Video Fitness

Slim Series

See reviews of individual videos in this series:

Comments about the series as a whole:

Basic Premise: I think the real basic premise is Debbie Siebers kicking your butt for an hour (or I guess making you kick your own butt!) and making you like it. The Slim in 6 is a 6 week program for fitness beginners. The Slim Series is what you go to after doing Slim in 6 for 6 weeks. In the little booklet that comes with the set they say not to attempt the Slim Series until you've completed Slim in 6 or have built up a base level of fitness. I'd have to agree with that. You'd die otherwise.

Number and Type of Videos: There are 6 videos in the set, each of which could be ordered separately in either VHS or DVD. Each one has a slightly different focus but they are more the same than different like the old Firms, if you know what I mean. All of them feature Debbie and one male and one female background exerciser, different ones in each tape. Nice warm sets. They all have similar names so it can be easy to mix them up until you get used to which is which:

Tone It Up: It's 58 minutes long and is a total body workout with light weights. The cardio stuff is very simple like the old Firms, but with some kickboxing style moves added. You don't do any cardio move long enough to get sick of it. I did this one first and used 3lbs & 5 lbs and it was pretty tough. It moves fast and keeps you heart rate up like the old Firms and I was sweating like mad. It also has some pretty tough upper and lower body floor work, one of the background exercisers uses ankle weights, but I figure that they are either from the planet krypton, or mentally disturbed, or possibly both. Debbie has a way of doing sets of half-time reps followed by a set of small pulses that just have you whimpering by the end. The bridge work is particularly killer. Man was my butt sore after the first time through this one.

Cool It Off: It's a 58 minute total body stretch with some yoga type stretches executed fairly well. It also has lower back strengthening and knee stabilizing exercises. It's very comprehensive and very relaxing. She holds the stretches for a nice long time. I did this one on the second day and I can really see that you would need recovery days if you were doing this series all the time. I think every workout series shold include and hour long stretch tape like this one.

Firm It Up: 58 minute un-weighted lower body workout. I'm assuming that the "It" in this case is your butt and thighs. Holy Lactic Acid Batman!! Who would have thought that an un-weighted lower body workout could be so darn tough? I was a whimpering ball of sweat by the end. It's half standing work and half floor work and it's, in a word, brutal!! The standing moves include a lot of squat variations, including one-legged & plie squats. Also S-L-O-W roundhouse kicks, many reps. The floor work includes some of the toughest inner thigh stuff I've ever done. Cut out the middle-man and take the Advil before you do this one.

Mix It Up: another 58 minute one. This one has a little more cardio than most of the others and uses 3, 5 & 8 lb weights and a toning band with handles on each end. I suppose the toning band is optional, but I have one & used it. For me, this one was easier than the others, but it still got my heart rate up by interspersing cardio & weight segments.

Tear It Up: It's really 78 minutes long, but it goes by pretty fast, considering. Itís tough cardio with kickboxing and athletic style moves like burpees and lunges, along with strength moves using dumbbells and toning bands. They call it a total body blast on the box. I call it a total sweat fest.

Shape It Up: Also 78 minutes. It's a total body circuit tape using "medium" weights, which I interpret as being heavier than Tome It Up. The box says it targets opposing muscle groups while maintaining a high intensity cardio workout. This one has a lot packed in and even though itís long, it also goes by fast.

OK Here's what I think is good about these videos:
The instructor is great. She's very down to earth and funny and encourages you right at the point that you want to give up. She goes around sometimes and corrects the background exercisers form and she always reminds me to keep my abs in. She sweats right along with you and she laughs when it's really getting tough.

I like the screen format. There's a border along the bottom and right side. Along the right side border there's a blue oval dot for each segment. The segment you are working on is green and then when you're finished it becomes transparent. Being a visual person, I like the dots and find them motivating. I finally heard the beeps that are mentioned on VF, when each segment ends you get a beep; I can barely hear it and miss it most of the time. Along the bottom border there are two count down timers, one counts down the time for the entire workout, the other counts down the time for each set. I also find that motivating, because you know how long the set will go on and I'm less likely to quit in the middle. There's also an area along the bottom where comments pop up, like form pointers, alternate exercises or, sometimes, funny comments. It also tells you things like 1/3 done, 2/3 done etc.

The DVDs have the option to play it with the music on or off. The music is fairly quiet and unobtrusive; it doesn't bother me or excite me.

They remind me a lot of the old style Firms without all the goofy sets, costumes & music. And the instructor is warm & funny instead of scripted and serious. She's kind of like the girl next door (but more like the nice drill instructor next door). The set is modern with nice, warm colors. The exercisers and instructor are wearing nice outfits and both background exercisers are wearing heart rate monitors, which they recommend. The things that remind me of the Firm are the simple cardio, the circuit style, the quick pace and the way the tapes are similar, but each has a slightly different focus. I think they will be good to rotate with Cathe Style strength. After doing a 5 week rotation with these tapes I lost several inches and still like the tapes. Thatís success in my book. I will definitely be doing another Slim Series rotation in the Future.

Instructor comments: I love Debbie. She is sweet and encouraging, but tough. Doesn't let you slack off on anything, but does it in a really nice way. She really makes you want to workout with her every day.

Loretta S.

8/27/03

I just want to update my impressions of these.

1) I can no longer do the warmups. They are irritating to me, too much the same across all the workouts, and I don't find the moves fun at all

2) I'm sad to say that Debbie and her bantering with the backgrounders have jumped the shark for me. Debbie does seem nice, but her kickboxing form is terrible and the chatter with the gang just annoys me.

3) The music resonates in nightmares for me. Okay, that's a huge exaggeration... let's just say that the music has also jumped the shark.

Why did this jump the shark?

1) My life has changed a lot since I got them. My kids are older, I have access to a gym again, I have a lot of really fun workouts-

2) I am easily bored

3) I get easily irritated by repetitive things


Conclusions:

I will keep them, even though I am purging quite a lot out of my collection. I think if I just say to myself I'm going to do an all endurance period of weight training, I can see allowing myself to spend my valuable workout time on this series for 4 wks. I can supplement it with noontime cardio.

Leela



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