Simply Step

Gin Miller
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Step Aerobics

I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it twice, having gotten this recently.

General workout breakdown: see the reviews above.
I will add that Gin generally teaches the routine as follows: First, she builds up a combo, some of which are taught in two smaller blocks. (Usually you repeat a move a couple of times (e.g. on the right and left, four times on the same leg) in a row before moving on, so the combo ends up being a couple of moves put together rather than a dance routine.) Then comes a break with one basic step (e.g. basic or alternating hamstring curl) while Gin has you collect your thoughts and gear up for the next bit. Then she builds up another combo. After a quick break, you TIFT (take it from the top) once, with filler steps in between each combo. Then comes another break with basic steps while you do a perceived exertion test, and it’s onto the next combo. The final TIFT has no filler steps. There are a couple of times when Gin adds a variation while doing the final version of the combo or even while TIFTing, but for the most part she layers the moves only while teaching the combo.

Level: I’d recommend this to steppers at the experienced beginner through low to mid-advanced stage. Like others have said, although Gin breaks down the routine into simple chunks, she still expects you to have some familiarity with the step and step terms, so this wouldn’t be good for most true beginners to step. If you are relatively new to exercising and/or stepping, you could run through this all on the floor before hopping on the step. Truly advanced steppers might not find this enough of a challenge due to the fairly simply choreography and the length of time used for building up combos.
Gin almost always starts with the low impact version of each move, sometimes layering in or just suggesting higher impact variations of a few moves. That impact is optional, however, or you could always add in more if you want. There are minimal pivots.

Class: Gin alone, instructing live.

Music: upbeat instrumental with a beat.

Set: see descriptions above.

Production: good quality picture and sound, helpful camera angles that usually stay on all of Gin.

Equipment: step (Gin uses a Reebok black & gray one; I used a shorter Step without much difficulty), your choice of number of risers (none if beginner, one if intermediate, two if more advanced), and sneakers.

Space Requirements: enough room to walk comfortable around the front of your step, to take a large lunge off of each of the short sides, and to do a couple of steps on the floor behind your step. At 5’8” or so with size 10 feet I need about 12” in front of the step, 18” to each side, and 18-24” behind. Oh, if you do Gin’s monkey arms you may need a little more arm room along the short sides.

DVD Notes: The main menu asks you to select between Pre-Class Guidelines and the Workout. The workout has only three chapters: the warm-up, workout, and cool-down stretch.

Conclusion: I was looking for a video that would help me, at least a high intermediate when it comes to floor aerobics but a relative newbie to step who’s still at the intermediate level there, become more comfortable with the step and build up the endurance needed to tackle more advanced step workouts. This was a great choice. With one riser I felt that this gave me a workout just suited to my abilities, and I could add impact or intensity – or take them out. I will keep this for days when I want a steady state cardio workout or when I don’t want to work my brain too hard (like around exam time!), but I have a feeling I won’t reach for this a lot once I begin to conquer Christi and company on the step since I’m more of a choreography person.

Instructor Comments:
Gin is goofy, but she does focus on the workout, whether it’s cueing, providing tips, encouraging, or joking around. If you like your instructors to be all professional, reading off of a script, you won’t care for Gin. But if you like your instructors to be comfortable in front of the camera and letting their personality shine through, well, Gin’s the woman for you. She mirror cues, except for the time that she comes around so that she’s with her back to the viewer and using the same foot. Gin sometimes does the “watch me” method, demonstrating the next layer before asking you to do it. I like the fact that she’s clearly fit, yet she looks “normal,” not like some rail-thin model picked for her good looks alone. After all, Gin’s a real fitness instructor and one of the step video pioneers.