Lean Body/Stretch Routine

Gay Gasper
Year Released: 1994

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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This is, in my view, one of the most underrated videos ever. I have been meaning to write a review of it for years. It is extremely thorough, gym-style training. It's short for a full-body workout, which I realize limits its usefulness for advanced strength people, but I tend to be more intermediate and I personally have never gotten to a point where I couldn't make this tape challenging by using lots of weight; I'm now using it with a less weight than before (though still more than I can use on faster-paced workouts) as a restarter. Other people have described it in detail so I won't. But I really do find it uniquely useful -- it's the only 45-minute strength video I own of its kind -- slow gym-style lifting with lots of form pointers. I also quite like the 30-second breaks between sets -- sometimes the form pointers themselves are useful, but more importantly I can get water, rearrange equipment, etc. In my opinion, this workout is really well designed on a macro level. (The only body part I feel was short-changed was abs -- I wish she had come up with something more effective for a similarly short segment.)

While I love the structure of the workout, though, there are a lot of things I hate about this video. Notably, anything having to do with the aesthetics of this workout. I hate the clothes (they must be really bad becase this is not usually something I even notice!), I hate the music, I hate the fact that it's in EP. I especially hate the banter. I find irksome the implication that a fit female trainer needs to bring in a muscle-bound man to give form pointers for weight training. To make matters worse, his useful form pointers are few compared to endless redundant obviousness -- he seems to me to need to hear himself talk. (At one point he says -- and I kid you not -- "The weights will determine your intensity here, okay? Heavier weights mean a harder exercise foryou. So the same exercise, if you use heavier weights, it's gonna be a lot harder for you.") After a re-familiarize myself with this workout, I'm going to start doing it with the sound off.

I don't have much to say about this because I've only done it twice in the many years I've owned this boxed set. But one of those times was last night, and I guess I find most of it pleasant and seemingly effective; I felt nicely stretched out when I was done. Another reviewer, though, commented on some unclear instructions that make it hard to tell if you're really stretching the right bodypart, and I agree with that assessment of those particular exercises. The annoying burly man is not in the stretch video.

Instructor Comments:
I like her. I wish she were the only person giving instructions in the strength video.

Elizabeth Stein


This is a 2 tape set that you can find pretty cheap (probably because it’s in EP mode). I’ve seen it for around $10.00.

Tape 1 (Lean Body) is about 41 ½ minutes. Gay & 2 background exercisers (Scott and Linda) do the workout. Scott (a man with very big thighs) gives the basic instructions during the tape. Linda shows some modifications (i.e. - lower body exercises w/out weights). Gay makes some general comments and follows along. The set is “industrial neon”. You’ll need dumbbells, a weight bench for upper body (step w/risers would work, too) and a mat for the end stretch.

This tape starts with a 5 minute warmup (but No stretch!) using an optional step. Gay uses basic up & downs, hamstring curls, and knee ups…pretty basic stuff.

There is a short instructional segment before each strength exercise, which would be helpful to the beginning strength exerciser. However, an intermediate who had been doing strength work for a time might find these little segments a bit…unecessary.

Lower body (11 min). Gay and company do only 1 set of 15 reps for each exercise slowly, so one could heavy up. Squats, static lunges, plie squats, regular lunges, and very slow calf raises make up this short lower body section. Good form is used by all involved. Gay says, “I feel it!” during almost every exercise in this segment, which got on my nerves.

Upper body (22 ½ min). Gay, Scott and Linda do 1 set of 12 reps per exercise, again slowly. Lat pullovers, one arm rows, incline flies, chest press, lat raise, overhead presses, tricep kickbacks, tricep extensions, bicep curls, alternating hammer curls , and wrist curls make up the bulk of this section. I was impressed that Gay had the wrist curls in this workout. I’ve only seen them in Cathe’s Slow & Heavy Series. Very good for strengthening the wrists and forearms. Then the crews finishes off the upper body section with a set each of ab crunches and oblique twists. Good form is again used by all.

A 4 minute stretch on the floor completes this tape.

Overall, this tape would be very good for the beginner in showing proper form. The intermediate exerciser could still use this tape with heavier weight. The advanced exerciser would more than likely find this tape too easy.

Tape 2 (Stretch Routine) uses 2 female background exercisers and a different set. You’ll need a mat for the second half of the workout. This tape is around 18 ½ minutes long. Despite having the 2 background exercisers, no one shows any modifications! Gay mentions throughout the tape how one should modify to suit one’s needs, but doesn’t actually show any. It’s a good stretch tape if you know what you’re doing (i.e. - know how to modify if necessary), but probably not the best choice for a rank beginner.

There’s some good basic stretches, nothing to write home about. The usual fare of hamstring, calf, inner thigh, quad stretches, etc. Some upper body stretches as well.

Overall, I can’t see myself doing the strength tape at all, but that’s because I already use Cathe and Joyce and the Firms. The stretch tape I enjoyed, but I’m more of a yoga person than a general stretch person.

Instructor Comments:
Gay is an energetic instructor in this workout.

Patti S.


This is a two-tape set consisting of a 45-minute weight routine and a 20-minute stretch routine.

The strength routine is a comprehensive full-body workout. Gay does the moves at an intermediate level, and has two other exercisers showing beginner and advanced modifications. After a brief and basic step warm-up, the lower body is worked with four moves: squats, lunges, wide-stance squats and calf raises. Each move gets one set of 15 reps, except the lunges which get two sets. The moves are done slowly and carefully, so it is easy to increase the weight to up the intensity. There is a rest between moves while the coming one is demonstrated. I was surprised at how effectively the one set fatigued me: the slow pace allowed me to go deeper into the moves than I have in other tapes, and the low reps were easy on my knees.

The upper body section features two exercises per body part, with each move getting one set of 12 reps. The very slow lifting pace and single set format allowed me to use much heavier weights than I usually do. The sets are: lat pullover and one-arm row, incline fly and chest press, lateral raise and overhead press, triceps kickback and extension, biceps curl and alternate hammer curl. Gay finishes off the upper body with a wrist exercise, then concludes the routine with a set of crunches and oblique crunches, and a brief stretch.

I really enjoyed the strength workout. Those with short attention spans will appreciate only having to do one set per exercise, and if you use heavy enough weights, you can fatigue efficiently. Overall, I found this a thorough, well-cued total-body workout that will make a nice change of pace from endurance or pyramid routines.

I was less pleased with the stretch video. It was a fairly standard 20-minute thing featuring Gay and two others, but Gay missed a valuable opportunity to use them to show modifications; instead, they seemed to be simply along for the ride. Gay begins with about 5 minutes of warm-up stuff, the usual neck rolls, oblique stretches and the like before moving to the floor for a series of straddle/staff variations. Things got a bit iffy for me here. Gay begins with a yoga-style staff pose: sitting erect, legs straight out, bending from the hips. But she calls this a BACK stretch, presumably because we are supposed to be bending over---which if fine, if you are flexible enough to get that deeply into it. But if you are tight in your hamstrings and hip flexors, you'll find it hard enough just to maintain the pose while upright. So do you bend your knees so you can feel it in the back, or do you keep them straight and call it a hamstring stretch? Gay offers no guidelines. Similarly, she tries to meld an oblique stretch with a challenging leg straddle. Do you modify to feel it in the obliques, or do you maintain it as a leg stretch? Nobody knows.

I like the idea of a 20-minute add-on stretch tape, and I think that anyone with a reasonable degree of flexibility could potentially get a lot of use out of such a tape. But Gay is cutting out a lot of people by failing to show modifications for the less flexible. I paid $8 for both tapes, and feel that the strength tape alone was worth that. The stretch tape for me remains a neglected afterthought---much as it seems to have been for Gay herself.



This is a great video if you would like to work on strength instead of endurance as the moves are done at a slower pace than most videos and there are only 15 reps for each exercise so you could go to near failure. There are two different exercises per body part, except for calves and wrists/forearm for which there is only one exercise each.

Gay starts with a short warm-up. She uses a step, but one of the other participants does it without a step.

Prior to each and every exercise, Gay demonstrates the move that will be done. This could be annoying after a while, but I think it's perfect for changing weights, or simply stretching between sets. (I also find it a good form reminder, IMHO even more advanced exercises need a quick form reminder from time to time). Gay uses an adjustable weight bench, but I just substitute my step and a chair. All exercises are performed with dumbells. There are also good breathing reminders throughout the whole workout.

The exercises work the legs (including calves), back, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, wrists and abs (there are no specific lower ab exercises though). This is followed by a very short stretch - but you do get a nice stretch tape in the 2 tape set.

The whole workout takes about 45 mins.

My overall impression is that this is a GREAT strength workout, and highly recommend it. However, it is recorded in EP mode, and the ab section is very short, which is a plus for me as I really don't like doing ab exercises.

Stretch Routine

I have only done this video once, so I will just give you my first impression.

It is a good overall stretch tape and Gay is very supportive (if you can't stretch all the way, don't worry, just do the best you can). From time to time she also points out where you should be feeling the stretch. There are reminders to keep breathing which is great for me as I tend to forget to breathe.

The only complaint I have is that the upper body doesn't get stretched completely - there are no bicep or tricep stretches from memory. (The few stretching tapes I do have all seem to neglect the upper body somewhat, IMO).

The whole workout takes about 18 minutes. Oh, there is no warm-up but this is an excellent tape to use after a workout.

Overall, if you can find this 2 tape set, buy it!



Two good workouts and well worth the $9.00. The VERY GOOD- Gay and her friends do these exercises at a slower pace than I've seen in any other weight lifting tape including Cathe's PS series and Cory Everson's 3 way split. The so so- they only do one set of each exercise except for lunges, where they do two. Every body part is worked, and if you are going to do a half hour of weights, three times a week, this would be just the ticket. If you just did the leg or arm section and rewound for a second set, this would be harder than Kathy Smith's Secrets to... set. This wt work is about 30 minutes long, with a five minute warm up and a five minute cool down. I liked the music in this tape, it was audible and kind of rockish.

The stretch routine is around 20 minutes long and hits most body parts. I think the hip flexor stretches were uneven, did one leg longer than the other, but I could be wrong. Nothing outstanding either good or bad.

Either of these tapes would be a good buy for 9 dollars, but both of them, its a bargain. Not for you if you don't like tapes recorded in EP. If you are an intermediate on a tight budget - BUY THIS VIDEO. There is so much room to grow and it has good, basic workouts for srength and stretching. Also recommended for those of us looking for a little variety, or a short full body workout to add an additional strength day to our splits.

Instructor Comments:
Gay is a good instructor, cues well, which is the most important thing to me. She's down to earth and encouraging without being cutesy. My only criticism - who picked out those outfits, very dated only a few years later.



I've been doing this tape for several months now and I'm an active beginner.

This tape fit the bill for me for a 45 minute total-body work out that uses slow reps and heavy weights to build muscle.

Gay starts with a thorough warm-up on a step. One instructor demonstrates the warm-up without a step. After the warm-up, Gay progresses through all of the body parts, starting with the legs. A very muscle-bound man provides form instruction and Gay demonstrates each move prior to beginning the reps.

The instructors do several moves using a weight bench, but untill recently, I have been just lying flat on the floor for moves such as incline flies. I use my Firm tall box (Rubbermaid toolbox/stool) for bent-over rows, tricep kick-backs and wrist curls. A pillow on top makes it much more comfortable.

It's taken me a while to realize I should have been modifying this tape down to my level. The only move they do twice is the lunges and thats just too much for me. Today, for the first time, I skipped over the second set, and I feel much better (less sore).

The other thing I did today for the first time is using my new full-sized step as a bench for flies and lat work. I found the moves much more intense this way...I'll see how sore I am tomorrow and if I need to reduce my poundage.

Things I don't like: The muscle-bound man is a little annoying in this tape. There's one time when Gay says that wrist-curls are good for holding Christmas Shopping Bags. The man then says "fill me some of those bags". There's another time when he is instructing on form and says not to raise the weights above sholder level. Gay demonstrates the move with her weights well above sholder level. Gay and the man keep asking the other instructor how she's doing, but she's not miked, so we see her lips move, but can't hear her response. The set is also very ugly -- industrial looking with painted metal barrells in the background. I don't care for the music either, but as the other reviewer here indicates, at least it has a good, hard beat.

Overall, this tape does not have a lot of "fun-factor", but I feel good that I have been thoroughly building muscle mass all over my body using this tape.

Almost forgot: I have never even taken the Stretch Routine tape out of the box, so I can't review it.

This is the only video I've done with Gay, and I find her just a little annoying. It seems to me like she's reading from cue cards or something. For the most part she is a good instructor.



I haven't done weight training with heavy weights in a while -- I've been doing the light weights, numerous reps routine. So this was a nice change. With my heavier weights, I get a total body workout with 18 exercises, doing 12-15 reps each. Gay has a male instructor who helps with form pointers. The workout takes about an hour, and as an intermediate exerciser, I feel comfortably worked out. Exercises include squats, lunges, and upper body moves such as lat raises, kickbacks and other standards. Gay uses a bench, which I don't own. I just do these exercises on the floor. As I progress, I may invest in an incline bench. One criticism I have is that the abs section is too short, and doesn't include lower ab work. (I compensate by doing it myself.) I don't really care for the music in the strength workout, though I like that it has a strong beat to keep me moving. The second video in the set is a Stretch Routine. It is excellent. It lasts 20 minutes, and begins with standing stretches, then moves to seated stretches, then floor stretches. Gay is good about explaining proper form so you don't hurt yourself. There's nothing difficult in the positions, though if you're not very flexible to start with, you might feel a little frustrated at how limber Gay and her companions are. I bought this set at a sporting goods store for $9.99, and even if it weren't such a bargain, I'd consider it a good addition to my video collection. (The production quality isn't extremely high quality, but the instruction is.) I'd give the set a solid B+.

Instructor Comments:
I love her! She's trim and fit and pretty, but not intimidatingly so. She could be your aerobics instructor at the local Y, but with more knowledge of proper form. Her cuing is excellent. In the Lean Body/Stretch Routine video set, Gay doesn't whoop (although I wouldn't mind if she did). She's giving a serious strength workout in the first video, and a very relaxing flexibility routine in the other.

Lilly Anderson