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Your Personal Best with Elle MacPherson

with Karen Voight

Elle MacPherson w/Karen Voight tape is not difficult at all. The third aerobic session was hard at first but is becoming more enjoyable as you use it more. I use this tape when I get sick of stepping (very rare) but still want a good aerobic workout w/toning.

Annie Jen

This is just a great little workout! It's definitely not for the advanced, but it's a good, solid aerobic/toning video. It's 56 minutes long, with three basic aerobic segments and three toning segments presented in a circuit style. As with Karen's other videos, you use light weights and high repetitions. Using ankle weights for the lower body toning is a must for more advanced exercisers. The last aerobic segment uses basic jumping rope, skating, swimming, basketball and football moves. It's a lot of fun. I recommend it for beginner and intermediate exercisers. I like it as a nice, easy workout when I don't have the energy for Energy Sprint or when I need a rest in between heavier Firm workouts.

The set is gorgeous. I wish I really could do quad raises with the Hawaiian surf crashing behind me or sit-ups on a big rock in the ocean.

Don't let Elle McPherson's name in the title fool you. This is another great Karen Voight production all the way. Next to Karen, Elle looks like a skinny kid trying to keep up. She does interject some astounding words of wisdom such as, "I find that if I point my toe, my hamstring works a little harder", and "I really like this exercise; it really works the backs of my arms." It's probably targeted to a younger audience -- aspiring model-types. Nonetheless, as I said, it's just a great little workout!

Joni O TOP

Instructor comments:

Elle is very enthusuastic in this video and she seems to show respect for Karen (that is she acknowledges Karen as a knowledgeable instructor). Plus both Karen and Elle seemed to have a fun time while producing this video.

Karen cues are excellent and she keeps the viewer informed as to what the next move will be. She is safety conscious and counts out the moves(this makes the viewer more apt to finish a particlar move I feel since we know the count will stop at a particular number)

Video comments:

This video is an excellent toal body workout. Beginners will feel "very challenged" to complete the 50 minute workout without any breaks.

The workout begins with a nice warmups where Kathy warms up our whole body with nice moves that get the blood flowing in our body.

The video has three aerobic segemnts which progress from easy to challenging. The aerobic segments are moderate intensity and include moves such as grape lines, forward and back, and squats. They also include sports moves such as boxing, kick boxing, moving laterally as in football warmups, swimmming, jump roping, and jumping up as in basketball.

In between the aerobic workouts we have toning sections. The first toning section is mainly for the for the lower body and includes squats, calf raises, and also push ups. The second toning section includes exercises which work the butt,and the thighs. These exercises are done on the floor and ankle weights are recommended. Then in this toning section we have an upper body workout with Karen taking us through a variety of exercises which work the arms and chest muscles. Weights of 3-5 pounds are recommended. I found this part very challenging(beginners would find it sufficient to workout without the weights).

The third toning section is mainly for the butt and the stomach. The stomach exercises I think are very effective and one can feel the burn in the stomach. Karen works on the whole stomach i.e. the upper and lower part of the abdominals and the oblique muscles also. She uses a chair to rest our feet on during the abdominal exercises so that we do not use our hip flexor muscles.

Finally after the third toning section we have the cooldown. The cool-down is shot near a lake and puts the viewer in a relaxed mood. Here Karen mainly stretches out our legs. I feel there could have been more stretching but oh well!

Overall I would give this video a A-
Very well produced and shot.
Nice location
Safety conscious
Fun also!

Amit Aggarwal

This is an interval workout with Elle Macpherson, beginner/intermediate level. The intervals are about 8-10 minutes each, "athletic" type floor aerobics alternating with strength work. I like to do this one on an "easy" day. As always, Karen's form pointers are excellent. The backgrounds are something else (shot in Hawaii) and make me forget I'm stuck in the frozen tundra. There is plenty of variety and the hour-long workout goes by quickly. I wish Elle wouldn't say that she really needs the lower-body work (for which I add ankle weights) but hey, *maybe* she actually does. I think this would be a great video for someone just starting out: non-intimidating, enjoyable and very thorough.

Angela Pahlow

I know this has already been reviewed at this site, but I really enjoyed it and wanted to put my two cents in.

The 50-some minute workout is in cicuit training style, alternating periods of aerobics with strength training. Voight's cueing is right on target; she makes it feel easy, although I KNOW this is a good workout. I especially like Voight's use of movement borrowed from other sports. I used to take martial arts training, so I know those kicks and punches she borrows do indeed shape you up quickly.

Elle MacPherson is a pleasant presence. She gives nice words of inspiration without sounding like Voight's cheerleader. She also stresses that each body type differs and that we can all be fit in our own way.

Karen

I have been using this video for about the past 6 months, about every couple of weeks. However, having read the reviews on this site, I have recently started using ankle weights and adding more high impact moves, which makes it feel much more effective, as it was getting a little stale and unchallenging. However, it is still one video which I turn to when feeling uninspired as it is fun and provides me with a combination of some cardio work and toning. I especially love the abdominals exercises and the lovely stratch at the end. My only (small) grumble is Elle - why does she have to look so good and why doesn't she keep quite and let Karen get on with it?! Otherwise - thoroughly recommended.

Jude
04/02/97

The video looks amazing- great locations, music, outfits- all the great stuff you get with a supermodel video, and I'm a sucker for ambience. This amboence is not at the casrifice of a great workout or well-put together exercises- the workout combines aerobic portions that get more intense with toning portions for the whole body. This is a great video for beginners to intermedite. The strength training is not really long enough to satisfy advanced, and maybe not intermediates, but I still like to use this video when I want to have a slack sort of day and do my full-body strength work plus aerobic exercise in under an hour. Elle stays quiet for the most part, occasionally offering witticisms such as 'Buns are what I need to do most' and 'It's hard if you have long arms like me. It makes you feel a bit...uncoordinated'. I suppose it would, Elle. You need weights for the arm portion, and Elle suggests that although she's using 3 pound weights, we can start with 2 and work up to five if we like. Thanks, Elle! Joking aside, there often isn't much information given on how much weight to use, and this is useful information to beginners. Two thumbs up for this video!

Instructor comments: This video introduced me to Karen Voight, and for that alone it was worth it (though I didn't pay for this video, I won it). Elle bops along with Karen, whose form is perfect and cues are above reproach.

Emily H
6/21/97

I bought this tape on the strength of Karen Voight as the Instructor. I was very disappointed. For one thing, the aerobics are broken up by toning sections (I think this is called circuit training.) I never felt like I really got going in my workout. Just as I would start to work up a sweat, we would stop and do some toning. I guess cicuit training just isn't for me. That's good for me to know. Each time they switched sections,though, they also changed locations and outfits. Now this is just my personal pet peeve, but I think those leading the workout ought to at least be experiencing it as we video exercisers are. I can't feel too motivated by somebody's, "Gosh! That was tough!" when I know they only exercised for 8 minutes, and are off to be pampered and change into another fetching and sporty getup. Obviously I don't recommend this video for people with the same bent as I on the subjects I addressed.

On the positive side, Karen's instruction and form are, as always, wonderful. The routines are athletic rather than dancey, for the most part. The final section of aerobics has moves based on different sports ( swimming, basketball, skating, etc.) which made it rather interesting.

Erin
8/97

It is a great video with a good instructor. I enjoyed the changing scenery and the sports oriented exercise moves. The only think I did not like about the video was Elle McPherson. Throughout the workout, she made silly comments and she looked as if she would injure herself in an awkward looking imitation of K Voight's moves. Elle was very irritating at times (the close-ups should of been on KV, not on Elle).

Overall, it was a good solid workout. I would definitely recommend the tape to someone just starting an exercise program but would have to warn against the irritation factor (Elle).

Ratings:

Instructor K. Voight: A
Scenery: A+
Workout: B+
Celebrity: F-
Overall Score: B

Instructor comments: KV is an excellent instructor. Her cueing is superb and the workout was a lot of fun.

vielca james

This tape and a breakdown of the workout have already been discussed extensively, so I'll try not to repeat it all here.

I like the way the aerobics and toning alternate. This makes for a varied workout, which is never boring. As many people have mentioned, the sports-related moves are fun and really get the heart rate up. The outdoor setting also makes a pleasant change from the usual studio setting.

The steps are not complicated. In the second aerobics section there are some grapevines which finish with a lunge. I found this a little awkward at first and tended to lose my balance a little in the lunge movement, ending up with sore knees.

I agree with the reviewer who said she would have liked a longer stretch at the end.

I find Elle Macpherson's presence a little superfluous. She's not obnoxious or anything, but I sometimes think "Who IS this person and what's she doing here?" Maybe it's the generation gap - I understand she is quite popular with younger women.

One minor point: as this tape is meant for beginners/intermediates, I think the introduction could have said a little more about selecting weights and when to move up to heavier ones. All that is said is that you'll need weights "anywhere between 1 and 5 lbs". There is no recommendation on how often to do the workout, either. This may seem self-evident to those who've got into the habit of exercise, but I know when I started out I didn't have a clue.

Instructor comments: What can I say that hasn't already been said? Good instruction and cueing; professional attitude; no unnecessary chatter or bad jokes. But that's already been said…

Glynis van Uden
17 July 1998

Since I dislocated my knee, I haven't worked out in ages, but I turned to his video to get back on the fitness kick. I like the way the video alternates between aerobic and sculpting segments. I usually get bored quickly or just feel discouraged with other videos, but the aerobic sessions are fun and the sculpting segments are challenging, but do-able. The one thing on the video that I could live without is Elle McPherson. She seems like a very sincere person, but some of the "cutesy" comments she makes while exercising gets annoying after awhile. Overall, I loved the video because of the circuit training aspect of it and because of Karen Voight's expertise.

Instructor comments: I really like Karen Voight. I had never done any of her videos, but after working out with this video, I'll be going to Blockbuster to check out some of her other ones. She's serious and knowledgeable, but still fun.

Kainoa
11/22/98

I thought this was a great workout. The set was a beautiful natural outdoors set, perhaps filmed in Australia. The background varied, and the music did too. The music was vocal rock, like INXS.

The workout:

It's circuit training. Three aerobic segments and three weight-training segments. The aerobic segments get harder and higher impact each time. The first is very gentle, the middle one concentrates on your legs and butt. The last one is a mixture of various sports movements - skating, swimming, basketball, and boxing. It's the most strenuous, but it's also the most fun.

The strength-training workouts are very hard. I only had 5 pound weights, so I couldn't use light weights like Elle. She does a full leg workout, an abdominals and glutes workout, but the arm workout seemed to concentrate most on the triceps.

This video requires handweights, although I stopped using them and continued without when my arms got fatigued. Optimally, you would also have a weight bench, but an armless kitchen chair will do you just as well. A sturdy one - both my antique chair and my director's chair were unable to hold up to my weight during one of the butt toning segments.

My back muscles and hamstrings are probably the most sore after this workout, as the other workouts I've been doing have not emphasized these areas.

Instructor comments: Karen Voight is fantastic. She talks just the right amount and her cueing is amazing. The first time through I didn't miss a single step, because she clearly let you know what was coming up next. Elle is a nice person. Her motivational speech in the beginning was great. She also was very helpful during the video, talking about muscles and sympathising with the exerciser.

I really liked how Karen wasn't too silly or bouncy, and definitely not chatty. After previewing a Denise Austin tape, it was a relief to see that Karen keeps her mouth shut unless she has something important to say.

Shannon Davis
sdavis@bbn.com
2/23/98

After reading some of the comments, I had to input my own. Don't be put off by the negative remarks about Elle. I found her perkiness encouraging and fun. Elle and Karen seem to have a genuine rapport on this video, and it was quite enjoyable, though I would use it on "easy" days. Also, production quality was excellent. I like the fact that Karen uses techniques to isolate the target muscle areas in the toning sections.

Be aware that this is a circuit style video. If you want your heart pumping consistently for an extended period, don't use this tape.

All in all, a fun and enjoyable production, but as previously noted, not a super tough workout. Elle's presence added, not detracted.

Instructor comments: Precise cuing, instruction.

MGT

3/22/99

I like this video. The workout is set up in intervals alternating aerobics and toning. The aerobics are atheletic and straightforward. Some high impact but not much. I thought it was funny when Elle said she felt uncoordinated because I was thinking that she doesn't move with any particular grace and style. Karen is tops in the tape instructing the toning work. Most of the moves are standard fare but she is so attentive to detail and form that they feel more effective. The setting is gorgeous and I loved seeing more than just one area of the islands, so it didn't bother me that they changed settings a few times. The music was cool too. I prefer hip music to canned any day... overall, lots of fun for intermediates.

Instructor comments: Karen is one of the finest instructors around. She is very thorough and professional. Having Elle around seemed to help bring out Karen's personality, she actually seemed to have a genuine smile. Elle was friendly and motivating, seemed to encourage exercisers to try it and seemed to enjoy herself. They had a nice rapport that seemed very genuine.

L'Anne

Could this video be any more amazing to look at? Why can't I be in Hawaii? They've picked some great music, and fabulous settings for this fun interval workout. I got this video from a friend who decided videos weren't for her and she hated this one specifically (the package wasn't even opened!). Personally, I thought I'd hate the work out. I'm just not a celebrity video person, I guess. But I was pleasantly surprised. First, Elle seemes kind of superfluous, c'mon, who needs eye candy when you have the incomparable Karen Voight? But then I realised Elle provides the charm in this video. She is the one with the enthusiasm, and motivation. She really seems to lighten Karen up from her usual less personable demeanor. I love the way Karen teaches resistance work, no nonsense, detailed, careful instruction, but when you're jammin' to INXS, the same precise attitude just doesn't seem as appealing. The steps are fairly simple, some impact. The toning is very good, as always for Voight, and the stretch is very good too. Overall, a wonderful find for intermediates, or even advanced who want a slider with gorgeous scenery and fun, rockin' music.

Instructor comments: Karen Voight is a very meticulous instructor. Her attention to detail is unequaled among video instructors and the class instructors I have seen.

linda

6/30/99

As a beginner, I found this tape pretty difficult. I started feeling a little nausious from over-exersion during the last set of aerobics and had to modify way down.

I also found that I didn't care for the circuit style of the tape. I just didn't feel as satisfied and I didn't get that terrific endorphin high because the aerobics were all chopped up.

The production and setting of this tape are beautiful, and its obvious by all the other reviews here that other people really like this tape. It just hasn't been my cup of tea so far. I tried it again after not using it for about 6 months, and I find I still don't care for it even though I can get through it just fine now. I'm not ready to put it on the exchange, though, because I just love that last scene where Karen and Elle are laughing and getting wet.

-Jennine

This was my first experience with Karen Voight and I liked her a lot. She seems sincerely nice and non-intimidating.

Jennine
JAuerbach@UBMail.UBalt.edu
10/23/99

This video seemed to get such good reviews, but I have very mixed feelings about it. In general, I think it is too easy and is more for beginners. The strength intervals can be challenging but just barely (I have to use ankle weights for the first one). It's mostly the aerobic sections that I don't like-- I generally improvise on them. I'll probably keep the tape to use when I want to combine aerobics with toning and do it under an hour. The tape is nicely produced-- colorful, scenic, and with decent music.

I find the "model" in this workout to be annoying at best and seems to really distracts from the tape. I try to just focus on Karen Voight as my personal trainer!

Instructor comments: I bought this tape because I really do like Karen Voight but I found Elle Macpherson to be a real distraction.

Sarah K
sk200@hotmail.com

I really enjoy Karen Voight, and she is as meticulous as ever in this video. The scenery is gorgeous, the choreography sufficiently follow-able and adequately cued and the segments short enough that any time constraint can be met: do all of them, or some of them or whatever, and the time will go by fast enough courtesy of the stunning settings used.

My only complaint has less to do with this video itself and more to do with my not understanding how to fit this video (and I suppose circuit videos in general) into a rotation. Is the weight work sufficiently basic that you can do weights the next day? Is it too much to do cardio the next day? I think Karen could certainly give some pointers to that effect if she re-does this video. I think a marketing plan that paired this with her stretch tape or some sort of companion might be good. I don't think the work is advanced enough that you could split the tape and keep doing that for a workout. But if you're like me where you reserve one day a week for "non-traditional" tapes, you might enjoy this one. I am a choreo-klutz and could handle it just fine. My one sort of amusement about this tape is that Elle is much MUCH taller than Karen, and there are places where you can really tell. Kinda made me identify with Karen even though she is like amazon goddess fit person and I am just a not-quite-5'2 little intermediate working out in my little apartment.

Joanna C
1/07/01

I have add this video for a few years now and I really like it. It was my first contact with Karen Voight, love her ever since!
The circuit W/O is fun and the fantastic scenery is very inspiring. Over the years this has become my feel good W/O. When I don't quite feel like working out I pop-in this tape. It works every time! The music is also very motivating.

I love the stretching blooper at the end :-)

I recommend this one!

Instructor comments: Karen's personality really comes through, it's nice to see her smile and have fun. Elle's comments are OK. (I have very low tolerance to blabbing)

Josée D

27-01-2004

Even though it's starting to get to be to easy for me I still really enjoy this video. The production quality is fantastic, which a gorgeous Hawaiian backdrop and great music. Most of the moves in this workout are pretty standard, but for some reason the background, the music, and the personalities really make it special. I love the cooldown, which is to Sting's "Fields of Gold". I also really like the way Karen and Elle interact with each other, sometimes turning to face each other instead of facing the camera.

I thought I would be intimidated by the supermodel in this video but I wasn't at all. Elle came off as a friend rather than an unattainable celebrity. She even mentioned some of her own insecurities, which makes her seem more human. I almost feel like we should be going to a slumber party after this (with Karen being the mom :))

I would definitely reccomend this to a beginner, especially someone who may be unsure about video fitness. It would also be a great choice for an intermediate - even if it starts to get easy after awhile. It's great to have around for those grey days when you don't feel like exercising.

Overal, an A+!

Megan

Feb. 29, 2004

This is a circuit workout, which means there are aerobic segments which alternate with weighted toning intervals. Karen and Elle appear together in a variety of beautifully scenic Hawaii locations, and although Elle introduces the various segments, Karen takes over from there.

The workout starts with a 4 minute warm-up. This was classic Karen Voight: basic moves such as marches and side-steps combined with arm movements to warm up both your lower and your upper body. Next comes the first aerobic segment, lasting about 4.5 minutes. Again, Karen uses very simple moves (hamstring curls, knee-ups), and she ups the intensity a bit at the very end with some hops. For the first toning interval, no weights are used, but Karen and Elle use a bench; a chair works fine. Seated in the chair, you'll do various leg extensions, move on to tricep dips, and then finish on the floor with push-ups for a total of 5.5 minutes.

The second aerobic interval is very similar to the first; it also adds a bit of intensity at the end with jumping jacks, and it's about 5 minutes long. The second toning segment is longer (11 minutes) and works a greater variety of muscles. First, you'll use the dumbbells to work your arms and shoulders in a standing position. Next, you'll lie over your chair or bench (I used my stability ball here) in a an all-fours position for glutes work. Finally, you'll move to a seated position for some additional upper body work with the dumbbells. The last aerobic segment starts with some mock jump rope, and then Karen performs moves inspired by different sports, including basketball, football, karate, and swimming for 9 minutes total.

The last toning segment is performed on the floor. You'll start with abs work, and as always, Karen attacks the abs thoroughly with a variety of crunches. You then lie on your back for additional glutes work via several pelvic lift variations. Finally, Karen has you lie on your stomach for just a few back strengthening moves for a total of 8.5 minutes. The workout ends with a 6.5 minute cool-down performed entirely on the floor; Karen leads you through some seated and lying yoga stretches to the tune of "Fields of Gold" (although the artist is not Sting), bringing the total time for the workout in at about 54 minutes.

In addition to the song mentioned above, much of the music in this video was recognizable as hits from the late 80s/early 90s, including "Some Like It Hot" and "Break My Stride." I think this video would appeal to a wide range of fitness levels: beginners could modify down by keeping the cardio entirely low-impact and by using light or no weights, and more experienced exercises could add light hand weights to the cardio segments, utilize ankle weights for the leg work, and increase the dumbbells for the upper body work (but beware: Karen does a lot of reps, and as an intermediate, I found using 5 lbs. tough!). Overall, this is a very solid interval workout with a timeless feel, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Instructor comments: The interaction between Karen and Elle reminded me very much of another supermodel fitness video, Cindy Crawford's A New Dimension--there, instructor Kathy Kaehler leads the workout, but Cindy makes frequent comments, as Elle does here. Some might find these quips annoying, but Elle seemed genuine to me, and she certainly deferred to Karen as appropriate. Karen, as usual, is an amazing instructor who cues well and who consistently displays impeccable form.

Beth C (aka toaster)

September 25, 2005

This is a circuit video that gets more intense (cardio) as the tape goes along. The last cardio is the most challenging with lots of jumping and higher intensity movement. The first weight work are legs which includes hover squats and leg extensions. I added weights so I could feel it more and I did. I really like this workout. The background is beautiful, the music is good (considering the year)and although I don't like celebrity workouts, I don't mind Elle in this one. It's a simple but effective workout. It's not too heavy and it has zero dread factor. I have done it once and I will be doing it again. I highly recommend this. I had long been a fan of Karen and I like her even more because she didn't do one of those panty, just-look-at-my-body workout. It's a real workout that gets me sweating and I am on a circuit kick so this is a great addition to my library. :)

Instructor comments: Karen did this video with Elle MacPherson, at the time a very sought after model that was known as The Body. Sorry but Karen claims that title in this video. Her body is just perfect in every way.

Bonita

11/15/2007



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