Video Fitness

The Secret To Weight Loss Volume 1 (Level 1)

Moira Stott

This 2005 Stott Pilates DVD contains a 20-minute aerobic walking workout plus 15 minutes of pilates-style matwork exercises.

Stott Pilates rates all of its workouts for difficulty on a 1 to 5 scale. The Secret To Weight Loss Volume 1 is rated a 1 (easiest level).

The set is a windowed studio corner with filmy white curtains and wood floors -- a little bigger (and more cluttered) than the set in Moira's last batch of videos. The music is okay, nothing great. For the aerobic section it provides an appropriate beat but is in no way memorable (we are not talking Turbo Jam here). For the pilates section it is a quiet, repetitive piano tune. There is a music-only option.

The DVD is chaptered by warm-up, aerobic section and pilates section. There is a separate section covering pilates alignment and breathing principles. The DVD has decent-length clips of other Stott workouts (although this section does not include the most recent offerings).

For the aerobic workout all you need is proper footwear. The pilates section only uses a mat.

Moira starts off by leading P.J., Jen and Sarah through a gentle floor warm-up that reviews some basic pilates principles. I like this section for centering myself, but it is easily skipped.

P.J. takes over for the "walking pilates" section. It is completely low impact. I think it would adapt well to a rebounder. The moves include marching with feet together and apart, lunge backs, heel digs, kicks (some of the heel digs and kicks are done at an angle), knee lifts and side steps. Simple arm patterns are added to some of the steps. P.J. talks constantly, cuing the moves (she does mirror cue) and offering lots of training and fitness tips and encouragement. Fortunately she has a low, pleasant voice, and I didn't find her annoying. This section is 20 minutes, or "just over a mile" as Moira notes, and includes a cool-down and stretch. I found the intensity similar to most of Leslie Sansone's walking workouts, and appreciated P.J.'s (slightly) greater variety of steps.

It is back to Moira for the pilates section. Moira instructs as Jen and Sarah demonstrate the moves, many of which are more "pilates-inspired" than classic pilates. For example, rather than a traditional roll-up with straight legs, Moira presents a "half roll-up" where the knees are bent and the upper body is flexed up (kind of like a crunch) rather than a full sit-up. I think this approach makes pilates more accessible for a greater variety of people, especially beginners or those who might have physical limitations.

No one except an absolutely sedendary beginner is likely to lose much weight doing only this DVD -- the intensity is just not there. However, it certainly makes a good starting point for such persons, and of course regular exercisers who are recovering from an illness or injury could also use this. I personally like the aerobic section as a warm-up for toning or weight workouts. I've also found the pilates section makes a nice wind-down and stretch.

Yes, there is a Secret To Weight Loss Volume 2, and the DVD includes a clip from it. Unlike Volume 1, which is widely available retail as well as on line, I've only seen Volume 2 at Amazon and on the Stott Pilates website. I've ordered Volume 2 and will do a review of that one as well once I get it.

Instructor comments: In her earliest videos Moira was quite stiff and formal. She's still no party in a box, but now she is relaxed and natural on camera. She teams well with P.J., and steps gracefully into the background while P.J. leads the cardio section.


April 18, 2006

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