This consists of three 20-minute workouts, each with its own warmup and cooldown. Workout #1 is quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Itís filmed in a nice outdoor setting. I didnít like the warmup at all; it was too dancy. Margaret seems distracted and/or spacy throughout the workout, and her voice quality is poor. This is strictly a beginner-level workout. I found it quite a yawner. Workout #2 is abs, inner thighs, and outer thighs and is shot indoors. The warmup was again dancy and dull. This is another beginner-level workout. Margaret speaks very hesitantly, like she doesnít know what to say. Workout #3 is pectorals, triceps, biceps, and deltoids, in an outdoor setting. This workout is better. It has some very good delt work, and Margaret seems more at ease. However, itís not enough to make this tape worth keeping.
I did the two lower body workouts from Margaret Richard's Fitness Becomes You Vol 1.
The "standing" leg work (14min) & lower body floorwork (13min) routines on Vol 1 are mostly unweighted short exercises done supported on a chair.
The music is flamenco/light jazz instrumental and Margaret is articulate & sweet. The workouts are beginner-level at best and would be best suited to someone older or out-of-shape who needs joint-friendly deliberate non-strenous exercises.
The choice of exercises in these high-rep/low-weight routines aren't challenging enough to increase endurance or strength. The exercises in the Slim Series, by comparison, are also high-rep/low-weight but I can see the compound exercises of Firm-it-Up for example being strenuous enough to increase an intermed-level exerciser's fitness level.
I am thinking about giving this DVD to my 70-year-old aunt, an active woman and inspiration to me. She is the type of woman that can climb hills and cover an entire amusement park for hours on end. She would very much appreciate the calm soothing exercises in this workout, the support of the chair to prevent her from falling, no need for intimidating equipment (barbell? stability ball? nope) and Margaret's calming maturity. There's nothing threatening about these routines.
I think anyone who does FIRM workouts regularly, Cathe or Tamilee is not going to find these routines challenging or inspiring. The exercises seem dated to me, straight from a 1980's workout show. For example, during the "seated" ab work in Vol 1, the chair completely removes all need for stability muscles - the exact reason most ab routines today involve stability balls and balance moves.
Margaret only uses dumbbells for one exercise (slow squats), the remaining exercises in these two workouts are done with 3lb ankle weights or no weights at all. She definitely pushes the reps with pulses and variations to attempt to reach fatigue.
The "standing" leg work is really three exercises. It includes 1-2min of slow controlled squats, then some hamstring work done kneeling on a chair. She concludes with bent-over calf raises.
The "floorwork" abs/lower body routine is also based on 3 exercises. It starts with chair v-sits & oblique twists, goes to seated inner thigh squeezes using a small squeezable ball and concludes with various standing outer thigh lifts, no ankle weights.
There are lots of stretches in between exercises. Margaret is very articulate and soft-spoken, and she's definitely not a drill sergeant. Scenery is absolutely beautiful, park-like resort settings.
I'm a bit disappointed at the lack of innovation in the exercises themselves but I can see these workouts having a place in a older beginner's fitness lifestyle. Especially if that person has seen Margaret Richard's Body Electric and enjoys her low-key style.
I also previewed the remaining workouts on this DVD and was disappointed to find that there is no back work. I found the upper body workouts very short and unimaginative.
If I were to spend 15min exercising the upper body I would prefer to do one of Tamilee's I want those arms routines or one of the premixes from Cathe's Push/Pull for more intensity.
These two volumes are very nicely done. The two are made so you have the option of doing just 20 minutes each or doing the whole workout. Each 20 minute Program has its own warm up and cool down. Both volumes are chaptered with Programs A, B, and C.
Volume One 60 minutes contains:
Program A was taped at Canandaigua Inn On The Lake. It is a beautiful park like setting over looking the water. Nice relaxed atmosphere with some spanish music. Margaret works out alone. The pace of the workout was just right not too fast and not too slow. No dread factor it went by fast.
Program B was taped at Body One Studios. Its an indoor workout. Margaret works along with Heidi. The studio is nice looking but nothing extraordinary. This workout also flows well.
Program C was taped at Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens. This is a beautiful setting and with the spanish music made it all the better to work out to. Again the workout flowed well with a relaxed atmosphere. Margaret is alone in this one.
Margaret is very pleasant and enjoyable. She smiles all the while so you don't realize how hard she is working you out.
August 20, 2008