Crunch: Master Class Sculpt

Nancy Popp
Year Released: 1997

Categories: Total Body Workouts

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

I'm going to mention the bad first, then the good. I got this video through the exchange out of curiousity because I adore the Master Class Aerobics. This tape is nowhere near as good. For one thing, Collage says this is "Crunch's most extensive toning tape ever." That's a little deceiving. What this tape is is about 15 minutes of lower body work, choreographed, with no weights, about 20 minutes of upper body work with extremely light weights and a puzzlingly long and tough ab section. That confused me. The tape, except for the ab section, is beginner/intermediate for sure.

The leg section is kind of fun because it's almost like dancing. That's the problem, though-- you can't really add heavy weights and still do the steps required. If you like Crunch, the Killer Legs tape is better.

The upper body section is absolutely laughable. First of all, Nancy uses about 3 lb. dumbbells and some of the participants, who are very, very muscular, use 1 lb. weights-- and they make a big production of acting like they're really pushing themselves. :) Some of them unwittingly seem to be unable to handle such light weights and make it look difficult. So I felt the video was a little condescending that way. The sets are grouped together so that you do, for example, militaries combined with biceps and tricep kickbacks. I hate this format because you can't change weights. And get this-- she then does bent over rows that go into a kickback!! Since when can you use similar weight for these two exercises? I use 18 lb. dumbbells for lat rows and 6 lb. dumbbells for tricep kickbacks. Very poor choice.

The chest work is kind of interesting, though, and she includes a new move called a "scoop" that I've never seen.

Now about the good. This tape would be excellent for a beginner or someone new to strength training who is afraid of heavy weights or finds endless reps and sets boring. The choreographed feel makes it fun, and the fact that they use only one set of dumbbells also makes it less intimidating. I think some beginners hate having to have endless equipment. I feel that Crunch caters a little too much though to the idea that video exercisers must be afraid of weights. On the other hand, their fun format got me into weight training awhile back and I'm thankful for it. Their videos are as cheap as $7.99 and short-- very economical and easy to fit in. On the other hand, as an advanced exerciser, I kind of wish that what I've heard about Crunch gyms and their very tough and fun workouts showed through in their videos.

This video is almost an hour long, by the way. Maybe too long for a beginner. It's that stupid misfit ab section at the end. :)

Instructor Comments:
Nancy Popp is beautiful. Very pixie-like and I love her haircut. She's very Crunch, though-- lots of whooping, but I liked her a lot.

Sara Whitney


Definitely a light day video (I have tons of light day videos, since there are so few killer workouts out there) that covers the entire body. Nancy Popp is excellent - there is a 20 minute lower body segment consisting of squats and lunges (you can use weights) and floorwork, which is pretty good if you wear your ankle weights. The upper body has compound moves and using 5-6 lb. weights is enough for me because the moves are a bit fast. She covers all the upper body parts and this lasts about 13 minutes. The best part of the tape is the ab segment, which is 12 minutes of intense abs, which doesn't fit in this video which is more intermediate. The abwork will burn your abs and it was worth the price of the tape just for this section. Background exercisers do make some 'squealing' sounds which doesn't bother me (and some great bodies too).

Instructor Comments:
I like Nancy Popp from her Fitness Pros days and she is excellent on this video.

maryann parker


This is a thorough but light total body strength workout. Most exercisers who are used to Cathe's Maximum Intensity Strength or FIRM videos won't find it very challenging. The lower body exercises use the body's own weight as resistance--light dumbells don't appear until the upper body section.

Nancy Popp gives lots of form pointers and keeps the patterns interesting, forming short combinations of complimentary exercises.

All in all, it might be good for those who prefer to use light weights, but it won't be part of my regular routine. I'm not a particular fan of the whoopy casts that populate most Crunch videos, and this is no exception. I do like Nancy, but not enough to keep this in my rotation.



Mandy Lee gave a good breakdown of the video, so I'll just add a few comments. Hey guys, a beginner/intermediate strength video that I actually like! I used my barbell for the squats and lunges, although Nancy uses no weights. She does a few things that I'm not sure add to the effectiveness of the exercise, like doing a squat and then sweeping one leg across in front of you to work the inner thigh. Does stuff like that really do anything? I suppose it works something or she wouldn't be doing it.

The upper body section is a series of combo moves that go too fast to change weights. For example, military presses that work right into tricep french presses with both arms. I can't possibly do those with the 10-12# dumbells I usually use for military presses! So I just use 5-8# for the whole video and consider it a low weight, heavy rep tape. The ab section is interesting and seems effective.

One more thing that bugs me, although won't keep me from doing the video, is that she takes so much time to explain each new movement and show it in slow motion. Hey, it's not that tough. Let's just get to it! I suppose it's good for first-timers though.

This is a fun, lively, short video for those days when I can't handle the FIRM or MIS. I do it every couple of weeks.

Instructor Comments:
Nancy gives lots of form pointers and cues well. She's lively, but a little more toned down than some of those overly-exuberant Crunch instructors. I'm not quite sure about the dominatrix get-up she's wearing though!

Joni O


This video was very entertaining to watch. It is like taking a live class with a lively bunch of women exercisers. It is a total body weight workout. The background exercisers are in incredible shape. It is inspiring just to watch them. They look so incredibly toned and are wearing really skimpy exercise clothes but nothing untasteful.

This is an beginning to intermediate tape. The standing toning is done without weights. I used weights to make it more tough. Some of the exercises were squats, plies( with this sex pulse exercise), dips, leg inner thigh sweeps and leg outer thigh lifts. Nancy always puts in some fun combo to keep it fresh. Nancy always does a good job at explaining form and what exercise you are going to do. She also talks back and forth with the background exercisers and laughs and always says,"oh ya!" a dozen times. After the standing leg work, you go down and do outer and inner thigh work.

Then it's back to doing upper body with combinations like overhead press to French press to bicep curl. Then there is shoulder and back work too with kickbacks. Then you go down and do combinations of chest press, chest flies in a interesting way. Nancy does a super job of covering all areas of the upper body. Great for a beginner since she does 3 sets of each combo.

Then you do abs. This is a very good ab work. She does fun things like crunches with clapping and you roll your fists as you come down. Very unique and gets you mind off the burn. This was the best part of the video.

The music is VERY upbeat. I recognized some songs from Keli Roberts Ultimate step video and Keli's Circuit video. Very upbeat songs that I love. This workout just covers everything for someone just starting out in the exercise world. It is not advanced although the ab work is very challenging. During the cooldown they focus in on all the other exercisers faces so it's very entertaining. I thought Crunch did a good job on this video. Even though it was too easy for me as an advanced exerciser, I had a good time working out to this video. Nancy made it fun!

Instructor Comments:
Nancy does an excellent job on explaining each move as well as has great form. She does say "Oh ya", or " Ya" A LOT!!! It gets kinda repetative. Must be a nervous habit since Greg Twombly does the same in CIA. Nancy wears this strange black, see through lace outfit that Cher would wear. It didn't seem to fit the "Crunch" setting. Nancy is stunning though with a very bright smile. She does an awesome job at keeping the combo's fun so you don't get bored.

Mandy Lee


PROLOGUE: I bought this on impulse. I run, do Cathe, CIA, Intense Moves, etc., but after moving here, my strength stuff has devolved into the occasional weight sections on CIA 8005 & Energy Sprint, or mindless presses & curls while watching Law & Order. Since I'd just ordered from Cathe, I didn't want to spend more postage for MIS alone. I saw this and thought, the tape quality might be poor, but I'd gotten a kick out of Jennifer Mills' Crunch, and I thought the African American woman (sorry, don't know her name) using free wts at the beginning of other Crunch tapes offered a great combo of humor & seriousness. So how bad could this be?

Ha! Do not get Master Class Sculpt unless you're wondering what you'd look like with breast implants, or you want to add to your t&a collection. The best thing about it is, in contrast to earlier (?) Crunch tapes (the two Fat Blasters or Turbo Sculpt), this is recorded in SP mode. On the other hand, the higher quality of the tape makes clear that, whatever your motives may be, the producers' are, at best, mixed, and the message is unpleasantly voyeuristic. The instructor, Nancy Popp, wears a peek-a-boo domatrix outfit complete with confining slightly stretchy black bands that go around the upper arm and attach at the torso. This is eerily at odds with how she presents herself, which is as a friendly, focused, and motivating professional trainer who has done some serious strength training. The participant models are lovely: smooth and slim, without any muscle definition or any indication that they lift objects heavier than Diet Coke, and in age, appear to range from 22 to 22 1/2. If the camera person weren't intent on butt caress and breast-bounce through gauze, this might be a useful if predictable beginner's toning routine. If you fast-forward, you might even find the lower-body floor work bearable.

This is only my opinion. (Who was it that said, "Everyone's a critic"?) I love to watch people w/o while I w/o, I'm motivated by good bodies, and I'm pumped by muscle definition, but with this tape, I honestly think there's a degree of objectification that is quite different from simple "cheese" factor. I sincerely hope I haven't insulted anyone. That isn't my intent. I did want to be a little humorous while suggesting that you might better spend that $10-13 on a different tape. Beth

Beth Lee Simon


This is probably a typical Crunch video and a lot like the TV show. In other words, lots of whooping. It gets a little annoying. The class participants are all very fit. Nancy Popp start the video with a short warm-up, then leg and butt exercises doing squats, side leg lifts, and leg lifts to the back. The variety of exercises is nice. There is then a section of leg exercises done lying on the floor. I do these with an ankle weight to make it more challenging. Then there is the upper body section, with exercises such as lateral raises, bicep curls, hammer curls, rows, and tricep kick-backs. This is followed by exercises done lying on the back for the chest. There is a variety of exercises which hit all the muscle groups. The exercises are done in fairly quick combinations, which makes it difficult to switch weights. I think this made the video a little less challenging for me, because I couldn't switch to a heavier weight for some of the exercises. This is followed by a fairly long ab section which is very challenging. It almost seems a little too challenging in comparison with the rest of the tape. Then there is a short cool-down. I don't do this tape very often, because it just doesn't seem that effective to me. But the variety of exercises is nice, and it works the entire body. It would probably be good for a beginner/low intermediate.

Instructor Comments:
Nancy is motivating because she seems like she is having fun. She gives good pointers on form. She is a little too "whoopy" and giggly for my tastes. It seems that the video is trying very hard to be hip and trendy.

Cathy Mark


This video is fun because it features Mina Lessig prior to her having her own show (Perfect Parts/ESN). In this video, Mina doesn't look particulary happy to be there. However, the video is well done, nice pumped up music and encouraging energy. When you want to get the workout done and have fun, this tape might interest you.

Instructor Comments:
Nancy Popp is just fun! I also own her Crunch Fat Blaster II. Her cueing is excellent as well as proper form guidence. Form is ALL - just ask someone who has injured themselves while working out without guidence. This whole tape is fun and the 50 minutes or so go by quickly. I feel soooo good when it's over - energized and endorphinized!