I have Fitness Becomes You on DVD. I am reviewing Volume 2, which is a one-hour workout divided into 3 twenty-minute sections (A, B and C).
Section A is filmed outdoors with Margaret alone on a chair. It starts with a warm-up in the chair and consists of various upper body exercises. Margaret does a long series of biceps exercises without stopping, and uses 10 pound weights. I'm an advanced exerciser and normally use much more weight for biceps, but I had to drop down in weight because I found the long set of high reps to be very tough. The reps are done slowly, so that you really get deep into the muscles. Next comes (slow)triceps dips off the chair (I used my Fanny Lifter) and then seated triceps presses, and Margaret does a variation on the usual overhead triceps press by turning the hands with the palms facing back, and does many reps slowly (she uses 8 pound dumbbells). Again, I usually go very heavy with triceps, as that is one of my strongest muscle groups, but for this, I had to drop down in weight. Margaret is very strong! Next came some exercises for the rotator cuff of the shoulder, and deltoids, done lying on the floor. There is one exercise where you lie on your side with your arm straight in front of you holding a dumbbell and you lift your arm up and down---it is really tough! I thought it was a creative variation on the lateral shoulder raise, and in that position, you can't cheat and it isolates the deltoids. My one criticism is that she doesn't do the same number of reps for both sides. There is some chest work done supine, which was mainly flyes done at different tempos. This upper body workout is suitable for all fitness levels; beginners can use light weights, and advanced will be challenged using heavier weights.
Section B was filmed indoors in a fitness studio, with Margaret and a younger female participant. It focuses on lower body. It is done on the floor. Margaret does various exercises for the abs, outer and inner thighs. The exercises for the outer thighs will cause fatigue (and will tone you)---Margaret uses ankle weights---I didn't use ankle weights and my outer thighs were fatigued by the end. My only criticism is that Margaret does not do the same exercises on both legs. All the movements are controlled and Margaret repeatedly gives form tips, such as keeping your abs contracted.
Section C also focuses on lower body, and is filmed with Margaret alone in an outdoor setting, with a chair. There is also some floor work. Margaret does exercises such as leg extensions seated on the chair (for quads). I felt that this section was a bit easier than the previous two sections.
My general impression of Fitness Becomes You, Volume 2, is that it is a good total body workout. It is appropriate for the beginner exerciser, since Margaret gives many form pointers and the exercises are easy to follow. It is good for an advanced exerciser who wants to get in a total body workout or who wants a slower and more mellow approach to strength work. The music is instrumental and pleasant, and is low-key. This is not for people who like music with a strong, pounding beat or fast tempo. I like the outdoor settings, but I found the lighting and sound quality to be less good than the section that was filmed indoors (which had very good lighting and sound quality). My only other criticism is that there were a few voice-overs during which you could still hear the original soundtrack.
I think Margaret is an inspiring instructor. Although she is a woman of a mature age, she is strong and fit, and continues to pass her vast knowledge on in the form of videos (and TV shows). This workout is more low-key than some of her earlier workouts, but it is appropriate for all fitness levels, and consists of safe and effective exercises. I give it a B+ overall.
Margaret Richard is one of my favorite instructors because she is an experienced fitness professional who uses excellent form and constantly gives form tips and explanations. She is very pretty and fit, has a warm smile, and a low-key personality. I like that she puts her heart into everything and is sincere about her desire to help people become fit. She is graceful and her love for music and dance is obvious.
July 31, 2004
This video consists of 3 20-minute workouts, each with its own warmup and cooldown. #1 covers biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pectorals. It’s very good, and you can definitely feel the work. It includes rotator cuff work, which is lacking in a lot of workouts. #2 is abs, outer thighs, and inner thighs. I spent most of this one watching the clock. The ab work is traditional and very un-special. It also doesn’t include obliques. The outer thigh work was good but a little repetitive, and each side is worked unequally. I did like the inner thigh work which you do lying on your back. #3 is calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. This section was “okay.” The seated quad extensions were really good. This video is much better than Volume 1 of the series. Margaret is more relaxed and natural, and the exercises more interesting. But even so, there were only a few parts of the whole thing that kept my interest, so I won’t be keeping it.
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.
Volum Two 60 minutes contains:
Program A was taped at Canandaigua Inn On The Lake. This program had different exercises than Vol. 1 Program A. Margaret works alone in this one.
Program B was taped at Body One Studios. Again the exercises were different than Vol. 1 Program B. Margaret also works along with Heidi in this one.
Program C was taped at Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens. Margaret is alone here and the exercises are different than in Vol. 1 Program C.
The pacing, the flow and the scenery make this DVD a good 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