Pilates for Weight Loss: 30 Minute Quick Start

Ana Caban
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it at least half a dozen times since acquiring it a couple of months ago.

General workout breakdown: T has already done an excellent job of breaking down this approximately 30 minute Pilates routine.
I felt this moved at a leisurely—but not snooze-inducing—pace. There is a little bit of down time between exercises, but you never really stop to listen to Ana’s teaching. Ana includes a fair number of repetitions of each exercise.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone with some Pilates experience looking to cross over from the beginning to intermediate stage. I consider myself a low intermediate at Pilates (about 2 years of experience but still limited strength & flexibility), and I found this “easy” rather than “challenging,” although a few moves still give me some trouble. T recently suggested to me trying this workout with a Pilates circle, and I think this one could adapt easily to the addition of such equipment; this would increase the challenge for sure.
I would not recommend this to a beginner to Pilates. While Ana includes some basic instruction and a few form tips, she does not discuss Pilates form and principles in enough detail for someone new to this discipline, unless that person is using this video as a supplement to a class or with a book. Additionally, Ana provides no modifications, except for the exercises presented in modified form (e.g. teasers, hip circles, and swan dive).

Class: Ana alone, with instruction via voice over.

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The native-sounding drum beat with atmospheric sounds fades into the background. Ana is on a raised platform on a beach, with some solid color flags flapping in the wind. It’s a bright, sunny day. This is a typical Gaiam production with crisp picture and sound.

Equipment: mat (or equivalent).

Space Requirements: enough space to move your arms and legs around while lying down.

DVD Notes: The DVD also comes packaged with a “Motivational Audio Program” on CD, which I haven’t yet listened to. As always, you have to deal with the Gaiam intro. Each exercise is chaptered individually.

Conclusion: I’m keeping this. It was great for when I came back from a little break and needed a solid Pilates routine that didn’t move too swiftly to allow me to regain my Pilates form. I can’t wait for Ana’s upcoming Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss, which promises to be at least a notch up in intensity from this one.
I’d rank Ana’s current matwork videos in this order, from easiest to toughest: Beginning Pilates Matwork, Easy Pilates, Quick Start Pilates for Weight Loss, Cardio Pilates, Intermediate Pilates Matwork, PM Pilates, the Energy Boost Pilates (I and II), and Pilates for Abs.

Instructor Comments:
Ana has a positive, encouraging voice. I think you’d be hard pressed to find her annoying, especially here, since she keeps her voice infused with warmth but never too much volume. I feel her personality comes across better here than on previous videos with voiceover. Also, there are fewer instances when the voiceover and moves don’t match up well. I definitely enjoy Ana as a Pilates instructor. I think she presents the classical Pilates matwork in a fresh, exciting way that makes the same old, same old seem interesting, doable, and even fun.
Ana only cues and instructs Pilates. She does not mention weight loss or anything like that. (With Gaiam’s tendency to repackage workouts these days, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this show up in a few years with a different name that has nothing to do with weight loss.)



The DVD begins with a 2 minute introduction to general weight loss guidelines, including amount of food taken in, sufficient exercise, and the benefits of pilates.

The workout itself is set off the shore of an ocean border with waves splashing on the rocks. The scenery is beautiful and inviting. The music is typical Gaiam relaxation music. There is nothing overly special nor offensive about it, although the beginning segment includes a nice drum beat in the background.

Ana begins the workout in standing pilates stance, then lowers down with arms crossed in front. The following is the list of exercise series included in the workout.

~ The hundred
~ Roll-up (5)
~ Single Leg Circles (5 each direction, each leg)
~ Rolling like a ball (5)
~ Single leg stretch ( 5 slow)
~ Double straight leg stretch (2 modified with arms and legs straight up, 3 normal)
~ Spine stretch forward (5)
~ Open leg rocker preparation (alternate leg extensions while balancing-2, follow both legs extended and balance)
~ Cork screw (3 each side)
~ Saw (3 each side)
~ Neck roll ( 2 sets)
~ Swan dive prep (5)
~ Childs pose stretch (2 breaths)
~ Single leg kick (5)
~ Double leg kick (4 sets of 3 kicks)
~ Child's Pose Stretch (3 breaths)
~ Shoulder bridge prep (5)
~ Side kick series (right side):
Up & Down (5)
Circles (8 each direction)
Bicycle (3 forward, 3 reverse)
~ Side kick series (left side)
~ One leg teaser (1 leg planted, 1 leg extended diagonally-3 each side)
~ Hip circles (2 each side)
~ Seal
~ Stand without the aid of hands

This workout is low to mid-intermediate. The pace moves a bit slower than typical Cabán workouts. At first I was irritated by this, as I was used to Ana's previous speed, but I soon realized that I was able to focus better and feel the exercises more deeply at this speed. Although it is not my favorite of Cabán's work, I am happy I made this purchase, and plan to rotate it into my collection.

Instructor Comments:
The instruction is impeccable, probably some of the best, detailed guiding that Ana has even done. It is performed in voice over format. As usual, Ana's form is excellent and inspiring. Ana uses a calm, yet motivating voice, and is very easy to follow. Her manner of speaking is not at all offensive, and it is easy to "bond" with her as an instructor.

T aka Cowfishpro