Weight Loss Pilates

Kristin McGee
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Pilates/Core Strength

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I’m reviewing this workout after doing all segments once each (well, I did the warm-up and cool-down twice).

General workout breakdown: Denise and Beth have already given good descriptions of the DVD in general as well as each segment. I’ll just give breakdowns, so forgive the overlap with their reviews.
- Warm-up: controlled sit-down, roll down onto back for breathing, neck stretches, ab prep (or mini crunch focusing on relaxing the neck), arm circles, low back arch & pelvic tilt, “bug” (legs in table top & arms straight up - leg does toe tap while opposite arm reaches overhead), dipping toes in water, floating bridge – rock up to sitting, arms out & squeeze in, seated rock back & roll forward with spine, and stand up without hands.
- Fat-Burning Flow #1: cardio (2 rounds): arm circles while standing in Pilates v, high knees, leg swings across body, wide plies, zip-up with calf raise, little jumps, little plies with front raises, grand plie; controlled sit-down, c-curve (half rollback) – climb a rope (done facing forward & then twisting to each side), footwork (frog with heels together & feet out, feet parallel, heels out & toes in, hold and turn feet in & out), the hundred, single leg circles (keeping bottom leg off floor & holding arms overhead), roll-up, spinal twist (w/ arms overhead), “Charlie’s Angels” (arms pointing forward & held still with legs making circle while in V-sit), single leg stretch, double leg stretch, single straight leg stretch / scissors (ending with a pulsing variation with arms by side), double straight leg stretch, criss cross, stand without hands for two more rounds of same cardio (although Kristin cuts down the reps a little), controlled sit-down, butt blaster (1-legged bridge – leg up & down, pulse body up & down, combine two, inner thighs with in & out) – half of boomerang (on back, do reverse crunch & swing legs up to switch feet) / straight leg reverse crunch (adding in twist and then shimmy), tick tock (adding in a little walk at end), inner heel beats with legs lowering & lifting, single-leg teaser (adding in twist), double-leg teaser (adding in twist), seal, and standing calf raise with head movement.
- Fat-Burning Flow #2: cardio (2 rounds): Pilates jumping jack (with “saguaro cactus arms”), sumo squat w/ side bends, alternating punches, plies with legs in second position, jumps in the same position, jump in & out, lunge side to side; squats with heels off floor, thigh dancing-type sequence, triceps press back with head side to side, arms criss crossing behind back, on all fours with knees off floor: in & out, knee in & out – triceps push-up, bird dog & upside down crunch – open & close (arm & leg out to side) – kneeling side kicks (front & back, bicycle, up & down to the front / back / side, small circles) – side plank w/ twist – floating mermaid (raise & lower in side plank) – ballerina butt lift (aka pretzel - back leg up & down, pulse back); cardio (1 round): jump forward & back in plank, jumping jacks in plank, running man (aka mountain climbers), ski jumps; other side of previous series (bird dog through pretzel), superman (slow & then fast swimming), bent arms pull back with feet tucked under, full swan (more of a locust-type move), airplane arms, prone hamstring curls, locust with heel beat, cobra stretch, elbow plank, plank with running man (alternate knees to ground), plank with twist, and Pilates push-ups (walking out from standing).
- Cool-down: controlled sit-down, ankle to opposite knee / thread the needle - hip flexor stretch - flippy floppies (hold leg while you straighten & bend it, then rotate it) - reclined hamstring stretch - twist w/ one knee bent, and rock up to seated.
- Ab Blast: controlled sit-down; row series in c-curve: press forward w/ interlaced hands, biceps curls, v / chest squeeze – repeat while twisting to one side and then the other; on back, hands & knees pressing against each other; advanced corkscrew (adding in legs twisting over body in a rollover-type of move, then jackknife); neck pull – flat back w/ twist – around the world (or neck pull with twist); and standing without assistance.

The pace is fairly quick, without a lot of down time, although I didn’t feel so rushed that I couldn’t keep up. Kristin often works in sets of 8-10 reps. Only the arms and cardio portions tend to get more than one set. Kristin doesn’t do everything exactly evenly; there are a few moves that don’t seem to be done equally (like the one-legged teaser, unless I’m missing her alternating sides in the first part of the exercise), and she isn’t consistent on how many sets she’s doing of each cardio exercise (she’ll say, “We’ll do one set of each,” and then do two sets of one or two exercises). These aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, though.

There are two other segments on this DVD:
- Bonus from Weight Loss Cardio Sculpt (with Violet Zaki): shoulder overhead press with lateral leg lift – just leg lift, squat side to side shuffle – side lunge w/ arm overhead – repeater knee – marching, 1-legged squat (more of a 1-legged deadlift), side step – double time side rock
- Moves on the Go (more of a demonstration than a follow along): engaging abs while sitting, using low abdominals to lift one foot at a time, standing in Pilates V w/ heel raises while doing chores / standing in line, imagery to help with posture (imaginary corset), twist while sitting / standing, connecting to powerhouse before a meal, and connecting to powerhouse before bed with belly breathing.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate to maybe mid-advanced exercisers comfortable with at least basic Pilates but preferably the standard intermediate matwork series. I’d agree that Kristin provides little, if any, form instruction, so this is not all that appropriate for a newbie to Pilates, no matter how advanced an exerciser. This is a great video for those who want to be challenged with Pilates workouts but aren’t ready for or interested in the advanced matwork sequences. If you want a hard Pilates workout, Kristin is your woman. Somehow she takes moves that are normally intermediate and tweaks them or pairs them with others to make them more difficult.
I consider myself at the intermediate / advanced level of Pilates (I’ve been practicing Pilates on average of once a week for the past 8 years) and an intermediate / advanced exerciser in general, and I found these workouts challenging (in a good way). None of the exercises were beyond me, but doing them one after another with Kristin’s variations is what made them feel extra effective.

Class: Kristin alone, instructing live except when the camera cuts to the shots of her working outside, where instruction comes via voiceover (the same soundtrack runs throughout, just the picture changes).

Music: upbeat, kind of jazzy instrumentals.

Set: The credits list the location as The Foundry in NYC (I looked it up, and it’s a 19th-century foundry in Long Island City that’s rented out for filming, events, etc.). Most of the time Kristin is in a large interior space with brick archways lining each side; the place is filled with potted plants and candles, and there’s a chandelier of three big white globes floating overhead. The outdoor shots find Kristin on a deck in a small urban garden on kind of a windy, slightly overcast day.

Production: clear picture and sound. The camerawork and editing isn’t as good as it could be considering this is a follow-along exercise video, not something that’s supposed to be watched: the full shots of Kristin are a little too far away for my tastes (just because you’re in a cavernous space doesn’t mean you have to use all of it), there seems to be a fascination with sweeping and swooping shots, and if you’re trying to follow Kristin exactly you may find yourself suddenly going at a different tempo or switching to a different part of the exercise when the shots flip from indoors to outdoors or vice versa.

Equipment: Pilates mat or equivalent. Kristin is barefoot.

Space Requirements: enough space to lie down with arms and legs extended and to sweep your legs to each side.

Comments: As mentioned, I’d recommend this (and Kristin’s MTV Pilates Mix) to folks who want an “advanced” Pilates workout, meaning they want a hard Pilates-type workout but not necessarily a workout that encompasses the advanced repertoire of Pilates matwork exercises. If you don’t know or don’t care what control balance is and just want to feel the burn, this is for you.
While I like this one all right, I’m not sure how I often I’d reach for it. I’m one of those annoying Pilates purists: when I’ve scheduled a Pilates day, I want a Pilates workout, and I’m not just going to fall in love with a workout that also has some cardio bursts, barre work, athletic moves, and a hint of yoga. That said, those who don’t care for more dogmatic presentations of Pilates may like this for that very reason!

Instructor Comments:
Kristin has a pleasant, encouraging, and upbeat although somewhat low key personality on screen. She cues decently enough and includes some form pointers, although I did find myself watching the screen to make sure I didn’t miss alternating moves and things like that in a few places. I don’t remember her doing a lot of directional cues, but perhaps that’s because she’s often facing the side. She includes a few comments about burning calories and improving appearance, but nothing that I minded.



This is another DVD from Acacia that offers two 20-minute workouts plus separate warm-up and cool-down segments. It is led by Kristen McGee, a Pilates and yoga instructor, and it offers Pilates matwork at a high intermediate to advanced level. However, Kristen spices things up a bit by adding cardio bursts throughout both Pilates workouts.

The Main Menu of the DVD read as follows:

Workout Options
Bonus Features
Also From Acacia

If you select "Workout Options," here are your choices:

Play All (53 Min)
Warm-Up (7 Min)
Fat-Burning Flow 1 (20 Min)
-->With Introduction: Yes/NO
Fat-Burning Flow 2 (20 Min)
-->With Introduction: Yes/NO
Cool-Down (6 Min)
Warm-Up + Fat-Burning Flow 1 + Cool-Down (33 Min)
Warm-Up + Fat-Burning Flow 2 + Cool-Down (33 Min)

I decided to try the entire routine my first time through. (Note: one editing flaw is that if you select the "Play All" option, the introductions are left in.) The Warm-Up (6.5m) is performed entirely on the mat. Kristen moves slowly, encouraging you to focus on your form as you breathe. Some of the exercises include the bug and floating bridge.

Following the Warm-Up comes the first workout, which begins with an approximately 4.5-minute cardio segment. Kristen performs arm circles, leg kicks to the front & side, plies, zip ups, little hops or plyos, and grande plies, repeating the entire sequence once. She then moves to the floor for traditional Pilates matwork moves such as the 100, roll-ups, and the series of five; however, she adds little twists to many of these exercises to increase the intensity. Kristen then repeats the cardio series, performing less repetitions this time through. Then it is back to the floor for more matwork, this time focusing more on moves that target the lower body such as bridge, 1-legged and full teaser, and the seal. The entire Fat-Burning Flow 1 was about 24 minutes long.

The second workout also starts with about 4.5 minutes of cardio moves, but this time, the sequence is a bit more high impact, as it includes Pilates jumping jacks, standing side crunches, punches side-to-side, plie jumps, and twisting lunges to either side, repeating once. The Pilates work is performed from an hands and knees position. Kristen performs some knee in-and-out moves as well as a kneeling push-up. She then moves into a series of exercises on one side of the body, such as moving the leg/arm in-and-out and a kneeling side kick series. Following this, she does another cardio segment, but this time, it is done in a plank position and includes jumping in and out, running man, open & close, and ski jumps. Kristen then repeats the one-legged movements on the other side before moving to a prone position, where she performs supermans, heel beats, hamstring curls, elbow plank. This workout, which comes in at 22.5 minutes, concludes with Pilates push-ups.

The Cool-Down is just under 6 minutes. Here Kristen combines dynamic and held stretches, concentrating in particular on the hips and the hamstrings; this was a nice conclusion to the workout. The Bonus features on this DVD include a 5-minute Ab Blast. In this segment, Kristen performs a rowing series from a reclined C-curve position, doing a sequence of three movements in the middle and then to either side. She also does and advanced corkscrew combined with the jackknife, and she finishes with the neckpull, adding an "around-the-world" twist. (Other Bonus features include the bonus segment from Weight Loss Cardio, a short "Moves on the Go" segment that focuses on posture, and Kristen's bio.)

As noted above, this is definitely a HIGH intermediate to ADVANCED Pilates workout. I consider myself to be solidly intermediate in Pilates, but there were times that I had to rest/take breaks during the Pilates exercises, as some of Kristen's variations on the moves were quite challenging. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about adding the "cardio bursts" to the Pilates workout. I didn't mind the cardio so much at the beginning of the workout, as it felt like a nice way to warm up for the matwork (better in fact than the actual Warm-Up, which felt kind of useless), but I didn't like it as much in the middle of the workout, when it seemed to interrupt the flow of the Pilates matwork. Still, this DVD is nicely done, and I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a challenging Pilates workout that is a bit different from the classical Pilates teachings.

Instructor Comments:
I have always liked Kristen; I have held on to MTV Pilates mainly because I think she does a nice job. However, because these workouts move so quickly, she doesn't spend much time setting up the exercises, and so I found her a bit more difficult to follow here. She works out alone in the same Acacia set used for Weight Loss Cardio Kick--a large studio with what appears to be stone floors and scaffolding-like balconies lining either side, although in this workout, there are plants and candles placed all around, giving it a much softer look. The music was generally quite upbeat.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Offering a truly "unique" approach to pilates training, Weight Loss Pilates with Kristin McGee mixes traditional pilates with intervals of fat burning cardio moves and quick toning moves that continue to keep the heart rate up (for an additional cardio affect).

The dvd contains 2, 20 minute workouts. The first workout is more straightforward, focusing on ab/core work and toning. The second workout is slightly more advanced and definitely more active! Kristin adds hops & jumps and even more challenging pilates moves. The dvd also offers several premixes, ranging in times, so you can select the workout option that suits your needs. Also included is a bonus 5 minute abdominal workout. (that's pretty tough!)

Kristin includes a nice long warmup which will prepare you for either workout. It is all done lying on the floor and gently begins to work the core.

Workout 1:
Continueing to warm the body, Kristin performs several rhythmic movements. Knee lifts, zip ups, plies, plyometric jumps and grand plies all get the heart rate up. Next you'll move to the floor and start with a deep C-curve sit up. Then you'll add a climb the rope move. Kristin really works the entire core with traditional pilates focused training. After the intense ab work, you'll take it back up for an additional sequence of "cardio" to get the heart rate back up and burn additional calories. Kristin then goes back to the floor for pilates leg and buttock toning (and more ab work).

Workout 2:
This workout focuses more on the obliques and the back of the body. The cardio blasts begin with pilates jumping jacks. Next you'll stay in a wide plie and work the obliques by moving side to side and then you add punches. Next you'll move into plies then plie jumps. Following that you'll move into jumping jacks and lunges. (you'll repeat sequence several times) Moving onto your knees you'll lean back to work your quads and then you'll add arm movements working the triceps. Kristin also performs several exercises for the back of the body while in a hands & knees position. Side planks into twists are great for the obliques. Lots of variety, this workout really compliments the exercise selections chosen in Workout 1 (making it a great 2 day split routine). Kristin rounds out this session with several sets of pushups.

You'll briefly perform several quick stretches for the lower body, focusing especially on the hips and hip flexors.

Beautiful production, gorgeous set, nice music and extreme creativity make this a truly "different" way to workout.

Instructor Comments:
review copy