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Karen Voight: Streamline Fitness

This production is all class with a distinctly artful quality. It contains 2 modular workouts that can be done separately or back to back. (They complement each other). The first portion is done using her 3# body balls, which are optional (can also use dumbbells), but difficult to be without on some of the legwork where you must squeeze the ball between your calf and hamstring in the back of the knee. You could probably squeeze an ankle weight in just the same way. The setting is dark, and although I prefer a lighter set, this was sophisticated and pleasant, as well as, calming (unusually so for a toning portion). The moves are easy to follow and she has a unique take on some basics (both upper & lower body). The music is light but had a bit more punch to make you wanna move than what I usually associate with a light soundtrack. Now for the big BUT (no pun intended). The concept behind the video is to make fitness maintainable for busy lifestyles, and while perhaps it meets this goal, I found it so streamlined that it was not useful to me. It would, however, be a good beginner tape or light workout for travel. This first segment, with warm-up was 22 min. In the 2nd segment, she introduces a yoga-style routine which, not personally being familiar with yoga to have any comparison, I found to be excellent and difficult for the person without good balance. (As I discovered, that would be me!) There were some very good "streamlined" abs here and then she turns you over for some mild but effective back work. She also includes push-ups here and though she again uses the body balls, they are easier substitute in this portion. It was also wonderfully relaxing. After doing this section, I definitely decided to devote one workout day to flexibility training. While this is the most beautifully produced video I've seen (out of approx. 30), it's probably not going to meet the needs of the intermediate or advanced exerciser.

Instructor comments: Karen is awe-inspiring and exquisite to look at in this video. (I struggle with believing that she acheived this look just by using the light weights/high rep workouts she's known for - but I'm no expert). Her definition, fluid movements and grace truly inspired me to keep on keepin' on and also review my goals. Her good cueing and form pointers are both present here. She just comes across so sincere that I find her very pleasant as an instructor.

Jan B
1/23/98

I was very anxious to get this video and I was dissapointed in some of it and very thrilled with the rest of it. The first 25 mintues includes a 10 minute warm up and stretch and then you start doing your basic upperbody movements, she uses 3 lb weighted balls but I thought since I'm used to doing heavier weights I'd use 8 lbs. The moves are so fast that you can't use heavy weights and still have good form. I felt like my arms were going in all different directions. The moves aren't as fast as GWW but almost. I didn't like the first section because there just isn't enough there to even get any type of benefit from it. The leg workout isn't even worth doing. You do a few squats, lunges and some standing moves holding on to a chair or dowel and you put the weight behind your knee and press your leg back and out to the side and I didn't feel a thing with this and the weight kept wanting to slide out.

The second part is a different story all together. This is one of the best ab tapes I have. She starts out with some very intense ab work, one uses the weight or weighted ball between your knees and your knees raised up doing lowerbody crunches then you put the other weight behind your head for a full body crunch. One very tough one is where you do a crunch and stop, then you let go and put your hands behind your thighs and raise up even more and then you let go and pulse for 6 times and then lower down, she does this so many times my stomach is super sore afterwards. After the intense ab section is the back and push ups section. You alternate back strenghtening with push ups and you do this for 3 sets. After that is a very good yoga cooldown that I think is very thorough and relaxing. I've only done the first section once and have no desire to do it again but I have done the second section 4 times and plan on doing it 3 times a week.

Instructor comments: I have always liked Karen's personality and style, she's not as outgoing as alot of other instructors but most of her workouts are very solid.

Dawn Henson
1-18-97

I was lucky enough to receive this video the day after it was released. I am a big Karen Voight fan, so I expected her usual excellence. "Streamline Fitness" is split into two workouts. The first is 25 minutes of light cardio (warm-up)and toning/weight-ball work. The second is a 35 minute Pilates/Yoga style work-out. No cardio here -- just lots of moves and poses that require strong abs and back to stay in them. This work-out also uses the weighted balls, but to a lesser degree. I suspect most of us would benefit from these moves even without weights. I used two- and three-lb. dumbells through both work-outs, but a couple of moves may be better-suited to the weighted balls Karen sells. I just have a little trouble forking over 30 bucks for another pair of light weights. The first work-out had me questioning the “intermediate-advanced” rating on this video. I’ve only been using videos for a couple of months, and I can still get a good work-out from the likes of “Your Personal Best” and 40 mintues of “Firm Strength” (using only 10 lb. dumbells max!), so I’m probably at a representative intermediate level. I finished the first work-out with no trouble, and barely broke a sweat. I used the 3 lbs. that Karen used, and paid attention to form, but I only “felt the burn” a couple of times during arm work, and only once when I was doing hamstring curls with the weight tucked behind my knee and got a cramp in my foot. Karen states this “streamline” work-out is intended to do more in less time, but I think we all know this is a pipe dream. I can't get away with a mere 20 minute work-out, even at high intensity. The second work-out is an entirely different story. This is a more intense ab and back program which made me struggle. For those of you who are familiar with “The Method” tapes, you will feel right at home. The poses are relatively easy to attain, but holding yourself there for a while is another story! There is “Enya”- esque music at a low level through the program, which I liked. Karen finishes with a good stretch, and I finished feeling very relaxed.

Overall, This video is a beautiful production. Karen is working out solo on a lovely draped set with rich colors and cool (but not too loud) music. Karen's cueing is right on, but I know some people find her rep counting and "in-out" style a little annoying. She uses fundamental low(er)impact moves which are easy to follow. There are video cuts to Karen working in other locations (outside, “at home,” at the KV studio, etc.) which are somewhat distracting (especially on one miss-timed edit at the beginning -- you can’t miss it!) at first, but I got used to them quickly. I will probably use the first work-out on mornings when I do a 5-mile walk later in the afternoon. The second work-out can stand on it’s own as a solid ab/back program. I would be inclined to use it to relax after a shorter walk or a less-than-perfect day at work. Don’t get me wrong -- this is a real work-out, but you get to stay on the floor a lot, and you finish with a good stretch. Running through both work-outs consecutively did fatigue me, but I would have to augment them with a good 3 or 4 mile walk to feel like I did some cardio work.

All in all, I like the tape a lot, and I will be using it frequently over the next several weeks. Karen gets another 'A' from me.

Instructor comments:

Ann Marie
1/13/98

Karen's new video "Streamline Fitness" fits perfectly in with my schedule. In fact, the video starts out with her explaining that busy schedules - especially HERS - were the reason behind Streamline's strategy: a more efficient workout in less time. Thank goodness! I love all of Karen's videos, but I don't always have the hour or 80 minutes required.

The workouts are modular, approximately half an hour each, so you can do one, or do both. As Karen explains, "you might want to do the weight training workout in the morning, or when you need an energy burst. The second workout is more energizing and you might want to save it for evenings. After a long day, there's maybe about half-an-hour when you even feel like DOING anything. Maybe you don't even feel like standing up! The second workout works great, then, because it's done lying down."

You work one-on-one with Karen, who looks terrific, as usual. The settings vary (from studio, to what appears to be her home, to the outdoors) but the cueing and action remain constant. The first workout starts with warmup, and then weight training with either dumbells or 3 pound weight balls. Karen demonstrates with both. The cueing is excellent, constant reminders and tips on form, and the moves are simple and effective without being boring. One exercise builds on top of the previous one. The music is like a simple jazz soundtrack.

The second workout is fan-tas-tic. Again, one-on-one with Karen you go through an ab workout that is Voight personified. It hurt to sneeze the next day! Then you do some intense back stretches and finish with a yoga-type stretch section that just feels terrific. Music gets a little more New Age-y, but I enjoyed it.

You get a few outtakes at the end (one with Karen gasping and grabbing a drink after the ab workout).

I liked the one-on-one atmosphere. I love this tape, you get a great feeling of accomplishment in a short amount of time.

Instructor comments: I own about fifteen fitness videos, and Karen is my absolute favorite. I like her no-chat, no-cheerleading, no-nonsense approach in her videos. Most of all, I like the results I get.

Suanne Bierman
2/2/98

I wonder at the rating of this workout at intermediate/advanced. The first moduile is a nice warm-up before a NordicTrack workout, but I would not rely on it to be a workout inand of itself.

The ab/yoga section is pretty good, although I wish it had been more balanced with more work on obliques, as is in her other videos and her book.

I liked the video, but if I had to do it over, I would have waited for a lower price. Not up to Karen Voight Par, but since her other videos are excellent, I guess that's not surprising.

Instructor comments: I thought Karen seemed to be off her game in this video -- I found her moves to be jerky and mechanical in the first module (not at all beautifully fluid and graceful, like her normal moving style). Her tempo is too quick to be able to use anything more than 3 pounds without lapsing into poor form. However, she is up to par in the second module. Her cuing, as usual, is excellent; her music choices are wonderful.

My biggest problem with this viedo is that Karen Voight has done something, it seems, to her upper body. Unless I am imagining things, her appearance in all the other videos and in the photos in her book is definitely different than what what was presented in this video. Quite disappointing for me, especially since I highly regarded her and had taken to heart her proclamations of trying to be happy with your body the way it is. If I am mistaken, I apologize, I am sorry. if not, I am crushed.

Kelli
2/12/98

I was really looking forward to this tape, since Karen is one of my favorite instructors, but this just doesn't cut it for me. I expected something harder and/or more effective.

It starts with some toning work, mostly for the upper body. She uses 3-pound balls. I used 5-pound dumbbells. I did get a burn on many of the exercises, but I never felt like I worked really hard, like I do after Cory's Arms and Shoulders tape, for example. I hate to say it, but this seems like a waste of time for someone who has been exercising for awhile. However -- for someone just starting a program, this could be very good.

The second part, abs and yoga-type stretching, is better, but not enough for me to want to continue to do this.

I've read that the "trend" is for people to want to get their exercise out of the way in as short a time as possible. That may be true, but I hope Karen doesn't desert her die-hard supporters in favor of this type of workout in the future.

Instructor comments: Karen, as usual, looks great, and she hasn't lost her knack of being able to explain a move so that you know *exactly* what to do. However, I don't think this workout meets the "hardness expectations" we've come to know her for.

Annie S.
3-29-98


I agree with most of the other reviewers--this is a beautifully produced video, but I suspect it won't ever be as popular with VF readers as her other videos. The resistance training section is just not challenging enough for most people. Even novice exercisers could find better and more effective strength videos than this one.

On the other hand, the abdominal workout that follows is excellent--Karen has always had a knack for isolating the abdominal muscles and for putting you in positions where it's difficult to cheat. Karen's ab workouts are the only ones that ever make me sore. The addition of small weights for resistance for parts of the workout is also welcome, though if you don't have Karen's expensive weighted balls you might want to skip the weight behind the head.

Karen's yoga section is also nicely done. It begins with back work to to complement the ab work, which I always appreciate. The style of the section is somewhere between Karen's Pure and Simple Stretch and a yoga video, and I would rank the yoga difficulty level as intermediate. It's much more Westernized in feel than most yoga videos, yet the beautiful music and serene cinematography provide a more relaxing experience than most other Westernized yoga workouts. The Wyndham Hill-style instrumental music in the yoga section was great, but the rest of the music didn't appeal to me.

To sum up, if you like Karen and are willing to buy this just for the abs and yoga, it's worth it, but don't buy it for the strength workout.

Wendy Niemi Kremer
4-2-98

Just to add one perspective to what other reviewers have already said: I had a hard time wanting to exercise with this video. Karen Voight had obviously had a boob job (which I find very disappointing, like a message that, no matter how fit and in shape you are, it's not enough) which I found distracting. She also is off beat with the music in the first part of the tape. I'm donating my copy of the tape to the local library, where someone less concerned about these details might find a use for it.

Kathryn
8/11/98

I agree with most of the other reviewers that the first secion is not very challenging and that even a beginner could find a better strength-training choice for starting out. I just choose not to do that section. I would never trade this tape though, because I really love the 2nd section and use it quite a bit. There are a lot of times when the missing components of a workout are abs and stretch and this tape fits the bill perfectly. It works well after a run or walk, especially, to round out a workout. The ab part is short but good, and I really love the yoga stretch and find it really relaxing. I love all the music in the 2nd section also.

Before I got this tape (I got it when it first came out) I had tried yoga and just couldn't get into it. Karen makes it approachable and unintimidating so that I was encouraged to try other yoga tapes and now I realy like yoga. One tip for those who don't already know - I found a sticky mat was essential to being able to do this tape and other yoga tapes. I ordered mine on the Internet and I'm so glad I have it. I'm sure a lot of people already know this, but I wouldn't have known if I hadn't had a friend who had taken a yoga class and told me about sticky mats.

While it's disappointing that the first part of the tape is not really useful, I am really happy with the 2nd part of the tape and just keep it cued to start there.

Instructor comments: I have always like Karen's no-nonsense attitude and like her in this tape as well. In fact, I find her a little bit more personable in Streamline Fitness than in some of her other tapes. I think she looks great and, while I certainly don't think she needed it, could not care less about her choice to "enhance" her bustline. It doesn't detract from her ability to teach.

Dana Shepperd
dshepperd@juno.com
02/07/1999

The other reviewers summed of the video quite well. If you're used to The Firm or Cathe's weight training, you might find this a waste of time. However, I think it serves its purpose. It's a workout for those days when you're busy, traveling and the demands of life cut into your workout time, it's meant to keep the body active so one should not expect an all out burn. The warm-up to me is similar to Strong and Smooth Moves in that is uses total body large limb movements. The weighted segment is a cross between The Firm 4-limb moves and The Method Precision Sculpting. It's not a tape to build a work out on but rather to supplement one. Can beginners use it? Perhaps. Light weighted workouts demand strict attention to body alignment and the stabilizer muscles.

The second part of the workout is a great ab workout and and mellow yoga stretch. Some of these ab techniques are in Energy Sprint and hit the midsection from every possible. The yoga section is good, but non-mystical and approachable. She does triangles, warrior, downward facing dog, and spinal stretches. Karen moves gracefully like the dancer she is.

The video itself is artsy and well-produced. There are inserts of other locations in color and b&w of her doing the movements outside, in her studio, and in a living room setting. To those who are new to exercise videos, let me tell you that most videos don't have this film-like quality. The clips make the cuing seem a half a beat off but this is not a highly choreographed video. It also seems to be a trend to show outtakes. I'd like to see the Firm do this.

Instructor comments: Karen Voight seem somewhat friendlier on this video, still no nonsense,, giving good form pointers, but very good as a one-on-one teacher. She uses weighted balls in this video and also demonstrates the moves using dumbbells. Thanks, a lot of videos don't demonstrate alternativives. About the obvious boob job, oh well, she does live in California, must be peer pressure.

Jean Leslie Wakefield
Jean Ebyrd@AOL.com
3/24/99

I had the good fortune of reading the previous reviews before I bought this video, so I wasn't going into this one with unrealistic expectations. I also had the good luck of finding this at Target for $10, so I mainly bought it for the abs and yoga workout. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed doing the entire workout. I did the upper and the lower body work with 5 lb. dumbbells (my 5 lb. set is actually a set of heavyhands, so I think that made them a little more similar to the green genie balls that Karen uses). Since Karen doesn't rest at all during the upper body work, my muscles did manage to fatigue somewhat (and I usually use heavy weights). Her tempo is too fast to use anything heavier than 5 lbs. The lower body work was not as thorough for me, but if you pay attention to form (and Karen does her best to see that you do), you will get some benefits from it. Since I bought this for the second workout, I was not disappointed. The abs workout is tough, one of the toughest I've done (probably second only to Keli Roberts Level 4). I used the 5 lb. dumbbells for this section as well. Karen's ab sections are always effective; I wish she would make an abs tape! The stretch was good; although I think I would rather do either a pure stretch tape or a pure yoga tape. This video will definitely find a place in my collection--it's perfect for travel. You need very little space in which to do it, and it requires very little equipment (her green genie balls or one pair of light dumbbells, and a mat or towel). If you can find it for $10, it's worth it even if you just use it as an abs tape.

Instructor comments: As usual, Karen Voight's form is perfect, and her cueing is excellent. She is so sculpted--I'd love for my muscles to look like hers! She seems very comfortable in front of the camera in this video, unlike in some of her earlier ones. She's still serious, but shows more personality here.

Kristin Aziz
KAziz@prodigy.net
3/29/99

As a long time fan of Karen, I was disappointed when I first viewed this video. It simply did not challenge me. However, I now find myself choosing this video more and more frequently. I typically use it on days "off" exercising, as it keeps my energy levels up without fatiguing me or overworking muscles worked the previous day. I really enjoy working out to start my day and I missed that feeling on my days off.

I enjoy the warmup portion of the video. I find it to be very thorough, whereas many videos skimp on the warmup. As a result, I occasionally use this tape to do the warmup for other cardio tapes.

Jennifer
bug@netroplex.com
4/13/99

I may be the only one to have done this workout with her Green Geenie balls, so my review may be somewhat different. Also I am an intermediate exerciser, but nearly int/adv when it comes to weight work. In fact, I ordered the weighted balls before I found this video at Target for 10 bucks. I don't believe it is worth more, unless you do a lot of traveling, or get very busy that can't fit in workouts for days in a row, and need a video to maintain your muscle, with this video, you won't build. Yet, if you begin flabby, you will firm. Any way, I wanted the balls for traveling, using for bridge work (more comfortable), behind the knee (again, more comfortable), for abs, for placing on my shoulders during lunges, and also for developing my forearms. In this video, using the weighted balls, half of the strength goes to keeping your grip and hanging on to them! So, as my forearms were stressing a little, due to that I have small hands, the rest of my arms seemed to feel like noodles when I was done with the weight section. She moves pretty fast, and I felt muscle fatigue towards the end of the upper back and tricep work. I felt that the chest work was minimal, so that is why she has pushups later on. Overall, the weight section was thorough, just as any video of Karen Voight's would be.

I must agree that the int/adv rating is too high. I think intermediate would have been more appropriate. I personally didn't care for the yoga section, but that is only because it didn't include all of my favorite yoga poses. It certainly wasn't bad. At the end, I just add a few that I feel my back/body needs that day I do it.

Overall, I rate this video a B. Great set, very thorough for a maintenance video. I would recommend it if your life is so hectic that you can't always fit in your workouts, but if you never miss your weight workouts, this may not be for you.

Instructor comments: Karen is always so thorough. You can tell she gives a lot of thought into all of her workout videos. In this video, she is more pumped up than in prior videos.

Lorrie Gigler
jlpg1998@aol.com
4-14-99

This video has gotten lukewarm to bad reviews. I have another view since I am in the advanced beginner category. I feel this video is just right for me at this stage. The first part has a great warmup and exercises for core strength that I feel are just right for my level. The abs work and yoga section is great, as everyone has said. It's unfortunate that collage has mislabeled this tape as intermediate/advanced. It works really well as a beginner or advanced beginner workout. It is also very well produced and has better music than most of Karen's other tapes. Stay tuned for the power walking stuff at the end. I found that really helpful, as I like to walk for exercise.

Instructor comments: She seems more comfortable in front of the camera on this video. There's quite a few vanity shots of her, and she has longer hair and the controversial "enhancements". Maybe she's trying to land a guy!

Laura in Madison
lparent@geology.wisc.edu
02/14/00

Just purchase this video two days ago, I really enjoyed it. It is a vigorous workout even thought it is so short, it is perfect in the event you get up late and aren't able to work out for an hour, but you want to get something in!!!! Karen just is fantastic!!!

Instructor comments: Excellent, what else can I say

Linda Rawson
daysfan@ivillage.com
3/14/00

Everyone has already given a very thorough rundown of Karen Voight's style and the moves in "Streamline Fitness," so I just want to point out that this tape contains the best abdominal workout I have ever done! Karen really knows how to make 10 minutes of crunches and various ab exercises worthwhile. She cues wonderfully and gives form reminders to ensure effectiveness. She also makes sure that a full range of motion is used, and after working the abs, she performs back exercises that complement the abdominal work. My midsection has never looked better, and my abs are stronger than ever. All other ab workouts that I have done pale in comparison to this one (and I've done videos from the "Abs of Steel" series in the past).

Lesley T.
7/25/01

This was my first Karen Voight video, and I liked it a lot. When I read reviews on other sites, I found that many people complained that the workout wasn't challenging enough, but I found it to be a just-right short workout for my intermediate level.

The workout begins with a rather lengthy (7-minute) warm-up that goes quicky from one move to the next. This section raises your heart rate somewhat, although I would have preferred a shorter warm-up with more time devoted to toning. The 17-minute segment of standing toning exercises which follows is definitely tough. Karen uses 3-lb. weighted balls, but she is also shown using dumbells. I started with 5-lb. dumbells and could do the first few exercises okay, but I had to lower the weight. I don't have weighted balls, so I used my 2-lb. ankle weights but held them in my palms similar to the balls. Some of the reviews I read said that the workout moves too fast to use heavier weights, but I think that with practice, I could stick to the 5-lb. dumbells. For most of the exercises, Karen does one slow set and then a second faster set in which she does move quite quickly. I found the upper body portion to be strong on the back and shoulders but less intense for the biceps and triceps. Karen then moves to a few exercises for the legs, including squates, lunges, and leg raises for buttocks. Because the entire toning section lasts only 17 minutes, no one muscle group is worked out particularly hard, but it's great if you're looking for quick overall toning--it reminds me of Tamilee Webb's I Want That Body.

You can stop the tape after the toning segment--Karen pauses at this point--or continue on to the next section, for abs. I was surprised to read that the abs section is 17 minutes long, as it went by very quickly. Here Karen combines traditional crunches--some done holding weights--with more Pilates-type abs moves. Each exercise was very intense, but not so difficult that I was unable to perform any moves; I felt like I got a very good abs workout. The tape ends with about 16 minutes of basic yoga poses. This section flowed nicely from the abs work, and it provided a nice stretch at the end of the workout.

I found Karen to be an excellent instructor: she is amazingly fit in appearance without being intimidating, and she did a great job cuing and explaining each move. The background music was jazz/R&B (some with vocals) which was pleasant without interfering with the workout. One thing that was a little odd was how the images flashed between different sets. The main set consists of Karen in a studio with her hair down and giving live instruction, but during each exercise, the camera flashed to Karen in the studio with her hair up, Karen in a living room setting, and Karen outdoors. Although this was a bit strange, each set was appealing, and I didn't mind the transitions.

Overall, I would recommend this workout to advanced beginners/intermediates looking for a fast, varied toning program that is not too strenuous. I plan to do this workout on alternate weeks with Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight, which is a little more challenging.

Instructor comments: Karen is a very good instructor who provides methodical cuing and who remains focused and encouraging throughout the workout.

Beth C

September 8, 2003

If I had to choose my top three exercise tapes to bring to a desert island, this video would definitely make the list. It's a wonderful blend of traditional strength training, pilates-type ab work, and yoga stretches. Instructor Karen Voight adds unique twists to all of the above, and the end result is a flowing, enjoyable workout.

Karen begins with a warm-up that lasts approximately 7 minutes; she effectively stretches and warms both the lower and the upper body. The 23-minute segment that follows is full-body strength training using light weights (Karen uses fitness balls but displays how dumbells can be substituted). Although there are many traditional movements such as bicep curls, squats, and lunges, Karen frequently combines the exercises to make them more interesting and effecient--for example, a bicep curl combined with a plie squat. Most of the moments are very focused and intense, and the number of repetitions is generally low (1-2 sets). Karen finishes out the strength section by using a body bar for balance (a chair can be substituted) to do some targeted thigh and buns work. Finally, there is a brief full-body stretch to end the first half of the tape.

Karen removes her shoes for the remainder of the workout. The second half of the video begins with abdominals work. This section is the most challenging abs work I have ever encountered; you will really FEEL the results the next day. Again, Karen utilizes traditional moves such as crunches, but she makes the exercises tougher by adding weights, pulses, and isometric contractions. She follows the abs work with back extensions to ensure that both sides of the body are thoroughly stretched. The last part of the tape is approximately 25 minutes of yoga-type stretches. Karen performs a series of moves on one side of the body, including forward bend, triangle pose, lunge, and proud warrior, and then she repeats the entire series on the other side. A few additional poses are performed on the floor, including table and reverse plank.

This workout never fails to leave me feeling wonderfully refreshed. The workout is filmed in three different settings (a studio, a living room, and outdoors) and switches amongst them, and a soft jazz soundtrack plays in the background. I highly recommend this workout for all fitness levels (with the exception of absolute exercise beginners).

Instructor comments: Karen is an excellent instructor who provides flawless mirrored cuing; she is warm and friendly while also being calm and focused. She also is very motivating, as she has an amazingly fit body.

Beth aka toaster

December 18, 2003

This workout is one of Karen’s older titles and is now available on dvd. There are at least 3 versions of the dvd that I know of---the one that I have also features her Strong & Smooth Moves workout. It is very well-chaptered and there are menus to allow you to mix and match the sections.

Production-wise, it was kind of interesting in that it flipped between Karen working out in a studio, on a set, outdoors, in a living room etc. in both black and white and colour. You'’ start a move in one venue, then periodically skip to a new one. It was an odd filming choice, but kind of fun. The music varied by section, but I liked it and have no complaints.

The first section of the workout is a warm-up that features lots of large-muscle movement with squat-type moves, side to sides, toe touches etc. with arm add-ons. It was a great warm-up and the choreography was not too hard to follow.

Following this was a weight section using Karen’s weighted balls. She says you’re only doing one set per exercise so make it count, yet she uses these little tiny weighted balls with it. I have always been confused by Karen’s weight work because most of it contains some interesting moves (and I do like the little green balls) but is very low-rep and does not work every body part equally. This routine has the same flaws. I know she is aiming for time-efficient work here, but I can think of half a dozen routines of equal or shorter length that pack more of a punch than this. I think this might be one section of this tape that does not quite pass the test of time and has been eclipsed by newer and better techniques.

Following this section is an ab routine which seems to be fairly well-regarded by others. I am not a huge ab work fan, but I suppose it was okay.

The final section is a yoga-inspired stretch that was very nice. I think Karen’s best genre is her stretchy stuff, and this one felt great. She spends a lot of time on back stretches, including an unusually long cat/cow sequence that felt very nice.

Overall---this is a nice routine, but I’m not really sure how to use it. I’ve got better strength work than this, and if I want a stretch I have other options too. Periodically I will pull this workout out and do it and enjoy it, but it is not a mainstay in my rotation.

Joanna

05/27/04

This video is divided into two sections: an energizing sculpting workout that can be using in the morning, and a killer abs and back routine followed by a great yoga stretch. I bought 3 lb. weighted balls as suggested, and find they are interesting tools that help with form while challenging muscles. I highly recommend this workout and look forward to obtaining more workouts by Karen.

Instructor comments: Amazing, inspiring body; excellent cuing.

Sarah

9/25/04

I had this workout for over a year and never did it due to the less than stellar reviews. This morning, I wanted something a little lighter, and had an hour to work out before work. I decided to do this one in its entirety. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The music, the set, the sequencing, all of it. The light weight work was just enough that I could do it after a heavy weight day and not feel like I'm overtraining. The warmup was very energizing, the light weights made me feel good, the ab/back section kicked my butt, and the yoga/stretch at the end made me feel like a million bucks! Its been over an hour since I finished the workout and my body still feels like it is glowing, I feel so good. This is not a workout that is going to take me up a notch in my fitness level. I have lots of those types of workouts. This workout works me out in a totally different way, leaving me fabulously refreshed and energized, instead of tired or sore. Its perfect for a rest day, as an extra workout, or "feel-good be happy" workout. Maybe I'm getting old, but I am finally finding a place in my rotation for a gem such as this. Thank you, Karen, for making this old klutz feel beautiful and graceful. If she were here, I'd hug her. A+

Instructor comments: I just love Karen. Her endearing shyness, exquisite form and wonderful productions always equal a class act.

Peggy T
11/2/05



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