Mite" tape. Easy to follow with a great soundtrack. It's also a good workout, and a lot of fun. The moves are intersting enough that you won't get bored with them. One of Donna's best.

Kathy Lapinski

Fitness level: intermediate
Breakdown: 5 minutes warm-up; 35 minutes floor aerobics;
5 minutes cool-down; 5 minutes stretch
Impact: mixed, but one exerciser demonstrates low-impact through-out
Soundtrack: Motown hits from 60's and 70's
Setting: Studio

Donna promises "serious fun" in her intro, then she sucks you in and you're hooked from the first "Temptation walk" to the final step-tap and lunge. I have to make myself do other tapes, this one is such a blast it's all I want to do these days!

This is definitely a serious workout--last night I had to stop right before the cool down and I had to take a minute to catch my breath--but Donna packages it as a "big old fat-burning party." And what a party it is! The timeless sounds of the Temptations and the Four Tops, the high-energy group accompanying Donna, and especially the cool-down routine all remind me of the all-girl all-nighters and college dances I enjoyed in my junior high and late teen days.

Donna enjoys herself throughout the routine. Her love of the music is obvious and she cuts up with the crew throughout. But none of it distracts her from her instruction. She's very conscientious about cuing for the changes, giving pointers for proper alignment, and encouraging you to keep moving even if it means doing low-impact or reducing your range of motion.

While her focus is on fun as well as fitness, and this video comes across as a bunch of friends getting together and dancing, the workout itself is not all that dancy or complicated. One of Donna's trademarks is adding her own flair to basic stretches and aerobic moves. So you get, among other things, sideways shoulder dips during grapevines, and little pelvic tilts during the quad stretches. (I'll leave the rest for other reviewers to discover. . .)

The cool-down is all dancing, but trust me, none of it is hard. Most of the steps, such as the pony, the popcorn, and the washing machine, I remember from eighth grade. In fact, I get so caught up in having fun here that instead of cooling down, this turns into five more minutes of aerobics! The stretch includes more of Donna's attitude moves built into the routine, and she advises the exerciser to balance this tape with muscle toning and stretching. (In fact, I'm thinking of getting her 4 Day Rotation to see if she can work her magic and make me love floor exercise!)

Of course, Donna's the star here. But her troupe of exercisers--some of them her pals from Crunch Fitness- deserve a hand for their enthusiasm. They're all in great shape, but encouragingly, they're not all hardbodies or youngsters. The lady who does the low-impact version here is built a lot like me--petite and a little bit busty. Another exerciser is taller and a very shapely size 12 at least. These are real people, all right!

This one's for anyone who needs any or all of the following: 30 or more minutes of cardio work that won't blow out your joints, fun but not complex routines, an instructor who's cheerful but doesn't get on your nerves, and a workout that doesn't feel like a workout. "Donna-Mite" sells for about $15 from Collage, and it's often available for less in stores like Media Play or the larger discount stores. I don't think I've ever bought this much fun for so little money. Enjoy, enjoy!

Grade: A+ and 10 points extra credit

Melissa Cooper

This tape is great. It's a high/low workout with fantastic music such as I Heard It Through The Grapevine and This Old Heart Of Mine. It does not get boring at all, because Donna changes the routine with each song. The length is about 50-55 minutes.

The intensity is at the intermediate level. Beginners can do this by modifying some of the high-impact steps to low. Advanced can do it just for a change of pace and to have a good time!

I really enjoy this workout and would recommend it to all.

Annie S.

Mostly lower impact, with easy modifications. The music is great - Motown favorites. The tape starts out deceptively easy, and before you know it, you are sweating up a storm, and smiling through it all. Safety pointers throughout, but there are no moves that would trip up even the most tired exerciser, even on carpet. The choreography is fun and easy to pick up. I am pretty coordinated, and I doubt that I will get bored with this tape anytime soon. The exercisers in this tape are all in great shape, but they come in attainable sizes. They all seem to celebrate their fitness, and the joy they have is contagious. This is a very upbeat tape, and I highly recommend it!

Pilar
4/97

I love this video because it is more like dancing then exercising. The time goes by fast. The video is 52 minutes long. The music is great, old motown sounds. I work up a good sweat. I look forward to doing this video when I have the time. I like Donna's energy level and her style. She is very motivating.

Vanessa Andrews
4/22/97

A solid intermediate workout, this video builds you up without leaving you
feeling wiped out afterwards. The steps are easy to learn without being boring and repetitive.
I especially like all the circle turns and the sliding in this tape. It really picks me up on days when I'm feeling really tired and am not up to Kari Anderson or the Firm's Tough Aerobics.
The music is oldies (a favorite of mine). Lastly, every body type is identified in this video! To be perfectly honest, I was very surprised when this video showed up in the Exchange. I'd never trade this one.

Nancy Webb
4/28/97

Although I really like Donna, and I love the old Motown music, I'm not sure how much I actually like the workout. I've taken the workout and tried to learn it section by section. For example, once I learned the warm-up and the first section completely, I tried adding the next section, and so on.
Anyways, I still trip over myself freqently, and spend much of the workout doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Even though I feel like a complete idiot when I do this video, I still have fun doing it. I have noticed, however, that even during the sections I have mastered, my heart rate doesn't really elevate to an optimal target zone. I would choose this video for a light day.
Many others have said this video is easy to learn, well... maybe if you enjoy dancing and are naturally coordinated. If you have two left feet (like me) and are looking for challenging cardio, DonnaMite might not be the best pick. Don't get me wrong, I do like this video, it's fun, but it isn't my ideal workout.

Christine Letsky
6/10/97

This is going to sound very odd, because it's a positive review and yet after two workouts I gave it away in the Video Exchange. I thought this tape would be great for someone that hasn't exercised in a while and was thinking of maybe trying a video. It is very fun and likeable, and I kept wishing I could actually take a live class with this bunch! The Motown music is fun, although I wonder if I would tired of it after a while. I kind of like more "nameless" stuff in my videos.
The main reason I gave this away is because I felt it just wasn't intense enough for me and didn't picture doing it very often. Although, there is something odd about the cueing. Somehow this video is not as easy to follow as it should be. I got Sweat Express around the same time, and SE was really no more difficult to learn, although I would consider it a more advanced tape.

Donna and the whole cast is definitely what makes this tape great.

Jen Blaske
7-14-97

Having read all the positive reviews about this video, I'm afraid I must be the dissenter. It's not that I didn't like the workout or Donna's excellent teaching style; she really shines in this tape! What completely got on my nerves was the noisy background exercisers and the "party" type atmosphere. I would have felt like a total moron had I actually gotten off the couch to do this workout! While I don't mind a couple of "attitude" moves interspersed here and there, I absolutely DO NOT shimmy my shoulders or shake my hips, which is prevalent throughout the workout. And when the camera zooms in several of the cast members who appear to be in aerobic heaven, I want to kick in the tv screen!

Don't get me wrong; this is a great video if you need a lot of whooping, hollering and friendly bantering to motivate you to exercise. The choreography is easy enough to follow, and Donna repeats each routine "from the top" a number of times to reinforce the steps and make catching up a breeze. She has an infectious, caring nature and easygoing approach - qualities sure to lure in even the most reluctant beginner. But for me, an advanced exerciser who's used to the no-nonsense type of workouts provided by instructors like Cathe Friedrich and Kari Anderson, Donna-Mite was like taking a step backward. I will be placing this tape on the exchange if anyone is interested.

Donna's energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and she provides very thorough instruction and form pointers throughout the workout. She is also in terrific shape!

Roberta Kagno
9/29/97

I really like this video alot-but I'm confused about some of the other reviewers saying it's "easy" to learn. When I first dtarted I would be in tears during a few parts, and I would rewind it over and over until I got it (One day this 50 minute tape was almost 2 hours long for me!) I just wanted to make sure that people know it's not super easy for everyone, but it doesn't take to long to master (I think I 've finally got it, and I've done it about 9 times, not includng the marathon rewind!) --I don't think I'll ever give up this tape--it's so much fun, although maybe too much fun: I feel almost as if I cheated my workout, so I only use it on light days or as an extra workout when I'm bored, stressed out, or can't sleep (It always makes me feel better!!)Grade: A

Instructor comments: I just love Donna Richardson!!She is so, well, the only word I can think of is COOL. I would love to just hang out with her -- we'd have so much fun ("girlfriend!")

Sarah Engledow
13 December 1997

This is more of a party than a workout!!! The music is the best of all my tapes and it is fun fun fun!!!!

I did this tape today for the first time in about six months and realized all over again how much I enjoy it. It is 55 minutes of moderate intensity floor aerobics designed to get you working out without realizing it.

There are already several really good breakdowns of the choreography but I want to add that while this tape make take a while for those of us who are "coordinationally challenged" to learn, it is well worth the time and effort. It is just so much fun. Donna does do marches which allow you to get back to the routine if you miss your place and low impact modifications are always shown.

She is also supported by a cast (including Jennifer Mills) who seem to be having a blast. One thing I really like about the tape is that there are people of all shapes and sizes doing the workout and one lady (Jillian) demonstrates low impact moves throughout the workout. The Motown music is terrific as well.

I don't know if you can tell, but I love this workout--it makes me want to learn more floor aerobic routines (which are difficult for me for some reason). Everyone should try this tape at least once or twice--its greaaaaaat!

Instructor comments: Donna is one of my favorite instructors--she seems so fun and caring, I really like her as a person.

Kathy
3/12/98

I may be the exception to all the great reviews this video got but I hated it. I wanted to really like it because I wanted to add something a little different to my rotation and with everyone saying how much fun it was, I bought it. First, I watched it & disliked it immediately. But then I figured I'd give it a shot because sometimes *doing* is better than watching. The first time I did it, I shut it off about a 1/4 into it. It just didn't get my heart rate up at all and I hated the moves. I also disliked all the *attitude* because it was so forced and phony. I tried really hard to like this tape. I tried it again and made it 3/4 of the way through, didn't even break a sweat.

Maybe not for the inter/advan. exerciser.

Instructor comments:

Sheila
4/28/98

Donna, the routine, & the music are worth the video, but I don't know about the wall to wall noise...

The routine & the music are perfect together. And those 60's dances, like the Washing Machine, which is in the bringing down the heartrate section, are pure fun!

But it's like listening to a flock of honking Canadian geese! Yuck! The noise does tone down by the end of the tape (but not completely), & mercifully, during the cooldown, it's as quiet as a library. But you do want to hurl something - other than expletives - at the TV, hoping to do in the other exercisers. Geez, I know I'm being esp. violent abt. this, but I prefer friendly banter in a video, a la the Best of Step Reebok tape with Gin Miller.

The only other complaint (a mild irritation) is with the concentration camp blonde in the halter & shorts. I know there are different body types out there, but good grief! Are we supposed to look up to her for being so diligent at doing a workout in her emaciated condition? Egad! She needs an IV more than a workout.

It's too bad abt. the honking & the blonde, but I still think this is a good workout IF you can tune out the honking part (the blonde is just something that irritates & upsets me). I've done this a few times & have sweated each time.

Instructor comments: Donna is a very good instructor, very upbeat without being perky like Denise A.

NanB
10/7/98

I purchased this video based on the recommendations that appeared on Video Fitness. My review is mixed. First, while many reviewers commented positively on the "Motown" music-track, I should point out that these are remixes, and not the songs performed by the original motown artists. This may sound like a trivial complaint, but when you love Motown, hearing a copy is like listening to Liberace play jazz.

Second, you need a lot of floor space and problably a wood, tile, or concrete floor to do the "dancy" steps here. A small carpeted den or bedroom might not do it.

Third, while Donna cues well, and gives advanced warnings of moves, the director/cameraperson saw fit to often show head and/or torso shots at the point when choreography is changing; hence you have no idea what to do with your feet.

Finally, I find some of the steps too difficult to pick up. I will try though, as I would like to make this tape part of my regular workout routine.

Grade:B

Instructor comments: Donna is enthusiastic, energetic, and incredibly fit. Her smile and energy level both inspire you to keep up with her.

Steven Weiss
10/08/98

I bought the video thinking I could burn fat and have fun, but you should first learn the choreography.

Donna is the only one who enjoys the routine because she knew it.

Alicia
01/11/99

I like this video and agree with many of the reviews on this site. I do want to say that it is not as easy to learn as some say. One reason for this is not that the moves are difficult (thier not) its just that their seems to be many of them in each section and just when you almost have it, the camera cuts to the waist or moves around the room and you stumble. I agree that if you are not prone to dancing you may have to learn this tape one section at a time. I do think that once you have gotten to the point that you have memorized it, that it will be great fun to do on a fairly regular basis. I think the camera work is this vidoes biggest problem and once you learn it, that wont matter any more and you can enjoy!

Instructor comments: Great peronality with lots of entusiasm. I found her motivating.

Lisa Fukuda
eijifukuda@olive.ocn.ne.jp
2/2/99

This video keeps your heart pumping. It's packed with great moves and fun from teh beginning to the end. If you like to dance this will be one of the best times you can have by yourself or with a partner. It's not complicated and is very easy to follow. By the time you've done this tape a few times you'll want to get with your friend Donna everyday.

Instructor comments: Donna Richardson is great. She has about 50 minutes of fun. If you like to dance she's great. If you're like me I like to make exercise fun, and not like a job. She's all smiles from beginning to end. I love videos, I recently lost 150 lbs. and Donna-Mite was one of my favorites.

Terria Green
tgreen@tislink.com
3-21-99

I brought this video because of all the great reviews I've read from here, and I really wish I hadn't been that stupid.

It is not easy to learn. I have been working on it for hours at a time. And only after 2 weeks, I'm feeling that I could actually do it all the way through now, with some mistakes and fustrations. This isn't one of those video's you put in and just do right away. It takes great time to learn. It's not that most of the steps are all that difficult, but it is how they are put together and follow each other. That's what my problem is with this tape. The music is okay, and I didn't hear all that much hooting and hollaring, but some of the people in the video really get on my nerves,the way they have a close up of their face and they are trying to sing along and dont know any of the words, but they just don't care, cause they are having *such a blast* kinda look. I will keep doing it, until I can get it down, and decide either to like it or hate it. It might be fun if I could do it the whole way through.

Instructor comments: She does alright with the cueing, but prefer a little more advance notice when actually putting the moves into action. She only mentions the alinement a few times almost near the late middle and end, and she has no heartrate section. She seemed to be having a good time, not really instructing.

Sherry
Springelf@aol.com
5/12/99

This video always struck me as a "sweatin to the Oldies" for people who had outgrown "Sweatin to the Oldies".

The music is really great - it is all Moton classics and you just want to sing along for the entire workout. It feels fast-paced to me and is definitely an intermediate level cardio workout.
Donna is a fun and inspiring instructor, she cues well and really keeps you going through the whole thing. I like her quirky little additions to the moves (where she is grooving extra hard to the music). I am not a big fan of all of the "take it from the top" stuff. In my opinion, that tends to make a routine really boring in the long run.

In the end, I found it too hard to follow (I have big problems with any sort of choreography - give me anything that takes up less than 4 square feet on the floor and I am happy). This is a really great workout - just a bit too discouraging for me. I hope the peron who traded me for it is really enjoying it!

Cori (ziggy2306)

February 28, 2004

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