Functionally Fit: Peak Fat Burning

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 1996

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it a number of times since getting it about a year and a half ago.

General workout breakdown: After a 7 minute warm up which includes some static stretching, Kathy leads you through 25 minutes of anaerobic / aerobic intervals (although this appears to me to be a circuit workout rather than an interval, but Iím not 100% clear on the definitions of both). The steps are primarily athletic or functional-type moves (speed skaters, lateral hops, repeaters) rather than traditional hi/lo aerobics moves (grapevines, pivots). The recovery portions are usually lower body toning moves using only your body weight only, such as squats and lunges. Following the last recovery segment, you move to the floor for a 5 minute stretch. This brings the workout total to 40 minutes.

Level: Iíd recommend this to an experienced beginner to a high-intermediate. I think the multiple modifications and exhortations to push yourself to the point where youíre ďbreathlessĒ might be too much for a true beginner; at the same time someone whoís crossing or crossed over into the advanced level of cardiovascular activity would find this too easy. I got this when I was just moving into the intermediate level, and I vacillated between level 1 and 2 for the first few times, then quickly moved up to level 2. I now consider myself a high intermediate and find level 3 a good but not overly challenging or intense workout.
Kathy offers low, mid-, or high impact variations. There are some shuffles, so be careful on carpet.
The relatively uncomplicated choreography shouldnít be difficult for most people to pick up within the first time or two. Kathy does string a couple of moves together, but she never throws more than three or four at you at one time.

Class: 3 women and 1 man join Kathy; all appear to be in their 30s, 40s, or maybe early 50s. 2 show low impact modifications and 2 show high impact modifications while Kathy demonstrates the mid-level impact moves.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The unexciting beat-driven instrumental music speeds up during interval segments and slows down during toning. The bright interior set is meant to look like a living room facing onto the backyard. The picture and sound quality are good. There is a clock counting down how much time is left in the interval at the 1 minute and 30 second marks.

Equipment: sneakers. You may want a mat for the cool down stretch.

Comments: This workout doesnít require much space. You need to be able to take one big step front and back and two fairly big steps to each side.
Although this workout is primarily aerobic, less advanced exercisers may want to avoid doing strength training for your lower body the day after doing this workout if that toning involves a lot of squats and lunges. (In other words, Kathyís recommendation of alternating this with her Functionally Fit Lower Body Firming isnít good if you want to give your muscles time to recover.)

DVD Notes: The DVD allows you to choose your chapter, which I use to skip the introduction. Unfortunately, each interval is not chaptered separately; I would have loved the option to program it to play just cardio or just toning.

Conclusion: This is a keeper. In fact, itís the only Kathy Smith workout Iíve kept. Itís great to grow with, as you can increase the intensity when you need more. And itís great to keep on the shelves, as you can also decrease the intensity when you need a lighter workout.

Instructor Comments:
Kathyís cueing is good. Sheís very enthusiastic, which causes her to trip up a couple of cues, but sheís well within my tolerance limits here. She works both sides evenly and mirror cues.