30 Minutes to Fitness: Muscle Definition

Kelly Coffey-Meyer
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Abs/Core , Lower Body Strength , Total Body Workouts, Upper Body Strength

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Muscle Definition is a new DVD in instructor Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness series. It is sort of like a cross between an earlier DVD in this same series, 30 Minutes to Fitness Weights, and one of Kelly's older workouts, NYC: New You Coming. As with 30M2F Weights, Kelly presents full-body muscle-building and sculpting moves, putting her own unique twist on many traditional weight-lifting exercises. In 30M2F Weights, Kelly offered several different "active rest" options, but for this DVD, as in NYC, she uses the "rest" periods to focus on leg work (unlike in NYC, however, Kelly uses weights throughout for Muscle Definition, including for the lower body work). In her brief Introduction, Kelly states that she will be using 8 lbs. for shoulders and triceps and 12 lbs. for back, biceps, and chest; the DVD case additionally recommends 5 and 7 lbs. for Beginners, 7 and 10 lbs. for Intermediates, and 8 and 12 lbs. for Advanced. I generally consider myself to be intermediate, but because of Kelly's unique take on the exercises and the fact that many of the moves were a bit more dynamic, I preferred to go a little lighter than usual, sticking with my 5-lb. dumbbells for much of the workouts.

The Main Menu offers the following options:

Workout One
Workout Two
Individual Muscle Mixes
Music On/Off (not sure why you'd want to turn it off; it included fun 70s hits such as "You Should be Dancing" and "Saturdays in the Park")

One minor downside of this DVD is that both workouts are actually a bit longer than 30 minutes, something that is NOT true of the other workouts in Kelly's 30 Minutes to Fitness series. Workout #1, which includes a 4.5-minute warm-up and a final stretch of just under 2 minutes, is 41 minutes long. Workout #2, which does NOT include a warm-up but does include a slightly longer (3.5 minutes) stretch, is 34.5 minutes long; if you want to go back and add the warm-up from the first workout, you'll need to select that workout from the Main Menu, go back to the Menu once the warm-up is over, and then proceed to select Workout #2. Kelly tends to perform an exercise, completing 1-2 sets; insert a lower body move as "rest"; and then repeat the entire sequence once. Her moves are innovative: examples include a one-armed kettlebell-like swing, a one-legged deadlift/lunge combination, a "scarecrow" overhead raise to work the rotator cuff, a one-armed row with elbow rotation, a tricep extension performed across the body, and a chest flie with rotation towards knees. (Note: A full list of the exercises can be found on Kelly's web site.) The separate 8-minute Abdominals chapter utilizes high reps (25-50) and includes hip lifts, reverse crunch, full sit-ups, crunches, walking the legs, reclining twist, and plank with knee twist.

[If you want a full breakdown of the exercises included, there are several resources: 1) Advanced Workouts DVDs offers breakdowns for Workouts 1 and 2 plus a clip of DVD, http://advancedworkouts.com/keco30tofimu.html, 2) Kelly's own web site provides detailed workout sheets listing ALL of the exercises for all of the workouts (including premixes) and allowing you to track your weight totals, http://www.coffeyfit.com/catalog/CoffeyFit_MuscleDefinitionWorkoutSheets.pdf.]

Also on this DVD are a number of Pre-Mixes as well as individual muscle group breakdowns. The Pre-Mixes are as follows:

Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps (58m): warm-up, two sets per body part, abs, and stretch
Chest and Back (38m): warm-up, two sets per body part, abs, and stretch
Full Body Compendium (77m): warm-up, both workouts combined, stretch
"N.Y.C. Two" Mix (85m): warm-up, both workouts combined, abs, stretch

Two notes about the above. First, the third Pre-Mix has "abs" listed in its on-screen menu, but there are actually NO abs included in this mix (which is what makes it different from the fourth Pre-Mix). Second, there is no "Lower Body Trimming" Pre-Mix as suggested on the DVD case. There are, however, a number of Individual Muscle Mixes as described below:

All Chest Mix - 7 minutes
All Back Mix - 14 minutes
All Shoulder Mix - 10 minutes
All Leg Mix - 11 minutes
All Bicep Mix - 11 minutes
All Tricep Mix - 15 minutes

Some might not feel this is enough lower body work, but that is consistent with Kelly's style. I do think she tends to place a bit too much emphasis on the triceps, which I think is born out by the time breakdown above; this smaller muscle group shouldn't need quite as much work. Overall, however, I have few complaints about this DVD. I love Kelly's enthusiasm as well as her approach to exercise--she always seems to find ways to make the moves feel fresh, new, and varied. I have already gotten a lot of use out of her 30 Minutes to Fitness Weights DVD, and I know that I will get a lot of use out of this one as well.

Instructor Comments:
Kelly is one of my favorite instructors; I find her extremely likable and real. Oddly, she seemed a bit off in this DVD, particularly during the first workout--it was a fairly subtle thing, but to me she was more low-key than usual, almost if she was feeling a bit under-the-weather. Here she works out out with two background exercisers, Lauren, who shows modifications as usual, and Samantha, who replaces Chris.

Beth C (aka toaster)


My most recent fitness effort has been to go through all of my workout DVDs to decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of. This is a DVD that I had, got rid of, and then reacquired. I decided that it's time for me to come to a final answer on this DVD. And, it's a keeper. I got rid of it orginally because I was turned off by the fact that the two workouts are longer than the usual 30 minutes for this series, 35 and 41 minutes respectively. I just couldn't fit them in back when I first got rid of the DVD. Now, however, I am doing longer workouts and I value this innovative heavier strength workout.

It is hard to classify these workouts because it's a cross between two styles - heavy strength work and innovative moves that define your muscles. Many of the moves have a twist on the traditional version of the move. I enjoy that innovation, but some will not. Also, many of the moves are compound in nature - upper body and lower body together and/or a couple of upper-body moves strungh together. The general pattern of the workout is to do a set of moves - on both sides, if necessary - and then a lower-body move to rest those muscles, and then a repeat of that first set of moves.

Kelly leads the workout with two background exercisers, including Lauren who modifies the moves. Having her modify is helpful in several spots except at the end of the workouts when they are lying on benches and she's not on screen. The music is pretty good - instrumental, but upbeat and includes some recognizable songs. I thought it fit the workouts well.

You'll need two sets of dumbbells (heavy and light) and a bench. You could do some of the prone moves on the floor, but there are a couple where it's helpful to be up off the floor at least a few inches.

Usually, I enjoy the premixes on a 30MTF DVD, but not in this case. The premixes include two parts premixes and two workouts that combine both workouts. I just do total body workouts and can't imagine doing a workout at this point that has a little over 76 minutes of material.

Instructor Comments:
She is precise in her descriptions of the moves. She's encouraging as usual. She does seem a bit more subdued that in some of her other workouts.

Laura S.