Video Fitness

Walk Slim: Fast and Firm 4 Really Big Miles

Leslie Sansone

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: This approximately 57-min. walking workout includes 4 different miles. It begins with a 15-min. mile, the first 5 min. or so of which are at a slower pace as a warm-up. The second mile is 12 min. and moves at a very brisk pace; you end this mile with a short (2 min.) boosted walking (i.e. jogging) interval. The third mile is 10 min. and consists of intervals, alternating between walking at a brisk pace and boosted walking. The last mile at 15 min. begins with toning exercises with the stretchy band done while walking, then drops the band for a cool-down. The practice ends with 5 min. of stretching, which includes some yoga-inspired moves.
As with all of Leslie’s walking videos, there’s no real choreography, no routines (and thus no TIFTing), etc. You simply do a step until Leslie has you return to walking. In addition to walking in place, steps include side step (single and double), little kick, knee up, wide step, kickback (aka hamstring curls), repeater knee, tap out, lunge, walk three and tap, grapevine, and mambo. Leslie also has several different arm movements. The toning segment includes exercises for the chest, back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders; Leslie also tells you to focus on engaging your core, too, while doing these moves.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through intermediate exercisers. Leslie assumes you’re familiar with her walking programs, and there’s some jogging (OK, “boosted walking”). (Leslie has so many other better options for absolute beginners to exercise.) Intermediates can easily boost intensity by exaggerating moves, adding impact (e.g. turning side steps into skater hops), holding light (1-3 lb.) weights, etc.

Class: 6 women (4 of Leslie’s usual instructors - Carol, Linda, Joanne, and Mary Kay - plus Cristina and Chrissy, Leslie’s niece and her college roommate) and 1 man (Steve) join Leslie, who instructs live.

Music: a mix of vocal (“Everybody,” “I Got a New Attitude,” “Everybody Dance Now”) and instrumental. It’s nice, but all of the music from the first three miles appears on Leslie’s other recent workouts. Only the last mile has music I haven’t heard on the other Walk Slims.

Set: indoor studio with wood floor and black curtain, on which are hung a giant photo of Leslie and her usual instructors and sayings like “Walking is man’s best medicine.”

Production: clear picture and sound. Leslie’s voice is louder than the music. The camera angles are mostly helpful but there are too many upper body shots when a new foot pattern is introduced or vice versa. (I personally don’t care for close ups of feet only; I kind of need to see the whole body to figure out what’s going on.) There are also some camera angles from high above and one or two moments where you can see camera people scurrying to get out of the shot or trying to blend into the background.

Equipment: sneakers, firm / stretchy band (i.e. a 5’ resistance band of light resistance).

Space Requirements: enough room to take a couple of steps in each direction. At 5’8” a 6’ by 6’ space proved sufficient for me. Of course, you can always make it smaller – or bigger – as your room allows.

DVD Notes: The DVD is chaptered by mile, with the stretch in separate chapter, all of which are accessible from the main menu.

Comments: The accompanying text to this release on Leslie’s site said this video is her best ever. After doing it, my interpretation of that statement is that this video is a collection of the favorite aspects of her Walk Slim series: the boosted walking from Fast Start & 4 Fast Miles, the grapevine and mambo plus Mary Kay’s assistance from 3 Fast Miles, and the firm band exercises from Fast Firming. (OK, maybe those are MY favorite bits.) Do I think it’s her best ever, then? Not really, but I only have a fraction of her vast output, and I prefer some of her other workouts more (the other Walk Slim cardios, her newish 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk, Walk & Jog), mainly because I use Leslie videos exclusively for cardio. If you have all of the other Walk Slims, you won’t find much new here (both in terms of steps and music) to justify the expense. That said, if you’re new to Leslie and/or her Walk Slim series, this might be the great first step to see if her videos / this series is for you. Of course, if Leslie is your main go-to instructor, this is a no brainer. Also, this is better suited to someone who wants a little bit of everything rather than someone who prefers to focus on one thing at a time. I’ll probably keep this one for now because I do like the first three miles a lot, even if they aren’t anything wildly new and different from what I already have, but I’ll fast forward through the band portions of the last mile and use the last few minutes as a cool-down.
I’m glad to see Leslie include a slightly longer and more thorough stretch here. If you prefer to do a mile at a time you might find the transitions, at least with the 2nd and 3rd mile, a little rough in terms of jumping right into the thick of things and then jumping right out to the stretch.

Instructor comments: Leslie is Leslie – positive, non-intimidating, encouraging, and talkative. She’s more on top of cueing and gives more directional cues here than in some of her other recent workouts. She still mirror cues, however, and encourages you not to worry about which foot you’re using so long as you move.
Mary Kay does a great job of cueing most of the second mile. She’s more precise than Leslie in her cueing but doesn’t have as much bubbly enthusiasm. Unlike in Walk Slim 3 Fast Miles, Mary Kay has a microphone, and Leslie is surprisingly quiet for Mary Kay’s portion!

KathAL79

April 16, 2008



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