I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once all the way through.
General workout breakdown: This walking workout contains five separate ~12 min. “miles” (measured by the music’s bpm), each beginning at a slower pace that gradually builds up to 2 min. of “boosted walking” (or jogging) to close the mile. There is no warm-up, but an ~5 min. cool-down (using the four basic steps) & stretch (focusing on the upper torso, calf, hamstring, and lower back) after the last mile close out the workout of ~65 min. total.
As with all of Leslie’s workouts, this is not about choreography; you simply repeat whatever step you’re doing until Leslie says to switch. In addition to the four basic steps – walking (or marching in place), side steps, knee lifts, and (front) kicks – Leslie mixes in steps like wide marches, kickbacks (or hamstring curls), double side steps, grapevines, walk 3 & tap, double knee lifts (or repeaters), tap outs, side lunges, and heel digs. She also has a few arm variations. There isn’t a whole lot of variety between the five miles, especially during the ending jogging portion, where Leslie does almost the exact same sequence each time, maybe only varying the number of repetitions slightly.
Level: I’d recommend this to beginner / intermediates through maybe even high intermediates. The faster pace could be too much for those absolutely brand new to exercise, but those who have done boosted walking with Leslie before shouldn’t have a problem, especially since you can just do a mile at a time if needed. More experienced exercisers needn’t have much Leslie experience, however, as Leslie makes sure to explain what’s going on. 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, switching over to jogging sooner), 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 good workout without much jazzing up; with maybe a few tweaks, it’ll still give me a good workout at my usual level.
Class: In miles 1 and 5 plus the cool-down & stretch Leslie is alone. 4 women join her in miles 2 and 3, although they rotate in and out. Mile 4 has the entire cast of 7 women and 1 man. As usual, Leslie’s cast is fairly diverse, with a variety of ages, ethnicities, and body shapes. She has her own niece, a mother & daughter, and a couple. Her usual fellow instructors (e.g. Mary Kay) are missing here; most of these exercisers are people who use her programs.
When Leslie is with the group, she and 1-2 others (the same woman) will do the jogging while everyone else stays with walking; when she’s alone, she usually just shows the boosted movements.
Music: mostly upbeat instrumentals, with a few vocals. I’ve heard some of it before, whether in other Leslies or other workouts, but most of this is different than what’s in her Walk Slim series, for example. Fortunately Leslie does NOT bring back “Everybody” for the boosted walking segments, but she does use the same song(s) for the jogging part of each mile.
Set: Leslie’s indoor studio, a large room with wooden floors and black curtains along the walls, on which are hung a few photos of Leslie and her gang plus a few generic photos of people stretching, jogging, etc.
Production: clear picture and sound, with the music is loud enough to be heard without interfering with one’s ability to hear Leslie. Camera angles are usually helpful, but there are some that aren’t so much, whether it’s because they’re move around, they’re from an oblique overhead angle, they show a close-up of the lower body when Leslie introduces a new arm movement, etc. Also, there are a few shots which include another camera, the ceiling, etc. – the stuff one doesn’t usually expect to see.
What I don’t understand is why 5 Day Slim Down, which only features Leslie, was filmed in wide screen, while this, which has up to 9 people on screen at once, was filmed in full screen. After spending some time with Slim Down, Fat Burning Walk almost feels claustrophobic.
The bottom of the screen gets busy, with the rotating counter (that alternates between “Mile X” and 0000/0 – I’ve read some tried to return their DVDs as “broken” because of this counter, which does look like it’s stuck, but it seems that’s what it’s supposed to be doing) in the left hand corner, occasional text with the names of moves (e.g. “Knee Up”) or reinforcement of a point Leslie’s trying to make (e.g. “Balance and Co-ordination”) in the middle, and ½ mile announcement at the appropriate time over in the right hand corner.
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: The main menu allows you to choose your mile (1-5) or play all. While a matrix option to string segments together in any order would be icing on the cake, what I really want is to be able to click on the cool-down and stretch from the main menu. Why, oh why, do you have to hit skip on the remote to find it?
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.
The DVD also contains an ~8 min. interview with Nicole, one of the walkers who’s lost a lot of weight thanks in no small part to Leslie’s walking workouts. Also, I really like that Leslie’s Introduction is in a separate chapter.
Comments: Both of Leslie’s new 5-mile walks, 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk and 5 Day Slim Down, include all new footage; also, there is no overlap between the two.
I’m drawn to Leslie’s newer releases: the Walk Slim series, 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk, 5 Day Slim Down. And this is a worthy addition to those.
I prefer both 5 Day Slim Down and 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk to the 5 Mile Advanced Walk (or is it Advanced 5 Mile Walk?), and of the first two I would rank Slim Down in front of Fat Burning Walk because of its warm-up, even calmer Leslie, less busy screen, and most especially the greater variety in moves, which means each mile has its own distinct personality. What I like better about Fat Burning over the Advanced is the menu allowing for greater ease of picking miles individually or in numbers other than (the predetermined) 3 and 5, the need just for sneakers (although some walkers in Advanced don’t use boosters), and the consistency of the intensity among the three miles (although the miles with jogging in Advanced often had several jogging bits in a segment rather than just one – Advanced might have a 1 or 2 more jogging intervals overall).
Leslie is, as always, positive, upbeat, and encouraging. Here you get both the calmer Leslie by herself and the chatty Leslie with her gang, but even the goofy Leslie here’s not over the top loony, however. She’s not the sharpest cuer, but the steps are so simple and the lack of stressed left/right makes that fact not an issue. I like that she includes form reminders; it seems silly that one would need those during a walking workout, but they do help!
December 29, 2008