Video Fitness

5 Day Slim Down

Leslie Sansone

This is a “walking” style cardio workout with five miles, named as follows: Classic Walk, Sculpt Your Arms, Slim Your Legs, Trim Your Tummy, and Speed Walk. Despite some of the mile names, this is not a circuit-style workout. You are on your feet and moving at an aerobic pace throughout.

On the DVD menu, you can choose from Warm-Up (about 5 minutes, during which Leslie introduces her basic steps), each mile individually, and a Cool-Down (which includes a comprehensive stretch). Choosing from the individual options returns you to the menu afterward completion, but if you hit “next“ on your remote it will move you directly to the next menu option. There is also a Full Workout option, in which all of the individual elements flow together, but are chaptered so you can use the “skip” buttons to move quickly to the mile (or miles) you want.

In her intro it is apparent Leslie designed this DVD mainly for those exercisers who like to do a daily mile with her. However, with a little button-pushing it is pretty simple to string together several miles for a longer cardio workout.

Leslie is by herself in this workout, in her studio. I own a lot of Leslies, and I prefer the ones where she works out with a group -- to me they are just more fun. On the other hand, Leslie is noticeably calmer here, so those who found her too hyper in her most recent videos might prefer her here. The atmosphere is also more intimate, almost cozy -- kind of like you happened to drop by her studio after hours and there is Leslie alone, designing some new routines. Having her by herself also let me slip easily into my "Leslie zone" where I just follow her cues but otherwise can let my mind drift.

Hey -- this one has new music! Hooray! Not totally new, but probably 90% new. The music volume was okay, although I wouldn't mind having it cranked up just a bit more.

Except for the last mile, I found the pace decent, but not super-intense (for example, nothing like the Mary Kay mile in Weight Loss Walk). While Leslie keeps mainly to her four basic steps (marching, side steps, knee-ups and kicks), she also used other steps frequently, such as kickbacks (hamstring curls), tap-outs, hand to opposite knee, and others. For the toning miles Leslie emphasizes her moves that work that particular area of the body, but she doesn’t restrict certain moves to only one particular mile -- for example, I saw double knee touches appearing in both the arms and the abs miles.

Leslie is casual about cueing move changes, and this DVD is no exception. She cues on the move, rather than before, more often than not. But since there is no choreography per se, I’ve never found this an issue.

The first "classic" mile features her four basic steps. To me the pace is not exactly wussy, but not overly-challenging either.

The second mile emphasizes upper body. Leslie doesn't use weights or other resistance tools as she does in many of her other workouts, though. I slipped on 1 lb. hand weights when I tried this out, and was glad I didn't use my heavier weights as Leslie sometimes used faster arm movements than she usually does when walking with weights. I thought the pace was good.

In Mile 3 Leslie does some fun (and new) variations on her side steps. She also does a brief set of side-to-side squats, and two short sets of stationary lunges. If you don't care for these moves, you can either keep them shallow, or just walk or substitute another Leslie move.

During Mile 4 Leslie reminds you to incorporate a standing crunch when you do kicks or knee-ups (she's done that in other recent videos). She also does quite a few set of hand touches to the opposite knee.

Mile 5 is the "speed" walk and of course it was my favorite! The pace is quite brisk, with one optional “boosted walking” (jogging) segment towards the end. Hopefully this is a preview of what her next 5-mile workout will be like.

Overall, although this one isn't the most fun or most challenging Leslie out there (IMHO), I think it was a good purchase given the reasonable price and the variety of options it presents.

Bottom line -- I'm glad I got this one! I can see myself using the individual miles as extended warm-ups for toning or weights, and stringing together 2-3 miles as I did today for a cardio workout.

Instructor comments: A much calmer Leslie here.

Sandra

September 11, 2008

I like this DVD. I've never been a big user of Leslie DVDs. I got a few off the SASE list when I was recovering from a sprained ankle a few years ago, but got back to FIRM and other things as soon as possible. Well, now that I'm pregnant everything has changed. FIRMing gets my heart rate up too high, and I barely have the energy to walk to the car. It's hard to believe I worked out for 45 to 65 minutes daily just last month!

This is a great, easily modified workout of 5 miles. Right now I've done up to two miles, and it's got the classic Leslie kicks, side steps, knee up and walking in place I remember. She also uses some sculpting balls, for which I subbed my FIRM cardio sculpting balls. I get a short workout with high rep/low weight sculpting in about 30 minutes, which is all I can handle.

The music is non-offensive, the set is nice and bright, and I think I recognize the 2 mile walk from an earlier release, but I'm not sure. Whether it's a re-release or not, this is a great DVD to have around, and it will make a nice complement to the prenatal yoga and minimal weight work I'll be doing for the next 7 months.

A+.

Instructor comments: Leslie is her usual chipper self.

theurbanhippie

10/03/08

This is my favorite Leslie workout to date. Love this one! Leslie works out alone in this DVD, which is actually a nice change of pace. There is no bantering with the background exercisers. It’s just you and Leslie and without the distraction of the background exercisers you can really concentrate on what you are doing. I know it’s just a “mindless” walking workout but a little extra concentration goes a long way in adding oomph to the workout and I love that feeling of total focus. Leslie is a bit more subdued in this one too, which is also a nice change of pace.

The workout is chaptered like this:
- Warm Up (5 minutes)
- Classic Walk (14 minute mile)
- Sculpt Your Arms (14 minute mile)
- Slim Your Legs (14 minute mile)
- Trim Your Tummy (14 minute mile)
- Speed Walk (12 minute mile)
- Cool Down (9 minutes)

Each chapter gets progressively more intense. Leslie adds some nice intensity options throughout (back lunge side to side instead of sidesteps, lunges and squats, knee repeaters, jogs). The music is enjoyable and fits each segment nicely. The workout is filmed in what appears to be Leslie’s studio. A matrix menu or workout blender would have made this the perfect Leslie workout.

Instructor comments: Leslie is the queen of walking workouts. I've tried others and none come close. Leslie is upbeat and motivating. She is usually very chatty but not so much in this DVD.

Helen K (antbuko)

October 17, 2008

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice (once through all in one fell swoop, once through in parts).
Sandra and Helen have already described this workout so well that there’s little left to say, but I like it so much I’m just going to add a few more thoughts to convince people that, yes, they really do need another Leslie. :-p

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through intermediates. The faster pace might be too much for those absolutely brand new to exercise, but those who have walked with Leslie before shouldn’t have a problem, as you can just do a mile at a time if needed. Those at the int. / adv. level of fitness can find ways to boost the intensity: adding light hand weights (1-3 lbs.), adding impact (e.g. turning side steps into skater hops, making the lunges into plyo lunge jumps), taking this to a piece of equipment (e.g. rebounder), etc.
I consider myself an int. / adv. in cardio; I normally do hi/lo or step aerobics, kickboxing, etc., but nowhere near a puke in the bucket level. I did this when stressed and sick, and it gave me a decent workout without much jazzing up; just a few tweaks, and it’ll still give me a good workout at my usual level. I don’t expect the strength benefits to be all that great at my level (I’m currently working through a New Rules of Lifting rotation at the gym), but I go to Leslie for cardio, really.

Production: Most of the time Leslie is clearly visible, although there are few shots from odd angles and one or two close-ups of the wrong half of the body when a new move is introduced. The music is a little quieter than Leslie’s voice but is audible. I’m not sure why Leslie seems to be using music soundtracks with pauses in between songs lately, as this interrupts the flow a little; I know mixes exist where one song fades into another. Also, I found it interesting this was filmed in wide screen / letterbox (the screen with the black bands along the top and bottom) since it’s just Leslie in her studio; the result is that in some of the shots Leslie seems to be a tiny little person in a big black cave, and Leslie could be hard to see if you work out to a small screen (although fortunately her moves are simple enough this isn’t as much as a problem as it would be for, say, Patrick Goudeau or Seasun Ziegler).

Equipment: sneakers.

Space Requirements: Although you can always stay in place when Leslie starts traveling, it’s probably best if you can take a couple of big steps side to side as well as move up and back a few steps.

DVD Notes: While a matrix option to string segments together would be icing on the cake, I would actually just prefer that the cursor not skip back up to the “Introduction” after every segment, especially since the screen resets itself after only a few short seconds (meaning if you don’t hit the new chapter right away you have to wait a couple of additional seconds until the cursor is ready to go again).
The flexibility of this DVD is great, allowing for you to do the full workout or just do portions at a time. These segments make great warm-ups, post-weights cardio sessions, boosters, or however you can think to use them.

Comments: I ordered this on a whim, but when I went to cancel it (for some reason I got the – wrong – impression this was more for beginners) it was too late. Am I glad I got this after all! From my first run through this entered the competition for my favorite Leslie. I’ve found that I’m really drawn to Leslie’s newer offerings – the Walk Slim series, the 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk – and this is right up there.
There’s only that one brief bit of jogging, but the variety of moves here is what makes this workout so appealing. I know, it’s crazy to be so excited about a heel dig or a grapevine, but this just proves Leslie can shake things up a little from the four basic steps. And the fact that each mile has a theme makes them easily distinguishable from one another, even though as Sandra pointed out Leslie doesn’t reserve certain moves only for the segments where they’d most apply. My only quibble is that the Tummy segment has tons of knee lifts and a lot of kicks, so this one drags a little for me.
You know, I don’t mind Leslie by herself here. Maybe that’s partly because I’m not as familiar with and thus not as attacked to her usual workout crew. But Leslie is definitely more focused on the workout here, with the result that there’s far fewer “Say wha?!” moments or “Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk” bits or “So-and-so’s a grandma!” comments, which bodes well for those repeat viewings. There’s just something about this one, too, that makes me feel more like I’m in one of Leslie’s classes and less like I’m working along with a video or I’ve stumbled across Leslie when she’s out with her friends.

I prefer both 5 Day Slim Down and 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk to Leslie’s 5 Mile Advanced Walk (or is it Advanced 5 Mile Walk?). I don’t know if that will be true for everyone, however, but this is what I seem to like better: the presence of a warm-up, more freedom to pick and choose individual miles rather than a few set premixes (especially since I can choose directly from the main menu, not rely on the skip button), more variety in moves, no equipment other than sneakers required (although there were people in the Advanced who did the workout without boosters), and a calmer Leslie. Of the three 5-mile walks Leslie has released so far, Slim Down is my favorite because of its variety, followed by Fat Burning Walk.

The lower body segment reminded me of Walk it off with George! Circuit Walk (which is currently out of print).

Instructor comments: I agree that Leslie is much less chatty and calmer here, although she’s still positive and encouraging. She cues more here than I’ve seen in the other workouts I have, although she’s inconsistent on letting you know when move changes are happening (sometimes it’s so far in advance she forgets to make the switch when she said, sometimes it’s, “Oh, yeah, we’re doing this now!”). She’s not concerned about left / right.

KathAL79

December 28, 2008



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