30 Minutes to Fitness: Start Here

Kelly Coffey-Meyer
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

Kelly Coffey-Meyer just might be my favorite instructor. However, I don't always click with every one of her workouts, and as a high intermediate exerciser, I was a bit concerned that START HERE might feel too easy. Turns out that I need not have worried, as the workouts on this DVD were a near-perfect match for me.

As with the other DVDs in Kelly's 30 Minutes to Fitness series, Start Here offers two approximately 30 minute workouts. The first of these is described as cardio, but in reality, it breaks down into two sections, a short cardio routine and then a light weight sculpting routine which focuses mainly on the upper body while still providing some cardio effect (more on this later); there is also some standing abs work to finish. The second workout is a basic body sculpting routine using dumbbells.

Kelly works out on her usual set with two of her usual background exercisers, Sam and Lori. The DVD Main Menu offers the following options:

Warm Up
Workout One (Cardio)
Workout Two (Body Sculpting)

In her short (1 minute) Introduction, Kelly suggests that these workouts would be a starting point not just for beginners but also for walkers looking to cross-train as well as more advanced exercisers needing a recovery day. The 5-minute Warm Up begins with simple moves such as marches, tap and reach, and hamstring curls; Kelly also adds in knee ups, squats, and kicks. After performing a few stretches, she repeats the entire sequence once.

WORKOUT ONE (27 minutes)
The first part of this workout is the true cardio portion. Kelly basically moves through two separate cardio sequences--i.e., she performs the first a few times, then moves on to the second. Both contain some fun moves as well as a bit of impact (easily modified). The first sequence includes pop squats, side leg lifts, knee pulls, repeater knees, and a fun move called "He's Safe/Touchdown" that was oddly only performed once. For the second sequence, Kelly does front stomps, side squats into hip rocks, side jacks, rear jacks, and side hops. The total cardio portion is about 13 minutes. Kelly then picks up weights--she suggests going no heavier than 5 lbs. but because there was so much shoulder work, I stuck with 3 lbs. The moves here included lateral raise, back stroke, and alternating biceps triceps. Kelly performs several sets of of each exercise, so the arms get really fatigued; this is a great low-weight, high-rep arms workout! However, for some of the exercises, the feet aren't moving at all, so there really isn't much of a cardio effect. Kelly finishes the first workout with some standing abs work, including a fun twisting move called the lighthouse and a few standing crunches. The stretch is very brief (<2 minutes) and involves little more than taking a few deep breaths.

WORKOUT TWO (26 minutes)
As noted, this is a fairly straightforward weights workout. It appears that Kelly and crew are using lighter weights (5 lbs.), but I started with 10 lbs. and stuck with the heavier weights until Kelly started on the shoulder work. Kelly's usual pattern here was to perform one single-arm upper body set, a lower body set, and then repeat the same upper body exercise as a double-arm set. The standing exercises included rows, squats, bicep curls, static lunges, lat raises, plie squats, kickbacks, and alternating reverse lunges. Kelly finishes on the floor for two sets of push-ups, a unique kneeling reach and pull move for the obliques, and two sets of super-"womans". The 3-minute stretch (which is the same stretch you will get if you select it from the Main Menu) includes a lunging hip flexor stretch, brief squat, side bends, additional upper body stretches, and hamstring stretch.

As always, Kelly included a nice variety of premixes on this DVD. They are listed on the Premixes Menu as follows:

Aerobic Cardio (19 mins)
Cardio Sculpting (19 mins)
Floor Work (16.5 mins)
Cardio Sculpt & Upper Body (23 mins)
Cardio Sculpt & Legs (23.5 mins)
Upper Body Lift (24.5 mins)
Lower Body Minimizer (15.5 mins)

Some people might be disappointed that Workout One wasn't pure cardio. For me, it was perfect, as I don't particularly like traditional cardio, so I can add this short 13-minute segment onto other routines. Plus, I loved the arms and abs sculpting, and in the future, I'll also look at adding this segment onto weights workouts.

I do wish that Kelly offered a Premix option which allowed for a longer workout--i.e., playing both routines--although it is easy enough to select each workout yourself off the Main Menu. Also, I'm not sure why Kelly did not use her usual modifier, Lauren, for these routines. Although the actual cardio is short, as noted above, it does include some impact, and I would NOT recommend it for the true beginning exerciser. Rather, I think this DVD would be better suited to experienced beginners, re-starters, or just those like me, who need something a bit more basic now and then.

Instructor Comments:
I really click with Kelly as an instructor--I find her very down-to-earth, and I just like her style in general. Her workouts almost always seems to fit solidly in the intermediate range, which works out perfectly for me. :)

Beth C (aka toaster)