Walk On to Weight LossP.J. O'Clair, Moira Stott Merrithew
Year Released: 2005
Categories: Walking Aerobics
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I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once.
General workout breakdown: Sandra has already written a great review of this, and I agree with what she’s written. But I’ll add a few more details here and there, just for grins.
Moira leads the introductory segment (about 4 min.), which is done standing still. You breathe, drop your shoulders away from your ears, do scapular protraction and rotraction, mobilize the shoulders with shoulder rolls, bent slightly forward to engage abdominals and then do mini cat stretch, before rolling up to standing for stretching the neck.
The warm-up (about 5 min.) isn’t the most exciting: you march in place the entire time, although sometimes you’ll march with your feet a little wider. Ooh, the excitement. PJ then introduces many of the other steps that you’ll do, leaving out the arms at this point in time. During the bulk of the workout PJ prefers to do longer series of one or two moves rather than rotate through all of them in random order (as Leslie Sansone does – PJ definitely has a much clearer game plan than Leslie, who’s more spontaneous). Unlike Walk on to Total Fitness, where a particular arm movement was paired with a particular lower body movement, PJ mixes and matches here; in fact, sometimes you’ll alternate between different arm movements while you keep going with the same step. And the moves with a little more oomph, or the optional impact (not particularly high or jarring impact), only come in the last “mile.” There is no choreography here: you do a step until PJ says to switch or return to walking / marching in place. PJ does do a few combinations of moves, where you do one thing for a count of 4 and another for another count of 4, then back to the first for another 4 count, and so on, but that’s as fancy as things get.
You do get a cool-down, where the moves become a little smaller, ending with some mini squats with the legs together. A few quick stretches for the inner thighs, hamstrings, outer hips / glutes, and side torso finish out the workout. (Why do so few walking workouts include stretches for the quadriceps and hip flexors - that is, the muscles along the front of the leg?)
Level: I’d recommend this to beginners through intermediates. While the length may be a bit much for absolute beginners to exercise – and this workout, in addition to lacking chapters along the “mile zones,” is without obvious places to break up the routine into more manageable shorter bits – the focus on form and technique would be most helpful to beginners. More intermediate exercises could find ways to boost the intensity, such as adding in the impact from the start, using light hand weights (1-3 lbs., depending upon experience), taking this to equipment like a rebounder, etc.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced exerciser. My heart rate stayed low during this; I never even got it to the level it reached when I paused the DVD to run up and down the stairs to close the windows during a sudden thunderstorm. For whatever reason I had better luck getting a workout out of the shorter and supposedly easier Walk on to Total Fitness. Either I’ve become more fit in the few months since I did the other, which is a possibility, or I put some extra oomph into Total Fitness that I just didn’t with Weight Loss (which I did as shown).
Class: 1 man and 3 women join PJ and Moira, who instruct live. Everyone does the same thing; no one sticks with the suggested modifications.
I agree with Sandra that some group interaction would have been nice, especially since PJ talks about how great it is to walk with friends, how exercising in a group can boost the energy. Since this group only gets to follow along with a big smile, that doesn’t reinforce her point very well.
Set: bright interior set of wood and white, with white gauzy curtains over windows looking onto nothing. Furniture, including a table with a bowl of fruit and a pitcher of water, and fitness props are artfully arranged around the sides.
Production: very clear picture and sound, mostly helpful camera angles (I could do without the artsy one from behind the bowl of fruit, but at least you could still see most of the exercisers), and smooth editing (although there was one point when PJ and crew were doing squats in one direction, then there was a quick cut to the fruit bowl shot, where they were doing squats in the opposite direction, then a quick cut back to the original shot and original direction). The music is soft relative to PJ and Moira’s voices. Given that it’s so snooze-inducing I don’t mind not hearing it, but I’d rather have it louder so there was a beat to move to and then with an option to do this workout without it at all, so you could play motivating tunes with a beat.
Space Requirements: You don’t need tons of space for this. If you can take two big steps to the front and two big steps to the side, you have enough room.
DVD Notes: I have one of the dual language DVDs, which adds an extra step to getting this silly DVD to play the workout. First you have to choose your language (English or French), then you have to wait for the initial warning screen to come and go, and then you have to agree to the disclaimer. Once you’ve done that, there’s a commercial for Stott products, which you can skip, and the standard Stott intro, which you can’t. Finally you get to the main menu, where your options are Getting Started (What You’ll Need, DVD Tips, and Warnings / Cautions), Audio Options (Instruction On or Instruction Off – This DVD really, really needs an Instruction Only option so you can play your own music), Workout Principles (Breathing, Pelvic Placement, Rib Cage Placement, Scapular Movement & Stabilization, Head & Cervical Placement, and Play All), The Workout, Chapter Selections (Moira’s Intro, Warm-Up, and Walking Pilates Cardio Workout – no, there are no chapter points within the walking portion itself, which is annoying if you have a power outage in the middle of your workout!), and Special Features (Bonus! Try the Next Level, which here is Walk on to Total Fitness; Stott Pilates equipment, Meet the instructor, Get in touch, Stott Pilates education, and Other Stott Pilates video titles).
Comments: While this is a perfectly nice and well done walking workout, I have to agree with Sandra that this one lacks the excitement factor. This would be a great one for relative beginners to exercise, for folks who need a break from or alternative to Leslie Sansone, and for those who have to stick with low impact move exclusively. But as someone who uses walking videos occasionally rather than regularly and who has too big of a collection already, in my current purging mode I’m having a hard time justifying keeping this one in place of the 3-mile / approximately 45-min. Leslie Sansones that I’ve kept: 3 Mile Slim & Sleek Walk, 3 Mile Weight Loss Walk, and Walk Slim 3 Fast Miles. (Even 5K with a Twist, which I recently weeded because I felt it overlapped too much with 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk, appeals to me a little more than this one, but then I like Leslie’s “boosted walking” workouts.) Like Sandra, I find PJ’s personality a plus. But, while I like how organized PJ is, the fact that this workout is so predictable will make this one lose what interest it has for me more quickly.
I’ll echo Sandra on PJ and Moira being great instructors who don’t shine here as they normally do, although I’ll still take PJ and Moira on an off day over some other folks... Both are positive and encouraging without being perky and excitable. (I’m another who, as much as I like Leslie Sansone, finds her a bit chatty and loopy for me at times, so I tend to prefer the lone Leslies, and PJ with a group is even calmer and more focused than Leslie by herself.) PJ cues fairly consistently, although there are a few spots where she might not cue a move change, but they’re usually when you’re doing a series, so as long as you watch her and follow the pattern you’ll be fine. She gives you plenty of advance notice of a change in moves, almost always counting down from 4 before the change. She’s a bit vague on her description of some of the arm movements, but again they’re simple enough and easy enough to pick up just by watching.
Moira does not mirror cue (only an issue once, really), but PJ does. (In other words, when she says “right,” she means the viewer’s right, but when Moira says “right,” she means her own right).
Walk On to Weight Loss is a 45-minute “walking” style cardio workout and is part of the Stott Pilates Walking Pilates Series.
Stott Pilates rates all of its workouts on an intensity scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (hardest). Walk On to Weight Loss is rated a 2. Unlike some of the other Walking Pilates titles (The Secret to Weight Loss 1 and 2) there is no toning session in Walk On to Weight Loss.
The only equipment needed are proper shoes.
Moira Stott begins the workout with a few minutes of gentle alignment exercises, then turns it over to P.J. O’Clair, who leads the actual cardio workout. They are accompanied by four background exercisers. P.J. uses several of the same moves as Leslie Sansone (marching in place, side steps, knee-ups, walking up-two, back-two), and tweaks others (kicks done across the body). P.J. also uses a lot of heel digs, which Leslie did in her older videos but seldom does now. An optional hop is incorporated into some of those sets. Simple arm movements are sometimes added in to increase intensity. Toward the end of the workout are a series of side-to-side squats. The workout ends with a cool down and stretch.
Any “walking” workout must inevitably be compared to Leslie, who is the undisputed queen of this type of cardio. The Stott series, while it has its positive points, doesn’t quite measure up IMHO. One positive is P.J., who has a warm, caring demeanor (and who is certainly less hyper than Leslie). P.J. cues better than Leslie, and uses a few different steps and shows some optional impact moves. Unfortunately the negatives outweigh these positives. The music, while brisk, is uninspired, too soft, and keeps an unvarying pace (Leslie changes tunes and gradually increases then decreases the pace throughout the workout). There are a few vague references to mileage (we‘re told this workout equals about three miles), but there are no announcements or graphics in order to judge where we are during the actual workout. Finally, even though the entire cast is miked, no one says anything except for an occasional comment from Moira. Basically P.J. simply talks non-stop. Some group interaction would have helped the time go by.
Low impact “walking” workouts are my cardio mainstay, and as much as I love Leslie I do appreciate variety. However, except for Leslie and the collection by George Foreman and Petra Kolber, other instructors seem to have trouble creating walking workouts that are simple and low impact yet still offer interest and challenge.
I’ve done VF reviews of The Secret to Weight Loss 1 and 2. If you are interested in the Stott Pilates take on walking workouts, try one of those DVDs. Unfortunately, Walk On to Weight Loss, while the longest of the Walking Pilates Series, is also its most boring.
Both Moira and P.J. are excellent instructors, but this particular DVD doesn't do them justice.