Video Fitness

The Big Burn: 2 Miles of Intervals

Leslie Sansone

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once all the way through.

General workout breakdown: This just under 31 min. walking workout of two miles (determined by the music’s bpm) contains three 90-120 second “boosted walking” (aka jogging) intervals. The first mile is about 15.5 min. and the second 14 min. There is no separate warm-up or cool-down, but the first song starts off slower, with the next song building on that intensity until you get to the main pace; after the last interval the songs slow down until you get to the last, which serves as your formal cool-down. Leslie’s usual quick stretch (just under 2 min.) for the upper body and back of the leg closes this out.
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 up 2 & back 2, double knee lifts (or repeaters), and tap outs plus a number of arm variations. During the boosted walking portions she does jogging, little kicks, and high knees.

Level: I’d recommend this to beginner / intermediates through 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. 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. This gave me a good little workout without much modification.

Class: 1 man and 4 women (Leslie’s fellow walk instructors: Mary Kay, “Grandma” Jo, Lisa, and Britney - sp?) join Leslie, who instructs live. Oh, a poor cameraman gets roped into the workout near the end, too.

Music: mostly upbeat instrumentals, with a few vocals. I’ve heard some of it before, whether in other Leslies or other workouts. Fortunately Leslie does not use the same song for every single interval, but those she uses she’s used before, including “Everybody.”

Set: Leslie’s indoor studio, a large room with wooden floors and black curtains along the walls, although in this installment Leslie and crew are in the corner in front of the windows (by which traffic passes, which can be a good or a bad distraction depending upon your mood). One cast member is on a circular stage bit a little higher than the rest – ooh, something different!

Production: Leslie stresses that this workout is not about being perfect, but for me she went a little too far with illustrating that in the production. There are wonky camera angles (the most distracting are the oblique angles, including one from almost overhead that sweeps from the ceiling down to the cast, and the soft focus shots from the cameraman off to the side who gets roped into showing his kicks – oh, and someone hand the guy a tripod, ‘cause even when he’s not kicking he’s not Mr. Steady), a surprisingly large number of accidental views of the camera equipment and crew, a few sound issues (in addition to the music being significantly quieter than Leslie’s voice, there’s a little crackle at one point where someone probably brushed up against a mic), and a background exerciser who’s regularly off on another foot and can’t quite figure out one of the moves. Still, part of what we love about Leslie is her approachability, her lack of big budget star stuff…
During the video a little sweep of color with text announcing the steps (usually) appears occasionally at the bottom of the screen.

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: The main menu allows you to play the workout or play it with music only. There’s no mile marker in the middle of the video, but the miles are chaptered separately; however, neither the cool-down nor the stretch is chaptered separately. There’s no intro except a quick screen announcing the title; once you push play you’re on your way.

Comments: If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I wish Leslie would spend less time marching in place,” this is the video for you. If you’ve ever said, “I wish Leslie would include more arms, including mixing arm movements with lower body steps,” this is the video for you. Oh, and hope you like kicking, too, as there’s a lot of it in here.

I’m drawn to Leslie’s newer releases: the Walk Slim series, 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk, 5 Day Slim Down, and 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk. And this is a worthy addition to those.

I agree that this is in many ways a remade Walk & Jog, although with one less interval. Despite the production issues, I almost prefer Big Burn because there’s so little down time, with one move change after another (sometimes without going back to walking first – can you believe it?!).

This definitely ranks up there as one of the most intense of Leslie’s offerings.

Instructor comments: Leslie is, as always, positive, upbeat, and encouraging. She’s not the most consistent or clearest cuer, but given the simplicity of the choreography it doesn’t really matter, including if you mirror her or not. Leslie is chatty and kind of loopy in parts, but she does believe exercise should be fun. She includes lots of reminders to focus on your core here.


January 29, 2009

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