This DVD consists of a 30-minute walking-type workout plus 20 minutes of pilates-style mat exercises. Moira Stott leads the warm-up and the pilates sesson, while P.J. takes over for the walking workout. It is essentially the same set-up as The Secret to Weight Loss Volume 1, just a longer walking section and a little longer, slightly more intense pilates segment.
Stott Pilates rates all of its workouts for difficulty on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (hardest). The Secret to Weight Loss Volume 2 is rated a 2.
The set is a windowed studio corner with filmy white curtains and wood floors -- more spacious, but also more cluttered, than the set in Moira's last set of videos.
For the walking workout all you need is proper footwear. The pilates section (done barefoot) uses only a mat.
The workout is chaptered by warm-up, aerobic section and pilates section. On the DVD is a separate section explaining pilates alighment and breathing principles. There are some nice extras on the DVD, such as the decent-length clips of Moira's other workouts (unlike Volume 1, this section includes her most recent titles). My DVD is bilingual, English and French. In "French mode" the titles and voiceovers are French, and Moira and P.J.'s voices are dubbed.
Although Volume 1 is widely available retail as well as on line, I've only seen Volume 2 at Amazon and on the Stott Pilates website.
As with Volume 1, Moira leads off with a gentle, seated warm-up and stretch. I like this part myself, but it is skippable.
P.J. leads the 2-mile "walking pilates" section, which lasts about 30 minutes. The moves include marching (both with feet together and apart), lunge backs, heel digs, low kicks, knee lifts and side steps. During the second mile P.J. adds in some side squats and gentle side-to-side hops. Simple arm patterns are added to most of the steps. This routine should adapt well to a rebounder.
As in Volume 1, P.J. talks non-stop (luckily she has a low, pleasant voice), mirror-cueing the moves, and offering lots of encouragement plus training and fitness tips. During the workout Moira adds a comment or two. Background exercisers Jen and Sara are also miked but barely say anything. I would have enjoyed hearing more from the rest of the group.
Okay, let's talk about the workout music. It is frankly awful. The exact same tune is looped over and over for the entire 30 minutes. It keeps a decent (albeit unvaried) pace and that's about it. At least the music is soft, and P.J.'s monologue drowned it out some. Still, this is the main reason why I will not pull this DVD off the shelf nearly as often as my Leslies and Georges.
Moira instructs the pilates section as Jen and Sara demonstrate the moves. As in Volume 1, almost all of the exercises are "pilates-inspired" rather than classic pilates. For example, during The Hundred Moira has the legs in tabletop position (bent 90 degrees), moving one leg straight during the five in-breaths, then pulling the leg back in during the five out-breaths. I enjoyed Moira's adaptations -- the exercises feel different and fresh. I also feel her approach makes pilates more accessible for a great variety of people, especially beginners or those with physical limitations. Take a look at Stott Pilates The Secret to Toned Abs, Buns & Thighs for a full-length mat workout using this approach.
Bottom line: If you are interested in trying a walking cardio workout, or want to buy one for your favorite beginner exerciser, choose one by Leslie Sansone or George Foreman/Petra Kolber -- don't get this DVD. If you already have lots of Leslies and Georges (as I do), this one will work as an occasional change of pace. However, although it has adequate intensity, IMHO the bad music and the lack of group dynamics make Volume 2 just too dull to use on a regular basis. The pilates section is pleasant and different, if not especially taxing, and would make a nice add-on. Again, though, don't get this DVD just for that section -- instead get The Secret to Toned Arms, etc.
Besides The Secret to Weight Loss Volumes 1 and 2, Stott Pilates has two other walking workouts which I have not seen, both led by P.J.: Walk On To Total Fitness (Level 1, 30 minutes) and Walk On to Weight Loss (Level 2, 50 minutes).
Both Moira and P.J. are excellent instructors. Moira is much more relaxed and natural now on camera, not so stiff and formal as she was in her earliest videos.
May 10, 2006