Ultimate Body: Challenging Workouts for Weight LossMeghan White
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Total Body Workouts
This workout is part of the "interactive" series from Body Wisdom Media. It features numerous mix and match workouts per disk. This is slighlty less interactive than some of the other titles they have done like the yoga and pilates ones that re-combine dozens of poses into numerous pre-mixes. This dvd features more complete workouts and the only combining they do is with the warm-ups and cool-downs. If you choose a long workout option that combines two shorter routines, they leave out the warm-up and cool-down before the second section.
In general: Meghan works out in a small class with Michelle and David, who variously show modifications. The sections are strength training, bootcamp and kickboxing just like in the beginner dvd. The whole look and feel is identical to the beginner dvd I already reviewed, and some of the exercises are used again, but there are all standard athletic moves like biceps curls and knee-ups and such. The footage and choreography is all different here and you can definitely see how she stepped things up a little with more impact in the cardio, more complex combinations in the kickboxing, and more sets of varying types in the strength work.
Strength training: Upper body, lower body, abs or total body, which includes all the above sections. In upper body, Meghan varies the format more than she did in the beginner dvd where every exercise was done the same way. Here, for example, shoulders only get one exercises, but biceps get two and back gets three. She usually does one set at top end of the range, one set in the low end of the range and one set at full range, then some pulses. The only between-set stretches are shoulder rolls, although you do get a few extra stretches at the end. These are all standard exercises here: curls, rows, kickbacks etc. In lower body, the work is more combo-oriented than in the beginner disk. For example there is a lunge/kick combo, squat/leg lift combo and squat/reach. There is also some plyo squat stuff that amps things up from disk 1 a little. The ab section is nothing spectacular. There are only so many ways to do crunches, I suppose. She adds a weight here, which is new. I donít really love ab work and didnít get the dvd for that, so I canít really comment. It seems fine to me, and if I have picked a pre-mix that includes it, Iíd do it, but like I said, I did not buy this set because of the ab workouts.
Kickboxing: there are two workouts, each about 20 minutes including warm-up and cool-down. The full long version is 40 minutes and includes an ab section too. The first workout is total body, with punches and speedbags and then a few kick combos with jumping jacks. The combos are a little more complex than in the beginner dvd. The second workout is a little more cardio-ish and has more hops and bounces and a lot of strength-type moves like squats and knee-ups. No comment on the ab work. It is in line with the rest that is on this dvd and it seemed fine, itís just not something that terribly interests me.
Bootcamp: Like the kickboxing, there are two workouts, each about 25 minutes including warm-up and cool-down. The full long version is 45 minutes and includes an ab section too. The first workout section includes shuffle, jog, tap and hop variations in assorted tempos and combinations. The second section is a little more jumpy, with jacks, four-limbed joggy stuff, lunges and variations thereof. Michelle uses a step here. There is also an abs section which is similar to the others on this dvd.
Other: You can combine all 3 ab sections into a giant ab pre-mix off the strength training menu. That workout is about half an hour.
General Comments: As I said in my review of the Beginner dvd, Meghan does not mirror cue on the cardio. And I know a lot of people on the forums have commented on Meghanís voice. It is a little on the high-pitched side, and gets downright squeaky in a few places, but it didnít bother me. If you watch TV, her voice is almost exactly like Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer :)
Verdict: I am really pleased with this. I liked the approach of the first dvd and am happy to have more in that vein. I did kind of miss the lower-impact modifications, which were absent in this dvd. In fact, former beginner modifier Michelle is the one who shows the harder stuff here! If you are not am impact fan, this is definitely not the series for you. But I have in the past enjoyed Plyo X and the simple athletic cardio style of Tony Horton for example. So this was just the thing for me.
I know a lot of people on the forums have commented on Meghanís voice. It is a little on the high-pitched side, and gets downright squeaky in a few places, but it didnít bother me. If you watch TV, her voice is almost exactly like Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer :)