Fit, Fresh and Funky

Glenda McKay
Year Released: 1999

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

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The video consists of 7-minute blocks: a warm-up including stretches, three graduated hi/lo aerobic sections (with an increasing disco bent in later sections), two toning floor exercise sections (one for hips and thighs, one for abs and butt) and a 5-minute cooldown. There is an introductory section which introduces each of the team (including McKay's 50-year-old mother, a housewife who looks like a "real" mom and two other fitness instructors), gives some safety pointers and explains that you can do any combination of the sections provided you always do the warm-up and cooldown. There is a natural progression through the aerobic sections, which all use the same basic step pattern and develop it to become more challenging from section to section. McKay's mother demonstrates low-impact versions of the moves throughout. With only a very few (non-critical) exceptions, you can always see the whole body of at least one of the participants, and there are only a handful of miscues which do not cause serious problems.

I did not do the toning sections because they don't include upper body work and I really wanted to try weights. If you wanted to try them, a mat might be useful. Otherwise you need no special equipment.

The music is the kind that worms its way into your mind and is hard to forget, but I found it quite motivational.

I had done no exercise before using this other than specific pre- and postnatal exercises, so I was really a complete novice. This video took me on to the intermediate stage within 12 weeks, but would probably be too easy for an intermediate or advanced exerciser. For absolute beginners or anyone who needs to take their time to learn step sequences, I would say it is an excellent buy.

Glenda McKay is known in the UK as Rachel on Emmerdale (a soap opera). Less well-known is that she is also a qualified fitness instructor. On this video, she demonstrates a routine which is full of variations on a basic theme, making it very suitable for beginners. Her cuing is generally superb, consisting of a verbal cue well in advance of the change and often a hand signal as well to show the direction of movement. New steps are demonstrated in advance while the rest of the group continue with the previous step.

She does occasionally yell things like "Hong Kong phooey!", which annoyed my husband but didn't bother me.

Liz Williams