Absolutely FitKathy Ireland
Year Released: 1996
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
Absolutely Fit, with Kathy Ireland, is a five-day ab tape with one long, dull warmup and a shorter but equally dull cooldown. In between are the standard five days of ten- minute exercise sessions.
Now, I've always suspected that the best video instructors are those, like Gheisar or Foss, with really extensive class experience; and the next best are those, like Kathy Smith, with really extensive video experience. Kathy Ireland has obviously had neither. To be blunt, she's not a Phys Ed teacher, she's a spokesbimbo. There's nothing particularly wonderful about her presentation of the exercises, though as far as I can tell there's nothing particularly horrible about it. She doesn't work out in time to the music, or seem really at home leading a class. On the other hand, Absolutely Fit isn't a promotional video disguised as an exercise tape, like that competent but unsettling Cindy Crawford production.
So what makes the tape special? The exercises. I'm no expert, but from what I remember they appear difficult, original, varied and powerful. I particularly recall some standing (!) ab exercises (you hold weights and lean down) that looked like an interesting alternative to the usual seated ones.
In the beginning, Ms. Ireland credits her brother-in-law, a medical doctor, for these movements. I suppose we can thank him for what's really distinctive about her effort. And her, of course, for her choices.
In sum: A nice tape, but not for beginners.
This is one of the best ab tapes out there, if you can overlook the minor annoyances mentioned below. The exercises are very effective. I did a section yesterday after not using this tape for a while, and my sides still hurt when I laugh.
It starts with a 10-minute warmup. This seems excessive to me for an abs workout so I always skip it. Then there is a solid 60 minutes of ab work, divided into a 5-day format. There is more variety in the abs exercises than I've seen on any other tape. You have lying on the floor, lying on the step or bench, sitting on a chair or bench, standing crunches, and standing with weights. For pregnant VFers, there are plenty of positions where you don't have to lie on your back.
Background exercises include 3 men, a woman, and Kathy's mom. There's a lot of interaction between Kathy and the background exercises, and she walks around showing them form pointers during the exercises. The men take turns baring their chests, so there's lots for us ladies to ogle in this tape. :)
Kathy seems sweet, warm and caring. She has a high little-girl voice which I find rather annoying. She doesn't do the exercises in time to the music so it's hard to keep count, and you can't tell if you're doing the same number of reps on each side.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the high quality of this video. I didn't think I would like it and only bought it because Walmart was selling it at a really low price. When I started working out with it, I found I liked it so much that I have now retired my The Firm 5-day Abs tape. Like 5-day Abs, this has 5 separate ab routines; however, unlike 5-day Abs these routines are much more varied: on different days you may be doing standing crunches, seated crunches, traditional crunchs, etc. The pace is also more deliberate than with 5-Day Abs, and I feel my abs working doing this tape much more than doing the Firm's tape.
Unlike a lot of celebrity videos, the set on this tape is very plain (I would have preferred a beach to the humdrum "studio look") but that's my only (minor) complaint.
I must admit I was a bit wary of Ms. Ireland's ability to lead an exercise video, mainly because of her high pitched voice. Interestingly, the pitch of her voice works very well on this video--it's very energizing and motivating.
This is a great value. An interesting introduction, thorough warm-up, and 5 totally different ab workouts which last 12 minutes each. The exercises are simple and well-taught, but unusual enough to be interesting. For instance, she does a lot of standing ab work which is surprisingly effective. I could really feel my abs contract, and of course, they are easy to see in the mirror because you are standing. She emphasizes form and breathing throughout, in a helpful but not annoying way. This is a TOUGH ab workout, and beginners are advised to go at their own pace or modify. I have been doing abs daily for 10 years, and some of the moves are tough for me to do all the reps. I think this is because the moves are different and challenging in a different way than I am used to. The music is good (instrumental and unobtrusive, with a good beat). I found this video at target for $12.99. Collage sells it for $14.95. It is an absolute bargain for anyone who is serious about training their abs. The only other video I could compare it to is FIRM 5-day abs, and this tape is better because each workout is different. I like the FIRM, but they pretty much stick to the basics. I will be very surprised if anyone who buys this video is sorry for the purchase. Kathy Ireland really deserves a lot of credit for putting out such an outstanding, professional series of ab workouts at such a reasonable price. P.S. This is the perfect tape to follow up a Cathe Frederich step video!