Ultimate 5 Day Walk PlanLeslie Sansone
Year Released: 2012
Categories: Total Body Workouts, Walking Aerobics
I’m reviewing this workout after doing all of the miles 3 times each, once as separate segments, twice altogether as a full workout, and the full body stretch once. I’ve only previewed the strength portions, as I bought this workout with the intention of only doing the walking miles, not the toning segments.
General workout breakdown: Laura, Debbie, and Allison have already provided good reviews of this workout, so I’ll just add breakdowns and some thoughts.
- Warm-up (just over 4 min.)
4 women in blue join Leslie for the four basic steps - walking (i.e. marching in place), side steps, knee ups, and kicks - plus raising and lowering arms. You’ll start with small movements and work your way up to more moderate-sized ones.
Note: This isn’t something you can choose, but this plays automatically once you start your workout, whether you’ve selected a premix or chosen your own workout.
The walking miles
- The Blue Mile (12.5 min.)
4 women wearing blue outfits join Leslie here. For the majority of the mile, while generic upbeat exercise video music plays, Leslie sticks to the ol’ classics, the four basic steps with some variations, like walking up 2 & back 2, double knees with legs wide, or double side steps. But, as mentioned, once the “Rolling on the River” cover comes on, Leslie suddenly does hip shifts, jump ropes, and half jumping jacks. The first half of this mile is a decent pace, but the second half *moves* at a brisk pace. This was the first mile I tried out, thinking, “Oh, it’ll be a nice warm-up mile,” but it nearly wiped me out! Thank goodness I had a jogbra on and had remembered to grab a big bottle of water and a hand towel. It was only later, when I played the Friday premix, which takes you through all five miles, I found out Leslie intends for you to do this one last in your workout – or at least not first. (Why, then, it shows up first on this screen is a head-scratcher, but at least you now know and won’t repeat my mistake.)
- The Yellow Mile (just under 12.5 min.)
2 women in yellow outfits join Leslie. You’ll see the four basic steps plus kickbacks (aka hamstring curls), heel digs, double knees with legs wide, up 2 & back 2, tap outs, and up 2 & back 2 with tap outs. The music in this mile is all instrumental; actually, I can’t seem to remember any of it, so it must have been all right but certainly not memorable. As before, the first half moves at a nice pace, but the second half really picks things up and is *brisk.* This one worked a little better as a warm-up mile than the blue mile; I still had plenty left in the tank for my regular workout after this.
- The Red Mile (just under 12 min.)
All 4 women are back here in red. To the four basic steps you’ll add in walk 3 & tap, reach arms up & out and then down & out, walk up 2 & back 2, kickbacks, side steps with direction, double side steps, double knees, weight shifts, punch, and up 4 & back 4. Once again the first half is slower than the second, which definitely picks up the pace. This has instrumental music (pretty generic exercise video stuff, which Leslie may use elsewhere, but at least it’s peppy) as well in both halves. And you’ll get Leslie’s shout-out time here. That said, this may be one of my favorite miles.
- The Green Mile (just over 12 min.)
2 women (the ones who weren’t in the yellow mile) in green tops join Leslie (who’s wearing what comes off as more of a highlighter yellow top, but close enough). In addition to the four basic steps, Leslie loves the grapevines here (remember, green = grapevines galore), plus she’ll add in kickbacks to the grapevines plus do up 2 & back 2 as well as up 4 & back 4 (slightly jogging). As in the previous miles the pace picks up in the second half, but for some reason the pace didn’t seem as brisk here as in others. The music is pretty much all instrumental, although the first song has some vocals (“oh yeah” type of thing). This probably works the best as a warm-up.
- The Purple Mile (12 min.)
All 4 women are here with purple tops. Once again you’ll be doing the four basic steps as well as the mambo combo (up, back, to the side, and back), tap outs (with a turn, adding a point and then a punch), kickbacks, weight shift (adding in a punch), knee lifts (single and double) with legs wide, reaching up with the arms, pressing the arms to the front, and walking up 2 & back 2. And no purple mile would be complete without *grape*vines! As before, the pace really picks up in the second half, when a song with vocals (but not really lyrics) comes on. Interestingly, when you play the Friday workout, which takes you through all five miles, this is the first one that plays, and it does work well as more of a warm-up type of mile.
- Cool-Down (just under 5.5 min.)
All 4 women in their blue outfits join Leslie for walking up 2 & back 2 plus the four basic moves at a slower pace and with a smaller range of motion. She then goes into her standard stretch: feet planted for some breaths, arms reaching forward to stretch across the back, and arms reaching overhead to stretch the side of the torso; a staggered stance to stretch the calf, low back, and hamstrings; and shoulder rolls. (As always, I add on something for the hip flexors, at the very least; they’ll need it after all of those knee lifts.)
Note: This isn’t something you can choose, but this plays automatically once you start your workout, whether you’ve selected a premix or chosen your own workout.
The toning segments
- Abs Session (4 min.)
You’ll just need a mat here. On the back you’ll bring alternating bent knees to chest, curl ups with feet on floor, the hundred (with feet straight up) – although Leslie does “the fifty” here, alternating bent knees to chest, criss cross, and extend arms and legs to stretch the abs.
- Arms Session (just over 3 min.)
You’ll need at least one pair of dumbbells here; Leslie mentions that she’s using 5 lbs., but she recommends 3 lbs. if that seems too much (or more if your current weight seems too easy). Leslie does hammer curls (first both together, then alternating) for the biceps and overhead French press for the triceps.
- Legs Session (just over 3 min.)
Leslie doesn’t use any equipment here for reverse lunges and squats, then combining them into a lunge & squat combo.
- Chest/Back Session (just under 3 min.)
You’ll just need a mat here (and that will depend upon your flooring). Leslie has you doing modified push-ups (that is, from your knees) and then bird dog (alternate arm & leg lift in quadruped), which you’ll repeat twice.
- Full Body Stretch (about 3.5 min.)
You’ll just need a mat here. You’ll lie down and extend your arms and legs, then bring both knees to chest and then one knee at a time to the chest. You’ll then lean your knees off to each side. You’ll extend each arm out to the side, then reach them forward, and then overhead before extending the legs out again. You’ll bring your knee to the chest again and straighten the leg for a quick (and I mean quick!) hamstring stretch before rolling up to sitting.
You know, I’ve never been all that impressed with Leslie’s stretches (Hello, there’s a whole front side to the body! No wonder a few VFers who do a lot of Leslie have complained about issues related to tight hip flexors…), and this didn’t do anything to change that impression.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through intermediates; I think this is best for beginner / intermediates through low, maybe even mid-, intermediates. (If you’re new to exercising, Leslie has other videos that are better suited for true beginners.) The choreography here is simple, but Leslie does include more moves than she normally does, so this might be one to work your way up to if you’re still working on distinguishing your left foot from your right.
Normally I exercise at an intermediate / advanced level, without any real intent to bump myself over into true advanced, but not lately; recently I’ve been working my way back up to solidly intermediate. This felt appropriate for my level. As I noted above, I could use one mile as a warm-up, but I could use several or even all miles together for a moderately challenging cardio workout that leaves me feeling worked out but not at all wiped out.
Set: bright interior studio space with laminate wood floors, light gray walls with a “Leslie Sansone Walk” framed banner, and “windows” covered with white curtains, plus some furniture, potted plants, and exercise equipment sparsely and neatly arranged around the perimeter.
Production: crystal clear picture and sound, with Leslie just audible over the music. There are fewer wacky overhead camera angles here (seriously, the overhead swooping down shot is way overrated for exercise videos), and there are no “oops, ignore that camera man / piece of filming equipment in the corner” moments, either (something fairly common in many of the recent “bat cave” Leslies).
Equipment: For the walking portions you’ll just need a pair of sneakers (and a jogbra, too, if relevant). You’ll just need a mat (depending upon your flooring) and a pair of dumbbells for the toning portions.
Space Requirements: At 5’9” I was able to fit the workouts within nine 2’ by 2’ puzzle mats, or an area 6’ by 6’, but I pretty much used all of that space for the walking miles. You could squeeze this into a smaller space, but Leslie doesn’t make as many suggestions here as she usually does. If you have more space, don’t be afraid to use it, especially for something like the end of the red mile and parts of the green mile where you’re walking up 4 and back 4.
DVD Notes: When you pop in the DVD, you get the standard warnings before Leslie pops up to explain the DVD. With your remote you can skip Leslie’s intro to get right to the main menu, where your options are Play Introduction, Monday’s Workout, Tuesday’s Workout, Wednesday’s Workout, Thursday’s Workout, Friday’s Workout, and Create Your Own Workout. If you choose the Create Your Own option, a screen pops up explaining how that works (basically use the up and down arrows on your remote to highlight your choice, then hit enter/select; you can choose more than one segment and you can double up on something, such as doing the Blue Mile twice; you can hit Clear Selections to start over; when you’re done picking segments, highlight Play Your Workout and hit enter/select to start). As mentioned, you can choose each mile, each strength section, and the full body stretch individually.
Comments: I’ve bought four of Leslie’s 5-mile walks: Advanced 5-Mile Walk, 5 Day Slim Down, 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk, and now Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan. I’ll do a quick comparison of the four, touching on what I consider the main differences. Advanced is set in a courtyard; includes a diverse cast, including her daughter and some men; it only has one jogging mile; and uses her boosters, specifically hand weights, walk belt, and stretchy band. I ended up trading this one off, as I prefer Leslies where she doesn’t use boosters (and, yes, I know she shows not using them) and I didn’t like the menu, which IIRC had the options of play and some set premixes, whereas later options allowed picking and choosing of specific miles. Slim Down is set in the “bat cave” (the studio space with the black curtains) with a less loopy Leslie by herself; has miles focused on abs, arms, etc.; and only had one jogging mile. This is one of my two favorites of this quartet, as I like the variety. Fat Burning Walk is also set in the “bat cave”; some miles have Leslie with a cast, and some have Leslie by herself; and all miles are structured similarly, ending with some “boosted walking.” I like this one all right, but since there isn’t as much variety in the format it doesn’t jump off the shelf as much for me. Ultimate Walk Plan is in a bright interior studio space; Leslie has a professional cast; there’s more of a variety of moves among the miles (similar to Slim Down, although without the designated focus of Slim Down); and there’s very little jogging. Like Slim Down the variety makes this the second of my favorites among the 5-mile walks; the bright studio space also helps.
Ready for one more comparison? How about Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan vs. 4 Mile Power Walk? OK, on the surface it seems silly to compare a 5-mile walk with a 4-mile one - duh, the one has an extra mile! -, but since they both came out about the same time, I’ll do a compare and contrast for those who are asking, “Do I really need another Leslie? And if I do, do I really need both of these new ones?”
Both feature the same set and four of the same cast members - the more professional fitness types, although 4MPW also has walk leaders, too. They both use some of the same songs; I’m pretty sure the warm-up and the cool-down on both use some of the same tunes. And they have some of the same “new” (well, newer to Leslie) moves: bouncing “like a jump rope,” weight shifts, half jacks, the mambo combo, and an attempt to do a few different arm patterns, especially with some of the more common steps (for example, Leslie will reach up and down with alternate arms while doing kicks rather than, say reaching forward). Also, neither is done as a continuous workout; Leslie changes cast members and outfits with each new mile.
In addition to the difference in the number of miles, the two DVDs have different formats. The walking miles in U5DWP all pretty much follow the same basic formula: you’ll walk at a moderate pace in the first half of the mile, then walk at a brisk pace in the second half. There’s some variation in moves from mile to mile, and as mentioned the color coding helps you remember which ones you might have particularly enjoyed or want to avoid. In contrast, almost every mile in 4MPW is different. The two interval miles are structured similarly, with 2 min. of slower pace and 2 min. of brisk pace, but there is some variation in cast and moves between the two miles.
U5DWP is programmable, so you can do however many miles and/or strength segments you’d like to do at a time in any order you’d like, or you can choose from 5 different premixes. In contrast, 4MPW only has the option to play all, do the two interval miles together, or do the two classic walk miles together. You could use your remote and the skip button to do the first classic mile and interval mile or the second interval and classic miles together instead, however.
Personally I think Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan is the winner of the pair for me. I actually ran out to get 4 Mile Power Walk because I liked the “new” moves in U5DWP and because I liked the preview clips of it, but once I popped it in and did the whole shebang I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would - and I suddenly found myself over Leslie’s current bouncing obsession. Because of the way the two DVDs are set up, I foresee myself using U5DWP much more often because it’s so much more flexible: I can do a mile as a warm-up or a mile or two as an add-on, I can program a cardio workout to fit into my time limits for that day, I can program out the mile(s) I don’t want to do that day for whatever reason, and so on. I’m going to have to be in the mood for 4MPW. I know this isn’t true for everyone, especially most people who use Leslie for cardio, but personally when I’m reaching for a Leslie that often means I’m not feeling 100%, and when I’m not feeling 100% I don’t want something bouncy, which is why I’ve reached for a Leslie!
Leslie is Leslie: talkative, focused on the many benefits of walking, not the sharpest cuer, not worried about which side you’re on, but always encouraging and supportive. One side effect of not having her usual group of walkers (this crew seems to be hired hands - that is, fitness professionals, rather than her fellow teachers, friends, relatives, and clients) is she’s the more on topic and less loony Leslie here, with fewer “say wha?” and “boy, that comment’s going to get old the twentieth time through” moments, although she still gets a bit goofy, like in the cool-down when she says the side step is her go-to wedding dance move (sorry, Kamillah, but I’m not finding that as hilarious as you now that I’ve heard it at least seven times). And the reason Leslie usually sticks to basic moves and doesn’t do a lot of combos is that combinations require more precise cuing; the “glitch” some people have noticed in the Blue Mile where Leslie counts four jacks but only does three and then counts jumping rope while doing jacks and vice versa IMHO isn’t a technical glitch but a Leslie miscue (hey, you try counting down while alternating between two different moves while on camera – OK, so maybe you’re more coordinated than Leslie and I).