Video Fitness

Urban Training

Harold Sanco

I really liked the choreography in this video. I loved that it was about 95% low impact, but at the same time could be modified up quite easily. Harold does a very nice job teaching and layering the moves and cues pretty well. I would say the choreography is similar to some of the less complex or earlier CIAs, and definitely easier than Christi or even Franny. I would recommend this video to someone who is not quite Christi ready, but would like to try some nice hi/lo choreography without lots of impact.

My biggest complaint with the video is the TIFTing. Harold's method of TIFTing is very similar to Jennifer Mills Palmer (and it was her video CIA 9908 which inspired the word TIFTing!) It is hard to tell when one combo ends and the next one starts because he often TIFTs after teaching as little as 8 counts more. Some people say that there are 3 combos in this video, but this was not clear to me when I did the video.

If you don't mind TIFTing, this is a pretty good hi/lo option. If it drives you nuts, you might want to just borrow it (like I did) and try it a few times.

Instructor Comments: I was extremely impressed with Harold especially since this was his first video as the star (as far as I know). He really does do a great job teaching and layering the moves and his choreography was fun.

Lisa C

I have a confession. I wanted to love this tape. I like Harold; he is cute, personable and fun to watch. That is where I stop - at the watching point. I did 20 minutes of this video and gave up. So take this review with a grain of salt, because I never did finish the workout (but I did watch all of it). If you don't like to take it from the top, then run from this video. I can't even describe the choreography because I was fixated on how many times we were repeating things. Blech. I can see where those who don't mind the TIFTT-ing would find this workout enjoyable - I guess I get bored easily.

Another negative (although I don't think Harold had much choice over this, since this was his first video) was the Interval Max music. Enough!! I loved Harold in Hi/Lo Heaven and I am sure he is a great instructor. I just didn't care for this particular workout.

Instructor comments: I love to watch Harold, he really looks like he is having a great time. I hope he continues to make videos. That smile is contagious.

Suzanne Moriarty

This is a terrific hi/lo workout and one of the few low impact tapes that can get my heart rate into the target zone. It clocks in at about 49 minutes for the warm up and core workout, then a short cooldown before an extended ab section. (I admit I haven't been able to face the concept of 20 minutes of abs, so I won't be commenting on that part).

The choreography is pretty dancy/complex. I'm a complex choreography junkie and usually able to pick up most anything (even the second section of Step Heaven) in the first couple of tries. Harold cues it well, and it's pretty easy to pick up the moves.

And I can't say enough about Harold! This is his first tape, and he's a wonderful instructor. His cueing is excellent, and he has a terrific personality. Towards the end he adds some "flava" which is thankfully optional, because I can get my body to move *quite* like that. Fun to watch, though!

All that having been said, if you don't like a lot of "take it from the top", this is not the tape for you. The sequencing would have benefitted from starting from the second or third segment, and spending more time on the fourth, rather than always starting from the top. On the other hand, if you need a lot of practice with the complex choreography, this might work out well for you. However, I have the attention span of a gnat, so TIFT'ing is a real impediment for me. As a result, I probably will only reach for this if my knees hurt and I need a low impact workout (so far, thankfully, a rare occurrence).

The music is also very familiar - same as used in Andre's CIA 9901, Jennifer Mills-Palmer's CIA 9908 and, I'm told, Cathe's Interval Max. For me, that's actually a positive, because I particularly like the Carribean style section, but many people may be very tired of this by now.

Even still, I will be anxiously awaiting the next offering from this talented instructor. Hopefully, with less TIFT'ing, but more great personality.

Celia M

Instructor comments:
Harold is a great instructor with tons of charisma. He's obviously very comfortable in front of the camera and the class, and is extremely motivating!

Video comments:
I absolutely adore Harold and I think he has a lot of potential to become one of my video instructor favorites. He's so great that I really regret having to say that this video is not for me. I have an extremely low tolerance for 'taking it from the top,' and this video is one, long TIFTT. The moves are a lot of fun, but are repeated way too many times to keep my interest. I think this video could have used a few more combinations, rather than building and building on the same one from the beginning to the end of the tape. I prefer tapes to be broken down into two or three sections, with totally different combinations in each.

I know several VFers who really like this tape, and I think it's a good effort for Harold's first video. I'm hoping that Harold will do more videos, but will use a different format that doesn't repeat the same combinations so many times. I think Harold is capable of dragging anyone back from a visit to S.L.U.G.G.V.I.L.L.E. - with the right video!

Joni O

I like this workout. It has become a welcome addition to my hi/lo collection. It’s the right mix of athletic and dancy hi/lo choreography for my taste, it’s short enough to be a good tape for mix‘n’matching and Harold’s personality just shines. It’s also that rare bird – a low-impact workout with choreography that manages to be interesting and fairly intense. (Gotta use the big movements to keep it intense.) I’ve been using this workout pretty frequently as an efficient, enjoyable way to work out the kinks after a tough leg workout, as a nice transition after a run or as a stand alone workout on a lower intensity day. The choreography is probably about as complex as stage 1 of Hi/Lo Heaven (you may recognize Harold from that video) and the intensity is probably intermediate/advanced. (I admit that I’m terrible at judging intensity, so your mileage may vary.)

The cardio is pretty short. The warm-up is 7 minutes, the body of the workout is 37 minutes and the cooldown is 7 minutes. You don’t need to use a lot of room with this workout, just enough to grapevine side-to-side and to walk about 4 steps forward and back.

The warm-up is a non-intimidating mix of athletic moves with a little flair. Knees, lunges, mambos, ham curls, v-steps, that kind of thing. Like most of the videos released in the last year or so, the warm-up stretch is dynamic, which suits me just fine. The warm-up music is good too, strong vocals and plenty loud enough. Then you say goodbye to the warm-up combo and never do it again. Unfortunately, you say goodbye to the music too. After that, the soundtrack is that old familiar 9905/Interval Max music. At least the songs come up in a different order, but you will recognize them, as sure as Dynamix has an 800 number.

The body of the workout is broken into 3 choreography blocks with plenty of taking it from the top. Warning! If TIFTTing is your pet peeve, this workout may not be for you. It doesn’t bother me in this video, but I tend to need a little extra time to catch on to hi/lo choreography. Harold layers artfully. He teaches the simpler version of each move, then introduces a spin or a twist. For instance, the starter version of combo 1 begins with a walk, walk, mambo, shuffle back, mambo back and then repeat; in the later version, instead of shuffling straight back, you shuffle around to face the back of the room and then pivot around to the front. There are a lot of mambos and a lot of pivots in this video, but there are also plenty of uncomplicated high knees and side leaps to keep your heart rate up. Despite the “urban” in the title, he performs the routine in a very straightforward and athletic fashion for most of the workout. I think he doesn’t really cut loose (and my, how Harold can cut loose () until after the heart rate check. That’s when he starts to add “flava” to his mambo twist. I have to admit that Harold’s flava does my heart good. No surprise that my favorite combo comes in the 3rd segment, where he teaches the most high impact move of the workout, “Charlies Angels.” I do wish there had been at least one more choreography block, but I suppose it is a good thing to leave ‘em wanting more. The cooldown gets a little funky, but the funk is limited to the arms and shoulders, so there’s no need to panic, if you are (like me) funk-impaired.

As a bonus, there is a 20-minute ab workout at the end of the video. The first 10-minutes are mostly variations of traditional crunches, with Harold using slow, impeccable and controlled form. I found myself getting tired at this point and worried that I wouldn’t be able to hack another 10 minutes. But he takes some breaks between sets and mixes in some easier and less-traditional exercises during the last 10 minutes. I’m not used to doing 20-minutes of abs, so the first couple of times I did the ab segment, my neck got pretty tired, but I was surprised at how quickly my neck strengthened and it doesn’t bother me any more.

Instructor Comments: Harold is beautiful. His smile and energy light up the screen. I hope he does another video: I could always use a little more Harold in my workout room.

Daphne M

Harold's choreography in this high/low tape is just what you would expect out of him -- fun! It's not too complex, but it's fresh and flows really well. The intensity and choreography are both upper intermediate/low advanced. There have been a lot of comments about the TIFTing, and alas, it's true -- BUT -- it's not as bad as it looks. When I previewed it, I thought it looked more repetitive than I'd be able to tolerate, but that wasn't the case when I actually did it. The beginning parts are worse than the later parts (because there's just not a lot of choreography yet), but by the time you get mid-way through, you don't even notice the TIFTing any more. Or at least you don't mind it, because it's fun. The high/low is about 45 minutes, including the warmup and cooldown. Then there's an ab workout at the end, but I haven't done it, so I can't comment on it. But the cardio gets an A, and I hope Harold makes more.

Annie S.

Harold does a great job with this video. He keeps the choreography interesting without being too complex. The choreography is similar to Christi's style but not as complex as hers. The routine is mostly low impact which I think would be easy to modify up or down. Sometimes Hi/Lo hurts my feet but this workout does not. He doesn't take up too much space. If you have enough room for a grapevine in either direction you will have enough for this video. I am limited in my side to side room so I have to shorten my steps a bit. The set is the famous CIA red.

MUSIC: The music is good and you will probably recognize most of it. It seems to go well with his choreography and of course Harold is right on the money with his timing.

COOL DOWN: This has to be my all time favorite cool down. He adds a little "flava" to it and the music he uses is great. The first song is on Andre's newest step video (can't remember the name of the song) and the second song is Britney's "Crazy".

ABS: The 20 minutes of abs is quite good and thorough. He has a lot of variety with slow, controlled reps. I think it would be good to split it into two 10-minute sessions since I tend to hate working my abs.

BACKGROUND EXERCISERS: I really like the man and woman that Harold chose to help him. They do a great job keeping up and really look like that are having a great time. Like Harold, they smile quite a bit.

It is unfortunate that Harold takes it from the top so many times. If it wasn't for that I would say the workout was close to perfect. This is really the only negative thing about this video and what keeps me from doing it more often. I will buy Harold's next video in hopes that he includes more combos and less TIFT.

INSTRUCTOR COMMENTS: Harold is definitely comfortable in front of the camera. He is a joy to watch because he seems to move so effortlessly. His smile is contagious and he cues very well. I love to work out with people that smile!!

Kelly Davidson

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