Ultimate Body: Beginning Workouts for Weight LossMeghan White
Year Released: 2004
Categories: Strength Training (Total Body)
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This workout is part of the "interactive" series from Body Wisdom Media. It features numerous mix and match workouts per disk. This is slighlty less interactive than some of the other titles they have done like the yoga and pilates ones that re-combine dozens of poses into numerous pre-mixes. This dvd features more complete workouts and the only combining they do is with the warm-ups and cool-downs. If you choose a long workout option that combines two shorter routines, they leave out the warm-up and cool-down before the second section.
In general: Meghan works out in a small class with Michelle, who shows beginner modifications, and David, who shows advanced modifications. I disagree with this disk’s labeling as ‘beginner.’ There is a LOT of high-impact here, and some intense ab and lower body work. I have previewed the ‘advanced’ dvd and the only difference seems to be slightly longer workouts. I would label this beginner disk mid-intermediate at its easiest. The sections on the dvd are as follows:
Strength training: Upper body, lower body, abs or total body, which includes all the above sections, In upper body, each body part gets one exercise, done for 3 sets of 8 reps. The first set is a 2-count, the second set alternating arms on a 1-count and the third both arms on a single count. There were shoulder presses, biceps curls, back rows, triceps kickback. In lower body, we get mostly squats with variations. Following a longish set of regular squats for warm-up, she switches to a one leg at a time approach. So first on the right leg, you do kicks, quadriceps, side lift and back lift broken up by sets of 4 squats. Then you repeat on the left. The abs include lots of crunches, crunches with leg crossed, leg lifts etc. She usually does a short regular set, then a 2-count, then a pulsing set for every exercise. All three sections together are about half an hour.
Kickboxing: There are two workouts, each about 20 minutes including warm-up and cool-down. The full long version combines them and includes an ab section too. The first workout is mostly upper body focused and features jabs, punches and speedbags plus knee-ups. The second workout featured punch sequences done on one side at a time, and some kicks. The ab work was crunch-type stuff with punches and reaches added in.
Bootcamp: Like the kickboxing, there are two workouts, each about 20 minutees including warm-up and cool-down. The full long version includes an ab section too. More attention is paid in this category to Michelle’s lower-impact modifications. The warm-up is short, but includes more stretches than the other warm-ups did. The first workout section includes shuffles, standing twists and various reaches, hops, squats, marches and jogs. The second section is more of the same with knee-ups, standing obliques and pushs-ups too. There is also an abs section which is similar to the others on this dvd.
Other: You can combine all 3 ab sections into a giant ab pre-mix off the strength training menu. That workout is about half an hour.
General Comments: My only big annoyance with these workouts was the fact that Meghan does not mirror cue in the cardio. And I think a few more stretches would not have hurt either.
Verdict: I am really pleased with this. I was worried that with the ‘beginner’ appellation, it would be too easy, and I would only have one or two useable sections. Thankfully for me this was not the case, but I would have to caution that most of these workouts would be MUCH too intense for a true beginner to exercise. For me, however, it was a great choice. I am especially pleased with the cardio on this: nice athletic moves, simple to follow but suitably intense. Fun plyo in the bootcamp section, and some good intensity in the kickboxing. I will definitely get good use out of this dvd.
I know a lot of people on the forums have commented on Meghan’s voice. It is a little on the high-pitched side, and gets downright squeaky in a few places, but it didn’t bother me. If you watch TV, her voice is almost exactly like Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer :)
For a beginner dvd, this is tough. really tough. So tough, in fact, I'd never reccomened it to a beginner. High impact, even in the warm up, no instruction and an instructor who demos bad techniques is not the way to start on an exercise journey. I'm not a beginner, but was attracted to this dvd since it had kickbox (which I like), bootcamp (which I'd like to try more of) and offered options to create your own program with toning and cardio segments. So I wanted to like it, I thought I could get a lot of mileage out of this format. This dvd just isn't my thing. Meghan's cute, lively and has a nice figure and seems to have parlayed those qualities into making a workout dvd, despite having terrible form and not offering any instruction. Her squats made me cringe- she seems to be bending over at the waist. When they speed up the reps, its clear she's bobbing at the waist and actually doing a squat. This was the most obvious problem she had with her form, but there were other gaffs as well. She also doesn't offer any instruction, not one word about keeping knees soft on kicks and not locking joints. Instruction is needed when the dvd says for beginners. Meghan's voice is odd, some have disliked it, but I didn't mind it. I did mind her vocal mannerisms, especially the way she counted. She had this bizarre tone in her counts that put me off and her whoo whoo factor was high, which usually doesn't get to me, but found my last nerve and rode it long and hard here. For experienced exercisers who want a multi-component program that offers choices for their program this dvd is a good bargain.
You could get a lot out of this, with its multiple choices for abs, toning and cardio. For me, though, I just wasn't satisfied enough with the workout itself to get over all the things that bugged me here or to convince myself to embrace the perks of the pick and choose options on this dvd.
Meghan is cute, blond and has a nice figure. Despite that,she is less than inspiring as an instructor. Her vocal mannerisms, particularly the way she counts, are annoying, she offers barely any form pointers and displays atrocious form. beginners need not apply.