Crunch: Latin Rhythms

Jennifer Galardi
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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Note: The full title of this workout is Crunch: Latin Rhythms Fat Blasting Dance, not to be confused with Jenniferís Crunch: Fat Burning Dance Party or 10 Minute Solution: Fat Blasting Dance Mix. Obviously Crunchís marketing department chose the subtitle; I think Jennifer would have titled this Latin Rhythms: Better than Sit-ups, since she mentions the abs more than she mentions fat blasting.

Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once.

General workout breakdown: PeakFitness has already described this well, so Iíll just add some more details and thoughts.
This dance workout runs 36 min. total. The almost 4-min. warm-up takes you through some dynamic moves to loosen up in particular the upper body (think shoulder rolls, rib cage isolations, and hip circles), ending with some shoulder stretches and standing cat and cow. Then Jennifer teaches three stand alone dances which are never combined together (so no TIFTing, or taking it from the top, of all three together). The first and third dances are relatively short; in fact, the two of them together contain about the same amount of choreography as the much longer middle dance. I agree with Jennifer and PeakFitness that the first one is pretty straight-up Latin but that the second brings in elements from Caribbean, hip hop, ballroom, and more. The cool-down takes you through a few flowing moves to lower the heartrate before Jennifer stretches the torso, hamstrings, and hip flexors, holding stretches for a few moments (almost 4 min. total for cooling down and stretching).
I appreciate that thereís little down time here; you do some merengue marches as placeholders or in between run-throughs, but not too many. And Jennifer really only teaches one move at half tempo, so this is taught more like your typical aerobics workout rather than your typical dance routine, which is good if youíre looking for a workout. The combos arenít strictly speaking symmetrical, but youíll do many moves on both sides or at least do something else on the other side, so you wonít feel like one leg is really tired while the other barely did anything. Her choreography has a good amount of variety from move to move and dance to dance. The only bit that felt awkward to me were the parts with the quick tap switch to change leads in the third combo; I think if Jennifer had rearranged the moves a little this would have flowed more smoothly. Jennifer is big on corresponding arm movements; she claims thatís how to kick your calorie burning into high gear. Iím not sure thatís true, but her upper body moves are interesting, not too complicated, and make sense with what the lower half is doing; I appreciate that sheís thought through them rather than just flailed about to see what would stick.
Yes, youíll do lots of shaking, rolling, and shimmying, moves Jennifer calls sexy, hot, and sassy. Given the context of the workout and the fact that Jennifer isnít being too coquettish about it (she says, ďMake this sexy,Ē with the same tone she says, ďGo deeper in the twistĒ), this is within my realm of tolerance, but YMMV.
Thereís really only one impact move, a hop in the third dance, but if you donít want to jump at all you can just step back quickly. Those with sensitive knees may want to be careful with the twisting and turning moves, however, especially on carpet.

Level: Iíd recommend this to beginner/intermediate exercisers comfortable with dance choreography, although you don't have to be a dancer. Those at a beginner level with some dance experience, even if it's just from some dance workouts, will find this a real workout, while those at the intermediate level on up will find this a nice light or recovery day session.
Iím normally an int./adv. exerciser, but Iím doing cardio at a more intermediate these days between my recent health issues and the heat of summer taking over my workout space. I do love choreography, including choreography with TIFTing, but I donít always want to do something complex or keep a bunch of combos in my head. I was able to get even the trickiest moves the first time through, although sometimes it took me a few repetitions to nail them; after another time or two with this routine Iíll be more comfortable with the moves and be able to get into them more. With this one I feel like I get in some enjoyable activity at the low end of a moderate level, and Iím fine with that. I'm not naturally a great dancer; despite the fact that I pick up hi/lo choreography easily executing true dance moves leaves me scratching my head. I find this one doable. It wasnít pretty when I was following along, but I didnít feel like I was totally out of my element, as I have when attempting other dance videos (like those Brazilian ones I tried).

Class: 6 women and 1 man join Jennifer, who instructs live as she does the full workout. Yeah, they whoop and ham it up a bit, getting a little too excited as they really get into the moves (although thatís not so bad because itís a reminder that you get out of these things what you put into them). But I agree that both the outfits and the mugging are not over the top.

Music: upbeat Latin-flavored soundtrack by Daveed. Iíve heard a few of the songs, especially the opening one or two, in other workout videos. Still, the musicís not bad and suits the workout well.

Set: a bright brick loft with Gothic arch ďwindowsĒ that at one time hosted many an Andrea Ambandos-produced workout for Crunch, Kathy Smith, Quick Fix, Leslie Sansone, etc.

Production: clear picture and sound, with Jenís voice audible over the music.
I donít have any real complaints about the camera angles; despite a few funky angles and close-ups of various body parts, I felt like I saw what I needed to see when I needed to see it. The camera didnít seem to play favorites too much with the background exercisers, either.

Equipment: shoes thatíll work on your dance floor. I had on my dance sneakers, which I appreciated during the twisting and pivoting moves on the carpet in my workout space.

Space Requirements: This isnít a real space hog, but youíll need to be able at least to take several steps forward and take a step or two to each side. At 5í8Ē I had room to spare in my space thatís 5í by 7-8í, although itís worth noting that the first dance travels forward and back while the last goes side to side more, while the middle is in between.

DVD Notes: Your only main menu option is Play. Annoying, there are NO chapters. Zip. Nada. None. Boo! I was really hoping each dance would be chaptered, but I would have taken just one separate chapter for Jenís intro and the cheesy Crunch montage (just over 1 min.) so I could jump right into the workout. I would have been really annoyed if I had paid the MSRP for an unchaptered workout of just over half an hour on one DVD; fortunately I didnít.

Comments: I was deciding between this one and Jenniferís Crunch Fat Burning Dance Party. Although both were on sale and a true vidiot wouldnít have hesitated to get both, I liked the look of Latin Rhythms better. The set looked a little brighter (OK, so Iíve seen this set before, but it beats the gray gym of the other), the outfits seemed a little less outrageous (I wasnít sure Iíd be able to overlook the girl with the choker necklace in FBDP, as Iím still struggling with the woman with the beret in that one Turbo Jam), and the moves appealed to me more (Iím a sucker for the slide, which I noticed in one preview clip of Latin Rhythms, and I wasnít feeling the one funky cross the arms and gallop / hop type of movement I saw in one preview of FBDP).

Instructor Comments:
I agree that Jennifer instructs and cues well: I could follow her without any real problems the first time through. She provides both an adequate number of verbal and visual directional cues, and she mirror cues (meaning when she tells you to go to the left, she means go to your left, not hers). She has a good, positive on screen presence; clearly she has personality, but she focuses on leading the workout.



I'm an intermediate exerciser. I don't do many dance workouts. I have 2 left feet so I usually stick with althetic workouts. But this workout is fun enough to hold my interest, and I've done it enough times to get the choreo down. It has maybe 4 segments, you learn different choreo in each segment. Once that segment is done you throw those moves away (you don't do them again later in the workout). The first segment has flaminco, marengue, salsa type moves. The rest of the segments are more "world flavor" as Jen says. The music becomes more Carribean and less Latin. That's okay, it's all fun fun fun! And a great workout! The backgrounders wear relatively subdued outfits, compaired to some Crunch videos. Selima (or Selina?) from Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism is one of the backgrounders, and we get to see her really shake it!

Instructor Comments:
She starts, as usual, with the basic move and builds upon it, but she never stops moving. Her instructions and cues are great.