Simply StepGin Miller
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Step Aerobics
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This is my other favorite step DVD, next to Let's Get Stepping with Debra Mazda.
The moves are simple, straightforward, nothing complicated so if you prefer basic moves this is for you. However, simple doesn't mean easy - this is a 51 minute step workout, so it IS challenging. A beginner's workout this is not...
But, I myself am a beginner/intermediate exerciser, and after doing the almost 40 minute 'Let's Get Stepping' workout, I was curious to see if I could do Simply Step.
And - hoo boy - yes, it's definitely a challenge, let me tell ya! Buuuut, what I love about this workout, is this could really fit almost all fitness levels, except the really, REALLY beginner. Again, it's a long workout, all cardio, but she gives plenty of options to make it as challenging or not-so-challenging. You have the option of doing the same moves on the floor, of making the workout more intense (i.e., running instead of walking around the step in one segment, running onto the step instead of walking, etc.). But - as a beginner/intermediate, I FINISHED the workout! Yes, I had to adapt it to my fitness level, had to do the moves on the floor for half the workout, but the point is, I finished it :D
So, all in all, highly recommended. The only thing that could make this even better, is if she had a couple of 30 or 40 minute premixes in addition to the main workout, for those times when you're in a hurry or if you want to do a 'quickie' workout before work. But, that's just my opinion. The workout itself is fantastic, Gin's cuing is spot-on - I learned the moves the first time through (as opposed to some tapes where you need to do them a few times to get it down pat).
Gin Miller is one of my favorite instructors - her cuing is perfect, her personality and sense of humor makes her workouts a lot of fun, (those 50 minutes actually go by pretty fast!)
Her DVDs are workout safe, meaning you won't be doing any crazy moves to injure your back, which is important for me, as I've had lower back problems in the past.
Her workouts range from beginner to advanced, but even the more advanced videos, like this one, she gives options for more beginner fitness levels so just about anyone can do these. And, even with her more 'beginner' level workouts, you won't outgrow these as you progress, as she gives adaptations for more advanced steppers.
All in all - I highly recommend anything by Gin - She, along with Debra Mazda, are my two favorite instructors - I'll definitely be getting more of Gin's tapes!
I’m reviewing this workout after previewing it once and doing it twice, having gotten this recently.
General workout breakdown: see the reviews above.
I will add that Gin generally teaches the routine as follows: First, she builds up a combo, some of which are taught in two smaller blocks. (Usually you repeat a move a couple of times (e.g. on the right and left, four times on the same leg) in a row before moving on, so the combo ends up being a couple of moves put together rather than a dance routine.) Then comes a break with one basic step (e.g. basic or alternating hamstring curl) while Gin has you collect your thoughts and gear up for the next bit. Then she builds up another combo. After a quick break, you TIFT (take it from the top) once, with filler steps in between each combo. Then comes another break with basic steps while you do a perceived exertion test, and it’s onto the next combo. The final TIFT has no filler steps. There are a couple of times when Gin adds a variation while doing the final version of the combo or even while TIFTing, but for the most part she layers the moves only while teaching the combo.
Level: I’d recommend this to steppers at the experienced beginner through low to mid-advanced stage. Like others have said, although Gin breaks down the routine into simple chunks, she still expects you to have some familiarity with the step and step terms, so this wouldn’t be good for most true beginners to step. If you are relatively new to exercising and/or stepping, you could run through this all on the floor before hopping on the step. Truly advanced steppers might not find this enough of a challenge due to the fairly simply choreography and the length of time used for building up combos.
Gin almost always starts with the low impact version of each move, sometimes layering in or just suggesting higher impact variations of a few moves. That impact is optional, however, or you could always add in more if you want. There are minimal pivots.
Class: Gin alone, instructing live.
Music: upbeat instrumental with a beat.
Set: see descriptions above.
Production: good quality picture and sound, helpful camera angles that usually stay on all of Gin.
Equipment: step (Gin uses a Reebok black & gray one; I used a shorter Step without much difficulty), your choice of number of risers (none if beginner, one if intermediate, two if more advanced), and sneakers.
Space Requirements: enough room to walk comfortable around the front of your step, to take a large lunge off of each of the short sides, and to do a couple of steps on the floor behind your step. At 5’8” or so with size 10 feet I need about 12” in front of the step, 18” to each side, and 18-24” behind. Oh, if you do Gin’s monkey arms you may need a little more arm room along the short sides.
DVD Notes: The main menu asks you to select between Pre-Class Guidelines and the Workout. The workout has only three chapters: the warm-up, workout, and cool-down stretch.
Conclusion: I was looking for a video that would help me, at least a high intermediate when it comes to floor aerobics but a relative newbie to step who’s still at the intermediate level there, become more comfortable with the step and build up the endurance needed to tackle more advanced step workouts. This was a great choice. With one riser I felt that this gave me a workout just suited to my abilities, and I could add impact or intensity – or take them out. I will keep this for days when I want a steady state cardio workout or when I don’t want to work my brain too hard (like around exam time!), but I have a feeling I won’t reach for this a lot once I begin to conquer Christi and company on the step since I’m more of a choreography person.
Gin is goofy, but she does focus on the workout, whether it’s cueing, providing tips, encouraging, or joking around. If you like your instructors to be all professional, reading off of a script, you won’t care for Gin. But if you like your instructors to be comfortable in front of the camera and letting their personality shine through, well, Gin’s the woman for you. She mirror cues, except for the time that she comes around so that she’s with her back to the viewer and using the same foot. Gin sometimes does the “watch me” method, demonstrating the next layer before asking you to do it. I like the fact that she’s clearly fit, yet she looks “normal,” not like some rail-thin model picked for her good looks alone. After all, Gin’s a real fitness instructor and one of the step video pioneers.
This is a basic step tape, niot high impact, but very high intensity. Granted, I am out of shape and probably could have knocked this one out much better at an earlier time in my fitness timeline, but even then it would have been a tough workout.
I am not going to detail the moves, because anyone who has ever done any step at all will know them. So the beauty of this video is that you can turn off your brain and just sweat like a pig. It's almost..meditative, if you know what I mean.
Gin builds five or six oombos with a fair amount of TIFTing and then leads you through all of them to a rousing finish at the end, followed by a cool down.
The fourth of fifth combo, which includes some V-steps on the floor, takes things down a bit, and goes on like this a bit longer than most people would like at this lower speed. Heart monitor people will hate this--your heart rate will definitely drop, although not to a cool down point. Of course, once you know it's going to happen, you can bump up the intensity during that portion--but I can see how this might irritate hardcore cardio fans.
I loved this workout, but so far I have loved all of the Gin Miller Simplies (that I have done--one is still pending).
Inexplicable: Gin appears on the front cover in workout gear and wearing what appears to be a tiara, holding an apple, stuck on a stick like a scepter. The stylistic theme of the graphics are portraits--done with a Photoshop watercolor filters of her photo and framed--but what's with the crown....and the apple?
Gin is great because she is such a clown, and I mean that in the best possible way. If I saw Cathe or Christy Taylor mug for the camera like this, I would probably cringe so hard I would wrinkle up like an accordion, but on her, it's great and it really makes the workout more fun.
Her cuing is right on, although I got the impression she kind of lost her train of thought a couple of times, and one move she taught on the floor and then brought to the step with no warning. Minor issues though, since the moves are so basic.
I am "stepping" down (pun intended) a little bit with the intensity of my step workouts. I am 58 and have been stepping away with the likes of Cathe and Christy for 10 years. I feel the need to blend the easier step workouts with the more intense ones. My thought, as previously stated in my review for Everybody Steps, is to spare any potention future injury to knees or ankles.
I found the "sweat" factor of Simply Step to be extremely acceptable. I wasn't bored and felt challanged as I learned the steps more toward the end of the tape. I wasn't gasping for air but my heart rate wasn't too low either.
I liked the easier combinations and I will use this to blend with more intense step, on days when the temperatures soar (no A/C) or when I am feeling a little fatigued to begin with.
I really liked the tape - or is it because I'm such a big fan of Gin's? You decide. Read the other reviews -
I really think Gin is one of the best instructors out there. Her cueing is flawless and I love her sense of humor. No pretense here -Gin is Gin.
This is a good workout for someone who wants a long (50 minutes plus warmup and cooldown), steady-state low impact cardio workout with no tricky moves or knee torques. After an easygoing warmup, Gin teaches basic step combinations which are mixed together throughout the workout. There is a lot of "take it from the top", but the sequence repeated most often is a fun one - mambo cha-chas, knee ups, and L-steps with curtsies. On every sequence she shows low-impact and high-impact versions - advanced exercisers will want to add impact or go to an 8" step to keep their heartrates up.
The set has polished wood floors, a few plants in the background and a painting on the wall right behind Gin. It's smaller and warmer feeling than the cavernous studio settings used in, say, Cathe's workouts. The music is all upbeat instrumentals, some with a Caribbean flavor - fun, good beat but not distracting. The only thing I didn't like were the many pauses for "Perceived Exertion" checks - I think there are six, which is excessive.
I'm an intermediate/low advanced exerciser and worked up a good sweat on a 6" step with most moves modified to high impact. This workout is good for exercisers of all fitness levels because the moves are so adaptable.
Gin is very loose, relaxed and funny in this workout. I was hesitant about buying a workout with no background exercises, who I think add visual interest, energy and stimulation, but Gin has the charisma and personality to carry this one on her own. As always, her cueing is excellent as is her instruction on learning the step sequences (sometimes the instruction is almost TOO basic).
I did Gin's new step workout yesterday. I wanted to see if I got the famous DOKS ("Delayed Onset Knee Soreness") today before writing a review. No, the knees feel fine so far this morning. Yippeee!!!!
Gin has done a terrific job in producing a workout that is aerobically challenging and mentally non-challenging. This is not to say that there aren't a few tricky moves that might be hard to learn. But, Gin teaches and cues in such an impeccible way that you will always have options if you can't get a step. I had trouble with a few moves. The "monkey-arms L-step" was wierd. So I just did a similar move I learned from an old Tim Culwell video. I couldn't do the "Y" pattern on the floor. I did "X" and it worked fine. Etc., etc., etc.
I don't know if I would recommend this video for a very beginner at step. Gin assumes you know some of the verbage, like "traveling", etc. Also, the workout moves along at a brisk pace. Just a litle dawdling at the perceived exertion checks.
I improved my chances of doing this workout by previewing and walking out the steps the night before. So, I had an idea of where I might have difficulty and was prepared.
The is one part where Gin mis-cues a move. And I was actually doing it correctly! That was a good feeling.
The set is plain and pleasant. The music is the only disappointment as it is rather dull.
Gin, of course is not a disappointment. She is her usualy goofy self, but not over the top (like in the barely tolerable "New Body Workout"). My favorite quote is when she adds some impact and says, "C'mon, I'm almost fifty and I can do this!" Um, Gin, you are not the *average* "almost fifty-year" old. LOL!
I used a four-inch step and I was glad. I was getting pooped after about 40 minutes. I did some of the higher impact options. Just in time, Gin tells us that there are 10 minutes left in the workout. I would consider going up to a six inch step for a very tough workout.
Here is one of the few workouts that I would recommend to those like me who are choreo-challenged. It's not a walk in the park, but it is doable, learnable and modifiable!
Thank you, Gin!
Please see review.
I am not sure if I will keep this one. I LOVE Simply Strong and Simply Endurance, they were tough and challenging and I won't part with them ! Simply Step does get your heartrate up and get you sweating - it'll give you a good cardio workout...but it's pretty basic. Again, not in intensity but in choreography. In Gin's own words, she says there are lots of repetitions but your heartrate will keep up.
For the fit beginner/low intermediate choreography-wise, this would be a good choice. She does some interesting steps like a three repeater becoming a three pulse squat or tap off the end, a cha-cha-cha on the step to a step touch on the floor, a floor Y step, and a 4 count hip shake straddling the step. The build up to these moves is a long process though, which would make it great for those not used to more complicated choreography. Gin demonstrates (while you are in a holding pattern) most of the more complex moves. Again, most of the moves are not complex, I've probably named them all in the whole hour of the workout !
What I like - Gin's chatty manner, her precise cuing (most of the time, a couple of mistakes), the fact that I sweat buckets and get a good workout.
What I don't like - taking it from the top for the whole workout, so much repetition, holding patterns, checking perceived exertion continually (something like 5 times or so).
Gin teaches like you are a total newbie, yet a total newbie wouldn't make it through the intensity of the workout. When I want to zone, I use Keli Roberts Ultimate Step or Kathy Smith's Step or Great Buns & Thighs, I guess if you really want to zone this could work for you.
FWIW, I'm more into Taylor & Friedrich lately for the challenge.
Gin is obviously enjoying herself in this one and lets loose her personality. She really cracks herself up - but it's not annoying. She takes a lightheared approach to this video, but as usual, her counting and cuing are excellent.
The total workout from start to finish is 63 minutes long. Gin has included a nice long warmup that incorporates some brief static stretching. Very nice.
This is the perfect step workout if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced stepper! I am serious when I say that it will appeal to all levels. The choreography is basic for the majority of the workout. Gin does throw in some interesting foot work to mix it up a bit. This is a TIFT workout. Gin does spend time teaching each combo but again, she is doing this to ensure this workout is accessible to all levels and I like that. Her last combo takes the longest and she jokes about that. BTW, I am an advanced stepper. I only used a 6 inch step for this since it was the first time doing it and my HR stayed in its THR range for 43 minutes. It went over a couple of times but I was able to bring it down just by following the more basic, non power step moves. The music is quite good. I have no idea who it is but its all instrumental and has a great beat and sounds good. I remember thinking that while doing the workout.
Bottom line: This is a keeper. You can take it easy or you can make it tough. Its all up to you. This is a cardio endurance workout (as labelled) and when you do it, you will know why!
Gin's a great instructor with clear and concise cueing! Once again, her humorous self just shines through in this workout.
To give you some background, I'm an advanced exerciser who loves FUN but not dancy spinny choreo (I love PowerMax but hate Rhythmic Step, for example.
So what did I think of this workout? *YAWN* That's how I felt when I did this workout. It was a real clock watcher. For me to enjoy a workout, there has to be a balance between interesting moves and intensity. This tape had neither. There was way too much repetition. I thought I was going to scream if I had to do one more knee up corner to corner. The music was nothing special, I don't really even remember it and I just did the workout yesterday so it coulnd't be that great or terrible. I'll be putting this one up for sale or on the exchange.
Gin is pretty goofy in this one.
Obviously I have only done it once, but I really enjoyed this dvd. The choreography is very simple. She has a lot of the classic step moves in here and adds intenisty with arms and hops. If you can do these moves, you can do this video:
walk or jog around the step
knee up (with hop)
L steo with a curtsy
3 quick hips with a basic
basic or run on the step
travel over the step or step hop
3 knee repeater or variation with big arms
alternating 2 knee repeater with squats or jacks in the middle
step tap or pony on the step
step over with 3 wiggles and a curl
The last move is the most complicated, but she takes a few minutes to teach it. This is the only part of the video where I felt my heart rate drop.
This would not be appropriate for someone who must have complex choreo. On the other hand, I usually like complex choreo but I enjoyed this one.
The warmup is 8:00 and not particularly taxing; it's mostly stretching. The cardio is 50:00. The cooldown is only a minute or 2 and I had to pause to get my heartrate down for the stretch. The stretch is 4:00.
It is more a steady state cardio workout than an interval workout. I am very happy to have a step dvd that can be done low impact and still gives you a good workout.
The music is pleasant but unremarkable. I liked the bpm. I haven't heard it in a million other videos.
Gin is funny and kept me smiling through the whole workout.