There are two separate workouts on this DVD. Maximum Burn Basics is a 20-minute pilates workout which incorporates a pair of light dumbbells. Fat Burning is a 35-minute cardio routine (including warmup and cooldown) followed by 10 minutes of traditional (non-weighted) pilates matwork. The two workouts are separately chaptered on the start menu.
I got this DVD at Big Lots, where it and several other Winsor titles were $2.99 -- definitely a bargain!
This DVD would be most appropriate for an advanced beginner to intermediate exerciser who is already familiar with pilates. The cardio section of Fat Burning is simple, mostly low impact choreography, just a step up from a Leslie Sansone walking workout. However, in both pilates sections Mari assumes her audience is already familiar with the basics and instructs accordingly.
Maximum Burn Basics: Mari stands and instructs a class of three, who are on individual raised platforms. A set of light dumbbells (1-2 lbs. each) is incorporated into a 20-minute total body pilates routine. As might be expected, Mari includes several upper body pilates moves such as rowing series using the weights. However, she also adds the dumbbells to exercises focused on the core, such as single- and double-leg stretch, where the added weight really ups the intensity. I enjoy pilates routines presented with a twist, and Maximum Burn Basics is no exception. However, although one exerciser uses no weights and demonstrates modified positions, Maximum Burn Basics is not really geared to the pilates beginner. Mari does not offer enough instruction on basic pilates principles, and she moves at a fairly brisk pace. Also, rather surprisingly, Mari says little about exactly how or where to position the dumbbells when doing the exercises -- you need to watch the class members for that. Maximum Burn Basics is best for those with a basic familiarity with pilates and (if they are adding in the dumbbells) who have already developed some core strength.
Fat Burning: Mari leads a class of seven through a 35-minute aerobic routine, including warmup and cooldown. A live percussion group adds spice to the pleasant but slightly bland Spanish guitar soundtrack. The moves run towards simplified dance steps (cha cha)plus grapevines, side steps, etc. Mari adds interesting arm patterns, some actually based on pilates floor exercises. There is some modest impact that is easily modified (one exerciser shows low impact throughout). I also modified a couple of moves on my own as my workout shoes do not pivot well on carpeting. The intensity and length is similar to a 2-mile Leslie workout, although with a more choreographed, "dancy" feel. Even the stretches in the warmup and cooldown are done on an eight-count. Don't worry, though, if you choreographically challenged -- the workout is still easy to follow. Mari teaches the routines in short blocks, with only one final TIFT at the end. Adding "attitude" to the hip and arm moves will increase the intensity and the fun factor.
In Fat Burning, after the cardio section we remove our shoes and pull out our mats for 10 minutes of pilates matwork. Mari stands and instructs the class through some classic pilates moves focusing on the abs. The Spanish guitar plus live percussion accompaniment continues -- I liked how Mari counts the moves in time to the music. I wish this section were longer so it could have included some back work and side kick series. Please note that Mari again assumes you are already familiar with the pilates exercises presented, and while she occasionally mentions a modification no one demonstrates them.
Bottom line: The cardio routine in Fat Burning is a nice step up from Leslie-type walking workouts, but those looking for intensity and complex choreography will be disappointed. I also enjoyed the traditional pilates routine at the end of Fat Burning, as well as using the weights in Maximum Burn Basics. However, due to the pace and lack of basic instruction neither routine is appropriate for someone brand new to pilates.
I like Mari a lot, although others consider her a bit of a drill sergeant in her presentation. Mari's pilates instruction isn't as complete as that offered by Moira Stott, but she is also less formal than Moira. I must also say that Mari's take on a "cardio pilates" workout is miles better than Moira's Secret to Weight Loss volumes 1 and 2. Mari is a former dancer, and I enjoyed seeing her move in Fat Burning (normally she stands and instructs while others demonstrate).
June 22, 2006