Walk Away the Pounds Express

Leslie Sansone
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Walking Aerobics

I got these from a friend who loved them, and she said I just had to have them in my collection. This is also how I ended up with the original WAP series and WAP Abs. In fact, if you either or both of those, you would be better off spending the $40 or so dollars you would spend on these on a weight training tape or two and a stretching tape (or dvds) because there is nothing new here. Here's the deal-
Like the its WAP predecessors, the WAPX series come with three videos, an eating plan and a gadget. My pack did not have the eating plan but I saw the plan that came with my friend's pack and its practically identical to the plans in her earlier WAPs. There is little discussion of cooking methods, food choices or portion sizes- you are supposed to follow the daily plan exactly as printed on the card. With tons of meat and dairy, the plan is very hard to adapt for any special diets or allergies, and does not include much overall info to help a person adopt a healthier eating plan. You'll need to consult your doctor, a nutritionist or purchase a book that covers basic nutrition information if you want more info.
The gadget in this pack is the "stretchie" also known as a dyna band. I'll call it a band from here on out. I think the term "stretchie" is silly and somewhat condescending. I can picture the discussion with Jake of Body by Jake and the women from Firm- "I've got buttissimo and abbadabbas, the suthern belles here have fanny and Les, you can have stretchie..." but I digress. Anyway, I like using bands and think they have a place in any fitness routine. However, there are drawbacks to using them- namely that you never know how resistance you're getting, they can break, and after a certain point, you can't increase the resistance by shortening the band and maintain an adequate range of motion. Leslie doesn't discuss any of this is her tapes or accompanying material, or that you should check the band for wear occassionally.
The tapes, like all WAPs, are based on 1, 2 and 3 mile plans at 20, 30 and 45 minutes respectively. All three start with an annoying rappish "walk" song, that would probably irrate even the biggest lover of rap into hating the genre. All three also have large gaps between songs that really interrupts the flow of the workout. This is especially jarring since Leslie says repeatedly that the music is for keeping the beat to fuel the workout. If the music cuts out, and even Leslie can't keep the beat, how does that effect the workout? Like her other tapes, the WAPX series is based on her steps- marching, knee lifts, side steps and kicks. She also uses wide marches and what she calls kicks backs- everyone else calls them hamstring curls. The pace is slower than WAP Abs (the fastest pace of the series) and even regular WAP. So if you are completely new to exercise, this is probably the best pack to pick. Also, Leslie incorporates much fewer arm motions than in the previous packs, again, that decreases the intensity if you are looking for something at a lower intensity level. The band is used only minimally at the very end of each workout, you do a few reps with it, in a few different positions. If you are hoping to build strength or shape your upper body, the band is not used often enough, for enough reps or provide enough resistance to see those changes. Instead, the band work provides something to break up the monotony of all the marching in place. Leslie seems particularly distracted in the band work in mile 1. Theres no rep counting, no discussion of form, and no mention of the rhythm for the reps. She covers some of this in the 2 mile workout, but since many exercisers will start with the 1 mile, she should include such info in that workout. I think everyone in her mile 1 workout does a different number of reps on the band exercises at a different pace. This is more annoying than anything else. Its hard to keep track of your workout and improvement if you don't know exactly what you're doing, how much resistance you're using or how much of it you're doing.
There's a lot of shuffle steps or stutter steps in these tapes, where the exercisers, Leslie included, try to get back on the beat or in step. It just seems so odd in a workout that is predominantly marching in place. Leslie has set up the work out so that you march in place after each different step, so you start each step on the right foot (which is probably why people do these steps to get on the right foot).
The workouts are well produced in that the music is clear, the lighting is good and does not compete with the instruction and most of the camera angles make sense and are not distracting. Some people think matching costumes are a sign of high production values; I don't. All of the female participants here wear the same outfits, not just the same color. The thin strapped camis that they wear are a poor choice for the more endowed women. It frequently looks like they are about to overflow the deep necklines on the tops.
Overall, these are very basic, low impact cardio workouts, suitable for beginners to intermediates. The workouts start low and slow and gradually build, then cool down gradually. They are safely planned, making them a good choice for people just starting out who need to watch the intensity and have workout clearance from the Drs. Leslie encourages exercisers to go at their own pace, and do what they can, cooling down and finishing when they need to. Exercisers who need or want this will find these tapes fit their cardio needs, and will get a slightly less intense workout than in the original WAP, and a very noticably less intense workout than in WAP ABs. Regardless of level, exercisers choosing this pack will want to also purchase a good total body toning/shaping/strengthening video (or a few that cover it in parts) and a good stretch tape or two. If you're reading this review looking for ideas, then I would suggest Donna Richardson's 4 day rotation, 15 minute workouts for dummies, Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Loose Weight (1 or 2) or her Secrets of a Great Body upper and lower tapes, tamilee's I want That series or the Reebok winning body workout as good choices for toning. Karen Voigt's Pure and Simple stretch or tamilee's stretch tapes (there are 2, or you can get the dvd with both) are wonderful picks. For a yoga stretch that is accessible- the dummies yoga tapes are fine, and Jane Fonda has a wonderful stretch and relaxation program after a 20 minute cardio session in the Stress Reduction program. Overall, leslie's WAPX makes a fine cardio program for beginners and intermediates (or anyone who prefers her style and approach), but requires toning and stretching supplementation to make it a well rounded fitness program.

Instructor Comments:
As always with Leslie's videos, she is perky and chatty. Some of Leslie's talk is about good health, some is cheesy banter with the other exercisers (though not as much as in previous WAP installments) but most is still a shill-a-thon for the WAP workouts and her latest gagdet, the "stretchie" (aka Dyna Band). Some people don't mind her endless chatter; I find it obtrusive and occasionally condescending.