Heidi Tanner (WHFN)
Women's Health Fitness Network Metaboost is part of the FitPrime series and is described as a fusion workout containing 5 minutes of Pilates, 8 minutes of cardio, 6 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes of weights. The set is gorgeous, the picture and sound quality are flawless, and the colors are beautiful! Heidi Tanner leads, wearing a red top and black pants. She looks as though she never aged from her original Firm days! She sparkles and has a perfect screen presence. She gives excellent form pointers throughout, and modifications are shown in the form of 5 background exercisers shown using household items intermittently.
The warm up is energetic with only a few static stretches. Heidi starts on the floor with core work, using a yoga block held between the knees. Oblique and tranverse abdominals are worked in two exercises, and if you really concentrate on imitating her form and squeezing the block, you will feel it. A modification is shown using a sofa pillow, and I can see using a small medicine ball here as well.
4 limb is next, and this pattern reminds me of the original Firm workouts. Plies with biceps curls, side toe taps with side delt raises and step touch with overhead presses. I used five pounds and the tempo was just right for that. I would consider myself an intermediate/advanced exerciser. The tempo was never too fast, and it varied between slow and fast. I can't say this will elevate your heart rate much if you're a seasoned exerciser, but it's useful for lower weights/higher reps training.
Next are dips using the stick for balance, but you can easily modify this by not using a balance tool and adding ankle weights to increase intensity. Dips are alternated with front sweeps, working the inner thigh. Adding ankle weights will increase this.
Seated shoulder work is next, alternating with rows for the back. She uses a yoga block in your lap to help stabilize, but it's not necessary if you have good balance. It's easy to modify this up just using heavier weights.
Leg press is next on one leg, using a stick and one dumbbell. Again, easy to modify up using two weights and no stick.
Next is 4 limb again, and this one is less intense than the first segment in terms of cardio effect, but again is good for lower weights/higher reps strength training.
The next segment is squats using the step behind as a guide, but it's not necessary. Heidi uses one dumbbell and the stick, and I used two 15# dumbbells and really felt this! You use one leg and there's a balance component involved. Variations in the leg position are used, and I really loved this segment! Triceps push-ups are included here, done on the step, but for more intensity just do them on the floor. Cursy dips return, again on one leg, and if these bother you just do more squats. Because they're done fairly slowly I was able to do them without bothering my knees, holding the two 15# dumbbells.
Next are biceps curls while balancing one foot on the yoga block. It takes a few reps but then you realize how it's also working the core doing them this way. I used two 15# dumbells and I really felt these!
Plies are next with one leg on top of the step. I found these a bit uncomfortable at first, but did them anyway and by the end, I had the balance just right. Heidi uses a stick and one dumbbell - I used a 15# dumbbell and no stick and found the balance challenging without it. She then places the dumbbell on the outer thigh and does leg lifts. Again, I did not use the stick and enjoyed the balance challenge that provided.
The other leg is then worked in the squat sequence, and again the triceps push-ups and cursy dips are included.
Next comes a push-up sequence putting one hand on the yoga block to isolate one side. Both sides are worked, and triceps dips are done in between changing sides.
The other leg is then worked in the plie sequence, and a very nice stretch follows, incorporating yoga moves.
I absolutely loved this workout!! I would give this a solid A, and it's a keeper!!
Since Carol has already broken this workout down in detail, I'll just offer my impressions. I was excited to try this workout given that I really like the older FitPrimes (including one led by the instructor here, Heidi Tanner) as well as the one other WHFN workout that I tried. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed in this workout. On the one hand, it had many good points, but on the other, it seemed that each good point had an accompanying down side. Here are my thoughts:
*The warm-up was nice, although inexplicably labeled as "cardio" on the menu--it never really got to that level.
*The aerobic effect of this workout was quite minimal. The two 4-limb cardio segments (8 minutes total) were fun but not very intense; the second one in particular had some unique moves but was performed way too slowly for any aerobic benefit.
*After the warm-up, you immediately go to the floor for core work, and I wasn't crazy about that sequencing. I also wasn't quite sure if I was correctly incorporating the yoga block into the moves--Heidi does not spend much time discussing form--and I felt the work in different places than where Heidi said I should be feeling it.
*I was really confused about what weights to use throughout the workout. Heidi sometimes says "heavy" or "light," but she never tells you what she's using, which would have been helpful. There were times when I would have liked to go heavier with my weights, but the flow of the exercises made this difficult to do, and thus I often felt as if I wasn't working very hard.
*Although I love using the tall step and didn't mind adding the yoga block and the stick, overall, the use of equipment in this workout felt awkward to me.
*Finally, although I like Heidi, I really wish she had provided more details about form, especially for some of the more unique moves. For example, I liked the idea of doing a plie squat with one foot on the step, but I just couldn't find a position where it felt right, and Heidi didn't say anything that helped.
Overall, I didn't much enjoy this workout while doing it, and I didn't feel adequately worked out once it was over, which was especially disappointing given the length (49 minutes). Although there might be a "learning curve" to getting the hang of the exercises--and I could certainly envision how the moves might be effective--I just don't think I'll feel motivated to do this workout again.
I like Heidi and enjoy one of her older FitPrime workouts, From the Ground Up. However, as mentioned above, I just wanted more guidance from her here, especially with respect to how heavy to go with the weights and more detailed form cues.
Beth C (aka toaster)
February 24, 2006
I had heard a lot about FitPrime workouts and then WHFN workouts. In reading about them, I wasn’t sure that I would like or enjoy any of these workouts. I tend to enjoy more straight-forward strength workouts. But, in reading about FitPrime Metaboost, I kept wondering about it, so I traded for it. Color me surprised when the workout flew by and I enjoyed it. Granted, it wasn’t hard and there are some downsides to the workout. However, the fact it wasn’t hard doesn’t mean it was easy for me either. It is a good workout for me to keep around for those days when I want a strength workout, but can’t face the more intense workouts I have.
This workout is beautifully filmed and the colors seem rich on the screen. Heidi does a good job leading the workout and gives form pointers throughout the workout. However, there were times her form pointers left me say, “Huh?” because I didn’t know the term she was using or it just didn’t make sense to me. Other times, she could have given more detailed form instruction. Overall, however, I felt I knew what she was saying. There is a group of background exercisers behind her, one of which is a modifier who uses different household items that can be substituted for different pieces of equipment. For example, she uses a book instead of a yoga block. You do switch between equipment quite a bit, but the pace didn’t seem frantic as in some of the Firm workouts. One of the things I LOVED about the DVD is they had an equipment list on the DVD menu that gives a list of everything you will need during the workout. Why don’t more workouts have that?
I wouldn’t get a lot of WHFN workouts, but this seems like a good addition to give me a low to mid-intermediate option of a strength workout using weights that doesn’t have the dread factor of other workouts when I am tired or when I am in one of my “cardio junkie” phases.
She is calm and encouraging. There are times she comes across as scripted. But, she also seems to have a good time with the workout and draws me in.
March 3, 2006