3 Mile Slim & Sleek WalkLeslie Sansone
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Walking Aerobics
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I tend to enjoy instructor Leslie Sansone's DVDs in small doses. I like doing her walking workouts on days when I don't really want to think about my cardio, although I still prefer her routines that are a bit more high energy (e.g., Walk to the HITS Radio Remixes).
I picked up a copy of WALK AT HOME - 3 MILE SLIM & SLEEK WALK used. I was attracted both to the length of the walk and to the the inclusion of Pilates, which I enjoy. In her Introduction, Sansone mentions that she became certified as a Pilates instructor; I was impressed that she actually obtained her certification in this area. The Main Menu lists options to play the full workout or to choose each mile individually. The DVD also has a "Music Only" feature, allowing you to turn off Sansone's instruction if desired. Sansone is exercising alone in her studio for this routine. No equipment is used, but a mat is helpful for the Pilates portion.
Each walk segment is 13-14 minutes long. Mile 1, which moves a bit slower, is also a bit longer at 14.5 minutes. Here Sansone introduces her four basic steps: 1) walking, 2) side steps, 3) knee lifts, and 4) kicks. She incorporates other simple moves, such as hamstring curls. During the first mile, she also spends quite a bit of time doing a step-knee-knee step-back-back sequence. This elevated the heart rate (HR) somewhat, but I struggled to keep my HR up with Sansone's somewhat leisurely pace. The speed does pick up for Mile 2. This section includes more double steps, include double side steps, double knee lifts, and two steps forward and back. For the latter, Sansone adds a "boost," taking the impact up just slightly and adding a shuffle from side-to-side. The pace continues to be brisk, at least at first, for the third mile. Mile 3 also incorporates some strength work, such as a squat/glute lift combination and "Pilates leg circles," a standing leg circle first with the leg on the floor, then balancing. Throughout the workout, I thought that Sansone included less moves for the arms than what I've seen in some of her other routines. She does do what she calls "Pilates arm circles," although these were basically just circling the arms, and none of the other few arms moves particularly enhanced the workout.
Oddly, Sansone concludes the workout without stretching; after starting to leave the set, she returns for a short stretch. This brief (2-minute) segment includes deep breathing, overhead reaches, calf stretches, and hamstring stretches. The Pilates mat routine is about 12 minutes long. Sansone says that five exercises will be included, which are the hundred, single leg stretch, scissors, criss-cross, and swimming. However, she also engaged in bridge lifts between moves. She spends approximately 5 minutes demonstrating and explaining these exercises, with the actual routine being only about 7 minutes long. (And, unfortunately, you can't skip over the instruction and go straight to the workout.) Given this, I would recommend the matwork segment only for those looking for a brief introduction to Pilates.
Overall, I found this DVD to be disappointing. The walk portion was nothing new--although Sansone talks about Pilates principles the entire time, she doesn't incorporate many unique moves into the workout itself. The result is a fairly low-intensity walk that I actually found pretty boring. Fans of Sansone and those at a more beginner level might enjoy this workout, but as a high intermediate exerciser, it wasn't for me, even for a light day.
I think I actually prefer Leslie with a group rather than alone. Yes, she seems more low-key by herself, but I think that having others around adds more interest to the workout...as noted above, I just found this routine fairly boring. ;)
I’m reviewing this workout after doing the walking routine once and previewing the Pilates portion.
Sandra has done such a great job describing this workout, and I agree with her impressions of this workout. I’ll just add a few extra tidbits and thoughts, but I don’t have much substantive to add because she’s pretty much said all I can think of to say about this workout.
Just as an FYI, the total running time of the walking portion is about 43.5 min. Mile 1 is 14:22, Mile 2 is 13:11, and Mile 3 is 13:47, with the stretch running about 2 min.
There’s no separate warm-up, but the first about 5 min. of Mile 1 starts off slower, with the pace picking up until you’re really going at the start of Mile 2. The first half of Mile 2 was my favorite, with quick move changes (and few returns to walking in between) plus lots of intense moves. Mile 3 tapers off, with the last 3 or so min. very slow as a cool-down. Leslie also stops in Mile 3 for the squat – leg press back series and standing leg circles.
Leslie plows through the stretch, making it seem like she really did almost forget it, and it’s the same old focus on the back of the leg. When, oh when, will she remember the front (quads and hip flexors)? Or the hips and inner thighs?
Leslie’s 5 Pilates exercises are bridge, the hundred, single leg stretch – single straight leg stretch (aka scissors), criss cross, and swimming. Good for her for including extension to balance out the flexion, something some Pilates instructors forget to do! I won’t use this segment since I have so many other Pilates videos, but this is a solid introduction to a few of the key Pilates matwork exercises and should work well for those curious about getting more into Pilates. Leslie won’t overwhelm you with too much information – there’s time enough to learn all of the picky little details later. ;-)
I’d recommend this to experienced beginners through intermediates. Intermediates through int./adv. can boost the intensity by exaggerating the moves, adding impact / switching over to jogging sooner and staying longer, using boosters like hand weights (1-3 lbs. in each hand), and so on. I consider myself an int. / adv. in cardio; today I just added some oomph to my moves but didn’t use any boosters, and according to my heart rate monitor I was in the low range of where I want to be during my workout (you know, the mythical “fat burning zone”). The second mile had me in my moderate to almost moderately high range, though; it was the first 1/3 of Mile 1 and the last 2/3 of Mile 3 that shot down my overall average.
Some DVD notes: There’s a music only (aka “Leslie off”) option. There’s no way to get to the stretch from the main menu (pretty typical of Leslie’s offerings, but since I prefer to do my own more thorough lower body stretch I’m OK with this). And the DVD begins with a relatively short promo for Leslie’s Walk Leader program, which I’ve been able to skip by hitting “menu” right away.
The production values on this are good. I was able to hear Leslie, who’s just a hair louder than the music, and I didn’t find any of the camera angles distracting, although the workout starts with a tight shot on Leslie from the waist up and stays there for longer than I’d expect – fortunately it’s just walking and thus not difficult to figure out what she’s doing.
I have to agree with Sandra that from now on it’s going to take something very special to tempt me to expand my existing Leslie collection. OK, I admit it: the Pilates tagline suckered me in on this one. And it does feel different in parts, especially since I don’t have a lot of her older workouts - plus how many Leslie videos end with a Nietzsche quotation? - but part of the reason it feels different is that her overwhelmingly prolific output, especially in the past few years, has us all attuned to subtle differences that the average person wouldn’t understand (“This one has jogging into hip rocks,” “This one doesn’t use ‘Everybody,’” “She talks about posture more in this one”). I also think it’s time for her to slow down and focus on making some truly distinctive videos. Believe us, Leslie: we won’t forget you or get that bored with your existing oeuvre if you don’t put something out for 6-12 months. I’m not sure what’s left for her to do: she’s combined walking with kickboxing in Walk & Kick, she has a Yoga Walk, Punch Up Your Walk has some boxing moves, and now there’s this Pilates walk. Plus she has her walks using a band for resistance training and a step workout in the back reaches of her vault. Is a ballet / barre walk next? How about Latin dance or belly dance? Or maybe she’ll start cycling through sports: soccer walk, where you pretend to kick the soccer ball, and basketball walk, where you imagine shooting, and baseball walk, where you swing an imaginary bat, which could end up looking a lot like tennis walk...
Oh, and I do like this one. It may not be my new favorite or my most intense Leslie or even all that relevant to Pilates, but it’s a good one for some variety. I may not stick around for all of Mile 3 all of the time, though.
I agree that Leslie is calm here – well, until she starts running around forcing apples on her crew after the stretch. And having the Pilates theme does keep her focused, with few “Say what?” moments and only one or two “walk, walk, walk, walk, walk.” But of course she’s still the same upbeat, chatty, encouraging Leslie. I like that she focuses on being strong here; I don’t mind her movement burns calories talk, but there’s not as much here. She actually cues pretty well, almost always remembering to give a heads up on a move change that’s not too far in advance. One thing that I did notice is there were a lot of tap switches to start on a particular foot; she usually does this once or twice a workout, but in this workout she must have done it about a dozen times. It just seemed odd since she always mentions that it doesn’t matter what foot you’re on as long as you’re moving.
This is a 45-minute low-impact “walking” style cardio workout. There is also a 12-minute bonus Pilates mat routine.
Leslie is alone in her studio (aka the Bat Cave). This time we are facing the entry doors and office. The music is a mix of new and familiar tunes (no “Everybody” song though!). There is also a “Leslie off” option (music only). A countdown clock stays in the lower corner of the screen, counting down the time for each mile. No resistance tools are used. There is a variation of “boosted walking” (jogging). I found the pace kind of slow for the first mile, but it picked up noticeably in the second and third miles.
The chapter titles are Intro, Play Entire Workout, Mile 1, Mile 2, Mile 3, and Pilates Mat Workout. In the intro, Leslie explains a little about Joseph Pilates and his work. During the cardio portion Leslie talks about incorporating Pilates principles: abs in, shoulders back, etc. Really, nothing that different than her usual reminders about posture.
As always, Leslie concentrates on her basic steps: walking (marching in place), side steps, kicks, knee ups, and walking up two, back two. She does incorporate a few newer moves: a knee-up/back-back (which I remember from her 1998 Walk Aerobics 2 Mile Walk), walk up two steps and shift side-to-side (fun!), tap-out/knee-up/tap-out, and a side-squat/rear leg lift/side-squat. There are also a couple of new arm patterns (actually they are patterns she has done before with bands and the walk belt, just no resistance here).
I found the ending somewhat odd. After finishing the cool-down (which includes ronde de jambe moves), Leslie says goodbye and leaves the set, and the camera slowly pans over to the huge WALK sign. But no – Leslie suddenly turns around and says hey, we have to stretch! So help me, I can’t tell if this was a joke, or if Leslie truly forgot about stretching. Then, after the usual stretch, Leslie starts passing around apples to the camera crew and rhapsodizing about “apple ambrosia,” which puzzled me until I saw the recipe insert in the DVD case (cut-up fruit dressed with vanilla yogurt). On the flip side of the insert is a plug for California Raisins and a recipe for raisin energy bars. Is a Leslie cookbook next?
The 12-minute Pilates mat routine bonus sounded promising. Leslie teaches five basic Pilates moves. However, she spends the first three minutes showing you all five moves, and only then begins the routine. So while this segment might make a nice introduction to someone who has never seen Pilates before, the beginning demo kind of ruins it for being a short add-on (particularly since there are already so many good DVDs with short Pilates routines, such as the 10 Minute Solution series).
Bottom line: I’m a hard-core Lesliephile, but – dare I say it? – I’m really starting to reach my limit here. I appreciate that by streamlining her videos (working alone and in her own studio) Leslie can undoubtedly get more bang for her production buck. But how many different corners of her studio can she use? I’m half afraid we’ll next be in the ladies’ locker room. And at least having other walkers with her distracts from the same old backgrounds. I’d much rather Leslie cut back on the number of videos she’s producing, and instead put extra effort into making each one more special. Many people have suggested she film some outdoor walks, which I think is a great idea -- heck, at this point I’d even settle for the studio parking lot!
Please see above. Leslie is by herself here, so she’s more calm and focused than she generally is with a group.