Walking for Weightloss

Debbie Rocker
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Walking Aerobics

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I've never really been a walking workout person before. I did one Leslie Sansone video long ago (when there were only videos – it was a 2 mile walk) and it was nice for that day, but I never did it again. Since then, I’ve only tried the Prevention one with Michelle Dozios, which didn’t have enough spark for me.

I decided to try Debbie Rocker because I love Gaiam’s production and am looking for more low impact workouts.

Walking for Weight Loss is a 50 minute workout with mainly low impact walking moves, with some higher impact intervals, and segments of squats, front lunges, plie’s and back lunges. For some reason, I didn’t catch the variety in the Collage description (although when I go back and read it now, I can see that they mentioned it). I guess I thought the variety would be in the movements (amidst walking steps) instead of stopping the walking for lower body work here and there. I really enjoyed the change of pace and the work on my thighs (which always seem to need it to keep my knees strong).

I actually did the workout on the rebounder though. I was going to try it on the floor, but the intensity didn’t look like it would be enough plus I’m always looking for fun ways to use my rebounder. It was PERFECT for rebounding. I did step off the rebounder for the leg work and for the ski step. But I did the rest quite happily on the rebounder.

The music was pleasant and kind of playful. Nothing modern, but not boring either. The scenery was classic Gaiam – beautiful Hawaiian background. At one point, Debbie said to imagine we were out walking and then they just showed waterfalls and scenic spots on the beach for a bit. Very nice.

There’s a 30 minute option on this dvd as well. I could tell when that came in the workout because they all lined up and it seemed like Debbie was concluding. Then the intervals began and the pace picked up a bit.

The set also includes a CD for outdoor walking, which I haven’t tried and hope to sometime soon.

I was excited to see in the credits that Phil Scarpaci was the director. He was the director of the infomercial I did w/Beachbody and is really, really great. I see his name from time to time on Gaiam workouts lately. Pattie Kelly was the producer and I got to meet her on my last trip w/Beachbody too. Kind of fun to know that I knew who was involved with this workout!

Instructor Comments:
I liked Debbie’s approach. She seems to be training the athlete more than the weight loss want-a-be. (She's a former professional athlete. Her moves are more athletic -- not dancy at all).

I felt like Debbie knew the body well and knew simple ways to get a good workout for my body. She was clear and pleasant. The only downside was that she would announce an upcoming move and then never count down for it (like say “in 8 counts”) – she’d just say “keep going” or something and you’d keep walking and you weren’t quite sure when the new move was starting. But this wasn’t a big deal since all the steps were so simple. It wasn’t like I was trying to keep the 8 counts of a stepping routine of kickboxing move just right or I’d get lost.



This was my first experience with instructor Debbie Rocker. Here Debbie leads the workout in a beautiful outdoor mountain setting with 4 background exercisers (one of whom shows modifications). She does quite a bit of marching throughout the workout, but she adds some more intense moves which help to raise the heart rate further.

The warm-up lasts about 4 minutes and consists entirely on marching. Debbie focuses on gradually encouraging you to pick up the pace, constantly talking to you like a coach or personal trainer. Following the warm-up, the cardio work is broken down into segments. The first is about 6 minutes and adds shuffles (light side-to-side jogs) and side steps to the basic march. The second segment (8 minutes) weaves in some more toning-focused moves such as squats and lunges. The 9-minute section that follows is mostly a basic walk while the scene shifts; although the scenery was beautiful, I found it harder to keep up my heart rate during this segment. However, it does end with some easy jogs. The next cardio segment was probably the toughest, as the intensity goes up with more toning work such as lunges as well as more intense cardio moves such as skiers. The following 9-minute segment alternates walking with short jog segments. An approximately 6-minute cool-down finishes the workout, bringing the total time in right around 51 minutes.

This DVD comes with a bonus CD that is supposed to be for outdoor walking. I didn't find the CD very motivating, however--it is simply Debbie talking, occasionally encouraging you to pick up the pace as the tempo changes, but that's it. Debbie is fairly chatty in the main workout as well, which some might find annoying; also, she does not mirror-cue. Furthermore, she does A LOT of marching, so if you're looking for more varied moves, this might not be the workout for you. The main reason I liked this workout is because I found it to be more intense than some of the other walking workouts I have tried, so I will be keeping it.

Instructor Comments:
As mentioned, Debbie is definitely quite chatty, but I didn't really mind this. What i didn't like is that her cueing isn't very good: not only does she fail to mirror-cue, but also she often tells you a change is coming up way in advance but then fails to cue the new move ON the change.

Beth C (aka toaster)


Im reviewing this workout after doing the long segment twice and the shortened one once.

General workout breakdown: This approximately 50-min. walking workout features some light cardio intervals as well as lower body toning. The warm-up (4 min.) just consists of marching in place at a slightly less intense pace than the rest of the workout. Walking remains the base and recovery move for the entire workout. The first song (6.5 min.) has a jog / shuffle, heel dig into jumping robe with heel kicking forward, and side step; the second (7.5 min.) has squats, side squat, rear lunge, front lunge, combo w/ front - side - rear lunge & squat; the third (8.5 min.) is the cardio endurance, with a 5-min. long marching segment (take yourself out for a walk) that ends with an intense jogging segment that includes both the shuffle and then lifting your heels; the fourth (9.5 min.) has plie squats, side squats with leg drag, rear lunges into a repeater-type movement with raised knee, and side step into a skaters movement; the fifth (11 min.) has the jog / shuffle, side step, high knees, jogging with heels lifting up, and a sprint to the finish (i.e. football / basketball feet. Theres a cool-down (1.5 min.) of just walking, and then theres about 1.5 min. of stretching primarily for the quadriceps, hamstring / calf, and lower back.
The 30 (actually 32) min. version contains the warm-up, the first, second, and fifth songs, and the cool-down + stretch.
The workout moves at a moderate pace. Debbie sets up the workout like this: you march in place, she introduces a move, you intensify that move (by going deeper, adding arm movements, etc.), and then you return to walking (or sometimes side step). You will often repeat that sequence twice before moving onto the next new move. The idea is to vary the moves to change your heartrate, the intensity, and your interest. The moves are very athletic in nature - nothing dancey at all.

Level: Id recommend this to beginners through low intermediates. I wouldnt recommend this to absolute beginners (i.e. someone whos never ever exercised) for the following reasons: 1) Debbie doesnt mirror cue, 2) the modifications arent always clear during this rather long workout with some impact, 3) during one segment the camera cuts away from the exercises, leaving you with only minimal verbal cues, 4) Debbie doesnt meticulously instruct how to perform squats and lunges, and 5) the transition from walking into jogging but especially from jogging back into walking can be somewhat jarring (I prefer Leslie Sansones method of transition). Beginners with a little bit of experience with walking videos should be fine. Intermediates can make this more intense by adding light hand weights (1-2 lbs.), exaggerating movements, adding in impact, substituting other moves, or taking this to the rebounder or Bosu.

Class: 3 women and 1 man join Debbie for a diverse cast of fit normal-looking people. 1 woman is in charge of modifications. (For future workouts, I would recommend that the modifier exaggerate the movements so the difference between the modified and full moves is clear. More importantly, Debbie should always describe what the modifier is doing, rather than just point to her.)

Music: typical Gaiam instrumental music. Its upbeat, but it doesnt have much of a beat, which is a real problem because Debbie keeps instructing you to follow the rhythm of the music. Honestly, Gaiam, why cant you realize that whats OK for the background of Pilates and yoga just doesnt work for cardio? Its time to branch out beyond the elevator music company to find someone who specializes in cardio mixes.

Set: an outdoor mountain-top patio in Hawaii. The take yourself out for a walk section features a montage of various Hawaiian outdoor shots.

Production: the crisp picture and sound typical of Gaiam productions. There is a shot or two where one of the other cameras or its shadow sneaks in, however.

Equipment: sneakers (and perhaps a jog bra, if applicable).

Space Requirements: You need to be able to take one big step to each side plus forwards and backwards.

DVD Notes: The DVD is chaptered by song. You can choose the Full Length Workout, 30 Minute Workout, or Meet Debbie Rocker (a video interview with Debbie).
A CD for outdoor walking comes with the DVD. It runs just over 50 min., with 9 songs. It begins with a warm-up of almost 4 min. and ends with a cool-down of just over 3. It has much of the same music from the workout, but the beat is maybe a teensy bit stronger.

Comments: This is another good entry into the home walking workout market. Beginners with some experience under their belts, more experienced exercisers of any level who are restarting or recovering, and intermediates who want a lighter day workout will find this rotates well with Leslie Sansones many offerings (particularly her 30-minute workouts) and the Walk it Off with George! Series (such as Circuit Walk, which is similar with its lower body toning focus). Debbie isnt as bubbly as Leslie or as excitable as Petra, but her style and amount of cueing as well as talking while working out is similar.
Yes, theres a lot of marching in place in this workout. As many wise VFers have pointed out, however, no Workout Police will show up at your house and make you do this workout exactly as is. Feel free to vary the steps as you see fit.
This workout is longer and slightly more intense than the AM & PM Walking DVD released at the same time. It only has one workout, with the shorter premix, in comparison to the other which has two short workouts. The AM Walk to me is the most fun and varied, with the PM being the easiest of all of them; this one falls in between in terms of my rankings.
I should point out that Debbie asks you to bring your mind to the session, mentally focusing on what youre doing, concentrating on your intentions, etc. This may just cross the line into New Agey for some people. I dont mind it, since this is definitely the type of workout where you get out of it what you put into it.

Instructor Comments:
Debbie is your coach during an efficient and effective weight-loss focused workout; you are her athlete in training for the event of life. She does not mirror cue (i.e. when she says left, she means her left, not your left); this wouldnt be so bad if she didnt insist on starting on the right. In reality it doesnt matter which side youre on, whether you follow what Debbie says or what she does. She gives you plenty of warning when shes about to move from walking into a move - too much, perhaps. She sometimes gives less to almost no heads-up for changing back to walking. She gives you a decent amount of posture reminders and a few form tips, but theres little to no instruction. Debbies on the low key side. I suspect that with more experience in front of the camera Debbie will come off as more natural and warmer. She spends a lot of time talking, primarily focusing on explaining what you are or are about to do, encouraging you, telling you what a great workout youre doing, etc., but she (understandably) seems to run out of things to say as time goes by. That said, I find her motivating, especially during the last segment when she inspires you to reach the finish line.