Fat Burning Breakthrough

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Step Aerobics

At first, I was a little leery of buying this tape, since I'd read reviews of it on Collage which said Kathy's cuing was very bad here. I gave in, though, and bought it and I'm very glad I did. I'm always looking for an interesting, not too dancy intermediate step workout, and this fits the bill nicely. Here's the breakdown:


Wave 1 (3 zones, 15 minutes of stepping total)
Zone 1: Mostly knee ups, repeaters and V-steps
Zone 2: Knee ups, L-steps with side kicks, over the top, scissors (over the top with 1 leg crossing behind), jacks, running the step, hamstring curls
Zone 3: Side lunges, squats, reverse lunges, turn steps, side leg lifts

Weight Segment 1: lat rows, biceps, overhead presses

Wave 2 (3 zones, 12 minutes of stepping total)
Zone 1: Cross-over cha-chas, alternating knees, front kicks, straddles, leg extensions, side leg lifts
Zone 2: Double knee, double taps, shuffles, Charlestons, hitch-kicks, over the top, hamstring curls
Zone 3: Side lunges, across the top, squats, side leg lifts, half-hops, mambos

Weight Segment 2: tricep extensions, side laterals, pushups

Abs: 20 regular crunches, 20 obliques, 20 leg lifts, 20 reverse crunches, 20 bicycles ("pulleys" for Firm Believers)


I really like this tape. The production quality is excellent and it's filmed in a beautiful setting outdoors - a really refreshing change from the usual studios. The music is very good too. It's non-vocal, energetic music with a good tempo for step. In particular, I like the stretch music - relaxing, but faster than usual.

The tape is designed to build up in intensity in each "wave;" Zone 1 is always the easiest, Zone 2 is intermediate and Zone 3 is the hardest, with higher impact moves. However, Kathy is really good about showing both harder and easier versions of moves throughout the video, and she reminds you a couple of times that "you are in control of the workout."

There are 4 other women besides Kathy. One of them doesn't use a step so people can watch her for non-step or lower-impact modifications. Kathy's choreographer for her last 20 videos makes her debut here, showing higher impact and more dancy versions of some moves.

I'd say this tape is best for intermediates, or advanced exercisers looking for an easier workout. The moves are pretty simple to get even the first time through, and certainly after a week. Make no mistake, though. Choreography and intensity-wise, this is not Cathe Friedrich or CIA, and people looking for that kind of complexity and intensity are probably going to be disappointed. If, however, you're like me and get a little klutzy when things get really dancy, but you still want a good workout, then this is an excellent investment, especially for only $15.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy was pretty much fine in this video. I like her a lot most of the time, but *not* when she's "extra-energized," as I think Collage put it (if you have her Timesaver videos, you'll know what I mean). She only lapses a couple of times here into that hyperness, and the rest of the time she's fine. Since others had commented about poor cuing in this tape, I watched carefully for that. The only thing I saw was, in Zone 1 of Wave 2, she at one point mistakenly says leg extensions (meaning rear leg extensions) and then does front kicks, but that's it. Nothing serious at all, really. The first weight segment moves a little too quickly for my taste, and I wish the stepping came to more than 27 minutes, but overall, I really enjoy this tape and I'm definitely glad I bought it.

Lianne K.