Quick Fix Total Cardio Kick

Janis Saffell
Year Released: 2004

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

I begin this review with three short disclaimers. Firstly, I am not a huge cardio fan. Secondly, I am not a huge Janis Saffell fan. Thirdly, I am the klutziest klutz that ever klutzed and I cannot handle anything with choreography. I do tend to be all right with kickboxing if the combos are not too lengthy, but it can take me a few tries to get the hang of a new routine, so my first impression of this workout was not overly positive. It grew on me though---by my second time through I could mostly keep up, and by my third time through I was going smoothly along with Janis and the crew.

The workout is extremely well-produced. It has a bright, airy set and Janis (plus her two background exercisers) are cheerful and competent. Andrea in the back right shows beginner modifications, and Janis frequently points these out throughout the routines. The unobtrusive ‘quick fix timer’ on the bottom right corner of the screen counts down the minutes left in each mini-workout.

There are three ten-minute workouts, each of which is complete in itself (or, as complete as a ten-minute workout can be). Done together, they make a nice high beginner/low to mid intermediate half hour cardio routine. The dvd version is chapetered by mini-workout and has a bonus workout which I am not reviewing.

The first section is arm-focused. There is a one-minute warm-up with some quick arm and leg openers and a back stretch. Then we get bob and weave, first alone and then with various punches. These are first done slow, then taken to a moderate, even tempo. She adds on things (different punches, jacks, bob and weave etc.) and repeats the combo with decreasing rep count e.g. 8 of everything, then she adds and we do it again with 4 everything, then we add and do two of everything. We then do a second combo involving hip twists moving into steps with various punches added on. This was a bit tricky for me because the moving punches were a bit much for my choreograpy threshhold, but by my second time through, I had figured out when to modify and was fine.

The second workout is leg-based. There is a quick one-minute warm-up with bob and weave, hamstring curl and a few stretches. Then we move into the workout, taught in the same style as the arm routine with a few slow reps then amping up the temp. We get knee-ups with twists and leg lifts, done first on right leg then on the left. Then chamber warm-up set, jacks break and alternating front kicks. Then side kick chamber warm-up set, front kick break, then alternating roundhouse sets. This is followed by some repeater knees, a thigh thing, and a combo mixing all of that up with front and roundhouse kicks. No back kicks, but this was a fun little routine and my choreography threshhold did not go into overload a single time.

The third routine is ab-focused. I should mention that they are wearing really hideous outfits here---yellow and black, with the background girls having giant bands of yellow on their lower legs. They look like bumblebees who are wearing those giant rubber hip boots you would take fishing in a swamp or something. Anyway, following a short unmemorable minute-long warm-up, we get side bob and weaves with arm sweeps and then punches. Then there is a v-step thingie with hip action and an odd punch combo. This was the second tricky choreography area for me. It was not until the third time through that I realized she was not alternating sides here, and once I figured that part out and resolved to keep my feet still, it made things easier. Anyway, there are a few jacks and standing crunches to break up this stuff, then we get alternating knees (slow and then tempo), low bob and weave with ‘circles’ and boxer shuffle with arm punches to the sky. To finish off, we get standing oblique twists, then a greatest hits mix of prior moves frm the routine.

I can see this being a really useful and convenient routine for me. I find features like the countdown timer very motivating. If I am tempted to quit and I see there are only a few minutes left, I will persevere and the time goes by very quickly. A less klutzy person than I should have no trouble at all with the choreography, but the less adept might need one or two passes through. No worries though, it’s learnable---and makes for a brisk, cheerful routine that many exercisers will enjoy.