Fighting Fit, Fighting Fat

Harvey Walden IV
Year Released: 2003

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This is a a very straightforward and decent workout. It's not going to be a favorite of mine, but it will be a keeper. It's a high- intermediate interval workout divided into 3 parts. Every exercise is done for 30 seconds within those 3 parts, with the parts going from "basic" to "intermediate" to "advanced" (but some of the exercises don't ever change that much).

The warm-up, 8 minutes consists of lots of marching (march shallow, march wide, march low is the first set, there are two other brief sets ). The setting is a room decorated with vaguely military-esque trappings. Two women and one man, who act appropriately grim. Harvey wears a broad-brimmed hat and a constant scowl as he keeps telling you something about" bag of chips" and "this will separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls" and exhorts you, "I know you're not just sitting there."

In each of the three 15-minute "circuits" you do basically the same moves. Jacks, arm circles (the least interesting and effective of the lot), wide pushups, "diamond" pushups (for the triceps), ab crunches (from basic to clamshell to bicycle), squat thrusts, squats, lunges (from forward lunges to the more "advanced" back lunges), jab-jab-uppercut- uppercuts, side lunges, fast jogs, skip ropes, cross-country skis, "supermans"). The main different between "advanced circuit" and the other two is that you jog in between moves rather than march.

It's not complex or creative in choreography, but it gets the basic job of getting your heart rate up and sweating a bit in 45 minutes. I'm somewhat advanced as an exerciser, so cardio-wise this wasn't killer, but it was fine for getting in a feel-good-enough workout. Strength wise, I found it more difficult throughout the 3 circuits to keep doing pushups without going to my knees. But 30 seconds of everything makes it all fly by. This is primarily a cardio workout.

Instructor Comments:
To me he's like a male Jillian Michaels...he puts on that "drill sarge" demeanor and you're not sure how much of it is an act, but no matter, because he pulls it off well. He yells "Suck in that gut" so many times that I'll never forget it. But he's charismatic, natural-seeming and very competent at cuing. He plays the drill sarge role quite well.



I bought this because, like a lot of people, I'd seen Harvey on Celebrity Fit Club and thought I'd give it a go. I used to do martial arts and this is quite similar to the warm-up we used to do in that, so I know that this kind of work-out is very effective and combined with other forms of cardio exercise such as running, kickboxing, spinning will surely shape up.

There is a 9 minute active warm-up plus three 11-12 minute circuits: beginner, intermediate and advanced. You march (or you may choose to do walk-hops or jog in place) on the spot between 15 different exercises such as press-ups, situps, star jumps, lunges, skipping, boxing, box-press, etc.

The exercises are the same for all three 11-12 minute circuits. The difference is the intensity levels. The intermediate and advanced intensity options will make you sweat. However, if you choose to do the three circuits in the advanced level, you'll get a major workout!

Harvey explains everything as you go along, with 3 army members to follow: One does a beginner version, another does the intermediate, and the last does the advanced level; so you take your pick in the intensity. These exercises don't vary much between the different levels, but instead of marching, you do a little hop in the intermediate section and jog in the advanced one. You are encouraged to do as many reps as you can in the 30 seconds of each activity.

The circuits don't get boring because each exercise only lasts for 30 seconds but you have a choice of whether to do the beginner or intermediate or advanced level (for example, you can march in place, or walk-hop or jog).You repeat each circuit (each containing 15 different excercises, covering all parts of the body) 3 times, with the pace gradually picking up, but Harvey keeps you motivated in a regimental no nonsense "I know you can do it" manner.

Doing all three is an excellent workout, but you don't have to do it all at the beginning - we are told to build up to it. As one might expect Harvey is very motivational and spurs you along to do it.

There is a military bootcamp feel in the entire workout. He keeps saying, "Suck that gut in" and "Control your breathing, relax your breathing" - two reminders that are really important. It could get annoying after a while but then you can just lower the volume. The reason for lowering the volume is so you can play your own music! The downside to this workout is that the music is very faint - BUT it's also good in the sense that you can just play your fave songs.

In conclusion, I really enjoy this workout because it makes me sweat. I like basic and athletic choreography and this fits the bill. If you like complex choreography, you will not enjoy this workout. However, if you like no-nonsense, athletic but intense drill type of exercise, you will enjoy this DVD (just play your own music because you can hardly hear any in this workout!).

The DVD is chaptered (warm-up, circuit 1, circuit 2, circuit 3, cool-down).

Grade: B+
(primarily for the variety and intensity options of the exercises)

Instructor Comments:
In this workout, Harvey (from Celebrity Fit Club) just provides instructions. He has his stopwatch with him and stays at the sidelines giving reminders and pointers to the crew.He does present himself as a military bootcamp drill sergeant but then again, this is how the entire workout is presented (as you will notice from Harvey's and crew's attire to the set. The entire workout is focused on the crew though. Harvey is not annoying but lacks charisma (or maybe it's because he's portraying a drill sergeant persona). Good thing he's not leading the workout!

Kathy V.