I got these from a friend who loved them, and she said I just had to have them in my collection. This is also how I ended up with the original WAP series and WAP Abs. In fact, if you either or both of those, you would be better off spending the $40 or so dollars you would spend on these on a weight training tape or two and a stretching tape (or dvds) because there is nothing new here. Here's the deal-
Like the its WAP predecessors, the WAPX series come with three videos, an eating plan and a gadget. My pack did not have the eating plan but I saw the plan that came with my friend's pack and its practically identical to the plans in her earlier WAPs. There is little discussion of cooking methods, food choices or portion sizes- you are supposed to follow the daily plan exactly as printed on the card. With tons of meat and dairy, the plan is very hard to adapt for any special diets or allergies, and does not include much overall info to help a person adopt a healthier eating plan. You'll need to consult your doctor, a nutritionist or purchase a book that covers basic nutrition information if you want more info.
The gadget in this pack is the "stretchie" also known as a dyna band. I'll call it a band from here on out. I think the term "stretchie" is silly and somewhat condescending. I can picture the discussion with Jake of Body by Jake and the women from Firm- "I've got buttissimo and abbadabbas, the suthern belles here have fanny and Les, you can have stretchie..." but I digress. Anyway, I like using bands and think they have a place in any fitness routine. However, there are drawbacks to using them- namely that you never know how resistance you're getting, they can break, and after a certain point, you can't increase the resistance by shortening the band and maintain an adequate range of motion. Leslie doesn't discuss any of this is her tapes or accompanying material, or that you should check the band for wear occassionally.
The tapes, like all WAPs, are based on 1, 2 and 3 mile plans at 20, 30 and 45 minutes respectively. All three start with an annoying rappish "walk" song, that would probably irrate even the biggest lover of rap into hating the genre. All three also have large gaps between songs that really interrupts the flow of the workout. This is especially jarring since Leslie says repeatedly that the music is for keeping the beat to fuel the workout. If the music cuts out, and even Leslie can't keep the beat, how does that effect the workout? Like her other tapes, the WAPX series is based on her steps- marching, knee lifts, side steps and kicks. She also uses wide marches and what she calls kicks backs- everyone else calls them hamstring curls. The pace is slower than WAP Abs (the fastest pace of the series) and even regular WAP. So if you are completely new to exercise, this is probably the best pack to pick. Also, Leslie incorporates much fewer arm motions than in the previous packs, again, that decreases the intensity if you are looking for something at a lower intensity level. The band is used only minimally at the very end of each workout, you do a few reps with it, in a few different positions. If you are hoping to build strength or shape your upper body, the band is not used often enough, for enough reps or provide enough resistance to see those changes. Instead, the band work provides something to break up the monotony of all the marching in place. Leslie seems particularly distracted in the band work in mile 1. Theres no rep counting, no discussion of form, and no mention of the rhythm for the reps. She covers some of this in the 2 mile workout, but since many exercisers will start with the 1 mile, she should include such info in that workout. I think everyone in her mile 1 workout does a different number of reps on the band exercises at a different pace. This is more annoying than anything else. Its hard to keep track of your workout and improvement if you don't know exactly what you're doing, how much resistance you're using or how much of it you're doing.
There's a lot of shuffle steps or stutter steps in these tapes, where the exercisers, Leslie included, try to get back on the beat or in step. It just seems so odd in a workout that is predominantly marching in place. Leslie has set up the work out so that you march in place after each different step, so you start each step on the right foot (which is probably why people do these steps to get on the right foot).
The workouts are well produced in that the music is clear, the lighting is good and does not compete with the instruction and most of the camera angles make sense and are not distracting. Some people think matching costumes are a sign of high production values; I don't. All of the female participants here wear the same outfits, not just the same color. The thin strapped camis that they wear are a poor choice for the more endowed women. It frequently looks like they are about to overflow the deep necklines on the tops.
Overall, these are very basic, low impact cardio workouts, suitable for beginners to intermediates. The workouts start low and slow and gradually build, then cool down gradually. They are safely planned, making them a good choice for people just starting out who need to watch the intensity and have workout clearance from the Drs. Leslie encourages exercisers to go at their own pace, and do what they can, cooling down and finishing when they need to. Exercisers who need or want this will find these tapes fit their cardio needs, and will get a slightly less intense workout than in the original WAP, and a very noticably less intense workout than in WAP ABs. Regardless of level, exercisers choosing this pack will want to also purchase a good total body toning/shaping/strengthening video (or a few that cover it in parts) and a good stretch tape or two. If you're reading this review looking for ideas, then I would suggest Donna Richardson's 4 day rotation, 15 minute workouts for dummies, Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Loose Weight (1 or 2) or her Secrets of a Great Body upper and lower tapes, tamilee's I want That series or the Reebok winning body workout as good choices for toning. Karen Voigt's Pure and Simple stretch or tamilee's stretch tapes (there are 2, or you can get the dvd with both) are wonderful picks. For a yoga stretch that is accessible- the dummies yoga tapes are fine, and Jane Fonda has a wonderful stretch and relaxation program after a 20 minute cardio session in the Stress Reduction program. Overall, leslie's WAPX makes a fine cardio program for beginners and intermediates (or anyone who prefers her style and approach), but requires toning and stretching supplementation to make it a well rounded fitness program.
As always with Leslie's videos, she is perky and chatty. Some of Leslie's talk is about good health, some is cheesy banter with the other exercisers (though not as much as in previous WAP installments) but most is still a shill-a-thon for the WAP workouts and her latest gagdet, the "stretchie" (aka Dyna Band). Some people don't mind her endless chatter; I find it obtrusive and occasionally condescending.
This is the third Walk Away The Pounds set from Leslie. It follows the same formula as the other ones. Leslie leads a small class through a 1-3 mile walk that includes marches, kicks, knee-ups and other basic aerobic moves along with arm movement. She uses a resistance tool (in this case, a resistance band) to add intensity. A graph pops up from time to time to mark off the time in half-mile increments. All three tapes in the set are essentially the same, but for reference, this review refers mainly to the two-mile one.
Leslie is typically perky and motivating in this workout. She and the background people are colour-coordinated in pink and the set is airy and refreshing-looking (although they zoom in on the floor one time and it is very scuffed). The music is typical beat-keeping instrumental except for the warm-up, which adds a faux-techno vocal that is really irritating. Thankfully it disappears after a few minutes.
I thought the distinguishing feature of this workout, the stretchie band, was put to poor use. It is a little more durable than the previous setís ab belt, but that is the only thing it has going for it. Because it needs to be anchored with the body and she canít use the legs for that because she needs to keep them free for the walking, she is pretty much limited to anchoring it across the back, so all we get is chest work. This is perhaps why she waits until near the end of the workout to even begin using it. I think her best gadget in terms of versatility and durability was the original setís weighted balls, but on the other hand that set is the easiest of the three I have---I like the newer tapes better than the older ones, but I like the older gadgets better than the newer ones. I wish she could have stayed with the weighted balls and made more workout with them, but she does market through infomercials and Goodtimes Inc. is known for their love of gadgets :-)
If you like Leslie, this tape will add some variety to your Leslie collection, but it wonít really offer anything new. Leslie is one of the most formulaic and consistent instructors on the market. Any of her sets would make a good entry point to her oeuvre. Any of her tapes would be equally suitable. This one is as good as any of the others.
This DVD contains two express walking programs, the 1 Mile "Easy Walk" and the 2 Mile "Brisk Walk." Both programs utilize a strechie band to work on upper body strengthening as you walk. The Easy Walk program contains about 16 minutes of walking followed by a 2 minute stretch. The walking part includes Leslie's 4 basic steps--walk (march), side step, front kick, and knee up--and spends some time at a brisker pace; the band is used for just a few exercises in the second half mile. The Brisk Walk program involves 29 minutes of walking followed by 3 minutes of stretching. You'll spend longer time at a greater intensity and do a bit more with the band, but again, the band is only used for the second half of the workout. These are nice programs that are particularly ideal for those short on time and wanting to mix in some light strength training with their cardio workouts. Also, the Easy Walk would be especially appropriate for beginners, but even more advanced exercisers will still work up a sweat by adjusting the intensity as needed.
This is my second Leslie video, and I noticed that she repeats many of the same things over and over--she's quite chatty! It doesn't really bother me, though, as the workouts are simple enough that I can mostly tune her out. She works out here with a large class, although unfortunately, you cannot see all of the particants from the main camera angle. I thought the music at the very beginning of both workous was annoying, but other than that it was fine.
Beth C (aka toaster)
June 10, 2005