Hi/Lo Heaven

Christi Taylor
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance



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Iím reviewing this workout after doing it several times, including again recently.

General workout breakdown: This 80-min. hi/lo or floor aerobics workout begins with a just over 6-min. warm-up; an almost 23-min. segment of more moderately complex hi/lo (as mentioned, both interms of intensity and complexity), a 24-min. segment of more complex hi/lo, and an almost 21-min. portion of your choice of short, fairly simple aerobic combos alternating with weight segments (ďintervalsĒ in CIA and Collage vocabulary) or with a cardio-based holding pattern; and a 6-min. cool-down & stretch.
This has already been broken down so well thereís nothing else I can add!

Level: Iíd recommend this to at least very solidly intermediate exercisers through (low, maybe mid-) advanced comfortable with at least moderately complex choreography, although if youíre tackling stage II a love of complex choreography may be a must.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced whoís definitely better than average at picking up (although maybe not executing) choreography. Like Laura I was still somewhat new to complex choreo when I tackled this one originally, and it took me a few times to get it, but now itís like jumping on a bicycle after some time away (OK, maybe more like riding a bicycle while patting the head and rubbing the tummy in some places, especially once Christi throws in a bunch of arm movementsÖ). This workout gets me into that moderately high heart rate zone that leaves me feeling worked out but not wiped out (in other words, it leaves me a sweaty mess, but I donít feel like Iíve been run over by a steamroller), and the choreography keeps my brain working, too.

Class: four men join Christi, although two drop out for Stage II; two show (a few) modifications for Stage 1 and stay with the cardio holding pattern in the intervals. Iím not sure who cracks me up more: the guy who really gets into it (heís the whooper and ďoh yeahĒer, but you have to listen carefully for that) or the one who spends a good deal of the time with a ďWhat did I get myself into?Ē look on his face. And I hope Iím not the only one who tries to imagine what the two modifiers in the interval portion might be saying to each other as Christi and the front two carry on, either oblivious or purposefully ignoring them.

Music: a mix of upbeat instrumentals and (remade) vocals, mostly pop songs, which as others have pointed out add to the light, fun factor of this workout. After spending the past few months doing mainly Christi workouts her soundtracks are starting to blend together, but this one has some fun songs that stand out.

Set: interior set with a kind of 3-D abstract cityscape feel and sort of pastel colored lights.

Production: clear picture and sound (especially since these are VHS transfers), camera angles that are more helpful than not, although Iíve never been the biggest fan of CIAís up and away (that is, off to the side and/or overhead) angles, which I donít find all that useful.
The cool-down inset was a great idea but seems superfluous now, since itís so easy to hit skip to get to the full cool-down on the DVD version. These insets seem to have been an afterthought, because several times they block the view of Christiís legs, as if they didnít fully plan during filming for something to occupy the lower lefthand quarter of the screen for the first few minutes of Stages II and III.

Equipment: sneakers that can pivot on your flooring.

Space Requirements: Youíll need more horizontal than vertical space. You should be able to do a big grapevine across your space with a few steps on either end, and you should be able to move forward and backward a few steps, too. Stage I has the most front and back movement, but I keep it more in place since I donít have tons of room that way, and I still get a perfectly good workout. I agree that although this needs room it isnít a major space hog, although I can always find a way to make Christiís workouts fit into my workout area because to me theyíre worth the effort.

DVD Notes: This comes on a DVD with Still Steppiní; it is packaged together with a DVD of Hi-Lo Heaven and Still Jumpiní. By the way, this Fantastic 4 DVD is a must have for any Christi fan and is a great bargain, with 4 great workouts of an hour or more for the price of one, really.
The chapter menu pops right up Ė love this! Your options are Beginning (a dedication to one of Christiís back-up exercisers and friends, a collection of Christi family photos, and a shot of VFers watching the filming), Introduction, Warm-Up, Stage I Ė Combo #1 / Combo #2 / Combo #3 / Combo #4, Stage II - Combo #5 / Combo #6, Stage III Intervals, Cooldown & Strech, Bloopers, and Credits.

Comments: You know, I have to say that personally I prefer Still Jumpiní and Totally Hot Cardio over Hi/Lo Heaven, but this is on my list of favorite Christis (OK, so I only have favorite Christis and almost favorite ChristisÖ). I was kind of a late comer to Christi, starting with THC and SGC, so keep that in mind as you read my reaction compared to those who started with Christi during her CIA days. I would agree that this has much more of a fun factor, especially in the music, and has more of what many of us think of as Christiís signature style than the CIA videos on Humble Beginnings and Happy Hour Hi/Low on Terrific Trio, so I can see why those who were with Christi from the beginning were just blown away in so many good ways by this video. Coming from later Christis I see many of the things I love about her workouts in this: great cuing, one of the best senses of how to match moves to music, many familiar or nearly familiar moves, and Christiís personality. I do see why some people find this too repetitive, however, but that hasnít stopped me from enjoying it, perhaps because I pull it out from time to time rather than do it regularly.

Instructor Comments:
Again, Iím not sure what else I can add about Christiís on screen presence, instructional style, great cuing, fun personality, and so on that hasnít been said already. Well, Iíll point out that as always Christi cues ahead of the move, mirror cues (although sheís not the most profuse provider of directional cues, but at least she sometimes points in the direction youíre going if sheís not giving you a verbal heads up), and cues well and consistently. I agree that itís her preparation beforehand that allows her to teach so smoothly while having so much fun.

KathAL79

02/03/2010

There are a lot of reviews on this workout, but not much recently, so I thought Iíd throw in my thoughts.

On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who is learning to love advanced choreography. My general routine in learning complex choreography is to do a workout I know and then pop in the new workout and go as far as I can. When I get frustrated, I quit and do it again another day. I keep going and adding time on the workout until I ďgetĒ the entire workout.

This tape was one of my first truly complex and dancey workouts. It took me quite awhile to learn the whole thing. I think it would take me somewhat less time now that I have more experience with this type of choreography, but it would still take some time to master it. I am in awe of people who can just pop it in and do it.

Christiís cueing and teaching is truly remarkable in this workout. Even when I was getting frustrated by the complexity, I was having a great time. The music is great. The background exercisers are fun. Several times in the workout, someone (including Christi a couple of times) messes up Ė and they left it in. For me, it was part of the ďfun factorĒ of the workout. Two of the background exercisers do show lower-impact modifications, but they are in the back and are sometimes hard to see. I wish they were in the front.

There is a LOT of TIFTing. Frankly, that was a plus for me, because it helped me learn the choreography. For those that donít like it, I can see how it could get tedious. It also takes some space, so itís not for those with small workout areas. The music is GREAT. It is such a motivating factor in the workout.

This is one of my favorite workouts. It just makes me feel happy.

Instructor Comments:
Christi is just so much fun in this workout. She laughs and has a good time. At the same time, she cues well, she teaches the combinations well, she gives modifications for high-impact moves, etc.

Laura S.

09/20/2004

Christy Taylors' Hi-Lo Heaven Posted 5-23-2001 21:45

WOW!!! WOW!!!! I mean WOW!!!! What a tape... just when I thought I had my favorite tapes all picked out... along comes this one!!!!
Christy: warm, calm, welcoming, charming, lovely demeanor is involving but not overly perky.... Again she is like a workout partner more than instructor...

The Set: simple, BUT unlike other vids Happy Hour and CIA9801 (I've only previewed it) where she has two women working out with her.... This Video has four (4) MEN..... not fat, not skinny, they seem like normal cute (IMO very cute) guys... one of them looks like one of my colleages at work that all the girls drool over.... wink!!

She does all the moves in low-impact (I think) well, it doesn't seem like she is doing High impact but I'm doing high impact and she could have fooled me....the moves are also of the kind that are not so dancy that you can't do the high impact... and they are not so low that you can't elevate them...

This tape is Hi-Lo: which means you can do high or low impact.

The music: This tape has some very, very, very fun music... you will recognise some of it .... popular hits... But you will like it!!!!! For me the music has to be good or I get bored.... I love the throw in of a latin song towards the end of one of the sections...

The Workout: Stage 1 is 25 minutes.... choreography is doable, at first try.... Ok, since I'm not a dancer I did fudge a few parts... but it did not take away from the fun!!!

The Workout: Like on new TV sets she has a small box in the left bottom corner where she does a cool dowon stretch for those who are not continuing on with Stage 2.

The Workout: Stage 2 is 25 minutes of fast-paced fun... and the choreography is more intricate but still based on my previous observation.... It is not the moves that are complex but the combination thereof.... there are only 2 guys with her this time.

The Workout: just like in stage 2 the little TV on the bottom left cools/stretches you down If you are stopping here at Stage 3.

Stage 3: IN this stage she does Circuit Training.... that means ............................. she does 2 1/2 minutes of cardio then weights then 2 1/2 min of cardio then weights for the 20 min total.... the weight segments are: 1st. squats w/ biceps and side leg w/biceps hand weights. 2nd. Dips then open leg and squats with hand weights.. 3rd Rear leg lifts w/ one arm tricep weights. 4th squats w/ one arm bent row ..(sort of a bent row... its a lift)

in Stage 3: two of the guys are doing the weights while the other two guys are doing simple footwork cardio ..... this is during the whole stage... Verrrry nice!!!!

I'm blown away... I looooooooove this tape.... and I think anybody who can do any cardio at all will be encouraged....

Instructor Comments:
Her teaching technique: Again,(similar to Happy Hour) She makes all the moves look effortless, and takes you through each move. She usually shows you the move first, before you try to do it... the moves are not complex ... she will do 2 or 4 reps of a move then on to 2 of another then on to 2 of another.... the trick or the complexity lies in learning the names of the moves so that you know what comes next... That is I think the reason they say her tapes are complex.... But I was able to mostly follow and I'm NOT a dancer by a longshot!!! When she does a pivot she places other moves in between...unlike others who go from one spin to another without giving you a chance to catch up...

Sunshine

07/02/2003

I agree with the opinion that this is a very good hi-lo workout, but I disagree that it is perfect. In my opinion, this workout is too long and repetitive, not only with all the taking it from the top, but also with having a gazillion hamstring curls, knee-ups and basically the same types of movements over and over for well over an hour. On the positive side, I agree that the music is good and the male participants are fun to watch, but I would be happier if the first and second segments were shorter. I like the third segment, which incorporates weights, but it starts at about the hour mark. I agree that there is some really fun choreography, and it often flows really well. The moves sometimes appear to be more complex than they really are, so I think this workout is doable for most people, with some extra time taken to rewind and take it a section at a time. Christi's cueing is not always to my liking, although it is generally good. I don't really like her method of introducing a move, repeating it several times until your muscle memory kicks in, and then changing that same move to something completely different, (which is different from adding on, which I do like). I recently bought the Fantastic Four DVD, which motivates me to do the workout more than the VHS did. I like the ability to skip around at the touch of a button, if need be.

Instructor Comments:
Christi is a well-prepared, professional and experienced instructor.

Abbe

12/28/2002

I love Christi, I love the music, I love the moves; I love almost everything about this tape. I mainly do sections 1 and 2 because section 3 isnít quite my cup of tea. I love dancey choreography so learning the moves in section 2 was such a treat for me. I get this great feeling of accomplishment while having loads of fun when I put sections 1 and 2 together.

The only drawback, for me, is that there are no low-impact modifications available for a couple of the moves. Other than that, the tape is nothing but fun!

Grade: A

Sharon Muha

01/23/2002

I know that there are a lot of thorough reviews of this tape, but I did it this morning for the umpteenth time and had to write a review.

Obviously I like it, no wait, I love it. This is the first complex choreography tape that I had ever had the nerve to try. I was immediately addicted. Christi is so great at cueing, and so down to earth I feel like I'm working out with my buddy when I do this tape. She even knows when I'm about to run into my chair!

The only thing about this video that I (and others agree) think that if you don't like to dance, or just can't even get down those horrible grapevines, and then a turn, this isn't the video for you. Granted it took me a while to get all the moves down, but the challenge excited me and now that I've got it I feel like I'm the queen of the world!

When I first got this tape I considered myself intermediate, now I would say that I'm advanced. I've been working out with videos since the beginning of the year, guess what my New Years Resolution was? And I've watched my cardio vascular fitness raise all year long. When I was first doing this tape I could only do the first section and then I was spent. Now I can do the entire tape and want to do it again after work just because it was so much fun (I don't actually do it again, lack of time).

Christi is warm and friendly through out the entire work out. Her crew in the back really seems to have a great time, as I'm sure they did. This is a wonderful video even for those of you out there that haven't tried complex choreography but would like to try it.

Kathy K.

09/06/2001

~Everyone has written all my thoughts, I just wanted to add my "professional" opinion...Christi is THE choreographer! Her cueing skills are so excellent, I know she received them through inspiration from Heaven above! (Thank you, Father) As I also spend countless hours creating new routines my own classes, I can just imagine what Christi went through to make this routine the *polished* artwork (as many VF'ers said) that it truly is. The combination of music, movement and the friendly-just-hangin'-out feel of this video would want to make ANYONE try it, and then they'll see for themselves why we all feel this way :-)

Another skill Christi has is that I feel like I'm actually in the same room she's in, she was THAT helpful, warm & caring. I strive to reach every person in my classes by having some laughs, helping them feel like they can do any move, and of course showing them to modify their intensity levels (more or less challenging). This comes so naturally to Christi, you feel as if you would trust your life to her...you know she'll cover everything that an instructor should cover.

My favorite section in this tape is Stage 1 (haven't even touched the 3rd stage, yet) and I also found it EXTREMELY helpful to have a cooldown insert at the end of Stages 1& 2. What is it exactly about leaping from the side that brings the greatest feelings inside of me? I feel like a bird soooaring in the air...I don't know but I could do that combo all day long, over and over again. I'm definitely going to "borrow" that one for my classes! I've not had the chance to meet Christi, cuz of living in the west coast, but I did get an autographed copy of this tape! See, I feel like I know her already :-)

The day after this workout, I popped in Cathe's Step Fit, and even though I love Cathe, this wasn't one of her better days...I'm going to have a new "favorite", and Christi it is!!!

Myra Marangi

02/01/2001

I have to agree with the majority on this video--it will be very hard for Christi to top her work in Hi/Lo Heaven. The music, the choreography, Christi's sunny personality, the cast...everything just came together perfectly. I feel privileged that I was able to attend the taping of this video.

The length makes it very difficult for me to ever do this video in its entirety, given my current schedule, but the three-part structure means that if I only have a half hour for cardio, one section of Hi/Lo Heaven fits the bill perfectly. I'm not so keen on the third section, but I'm not generally a circuit workout fan, and I have to say that during the filming I felt sorry for the guys in back doing the holding pattern the whole time! It's repetitive even to watch.

All in all, though, the first two sections are some of the best complex hi/lo available on video. It's a must-have for any complex choreography fan. Even if that doesn't describe you, if you're willing to put in a little time learning this routine it will be well worth the effort.

WWWendy

01/10/2001

If Hi-Lo is your thing, then you are sure to be on cloud nine with this one! The way that Christi builds chorography makes even me a self-professed 2 left footer feel like a dancer.

While not nearly as complex as 9801, I would rate it a notch above Happy Hour Hi-Lo. Moving through 3 sections of pure foot tapping choreography there is something for everyone. The first section is a bit more basic; it reminds me of Christiís CIA 5004, more basic footwork with dancier segments dusted though out the segment. This segment is not all out hi impact nor is it all low impact either. There is a great mix of both, though you can easily spice up the moves with a little hip hop or power if you are in the mood. The first segment has a lot less turning moves and back to the TV moves. This makes it so easy and fun to learn. She even throws in some simple boxing moves, shuffles and a few punches! You will see some traveling scoops, pivot turns, leaps, some jazzed up repeaters, and some nice footwork patterns.

The second section really turns on the choreography. Get ready work it during the Ham & Eggs and the Daphne. This section is a bit more intense than the first. Youíre going to see a fabulous plyo move, called the Daphne of course! And some of Christiís famous turning moves. The Ham & Eggs is a great turning hamstring combo with a lot of attitude and charm. If the first section didnít get you moving then this section is sure to.

The third sections are cardio integrated with upper body weights. You will do a nice cardio blast followed by an upper body weight segment. Using between 3 and 10 pounds you will do laterals, biceps, and presses while your feet keep moving in a basic pattern. You do have the option to do the cardio only by following the two cast members that are demonstrating that option.

Like Step Heaven you get the option of cooling down with the picture in picture inset after each of the first 2 segments. A great cast, great music, and Christiís upbeat attitude really make this tape great. Hi Lo Heaven and its counterpart Step Heaven are both incredible tapes that rightfully should have a place in everyoneís video cabinet!

Susie F.

10/12/2000

This is a video that I will forever treasure. It sounds hokey, but through this tape, Christi has put a joy of exercise into my life that I haven't had in years. I don't know, maybe the reason is unique to me, but something in this video makes my soul sing and makes me happy to be alive.

Everyone has mentioned that the music of this tape just carries the workout. It does. I heard a Prince remake on there, for heavens sake. How could it not?!! And I love that Christi cues in time to the music. (I'm humming, "Kick and hold. Two steps-to-the-left.") There was only one weird, techno song that grated on me at first (when Christi hears it, she says, "Great music!" and I'm like, are you kidding?!), but now I even love that one too, because it has such a driving, hypnotic beat.

Christi listened to every single suggestion we've made over the years when she made this video. The warm-up moves are not repeated in the main workout. (YAY!). The video is broken down into two all-cardio sections, and a third circuit, and like Cathe, each section stands on its own, with no moves repeated from the prior section. (Double YAY!). There's scarcely any marching in place in this tape (Triple YAY). Not that Christi ever had that problem anyway. The intensity is high throughout, and you can tell that Christi accomplishes that by thinking carefully about how to introduce the first move in every combo, and then how to transition from one move to the next. Christi never uses step touches or marches as a holding pattern to stall while she runs her mouth about the next move. Some of our other beloved instructors (and I won't mention any names), who do that "hold the march," business should take a page from Christi's book in that regard.

The choreo is interesting, without being over the top crazy hard. Spins, lateral and vertical moves, hops, and pivots punctuate each move. Pound per pound, there isn't as much choreo in this tape as in the hi-lo from 9801, and the choreo here seems to be repeated and broken down more than in 9801 (but I could be wrong on this....). For those who abhor taking it to the top, I think the fact that Christi breaks the routine out into two separate sections makes the time just fly, and the repetitions that are done during the teaching stage and when she puts the parts together did not feel in the least bit redundant or stale by the end where she puts them all together.

Ok, now I saved the best for last -- Christi's background exercisers are just superb. I'm so used to seeing the lone "guy" in exercise videos as this big, hulking, stiff, awkward looking guy way in the back. No way here. These guys are graceful, light on their feet, and not at all into that "I don't smile," male thing. It's a joy to watch them move. And Harold -- that man's destined for great things. Everything about him says, "star power." He plays to the camera, without being obnoxious or show-offy. He hams it up (no pun intended), teases Christi, and puts flair into every move. He really puts his own style into the moves, rather than mechanically executing them like Christi. I must say, he's one of the most charming, motivating elements of this video. I want a funk/dance video from this man.

As to the circuit section, I enjoy it as well, though I'm not big on doing compound moves with weights. I think I just may scratch out my own routine and make it sort of BodyPUMP-esque (i.e., one body part at a time, in time to the music) when Christi and her crew move to the weight circuits.

To those reading this -- this video really is the finest, most balanced video, with awesome, fun, challenging (but not ridiculously complex) choreography that I've ever seen. Those of us writing these glowing reviews are using superlatives because this video deserves them. There is no Christi-financed marketing team writing these. If you don't buy a video all year, buy this one.

Eulonda Skyles

08/25/2000

I have just two words for this workout: Cardio Cocaine! I did it four days in a row after receiving it, and even with the new CIAs in hand (which aren't too shabby either) I have to force myself not to grab this tape and sneak in just a few Daphnes before my workout. It's worse than having a bag of M&M's sitting around!

Okay, I am biased, being a big Christi fan ever since 5004 and being one of the lucky ones to attend the taping of her Heaven videos. But I will come right out and say it: I think Hi-Lo Heaven is the best all-around exercise video made to date. It won't make your muscles throb like the PS series, or push you to the endurance edge like Intense Moves and Interval Max. And it isn't the best choice for beginners or those who prefer non-dancy workouts. But I haven't seen any other video (and I've probably seen close to 200) that scores so high in music, choreography, performance AND versatility. You can do just one segment if you only have half an hour, or the whole enchilada for a marathon 75-minute session. Stages 1 and 3 aren't too hard to pick up, while Stage 2 will challenge even the most seasoned dancers. Stage 3 lets you do intervals of cardio or strength, your choice. The customized soundtrack is loaded with baby-boomer hits of the '70s and '80s. The Heavenly Bodyguards are a REAL visual feast, and Christi herself just shines, twirling, kicking and leaping into cardio dance paradise. (As someone who is space-challenged, HLH takes up about as much room as Happy Hour and slightly less than 9801. I have to do some modifying, but even if I lived in a broom closet, it would not keep me away from Christi!)

Should this be your first Christi video? Maybe, but I would recommend prior experience with other dancy videos such as Kari Anderson's videos or CIAs. Hi-Lo Heaven has MUCH more of a learning curve than Cathe or Firm videos. Christi's other hi-lo video, Happy Hour, may be easier for first-timers to pick up on than HLH, since there are only three combos and Christi repeats them more. If the first part of HLH totally throws you, I would suggest fast-forwarding to Stage 3 which has shorter, more linear combos that will help you get used to Christi's unique style.

Grade A+++++, two thumbs up, five stars. I can't praise this video enough, so I might as well quit before I go do it again! There isn't a thing I would change about it. It's perfect.

Instructor Comments:
Christi is a top-notch instructor and gifted choreographer, but more importantly she has endlessly shown her love to VFers and her fans. She practices her faith rather than preaching, from little things like chatting with fans on her forum to big things like inviting VFers to parties and video shoots.

Sue B

08/16/2000

I'm a die-hard step lovin' woman, but all the positive buzz here about this video really intrigued me, so I ordered the video. I am so glad I did!

This is the first non step video I've ever loved. It's really easy to modify the video to low impact--though I'll admit, my enthusiasm often gets the best of me and I find myself jumping all over the place (I've struggled with plantar fasciitis and find low impact works best for me)! When I previewed part 2, I was worried I'd have trouble getting the steps, even though I don't usually have trouble with choreography. However, I found I had little trouble even my first time thru. I usually take out the turns because I find it hard to do at her speed on carpet.

The music is great and Christi's enthusiasm seems truly genuine. I find this workout to be total fun, and no work--in fact, I'm disappointed my current fitness level holds me back from doing the whole thing at high impact. I also love the male background exercisers, Harold in particular, who has so much fun adding little extras to the moves that I find myself watching *him* while merely listening to Christi's cues.

In short, this video rocks!

Instructor Comments:
This is my first Christi video, and I know it won't be my last. Her cuing is excellent; I like her "watch me" style. It's a real plus to me that as I learn the video I don't have to sleep thru laborious breakdowns later on--I can just put the video in and go. Christi is very "natural"--no fakey, sugary niceness, no whooping background exercisers, no funky camera tricks where I can't see what her feet are doing.

Lisa Greenwood

08/01/2000

When I do this workout, I tell my husband, who calls me an overexerciser, "I am not exercising when I do this tape." Annie S. is not exaggerating when she calls it "a masterpiece." Christi created two perfect tapes: 9801 and Hi/Lo Heaven. She is a sheer genius, gifted as an instructor, wonderful personality, makes you want to have as much fun as she is having, and you do. I love the all male background exercisers, and you can see they are working hard too. The workout was already broken down, and my favorite is Stage I. The music is the best and I hum it all day long after the workout. I love that Christi gave me an option in Stage III to continue doing aerobics, since I have repetitive stress injury right now, and cannot do upper body for a few weeks, I can do the whole workout and not feel left out. Love this video - masterpiece, work of art, a Michelangelo of the video world. If she ever tops this one, I will be at a loss for words.

maryann parker

07/31/2000

There is one word for this video - PERFECT! And I don't even care for hi/lo! Christi Taylor has put all the elements together - fun and interesting combinations, intensity options to suit intermediates to advanced, great NEW music, top notch cueing, background exercisers (the Heavenly Bodyguards!) that look like they're truly having fun. And I'm with them the whole way - dancing, sweating, and smiling the whole time!

Others have gone into detail about the specific sections and moves, but I want to push this tape towards the Hall of Fame where it belongs with all of Christi's efforts. She is the master!

Celia M.

07/29/2000

Outstanding. A work of art. Brilliant. A masterpiece. How else can I describe this workout? Christi has accomplished something great here, and although I may not be able to put my thoughts into the best words, I'll try. This incredible workout is so RIGHT in all ways -- choreography, music, instruction, intensity. An advanced exerciser will find just the perfect amount of teaching vs. doing, the perfect amount of high intensity vs. lower intensity, the perfect amount of complex choreography that keeps you interested and challenged, but not frustrated. This might sound hokey to some, but I truly consider this a masterpiece. It's so well-taught, so perfectly cued, and so FUN. You work hard, really hard, but you want to because you're having too much fun to stop. Christi frequently reminds you to pace yourself, and you'll know why once you start doing the workout. It's such a blast that it's easy to overdo it in the beginning and then not be able to finish. Christi and her cast are all smiling (I am, too!), and it's easy to see that these are not fake smiles. You cannot do this workout and not enjoy yourself! One other thing I want to mention about the video is at the end of each section, she gives you a chance to stop there if you want to -- and on the lower left of the screen, there is an inset that shows a cooldown and stretch for those stopping. That, in my opinion, is a really "classy" touch. It's a sign of thoughtfulness and consideration toward the people doing the workout. She doesn't just leave you hanging or tell you to fast-forward to the end. Grade A+++++++.

Instructor Comments:
It's interesting to see Christi's progress over time. She's come a long way since her CIA 5004 days. Not that she wasn't good then, mind you, but she keeps getting better and better. I think she really listens to feedback from her fans and tries to please them, and it pays off. If there is a category for The Elite as far as instructors go, Christi has reached it.

Annie S.

07/23/2000

This is what youíd expect from Christi, only much, much more! The fun factorís up (hardly seems possible), the intensityís up, the music is outstanding, and this workout requires less space than her usual. I canít do 9801 or Happy Hour in my regular workout space (7í x 10í), but I was able to do this one easily, just working on the diagonal occasionally.

As far as intensity goes, if you do the entire 80 minutes, youíll get a killer workout. And if youíre short on time, you can still get a great workout with any one or two of the three aerobic stages. Thereís a cool down offered after each section (lower left hand corner), so you donít have to fast forward, but if you make it to the final cool down, I bet youíll be singing out loud!

Okay, there are three stages. The first two are 25 minutes each of aerobics and the third is 20 minutes of aerobics with weight intervals. All are intense. All are fun.

Stage 1 has easier to learn choreography (relatively speaking). The intensity and complexity build as you go. Background exercisers demonstrate lower impact modifications and everything is well taught. If youíre not familiar with Christiís style, you may want to stay here a while.

Stage 2 gets more intense, more complex and much more fun. The grins are continuous by now. Thereís such a variety of great music and everything just flows. Gotta love the ďham & eggs, hip hip combo.Ē Donít ask.....just try it! Iíve done the workout 2 times so far AFTER previewing 2 times (I hate to rewind during a workout), and you run through the whole combo a few times at the end. Loads of fun!

Stage 3 offers flexibility and variety. There are 5 aerobic sections, each one new and different, alternated with 4 strength training intervals working upper and lower body. I skipped the weights and followed the holding pattern demonstrated in the back. Got a bit of an aerobic interval effect this way and itís easy to adjust the intensity up or down to your liking. Step Heaven has a similar section and I did the weights (8 lb.) with Christi. That worked fine. Again, lots of options here. If youíre familiar with Christiís style, youíll pick up these aerobic segments easily. Thereís a good blend of familiar moves and lots of great new stuff.

Newcomers to Christi may have to practice a bit, but I promise you, if you put in the time to learn this workout, you will never regret it. I can see myself doing this one in 20 years and still grinning from ear to ear!

Instructor Comments:
Christi is a genius with choreography! I canít believe she can come up with this stuff, let alone teach it to the likes of me. Sheís at the top of her game!

Anne Z.

07/19/2000

The only negative thing I can say about this video is that it's going to make my review sound as if it was written by a woman who dipped a little too often into the Prozac jar. This is the best hi/lo workout I have ever done, bar none. I flat out love it.

Of course, HLH may not be for everyone -- you've got to be comfortable with choreography to enjoy the workout. If Tae Bo is as tricky as you ever get, this video may not be your cup of soy milk. But if you like to sway, pivot and spin while you sweat and if you love a good "ball change" from time to time, or if you've ever found yourself mamboing in an empty elevator, than this is the workout for you.. Bonus: Tune up those vocal chords, because Christi's music and choreography will have you singing and humming along in between gasps for air.

The intensity level is advanced, but never killer. Similar to Happy Hour, but some segments are more intense than Happy Hour. If you stay with the easier options, it's at the low end of the advanced scale and it could easily be taken down even lower by dropping your arms, etc. Stage 1 is complex choreography on the level of Happy Hour; stage 2 is a little more complex and goes by very fast; stage 3 is moderate complexity but the intensity stays up there, since you alternate simple intense hi/lo patterns with squats and lunges and other strength moves. All three stages are fast-paced.

Here's what I really liked:

The Format -- lots of ways to combine the three stages. Stage 1 is 25 minutes, Stage 2 is 25 minutes and Stage 3 is 20 minutes. Do just one or two or do them all.

The Music -- great soundtrack with lots of vocals. "Sugar Sugar," "I Love You, Baaaaaby," "I Believe I Can Fly," and more. The choreography and the music go together perfectly. The first time I tried the video, my brain started to get tired, but the music kicked in, my feet followed and I soared through to the end.

Christi -- she is more relaxed, yet high energy, than ever before. You can tell she loves her job. Her cueing is non-stop. She does her trademark, "watch me" the first time through, then she cues you through it with her on the next try. Once you've learned it, you could close your eyes and never miss a beat, her cueing is THAT good.

The Background Guys -- those four guys really can fly. Personality galore. Mike's smile, Harold's hip-hip, George's bob and weave, Preston's enthusiasm. You've gotta love these guys. I sure do!

The Combos -- My favorite combo is in stage 2 -- a turning hamstring, heel, hamstring, hip hip move called "ham and eggs," a box step, an alternating knee-up turn that winds back and then up and then jumps into a plyo squat, then 3 alternating cross steps in front, hamstring 360 turn, then cross step behind. Even the stage 3 combos are fun. Simple patterns, but they are still full of pivots and turns. For some reason, my biggest fumble with the choreography is during the stage 3 intervals, but today's attempt was my 3rd try and I NAILED that sucker!

Things I didn't like -- I have to dig down very deep. Some people may find the stretching insets distracting if they're continuing on with the hi/lo workout, but they didn't bother me. The music during the opening credits sounded a little like the circus to me -- but I loved the very same music when it is used later during the workout itself. That's about all I can find to pick on. But I'm happy to keep doing the workout over and over so that I can find SOMEthing to criticize.

If you like Christi Taylor, you will love this video. If you like choreography, you will love this video. If you like music, you will love this video. If you can do a grapevine, followed by 4 alternating knee-ups while you spin around, you can do this video. It might take some practice, but you'll love doing it.

Full disclosure: I love Christi's videos, I love Christi herself and she named a plyo move after me in the video. So I'm not exactly an unbiased source. Doesn't matter, I'd be crazy about the video even if someone had told me that Christi was a serial murderer group fitness instructor and she'd named an axe after me. It's that good.

Daphne M

07/17/2000