Quick & Slim CardioKaren Voight
Year Released: 2006
Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance
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I liked this workout. I felt like it is a good step up from beginner workouts like Leslie. I like that it is quick and simple. She uses mostly basic steps like: Lunges, squats, rocking horses, v steps, punches, grapevines. The good thing is that she doesn't TIFT (take it from the top), she'll set up a small block of choreography and do that one 4-8 times then move onto the next block. She has a modifier that always does a low impact version. Workout moved quickly and was over quickly. Music was low and nondescript.
Karen is very professional, cues well and is very encouraging.
KathAL79 gave such a good review (I completely agree with her assessment) so I will just add my own opinions of this workout. The workout clocks in at 28 minutes, which included a lengthy warm up of 6 minutes and a yoga-inspired cool down of 4 minutes, leaving about 18 minutes of actual cardio work. Karen led with two female background instructors, one who provided low impact modifications and the other who took it up a notch and provided the most intense modifications; Karen generally demonstrated with the more advanced modifier.
The real benefits of this workout are that it requires no equipment and that it is such a short workout from start to finish. While I tend to prefer my cardio Firm-style (4-limb and step) or kickboxing inspired (Turbo Jam or 10MS Knockout Body) this is a nice workout for a change of pace. Karen does include some hops and jumps throughout but most of the cardio impact comes from wide range of motion with the arms and legs. In that way it reminded me of WHFN Lean or Fast Cheetah (although perhaps not as varied as these).
The chaptered workout included two cardio segments, although within each segment (of nearly 10 minutes each) Karen kept an actual routine to 3-4 minutes within the chapter. As Kath said, there is no TIFTing or long elaborate combos. However, I did find the choreography to be just a tiny bit confusing (although Karen’s meticulous cuing kept me from stumbling) but I am also woefully choreographically challenged. There is a slight toning impact (like an easier Ellen Barrett workout) to the arms, legs, and abs, from the wide range of motions with the arms, some lunging and glute pinching for the legs, and several knee repeaters for the abs.
While doing the workout, at first I wasn’t sure I was going to get in enough of a workout, but it certainly caught up with me by the end. At my intermediate level, I would use this for a light day or a day when I have DOMS and want something to move my muscles but not overexert me. Beginners can follow this by keeping with the low impact modifier; intermediates will enjoy the advanced modifier; it would probably be beneath most advanced exercisers except for those who really love Karen and want to use it for a light day or elaborate warm up.
There wasn’t anything exceptional about the music and the set was uncluttered and not distracting in any way. The DVD does have a high production quality and like I said is well chaptered. The workout isn’t wildly fun nor does it have any super creative groundbreaking moves that no other DVD has (i.e., I wouldn’t say it fills a much needed niche in the fitness DVD world), but for what it is, a short cardio routine that requires no equipment, it is a good workout. The workout might be better than other run of the mill cardio workouts, however, due to Karen’s immaculate cuing and personality. For those interested in pedometer metrics, the workout gave me about 2,000 steps. Overall grade B+.
I love Karen! She is one of the best instructors in the field, IMO. She has perfect mirror cuing, reminds you of your form like she’s standing right next to you, and cues immaculately. She’s not as playful as she was in her much earlier releases from the early 90’s (i.e., Great Weighted Workout where she jokes about reps and such), but she’s still encouraging and friendly. I also like that you can actually see her and her backgrounders sweating and working out with you.
I’m reviewing this workout after doing it twice.
General workout breakdown: This floor cardio runs just under 30 min. The warm-up (6 min.) is pretty thorough, warming up both lower and upper body, and ends with a couple of static stretches after more range of motion movements. The workout proper consists of two 9-10 min. segments in which you run through short series of moves, which you do first on one side and then the other. There is no TIFTing (taking it from the top), or stringing combos together. Many of the moves are drawn from classic aerobics (e.g. grapevine, v step, rocking horse), kickboxing (e.g. punch, upper cut, twist with hands in guard), or more athletic moves (e.g. squats, lunges side to side, swinging a bat). In a few instances Karen offers a more intense – that is, usually a higher impact – variation of one of the moves but keeps a modifier with the original one. Then, you move straight from cardio into a yoga-inspired but still very athletic stretch (4 min.). I was surprised after the thorough warm-up not to have a proper cool down; I would have liked to have seen Karen fill out the full 30 min. with a minute or two of simple moves to bring the heart rate down before the stretch.
Level: I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through mid-intermediates. This is definitely a workout where you get out of it what you put into it. It can seem like a breeze if you don’t put some oomph behind the moves. The choreography is pretty simple, but if you’ve only done walking videos this may prove frustrating the first few times around.
Class: 2 women, 1 of whom shows low impact modifications, join Karen.
Music: upbeat instrumental music. It’s nothing special.
Set: bright interior space with blue carpet and white walls, in front of which are hung blue shapes.
Production: clear picture and sound, simple camera angles that show what you need to see when you need to see it. Karen’s voice is louder than the music.
Space Requirements: You should be able to extend your leg behind you and do a grapevine (i.e. about 2 steps to each side). For me, at 5’8”, I need a space about 6-7’ wide by 5-6’ deep to do all of the moves fully; I could shorten it up a little if I needed. Overall, this, like most of Karen’s workouts, is compact.
DVD Notes: The main menu allows you to play the entire workout or to choose one of the chapters (warm-up, cardio 1, cardio 2, cool-down).
Comments: As mentioned, this DVD can be done with practically no impact. If you have very cranky knees, just stay front instead of doing the few quarter turns or pivots that Karen does.
If you like the cardio here, you may also like Karen’s other cardio offerings (such as the cardio portion on Burn & Firm, which is also on Slim Physique, aka Sleek Physique). Some of the more athletic moves reminded me of Kathy Smith’s Functionally Fit Peak Fat Burning, too. The cardio segments from 10 Minute Solution Carb (& Calorie) Burner and the Shape Bikini Body Bootcamp Transforming and Redefining workouts aren’t all that different, either, although perhaps a little higher in impact; these might be the logical next steps if you find yourself wanting something a teensy bit more challenging or intense.
As always, Karen’s personality is low key but positive, and her cueing is consistent, solid, and mirrored (i.e. when she says “left,” she means your left).