Maximum Intensity Cardio

Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 1998

Categories: Step Aerobics

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This workout was released 13 years ago, and I started doing it probably 5 years ago, and while it may look a bit dated, the workout certainly isn't. This one WILL kick your butt. Even one of the background exercisers looks like she's going to keel over during the hi/lo section, which IMO is much harder than the step section. I still go back to this one when I need a serious cardio challenge.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is completely in her element - I can't even imagine being able to talk during long portions of this routine and she's able to yell out instructions, etc without a hint of shortness of breath. She is amazing!



This tape a wonderful!!!! This is a high high high intensity CARDIO!!! with aerobic intervals.

Type of tape: The first section is low impact and although it is possible to do low impact for the remainder of this tape... it is very easy to get drawn into it and want to do the high impact version of the moves...

In fact, to anyone who loves high impact or can handle running or jogging should not hesitate to get this one!!! You won't regret it!!!

Lots and lots of full arm movements.

The set: the usual Cathe comfort blue hues.... mellow and pleasant color (IMO)

The class: Cathe and 4 female students. The students keep up with her very well...

Effectiveness: I was dripping with sweat by the end of this tape, my heartrate was at almost 100%, the highest of any tape!!!.. It was compelling and encouraging !!!

The Music: On the first half the floor cardio is techno... upbeat!!!
On the second half - step portion is vocals, recognisable but appropriate.

Film quality: Good!

Fitness Level: Beginners can follow with little or no problem, the steps are NOT very intricate, although in the beginning of the step portion she assumes that you know how to do the steps.... easily compensate by rewinding a few times... There is a lot of repetition of previous moves.. and a lot of repetition of each move.
Intermediate and Advanced will be challenged because it takes work!!! The intensity is demanding!!!!

Equipment: For the 1st half... good sneakers!!!!
For the 2nd or step half: you will need a long size step..

Warm up: 7 min long... Reaches with arms while doing toe taps, calf pumps... Lots of full arm movements... repeats all these moves over and over and over...

at 3min introduces side steps, grapevines and L steps.
at 4.30 min adds lunges.

The workout: 1st section is low impact.
Grapevines, side steps, step turns.
at 3 min. scoops

at 5 min, medium impact begins:
shuffle twists while circling arms, then shuffle twists while reaching arms corner to corner..
Legs to side w/ arm swing..
Heel toe, kicks w/ arm, circle jacks.

She is very encouraging... says "You can do it!!!"

at 10 min... begins the high impact:
jacks, kicks,
leap lifting one leg up,
two foot hops,

music very fast now!!!

airborne jumps,
kicks, then knee ups..

at 16 min. adds higher leg kicks, scissors, & plyo jumps...

at 20 min. adds slow plyo heel digs.

Total cardio this section = 26 min.

The workout: Step section / music is vocals in this section.
She starts with basics, rock press, knee lifts,
introduces a combo: Rock press, back straddle, two knees.. (just goes right into it)
then sachee on box then off box...
two knees and walk around.

at 5 min. run run on box, knee repeaters, ricochet,
at 7.40 min. combines everything from the beginning.

at 10 min. uneven lunge, then hops accross length of box. Then repeaters.
song: "Rollercoaster"

at 13 min. jacks on box and off box, lunge off box.
at 20 min. combo: around the world, knee ups, then straddle.

at 22 min. combines everything from the top.

at 25 min. Interval Blast begins.
Blast: two feet hop up on box, jump rope 2x on box
power circles 7x per leg, jump jump on box.
8x everything!
as a break - marches & grapevines
repeat Blast: 8x everything again.
break - marches & grapevines
repeat Blast: 4 x everything.
break again...

Music is perfect for this section!!!!

at 31 min. begins cooldown: grapevines,
song from Evita with rhythm begins and continues through stretches.

at 33 min. a 4 min Stretch... incl. runners lunge

Total Rating: 9 out of 10!!! (IMO!) The only reason it's not 10 is because she assumes that you know the first combo in the beginning of the step portion, and it takes a few rewinds to learn !!! no breakdown of it.

After she shows you a new move, she repeats it over and over and over and over.... a lot of repetition!!!

Dynamic tape!!! (IMO)

Instructor Comments:
Instruction: the cueing is superb! from beginning to end, she makes sure to tell you what to do, seconds before she does it.



I really enjoy doing this workout. I love the medium and high impact sections of the floor work. They really make me sweat. Then comes the step workout. I'm not too crazy about this section, but it's still good, just not as great as other cathe step workouts.The last five minutes are really hard. It's all out plyo and power moves. It's really tough considering you're already really tired. Another great thing about MIC is that it can be broken down to two different workouts or just one really long one. After doing this workout, I realized why MIC stands for Maximum Intensity Cardio!

Instructor Comments:
The queen of step is now the queen of floor aerobics!! I love the fact that you get a killer workout with simple and traditional moves.

pat griffin


I really enjoy this video. It is very intense, but the music is great and keeps me motivated, along with Cathe's energy and great cuing. I think I have gotten the most cardio benefit with this video than with any other. I noticed the last time I did it, I felt as though I could suck so much more air into my lungs, and push myself more than ever! If you are looking for a video that will challenge you and also sustain your interest and fun level throughout, this is it.

Anne L


I hope to help nudge this one into the Hall of Fame. I didn't think I was going to make it through almost 80 minutes of cardio.

The title of this video is very true-- this is the toughest cardio workout I've ever done (even harder than PowerMax). The step actually wasn't as intense as the hi-lo, until the intervals at the end.

The hi-lo is fantastic. I hope Cathe does more. It takes up almost no room, is easy to follow and is so intense I was gasping. The step was almost like a little break. The intervals at the end of the step section aren't as hard as the hi-lo, even, in my opinion, but the whole workout was killer. I felt so good when I was done-- I haven't felt that pleased with myself after a workout in a long time.

This video has excellent music, just like most of her recent releases.

She mentions in her description of the video that you can keep pushing because the video keeps shifting the emphasis from your quads to your glutes to your hamstrings. This is true. That's probably how I made it through this without feeling like I was going to collapse from quad failure.

She says to do this no more than twice a week. Shoving this workout in just once a week will probably do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness (and I imagine it burns a ton of calories). Well worth the money, and then some.

Sara Whitney


MIC is the video I love to hate. I hate the Hi/lo section but I LOVE how I feel afterwards. The first interval blast nearly floors me-48 jumps in the air. I keep thinking during this that if I can only make it through-I can finish the hi/lo! MIC is for those days that I really don't want to think, I just want to sweat. I wish Cathe would do more hi/lo comboed with step workouts. The only drawback I see is that I wish the step section was first and the step interval blast at the end was in the middle.

Oh well, I can always warmup with MIS,do the step portion then do the Hi/Lo and see if it works!

BTW-I don't know why Cathe didn't make those over the tops part of the interval blast at the end-ouch! My legs just burn thinking about them!!

Overall, excellent tape for intensity seekers!

Instructor Comments:
What more can I say that hasn't been said about Cathe? She is the ONLY instructor that I have worked out with that makes me feel she'd right there with me in my workout room. Just when I am about to give up, she throws some encouragement my way. Hey, she'd also the only instructor that I have actually dreamed about. I was IN the video (PowerMax-I think)and Cathe whoops, "You're getting good, Lesia!"LOL!!!

lesia english


This video is fantastic! It is the best cardio workout on video I have ever done. I am an advanced exerciser and can do most videos without too much trouble, but this was TRULY challenging. Unlike "Intense Moves" there are no slow downs or rest periods- it's just one long continuous workout. I like it that you get a solid hour of cardio instead of only 30 minutes like in most other cardio videos I've done. As well as being challenging, this video is really fun- it has all my favourite high impact aerobic moves (plyo jumps, plyo heel digs, high kicks e,t.c.)and fun step choreography that's not too difficult to learn. (I got most of the moves by the second time I did it) Oh, and the music is great too- I recognized some of the dancy tunes in the floor aerobics section. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I really didn't mind the cooldown music. I agree that the low impact section is more like an extended warm- up, but I think it is designed that way so you'll be properly warmed up for the high intensity that follows. In any case, the rest of the workout more than makes up for the slow beginning! This was my first Cathy Friedrich video and I don't think it will be the last.

Instructor Comments:
Cathy is very upbeat and motivating without being annoying. She doesn't slow down the workout to explain the moves, which is great because it keeps the intensity high.



Maximum Intensity Cardio and Maximum Intensity Strength is a cross training set. Each tape is modular so you can essentially design your own workout. You can do only the hi/lo section or just the step or the entire tape. In Maximum Intensity Strength, you can work upper body, then lower body. Teacher that she is, Cathe always tells you to listen to your body and take the day off if you need to after doing vigorous exercise.

MI Cardio begins with the warm-up and some basic low impact aerobics consisting of grapevines, L steps and big arms movements. If this sounds boring, she does have to turning away from your tv set and ending up of the right side. This is really an extended warmup for mixed impact which has some classic floor aerobic moves. Then comes all out high impact "making a comeback" as she says. This is the "boot camp section" Tough, challenging, and gets the job done. Cathe could get a following of floor aerobic fans too! The step follows the same format, getting tougher and ending with all out high impact and plyometrics.

MI Strength is my favorite of the two. Besides the Firm, there are few serious weight training video workouts. There are weight training intruction, but not the same as a do along video. This does both. Even a beginer can learn proper form just using a 9 lb bodybar, 5 lb dumbells and doing just one set. Cathe uses a 35 lb barbell and 10, 15, and 20 lb dumbells; athletes and bodybuilders can probably go much heavier.

There's a brief but invigorating step warmup and a stretch to get the muscles ready to work. Lower body is first with classic squats and variation of lunges and dips.

The upper body is divided into chest, back, triceps, biceps , shoulders and then abs. The pushup -benchpress -pushup is grueling, straight outta the gym while those barbell crazy 8s will definately five you some GI Janes arms. In all section Cathe does two sets of 12 to 16 reps so you'll really feel your muscles work. There are also excellent stretches between each set. Even though your heart rate will rise, THIS IS NOT AN AEROBIC WORKOUT! This is to build muscular strength and endurance. It's nice for the heart in a way, but proper form and control is essential. She works the negative and positive , lowering the weight is just as important as lifting the weight. In weight training, you can take a rest and shake your muscles out. Never compromise proper form. But Cathe tells you all of this.

All in all these are two videos that belong in any video exerciser's library. A+ and Thumbs up.

Instructor Comments:
I'm a Cathe Friedrich neophyte. I've beeen doing video exercise for about 2 1/2 years. One doesn't do video exercise for long before hearing Cathe Friedrich mention over and over and over again. Her videos are not available in stores. Collage Videos rave over her advanced step aerobis. The fitness magazine constanly give her video high ratings. Kacy Duke, a fitness expert herself and who write the reviews for FIT MAGAZINE write glowing reviews. So I decided to see what the hubbub was about and ordered Step Fit because it had a longer stretch section and the end. I was hooked. Yeah, she whoops and hollers and never lets ups and somehow manages to keep you on the right foot "Get on the right lead." Her cuing is flawless and above all, viewer friendly. She is aware of the challeges of the home viewer try to do complex choreography. So beginner and intermediates take heart, you'll get there. I consider myself an advanced intermediate and Cathe just makes you wanna take fitness higher.

jean leslie wakefield


This is the most amazing cardio tape I have ever done! Cathe seems to out-shine herself in every new video endeavor, and with each new release I have a hard time going back to her old tapes.

Cathe is the only instructor I can follow the first time through without holding the remote control in my hand, finger poised on the rewind button. That in itself speaks volumes about her cuing and instructional abilities. I have learned more about teaching a great class from watching Cathe than in any live workshop I've attended in my career as an instructor.

Okay, onto the workout format itself! The first segment is hi/lo aerobics which progesses from a fun low impact series of moves, to a mid-range impact segment, to an all out high impact routine that is sure to push your anaerobic threshhold and burn mega quantities of fat. It's *intense*, but Cathe manages to make it fun - which is good because when she says "Kick toward the tv" you won't be thinking about kicking *in* the tv!! Another bonus is that the moves don't require a lot of traveling space so you'll never find yourself face down on the couch or sprawled on top of a broken floor lamp. :^)

The step segment is, in my opinion, the best Cathe has presented so far. It's not hard to follow but is very high in intensity, especially after completion of the hi/lo, and the final interval sprint at the end is extremely challenging. There are a lot of squats and across the bench moves to keep the heart rate up. Most of the moves have been used in previous videos but there are a few new ones I enjoy (especially the around the worlds with 2,3, and 4 knee repeaters) and have incorporated into my own routines.

I'm a very advanced exerciser and can only do this entire video on days where my energy level is not sapped from other activities and teaching. Maximum Intensity Cardio, and it's companion video, Maximum Intensity Strength, are currently #1 in my rotation. Any Cathe tape is worth the investment, but these two are keepers, never to be seen on the video exchange!

Instructor Comments:
Every time I acquire a new Cathe video I get better at my own job of aerobics instructor. She's the best!



WOW!!! I must say that this is the hardest video I have ever done. I've done some pretty hard ones, too. I've done PowerMax, StepMax, Energy Sprint. I can do all these tapes with no problem. MIC, on the other hand, is one I can barely make it through. I have done it maybe 4 or 5 times. Each time, I can't belive that I can actually finish it. I think the reason it is so hard for me is that: 1. I am not used to floor aerobics, so that kicks my butt before I even get to the step portion. 2. The step portion is "non-stop." She does not slow down at all once she gets going. And she gets going from the beginning. All the other tapes I have have a heart rate check or something. But not this, it just keeps going and going like the energizer bunny until you wonder how you are going to keep from toppling over. I like this tape, though, even though I feel like I am dead at the end. I am glad that the 5 minute interval section is at the end, because if it was any sooner I probably wouldn't make it!!! No wonder she says not to do this tape more than twice a week.

Melanie Higgins


A new favorite! This 75-minute tape is absolutely awesome. I love the non-stop high intensity. Your heart will pump *hard* and you will drip sweat the whole time!

The moves are very easy to follow. It starts off with 28 minutes of high/low, with the old-fashioned (but intense) knee lifts, jacks, jogs, jumps, etc. At three different points, she inserts intervals. The first interval, the air jumps, just about does me in! She does 48 -- I can manage 32 so far. The other two intervals later in the high/low don't seem as hard to me. That's okay!

I love high-impact, and this is very high. She starts you off with some lower-impact moves in order to warm you up and get you ready, but before long you're pounding your legs into the ground non-stop. Yes! I love it.

After the high/low is 36 minutes of step. This doesn't seem as intense to me as the high/low. That's probably a good thing; otherwise I might not go all the way through at once. It starts off a little lower-key, but before long you're right back at it. She builds one combo throughout the whole thing (a fun one). Then at the very end, she does an interval set. Whew! This is indeed a pumper, and you'll probably be glad it's the end when you're done!

The music is pretty good throughout, but I think the high/low music could be improved. I think this would be one of those "whooping" tapes if the music were a little better in that section. I whooped some anyway. I liked the step music much better. The cooldown song is the pits, in my opinion (Don't Cry For Me, Argentina). It doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the tape, but that song turns me off.

Grade: Definitely A+!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is a great instructor, but until now I never had found one of her tapes I liked. (I'm weird, I know.) But the two Maximum Intensity tapes are real winners in my book!

Annie S.


I cross train with running and step aerobics/weights videos. I thought I would endure through this workout, and I did, but just barely! "Psycho-robics" is a more apt description than "intense aerobics". The pace is lightning-fast, even in the low-impact aerobics session. Be prepared to be pooped after the first few times of doing this workout. Overall, despite the post-workout exhaustion level, this video is of excellent quality.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe never ceases to amaze even the most ardent fans of intense aerobics. I thought Power Max was the apogee of her intensity level. I was proven very wrong by this workout.

Adrienne Shatzer


I was one of the many VF'ers chomping at the bit for Cathe's new videos, and I am not disappointed! MIC essentially contains two workouts - hi/lo and step. I am not usually a hi/lo fan because I find it 1) takes up too much space and 2) too dancy and "spinny", so I end up dizzy and lost. But, Cathe's hi/lo is great! More basic, athletic moves that I can easily do in my living room without smashing into the furniture. The first low impact segment after the warm-up is really easy - I consider it a warm-up extension. The fun comes in the medium and especially the high impact segments! I love the jumprope, boxer and high knees moves, and I think my favorite move in this segment is the plyo heel digs. Even the medium impact stuff is really fun I love the arm combos - they seem to really "go" with what your legs are doing. I have a lot of fun doing this workout, and find myself smiling and laughing at times. Cathe has a way of making me feel like a graceful dancer flying through the air, even though I'm more like a bull in a china shop in reality! It's very tough, and by the end of the high impact segment I am drenched. I really like the music for the hi/lo - all instrumental, and kind of techno-funky. Really cool.

Then it's time to pull out the step! Cathe is the queen of step so it's no suprise that this workout is great. I must admit that I still like PowerMax as my all-time fav step workout, but I enjoyed this one. A couple of moves I didn't like - the sashay's are sort of unnatural for me for some reason, and I really don't like the turning across the benches (I just modify to stay facing the same direction like normal across the benches - I don't think it really matters). This is a tough workout for your legs as well - lots of uneven squats and across the bench's - your quads will be feeling it. Cathe finishes the workout with a short interval blast - three sets of 1) two-legged jumps (really hard to do at this point - I find that letting out a big yell with every jump helps!) 2) jump-rope move on the step 3) power-7's (another propulsion move with big arms). You are seriously pooped at the end of this workout. It also looks like Cathe has worked out hard too - her hair is sort of screwed up by the end. I like to see that the instructors in the videos are working hard with you.

I LOVE the cool-down! Nothing special - grapevines, L-steps... but the music is perfect (Don't cry for me Argentina) - I am singing right along and don't want the workout to end (my neighbors, however, are probably counting the minutes!).

I would highly recommend this video to any advanced exerciser (if you can tolerate high impact of course). It is possible to split up the tape and do hi/lo one day and step the next (you will have to do your own cool down for hi/lo and warm up for step if you did this). Doing the entire tape at once gives you a great, fun cardio workout.

Instructor Comments:
In MIC, Cathe, as usual, is superb. Her cueing is always right on and easy to follow. For those that get annoyed with her "whooping", this tape doesn't have any that I noticed. I found that I really liked Cathe in this tape - she seems super-nice and fun (for some reason more so in this tape than her others). Her comments make me smile throughout the workout, even when I am dying pumping out that last over the top... And, holy smokes - she looks awesome. A great inspiration.

Michelle Spina


I've done this video twice and it kicked my butt! I have all of Cathe's tapes and love her complex choreography. While this one is defintely not as complex, I loved it. Wendy gave a pretty good description in her review, so I won't go into details about the workout itself. The hi/lo section was (as Wendy commented) made for people who have very small areas to work with (like me), which I really liked. It definitely got my heartrate up with all of the high impact moves that never slowed down. The step workout was also very good. It was, again, not as complex as her other tapes, but I found that, after doing the hi/lo, I didn't much feel like concentrating on fancy moves. I liked that the moves were easy to learn, but very hard to sustain. The interval part at the end really killed me. The first time I barely finished the tape but the second time I finished the last part (just barely). I agreed with Wendy that maybe the interval part should have been earlier in the tape, but I might not have finished the whole thing if it had been! All in all, this is a great workout. Great music, great moves and a great instructor.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is one of my favorite instructors. She doesn't spend a lot of time breaking things down (because she knows we'll be watching this tape over and over), so there's not a lot of down time in between moves.

Paige Perkerson


To begin with, I've never been a fan of hi/lo aerobics. After discovering step there was no turning back for me. I'm a huge step fan so I'm lukewarm about the hi/lo sction. Mind you, I found it to be intense but there was too much repetition; I can't stand all those heel/toes. I really liked the high impact - the jogging, plyo squats and jumping jacks, though. My heart rate didn't start to go up until the medium intensity section. It would have been nice if there was a short cooldown/stretch before going on to step. Actually, I would have preferred step come before hi/lo (less chance of injury). Since I don't do hi/lo all that often (although I am going to make a concerted effort to do so, in the future, for cross training purposes), I was starting to feel winded by the time stepping came around. Overall, I found the hi/lo to be pretty run of the mill but intense. A side note - somebody get the blond a better support bra; at times I thought she'd bounce away (pun intended).

I preferred the step section - the music was catchier (can that don't Cry For Me Argentina disaster, though). Most moves are from Cathe's previous videos. I wish that Cathe would do different cooldown stretches. Power Max is still my favourite but I plan on doing MI Cardio 1 - 2 times a week.

Rating: Hi/lo B- Step B+

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is my favourite instructor. She always cues well and motivates you to push yourself. When I first started doing Cathe's videos, her whooping bothered me a bit, particularly in Step Max (how does she know whether or not I look hot, anyway?) but she gives such a good, fun, advanced workout that does it really matter?

Terri M.


I am a long time Cathe fan from 1991 and love all her videos, including the early ones. When she did Step 'n Motion II she added a 7 minute hi/lo segment off the step and since then, I knew she was great off the step as well as on the step, and this tape proves that. Cathe begins with a 7 minute warm-up which is low impact with some stretches, she follows with 26 minutes of different levels of impact until you reach the real intense last challenging hi/lo segment with high kicks, jacks, power jacks, plyo heel digs, boxer shuffles, lunges, repeaters, high jumps with both feet off the floor. Great plyo moves giving you a great interval cardio workout comparable to the one and only Greg Twombley. The music (one of the best I have ever heard on a tape) is all instrumental which is rare on aerobics tapes and this makes it more enjoyable. She follows with 26 minutes of step - I love it! The music is similar to Franny on Workout with a Vengeance. The moves are so much fun - sashay move off and on the step, up and over (not a new move), around the world with a twist, over the tops so many times your legs will burn. I used an 8" step and when the 5 minute power blast came, I had trouble getting on top of the step with the double jump. That was the only difficult move in this power blast, otherwise, it's not as challenging as Step Max's final segment. Cathe follows with a too short cool-down (to Evita's "Don't Cry for me Argentina) and stretch (6 minutes total). I love the tape. I actually did it two days in a row even though she says to take time in between. I love it and highly recommend it to not just Cathe fans, but anyone looking for a challenging cardio workout.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is the best step aerobics instructor ever, and with her hi/lo segment on this tape, she is just as fantastic as a floor aerobics instructor.

maryann parker


Cathe's Web site had advertised this tape as appealing more to her "intensity fans" than her choreography fans", and indeed the choreography is less complex than most of her other tapes. The choreography is more linear, with short patterns rather than longer combinations. I am one of Cathe's "choreography fans" who also happens to appreciate the intensity of her workouts. Predictably, this workout didn't rank as high on my personal "fun scale" as some of her more choreographically challenging workouts, but it certainly ranks up there on the intensity scale. I definitely liked the video, but PowerMax still reigns supreme as my favorite Cathe cardio tape.

The warmup is quite basic, and flows seamlessly into the hi lo. The hi lo section consists of a short low impact section (about 4 1/2 min.), a medium impact section (5 1/2 min.) and a longer high impact section (maybe 15 or 16 minutes). I'm told by Step N Motion that Cathe made a concerted effort to keep the routine within a small workout area so that home exercisers who are "space-challenged" could still do the routine. The effort shows--you really don't need any more space for this than you would for a step workout. I tend to like to move around more during hi/lo workouts, but with my 25 foot living/dining room area I am probably in the minority here. My point is that if your space is normally too small for hi/lo, you can probably manage nicely with this workout.

My heart rate didn't rise at all until the medium impact section, so I would consider the low impact stuff, which consists of moves like grapevines, L-steps and scoops, to be more like an extended warm up. After that, though, the intensity got going, and the music helped pump me up, too. I would say the "medium impact" section is comparable in intensity to most CIA hi/lo work. The high impact section was quite a challenge. Some moves, like "jumping rope", high knee jogs, and a very long series of jumps in the air, are true tests of the cushioning on your aerobic shoes! Other high impact moves include plyo jacks, boxer shuffles, twists, up and backs, and scissors.

Overall, I found the hi/lo moves a bit repetitive, but again, I'm one of those complex choreography freaks, especially for hi/lo. Despite that, the intensity level remains high, especially in the high impact sections. The driving beat of the music also kept me interested and motivated. It's similar in flavor to PowerMax's music, maybe even more upbeat. As I'm not up on pop music, I asked Step N Motion what songs people might recognize. They are:

1)Unbreak My Heart
2)Don't Cry For Me Argentina (OK--I did recognize that plays during the cool down/stretch)
3)Love Rollercoaster
4)Fired Up
5)I Wish/Stevie Wonder remix

I really enjoyed the 35 min. step workout. Again, the choreo is more linear, with shorter patterns that aren't linked together until the very end. The "rock press" is back, as are the "up and backs" from Step Fit, and the "explosion" repeater move from section 3 of Step Max (also seen as the "power circle" in PowerMax, I think) is back in sets of 7 during the interval blast. There's a new sashay repeater move--a big move that I found awkward at first, but it's challenging.

Like in PowerMax, there is no "down time" where the intensity lags in this video, once you get past the low impact section. In order to accomplish this, there is less instruction. People who are familiar with Cathe's style and choreo won't be lost, but those new to Cathe might have a few bewildered moments the first few times through. For example, those up and backs come in early on in the routine (I really like this particular pattern), but Cathe doesn't break down the move much at all. Overall, I would say the intensity on the step section is comparable to PowerMax throughout, except for the last interval section, which, if you have the energy left to go all out, is more intense.

The final 5 minute "interval blast" was placed at the end so that those who find it too intense could FFWD to the cool down easily. It's a tough one, and in this initial viewing I couldn't help but wish it had come earlier--I was tired! There are 3 intervals, I think--I forgot to time them, but they seemed a little longer than those in Intense Moves, though not as intense as most in IM. Cathe does a squat/over-the-top move is part of the interval pattern--it reminded me of one of the IM intervals. Other moves include power jumps with both feet up onto the step, a "jump rope" double hop up, pump circle runs and the power circles.

The cooldown is very basic--grapevines, side steps, L-steps that mimic the warm up. The stretch was nice--Cathe holds the leg stretches longer than usual, which I definitely liked after all those high impact moves.



Maximum Intensity Cardio is INTENSE and for advanced exercisers only! You start off with 30-35 minutes of high/low aerobics and finish with about 35 minutes of power stepping. Cathe manages to keep the intensity high by loading the high/low section with lots of plyo jumps, jumping jacks, and kicks. The choriography is very basic and easy to follow but this is one of the things I really liked about the video because the routine allows you to concentrate on the intensity and you don't waste time trying to figure out the moves, which for me cuts down on the intensity level.

The stepping segment of this video takes the intensity down just a notch in the begining to give you a little breather but that soon changes. At the end, Cathe has you doing an "interval blast" which is sure to really rev that heart rate up. Once again, the moves are not complex and after the tough high/low section, the last thing you want to do is concentrate on learning tough moves.

If you don't have a lot of space to workout, this is a really great video. Cathe shows you that you don't have to be dancing all over the place to get in a really tough workout.

This video is definitely a keeper for me. Keep up the good work Cathe.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is an excellent instructor. Her routines are complex but with Cathe's excellent cuing, almost anyone can catch on. She is also an excellent choriographer and her routines are always fun. Know for her step aerobics videos, Cathe shows us another tallent in this video -- high/low aerobics.

Tiffanee Saunders


This video is like eating an entire cheesecake or a entire can of whipped cream--it's great at first, but quickly becomes too much for me. I really, really respect those of you on this site who can finish this entire workout! It is one butt-kicker of a cardio workout. It has become my personal goal to get through this entire workout without dying!

The high/low portion is boring, but effective in getting to target heart rate. The step portion is more fun, with easy to learn step moves, but lord, I'm dead after the high/low part comes to a resounding end. However, something inside of me keeps me going until after the "Love Roller Coaster" portion. Then I'm pretty much over the edge! I consider myself an intermediate to advanced exerciser, and after not being able to get all the way through this workout, I was humbled to say the least!

The music is fun and that is probably what keeps me able to get as far as I do, the set and wardrobe are boring, but the cast is great. I really like the cast members a lot. They are super fit and seem to be having a lot of fun.

The blonde really needs more support bra-wise. It is a wonder she doesn't give herself a black eye the way her breasts bounce during the intense moves. I can't imagine Anna Benson letting one of her exercisers looking like that on film.

I like Maximum Intensity Strength more than this video because without some type of weight training, I just feel "cheated." Although I am wiped out before this tape finishes, I nevertheless feel that I've not really worked out. I guess that's my Firm orientation showing through.

Grade for this Video: B

Instructor Comments:
Although I like Cathe much better in Maximum Intensity Strength, I find her cueing superior and her choreography in this video fun and easy to learn.

Amy Steppe