Flat Belly Workout - Walk Off Belly Fat

Ellen Barrett
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Abs/Core , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Walking Aerobics

This workout and its companion, Walk Off Belly Fat, are meant to accompany the Flat Belly Diet book from Prevention/Rodale Press. I purchased the videos solely because they are led by Ellen Barrett, and may be a little biased in my review because Ellen is one of my top three instructors.

Of the two Flat Belly programs, this one falls more into the walking category. The “walking” is not the most fun or exciting routine Ellen has choreographed, but it is effective. When I’ve had a stressful day at work want to give my brain a rest yet move my body, this is a good workout to reach for because the steps are very easy to follow (arguably, somewhat tedious in repetition). Ellen leads two fellow exercisers through the 30 minute walking program, which features “Stop n Tone” intervals of standing core work.

Segments consist of Play All, Walk Off Belly Fat, The Belly Routine and Bonus! (the bonus is just a mini-infomercial for the Flat Belly Diet). Walk Off Belly Fat lasts approximately 32 minutes; with the 8 minute Belly Routine, your total is just over 45 minutes. This could be my computer – but the DVD otherwise seems not to be chaptered. Thankfully, the music in this DVD is much better – or at least less annoying – than the music in Express Belly Blast.

The main workout starts with marching in place with some arm patterns, a brief plie series to the side with arms sweeps and option to twist the plie into a lunge, and flat back spine stretch warmup. The music picks up and you’re into the main workout with fairly simple patterns of marches and taps with some forward and back traveling, knee lifts and kicks; turn the corners with variations on marching in between (in and out, gallops); crosswalks (grapevine with foot crossing in front) with varying arm patterns. The crosswalks and marches turn into a rectangle around your workout area, then evolve to shuffles to increase heart rate. There is a final mambo segment before the cool down.

Stop n Tone segments include side knee to elbow pull downs, center punching, opposite knee to elbow crunches with side stretches, squats with side leg raises, squats with alternate knee to elbow crunch rotations, and a little balletic foot circle while balancing on one leg. Even though you’ve stopped the walk, these moves keep the heart rate up (the side leg raises had me breathing harder than the walking blocks!).

Those who opted for just the walking routine will be lead into a nice cool down of standing backstrokes, thigh stretches and spine rolling from a standing position. The full routine will take you to the Belly Routine, for which you’ll need a mat. This consists of some Pilates exercises shown at several levels including rollups, criss cross or bicycle as Ellen calls it, knee drops side to side with knees squeezing together, a very gentle version of the ab pike with option to corkscrew, side bends shown from a gentle elbow modification to full side plank, one full plank, the back strengthener from table top position with alternate arm and leg stretched up, and one final plank. The stretch follows.

I purchased this video while recovering from bilateral arm injuries to keep from going nuts, and had the unique experience of utilizing it as someone in dire need of a gentle workout, and as someone who is almost fully functioning. I was able to modify quite handily while the arms were painful and grow with this video during the recuperation. Of course being able to do the arm movements and put more oomph into increases your return. All in all I think this is an adaptable and effective workout, and I feel it in my core, hips and thighs. It’s also a mood lifter, I find it returns energy for anyone in the market for a "less is more" type workout.

Instructor Comments:
Ellen is her usual friendly, upbeat self. Working out with her brightens my day.