50 Minute Fitness Fitness Retreat

Kara Thomas
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Ballet/Barre, Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Pilates/Core Strength , Yoga

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The main menu gives the options to play the workout, choose chapters, or play the bonus (10 minute stretch for office workers). I just chose to play the workout. It begins with an introduction in which she positions the workout as an intermediate workout.

General observations

I agree with the assessment that this is an intermediate workout. She does not give a lot of form pointers; there are some, but most of what she gives is direction about the workout, not how to do the moves. She does mirror cue, although she more often uses language like "this leg" or "the other side". I found her manner to be pragmatic, informative, and detailed. Some people will think her manner is more like a teacher. If you did not like Sue West, you will not like her. Most of the workout is set in a garden overlooking a valley. It's really pretty. The last two sections are set by a pool. There are three exercisers. Kara is in her 40s and leads the workouts. The modifier is in her 20s. The other exerciser who exercises with Kara is in her 70s.

I am not a big fan of barre/ballet workouts and I enjoy some fusion style workouts. To me, this seemed to be a workout that Kara created and worked for her. She seemed to intend it to be what the title indicates, a fitness break made up of different fitness styles and components.

In each section, she does the moves on one side and then repeats them on the other. To me, this was fine because the sets weren't long enough to make it tedious for me. Some people might find this pattern restrictive or boring. She TIFTs in only one segment, the latin cardio section and it was only 1 or 2 times. At the end of each section, she tells you what is coming up in the next segment and what equipment you will need.

The music is instrumental. In some sections, I couldn't have told you what it was like right after I did it. In other sections, I thought it was good and added motivation to the workout. The camera work was pretty good. There
were some times when the modifier wasn't on the screen when she was starting a move, but most of the time she was.


The first section is titled Strength and Balance and includes the warm up. After the warm up, she includes what I consider yoga-ish moves with movements. She starts with poses like chair pose and warrior 2 and then adds movement. It also includes a balance move. This section was okay for me and I hoped the workout would get better.

The second section includes similar yoga-ish moves with movements with weights (1-2 pounds). For example, there are moves like the "active tree", stepping to the side to side into what I would consider a mini tree, and squats and raising the weights when you stand. I enjoyed this section.

The third section is positioned as a latin cardio segment. To me, it was more a walking style workout set to latin music. It included moves like mambos, walk with knee-ups, side lunges with an arm extension, side bends, and twists. As I am hopelessly bad at latin style dance segments, this was great for me. I really enjoyed this segment.

The fourth section is titled Strengthen and Lengthen and uses a band. With the first few moves, you hold the band in front of you and stetch it laterally while doing lower body moves. For example, you do moving squats and plies
while streching the band laterally. Then, you move the band behind the back and do moves like kicks with chest presses and leg raises while lifting the opposite arm. Then, you toss the band aside and do classic cardio moves
like skates and shuffling side to side while swinging the arms. I liked this section and used a band with intermediate tension.

The fifth section is the barre/ballet section. It requires a chair and she tells you to kick off your shoes. It includes moves like leg swings and circles, side bends, and crunch with leg lift. It ends with a couple of stretches. This section was okay for me, but remember that I'm not a big barre fan.

The sixth section is titled Power Core Mat Work. She tells you to get a mat and one hand weight. It's all floor work with moves like crunches toward a lifted leg, bridge work, frog position to leg extensions, and then roll ups with the weight. Stretches are interspersed through the section. This was my least favorite section, but these are my least favorite type of moves of any in the workout. My dislike was due to my preferences and not her.

The seventh section is the stretch and relaxation. It inclues several streches on your back with your head on a pillow. Then, you sit up and do mostly lower body stretches. She does focus significantly on the neck which I liked.


As you can see, there are multiple sections included in 50 minutes, so no one section is very long. I think it flows well, although I am not totally sure since I stopped after every section to write down notes. I'd have to do it again to see. It does include one or two moves that require you to support body weight on the hands. For people like me with hand and wrist issues, this is good. It did not include a lot of knee unfriendly moves. I did squats more shallowly than she did. And, I did not cross my legs in the stretch section like they did and this worked fine. I liked this workout as opposed to disliking or loving it. For me, it might be a good light day workout.

Laura S.