Video Fitness

Kickbutt Fast Cheetah

Kimberly Spreen and Heidi Tanner (WHFN)

Women's Health & Fitness Network Fast Cheetah is part of their KickButt system. The breakdown is 11 minutes of Pilates, 25 minutes of cardio, 8 minutes of yoga, and 4 minutes of weights. It's designed to cross-train with their Strong Bear, and it's designed as a fusion workout.

I'm an intermediate/advanced exerciser and I have done the original Firm and FitPrime. This is original Firm updated, with better color and the same great music! Anna Benson has "returned"! Her choreography is reminiscent of the original Firms! The colors on the set are intense, but not too dark. It's not cluttered like some of the earlier FitPrime sets. The picture quality and sound are flawless!

There are six background exercisers all in bright color tops and black pants, and they don't show them as much as in the original Firms, but they do show them just enough so you "see" them. There are no odd camera shots like in some of the older Firms. This is a top quality editing job!

Heidi starts the workout with a warm up featuring slow step ups on the tall box (they use a 14 inch wooden stool; I used my High Step at 12 inches since that's 90 degrees flexed at the knee for me) with dips to the back. It's a slow, controlled, dynamic warm up without static stretches.

Kimberly then takes you through cardio tunes. Don't expect high intensity or jumping. There isn't any. You can add arm movements, make the leg movements bigger, and turn the plyo work into higher jumps to add intensity. This would also be perfect cardio for a beginner or for a more advanced exerciser who wants or needs lighter intensity that day. It features L steps, hamstring curls, step ups on the tall box, lunges around the box, and a fun and different walking sequence with mambos forward and back.

The sequences are just long enough to enjoy but not long enough to become monotonous. Kimberly is fun and perky the entire time, and the time flew by! Where she truly shines is during the kickbox sequence, which doesn't get too "kickboxy" but instead is just plain fun!

The plyo part can be modified up to increase the intensity, and is a bit different, featuring handstands using the tall box and more traditional plyo work. The handstands are not true handstands, but instead are more like jumps behind the box.

The weight section is squats with front lifts (I used 5 pound dumbbells), side raises with a leg raise and hold to balance, and curtsy dips with biceps curls. If curtsy dips bother you it's easy to do something else here.

The cooldown is refreshing and again can be modified up if you need more intensity.

Heidi then takes us to the floor for a lunge and warrior pose sequence. Then it's on to bridge work and pec work, using a yoga block as a prop. You don't necessarily need it. She also does a modified cobra using the block, but again you can do this without the block if you don't have one.

More traditional crunches are next, with a unique twist on the reverse ones - crossing your knee over the extended leg to help isolate only your lower ab muscles. I really felt this one!

The stretch contains one odd move which I would be careful with if you have knee issues. It can modified to a more traditional hamstring stretch if need be.

Overall, I'd give this an A minus, and it's definitely a keeper for me!

Instructor comments: Kimberly and Heidi are great in this! They sparkle and shine! Plenty of form pointers are given and their form is flawless.

March 22, 2005

Kickbutt Fast Cheetah is a remake of FitPrime's Fast Cheetah with Tracie Long. The improvements in this workout is enormous. There are no editing glitches in the new WHFN workouts. The set is brand new and the feeling of the old "Firm" is back.

Heidi Tanner and Kimberly Spreen team up to bring us Fast Cheetah. Heidi starts this workout with a warm-up that consist of step, press, and dip, the same warm-up that was in the original Fast Cheetah. The music, I believe, is the same music as the original FC.

The first thing that you will notice that the only equipment used in this workout is a 14" step, a light pair of dumbbells and a yoga block. I found this workout very easy to modify up in intensity. I'm a firm believer that a video is just a tool. It is up to me to make this video fit my current fitness level, which includes, strength, cardio capacity, and any physical limitations I have.

This is the equipment that I used with each segment:

Cardio #1-Step Touch "L". I turned this into a 4-limb aerobic section by using 3 lb. hand weights.
Cardio #2-Chugs and Kisses. I used a 14" tall box. I'm not sure why kisses is in the title, because I didn't see Kimberly blowing kisses. ;)
Weights #1-Balance 4-Limb. I used 5 lb. hand weights and it was plenty challenging with the weights I selected.
Cardio #3-Serve a Tray-I turned this into a 4-limb aerobic section by using 3 lb. hand weights.
Cardio #4-Handstands and tall box climbs. I used a 14" step.
Cardio #5-Plyo Variations. No added weights were used during this section.
Cardio #6-Kickbox. I used my Billy Balls for this routine.
Cardio #7-Skater's Leap. I used my 3 lb. Oof ball
Cardio #8-Lunge Circle. I used my 3 lb. Oof ball
Yoga-Warrior Lunge
Pilates-ND Bridge and Pecs
Pilates-D Bridge and Pecs
Yoga-Leg Circles and Cobra
Pilates-Bi-Lateral Slice

I loved this workout much more than the original FC. I found a couple of the cardio segments in the first workout too long and a bit on the boring side. Heidi and Kimberly do a fantastic job leading this workout. The background exercisers also did a great job. Once again, the production is fantastic, the music is awesome and crystal clear, and the routine flows beautifully and is flawless.

The yoga and pilates routines at the end of this workout is a wonderful way to get your core work in, and a wonderful stretch for your body. I enjoyed it very much.

What's missing in this workout is the medicine ball work and the ankle weights, BUT, you can add this back into the workout. I opted not to add ankle weights to my workout, but I did add the medicine ball to the last two cardio sections.

Instructor comments: Both Heidi Tanner and Kimberly Spreen shine in this workout.

Debbie Stout


This is a wonderful workout. I caved one day just reading all of Carol's reviews and bought the full set. Then I felt really bad that I had done it because - who needs it. So I sold some hardcores :-). After that, I felt really great about it because the net monetary loss was very low.

I won't break it all down - it's been done. But what I will say is the music is amazing, Kimberly is fantastic and the workout is a blast.

It seems "intermediate" to me, but I still feel I got a great workout. I like leaving a workout not exhausted all of the time (and sometimes I want to be more exhausted -it's all in where my mood lies).

I love my old fitprime fast cheetah workout, but i'm glad to have both of them. I hope to see much more of Kimberly in the future (I have her 'triple threat', which I also love, but she really shines here).

What amazes me is that the production quality is superb in relationship to the older fitprimes. I wonder if doing business with different people wasn't the key here, for Anna (no more guz, for example).

I loved the set, loved the quality and loved the awkwardness at times in some of the background exercisers. I loved seeing Narty again.

It was older-school firm with a new attitude (friendlier - no stepford instructors here). It blows the "new firm" out of the water, IMHO.

Thumbs securely up for this one.

Instructor comments: Kimberly is amazing. Friendly, encouraging, good at what she does, and motivating. She is fast becoming a favorite.

Heidi - she's always been one of my favorite Firm instructors because of her friendly demeanor. She wasn't really hugely featured in this one, but I enjoyed her segments


This was one of the most boring DVD workouts I have ever done. The cardio consisted of a series of simple moves that were repeated over and over and over and over. The same short sequences were repeated so many times, I finally couldn't stand it anymore and stood and watched thinking, "how many more of these can she possibly do?"

There is no way that this workout can be called, "Kickbutt." It is a workout for beginners. There is a little bit of plyometrics (jumping) and some four-limbed movements, that do get the heartrate up, but for the most part, this is an easy, low impact workout, which would be appropriate for beginners (who like to repeat moves many times). The best part of the cardio was the short kickboxing series, which is obviously Kimberly's strong point.

The back cover says that there is pilates and yoga in this workout, but I didn't think there was any pilates or yoga. There was a sequence of core moves, and some glute and hamstring work, which I liked, but I wouldn't classify them as either pilates. There are some stretches at the end, but I wouldn't classify them as yoga.

I try to be open-minded and generally find things to like in most workouts, but other than the core, ab and glute work in this DVD, I think it's basically a waste of time.

When I looked at the background exercisers, they all seemed to be doing something different. I noticed that Tamela Hastie was a background exerciser, and the only reason I noticed her was that she looked so bizarre doing some of the movements, such as the speed skater. The other weird thing was that when the camera would be facing the mirror, Tamela would be on the left side, and then in the next frame, she would be on the right side.

I give this workout a C- .

Instructor comments: Heidi Tanner is an experienced instructor and it shows. Kimberly Spreen has a good camera presence, but her inexperience as a video instructor is apparent; she repeats the same phrases over and over. Kimberly also has a lisp, which I found distracting.


July 7, 2005

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