Flat Belly Workout - Express Belly Blast

Ellen Barrett
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Walking Aerobics , Yoga

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

Show oldest reviews first

This workout and its companion, Walk Off Belly Fat, are meant to accompany the Flat Belly Diet book from Prevention/Rodale Press. I purchased the videos solely because they are led by Ellen Barrett, so I may be a little biased in my review.

In a nutshell, I do not find this routine too easy or too hard. It gets me sweating gently and gets my heart rate up in a good, comfortable, not chest-pounding range. The only flaws with this workout are the weird music, pop-up screens announcing the next segment, and references to the Flat Belly Diet, in which I have no interest. I bought this ONLY because of Ellen. She did not disappoint, but whoever produced the soundtrack needs to step away from the Burble Button. I enjoy the workout enough to overlook the weird blends of elevator music with sudden bubbly, burpy noises and the bright pink segment announcement screens, which are distracting.

Segments consist of Warmup, Cardio Intervals, Metabolism Boost, Yoga, Cooldown and Bonus. For Cardio Intervals(20 minutes) Ellen takes simple moves such as "out out / in in", grapevines with foot crossing in front rather than back, knee lifts, and lunges. Ellen and her helpers demonstrate simultaneously at three levels - you can stay at level 1, increase to level 2 with more vigorous arm movements, or go to level 3 by adding a bit of plyometric impact to the moves. I pick and choose which level to do at any time, finding it flows well no matter your level. "Walking workout" is a misnomer, it is more of a low impact cardio routine, which is fine in my world. Ellen usually teaches in blocks rather than TIFT style, but this workout seems to be a bit of both in that the cardio segments culminate with the blocks strung together, starting on the right foot, then the left foot, with marching intervals in between. Throughout Ellen gives reminders about posture, and I can feel my core working during the cardio moves, particularly during the squat series with twists and knee raises.

Metabolism Boost is "10 minutes of total body toning" consisting of a brief hand weights segment, standing work such as rear and side lunges with arm work brought in (a tricep press on the rear lunge, bicep curls with the squats, side lateral raise with the side lunges). This moves to the floor for pushup rows w/dumbbells and a short plank or "The Hover" as Ellen calls it. It's OK, not the most exciting toning segment I've used.

Yoga is only 5 minutes - Ellen fans will recognize an abbreviated version of the first Pulsing Warrior series from "Crunch Super Slimdown Pilates-Yoga Blend." This moves to the floor for some alternate leg stretching with a brief twist. The final cooldown has Ellen and her helpers back in sneakers, which I found disconcerting at first, but they are simple stretches which you can continue to do barefoot. Despite the music (which oddly seems to be growing on me like a commercial jingle) and pop-ups, I plan to use it regularly. It's nice to have something slightly more traditional from Ellen.

Final notes: the DVD is not chaptered, although it is portrayed in segments on the title screen; the Bonus feature is simply an infomercial for the Flat Belly Diet.

Instructor Comments:
Ellen is motivating, cues well and is as cute as a button. I forgave her for plugging the Flat Belly Diet, after all they sponsored the videos. I can't have enough Ellen Barrett.