Cardio Cut FX

Philip Gray
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This workout is hard to come by these days, but I recently got it through a trade and wanted to post a review, because I really like it. The people above have done a good job explaining it, so Iíll just give my general impressions.

This is a low-weight, high-rep workout. I used 3-8 pounds, depending on the move. (For a Firm workout, I use 8-15 pounds.) I also switched weights more than he did throughout the workout so I could go heavier on the moves for which it was possible. I will use this workout on days I donít want a hard workout and/or days Iím just not in the mood to drag out a bunch of equipment, but on which I want to do a workout with weights.

I liked the fact he had modifiers who showed different moves throughout the workout. It would have been nice if he had explained this up front, but he forgot to introduce his back-up exercisers at the beginning of the workout (which he laments part of the way through). Some of them didnít show the best form, especially in the abs section, but most of the way through they did a good job and I found it helpful to follow them at times.

Philip gives form pointers throughout the workout, but there were times I thought he would have given it sooner. He does not explain how to do the moves, so this is not a beginner workout. Overall, he does a good job of cueing the moves as they come up.

Long term, I will see if I use this workout consistently. I initially liked Chizel It, but found I didnít use it much and ended up trading it away. However, I found it more cardio oriented than this one and Iím someone who likes to do either strength or cardio. I didnít like Super Chizel It.

Instructor Comments:
I found him really motivating. I like his instructing style. He's relaxed and friendly, and gives good form pointers throughout the workout.

Laura S.


I remember a lot of fuss about Cardio Cut F/X a few years ago. Most people said it was a good workout, but the production values left a lot to be desired. To me, this workout is somewhat similar to Chizel-It and Jump Force, though I found it to be less intense than either.

The set is a gym with white walls, a few plants, mirrors and windows. The windows are behind the exercisers. Apparently other people are using the gym, because if you look closely you can see people walking by and even exercising through the window. This isnít as distracting as it sounds, though.

There were a few points when I could see a cable and maybe even the camera at the left side of the screen. Again, itís not as distracting as it sounds, but definitely worth mention.

The music is typical CIA, Iíve heard bits of it in other workouts. Dianeís comments about the mirror held true for meóI was confused a couple of times, but the moves are relatively simple, so I caught up quickly.

The workout starts with a 6 minute warm-up, consisting of simple moves done on the floor. Then comes 30 minutes of cardio/weight work. I mostly used 3 lb. weights as you do a lot of reps and move pretty quickly. This is followed by about 7 minutes of abs and a 5 minute stretch.

Philip really hits the whole upper body, though there are many more back and shoulder exercises than anything else. I found that it wasnít as intense as either Jump Force or Super Chizel-It. You donít move around enough for it to really be considered cardio. I didnít feel it in my upper body the next day. Philip includes more variety than you find in Super Chizel-It, but I felt Jump Force is more challenging and gives you a little more room to use heavier weights.

The lower body is worked through lunges, lots of squats, and one set of plyos. You donít do these constantly, though, so I didnít really consider it much of a leg workout.

The ab work consists of roll-downs where you start sitting up and then roll down so your shoulders almost touch the floor, then roll back up. He does variations of this, then works the obliques. Next is crunches for the upper and lower abs, and then you put your legs straight up and reach for each heel with the opposite hand. Nothing too unique, but still effective.

The background exercisers are all women. Giselle Roque de Escobar has been in other workouts and I believe has her own DVD out now. She shows modifications, as does one other person so you can do some of the moves in more or less challenging ways.

I have Philipís CIA 2206 workout, and I like it, but this one was a little boring to me. I prefer Charles Harrisís energy in the Chizel-It workouts, or Anniís in Jump Force. Cardio Cut F/X is currently available only on VHS. I think itíd be good if youíre looking for a slightly less intense version of Chizel-It or Jump Force. Thereís no complex choreography, you donít HAVE to do any high impact, and all you really need is a pair of light dumbbells.

Instructor Comments:



I found out about this video from reading Diane's (aka mtnmom) review on VF. I bought the video consequently, sending a check by mail to Philip. The promptness with which I received this $10 video was incredible (I've paid up the wazoo on websites where the videos didn't get here nearly as fast from across the country!).

But more than that--it's a GREAT little high-weight low rep video! Diane was right on the money with her review, IMHO. I will just add that there certainly were a TON of bicep curls, though I found it easy enough to substitute some of them with shoulder presses or lateral lifts. With 3- to 5- lb weights, it's really fine to do all those bicep curls--until the very end, when he FRIES them with one final blast.

You basically are constantly moving (simple step touches and such) while doing high-weight low rep work. Also some lunges (into knee-ups if you like) on and off the step, but overall not an overabundance of leg/lunge work. There is a brief plyo section which wasn't as hard as I'd feared (but then I'm used to Cathe plyo--also, you do keep holding your weights for Philip's plyo).

For all the raw nature of the filming, really, I did not see any glitches or errors in the routine, unless you count Philip's cheerful "how could I forget to introduce my crew?" halfway through. :)

I know PHilip has done some step workouts with Greg Twombly but I would LOVE to see him do a weight workout like this with Greg's kind of production values (not that this wasn't pretty good for what it was). Or has he done one?

This is a fabulous bargain for $10!

Instructor Comments:
Very competent and charming. A bit of an accent that I couldn't place, makes him sound European (not that it matters a whit). Not goofy, but humorous; reminds me somewhat of Andre Houle. Very fit and very competent instructor. He's someone I'd love to take a class with.



This is a workout that leaves me feeling energized. It's not the best production, by far. And I'm sure it's lacking in chest work. But it just plain makes me feel good.

Philip starts the warm up with a series of step-touches and hamstring curls. It's repetitive as anything, but you can still be half asleep and get your heart pumping. Then he moves on to some quick hip flexor and hamstring stretches. Before you know it, your picking up your weights - keep them light, because you're moving your arms almost constantly.

The workout is toning, but since there is no "slack time" it has something of a cardio effect. It's about 50 minutes long and I would definitely consider it low weight/high rep. He usually combines two or three exercises together and repeats them until fatigue sets in. Then he moves on to another set of exercises, usually alternating the focus from upper body to lower. The music is the same throughout - some sort of techno tune, I think. But it's not annoying. Sometimes he uses bicep curls or pulsing squats as fillers between sets. He uses the step in only one exercise - lunging backwards off of it. But you could easily do it without the step and just do dips instead. There is no supine chest work, although he does some standing chest presses. Other than that, I feel like muscle is worked pretty thoroughly.

Following the standing work, he has you move to a seated position and pick up heavier weights for more bicep work. I can only reason that he, being a guy, thinks that biceps need extra attention. After that, it's onto the floor for a short, but affective ab section.

I don't care for some of the awkward foot positions in the stretch, so I just do my own.

The workout is filmed in a gym. It's filmed in one shot, flaws and all. Sometimes you see the sound equipment, sometimes you see people gawking in the mirror behind them. It doesn't bother me, just makes it more real. Philip is accompanied by four background exercisers. One girl does modifications for beginners. Then there's Giselle - I think she's there to show modifications to make it harder. Or maybe she had a double espresso before the workout. She makes me smile.

My only critism is that I think the camera person wanted to add variety to the shoot. Sometimes there are shots of Philip and the crew filmed in the mirrored wall that's positioned to their side. All of a sudden the moves are reversed and it can be distracting. I've done the video enough times that I'm used to it now.

Yes, this workout has it's flaws. But I like it nonetheless. I don't think anything is unsafe, my muscles are worked, and I break a sweat and have a good time when doing it.

This workout has been out for a couple of years now (maybe released in 2001, but I'm just guessing), and I was surprised there weren't any reviews of it. It's less than $10 on Philip's site. With the popularity of low weight/high rep workouts, I think this deserves some attention.

Instructor Comments:
I think Philip is adorable. He cues well and keeps you motivated.

Diane aka mtnmom