30 Minutes to Fitness: Start Here

Kelly Coffey-Meyer
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Total Body Workouts

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I am a 48 year old woman with bad knees and hands/wrists. I like workouts that don't require a lot of moves that stress these body parts. This DVD has a few push ups in the second workout and I substitute chest presses. Other than that, I have no issues with the moves!

There are two workouts on this DVD - Workout 1 is labeled a cardio sculpting workout and Workout 2 is a pretty straight forward. I really enjoy the cardio sculpting workout. The cardio moves are basic and I was engaged doing them. It has strength building moves that are designed to get your heart rate up. Kelly says to use weights no heavier than 5 pounds - which is what I use. Moves include things like a back stroke, alternating bicep curls transitioning into alternating tricep kickbacks, etc. Workout 2 is a pretty straight forward strength workout. Kelly says that you can use whatever weight is appropriate for you. I started with 8 pounders and dropped to 5s when she got into the shoulders. This workout kept me really engaged, even though it's a pretty basic strength workout with more traditional moves than the first workout.

Kelly is backed up with two exercisers. Lauren is not in it, presumably because a modifier is not needed. The music is pretty good - I notice it complimenting the moves several times. Kelly is her normal, down to earth, pragmatic, friendly, motivating self.

The premixes include:

Aerobic Cardio Only (19:09)
Cardio Sculpt Only (19:23)
Floor Work (16:34)
Cardio Sculpt and Upper Body Weights
Cardio Sculpt and Leg Work (23:32)
Upper Body Lift (25:37)
Lower Body Minimizer (1:43)

I can only talk about Cardio Sculpt and Leg Work because once I did that premix, I keep going back to it! It has the cardio sculpting moves from the first workout with leg work from the second workout. It's fun!

I really, really enjoy this DVD. Right now, I am caught in a really busy time of life and this DVD has given me the option to do basic and doable, but not super easy, workouts. I think this DVD is less appropriate for total beginners than restarters and "beginners again" for whatever reason. Kelly gives form pointers, but doesn't explain moves as should be done for someone who has never used weights. They seem more like reminders. Kelly's attitude is supportive, but she is not condescending and she doesn't talk down to the exerciser as sometimes happens in beginner DVDs.

Instructor Comments:
Kelly is her normal, down to earth, pragmatic, friendly, motivating self. And, she does a great job with a more beginner-oriented workout.

Laura S.


Kelly Coffey-Meyer just might be my favorite instructor. However, I don't always click with every one of her workouts, and as a high intermediate exerciser, I was a bit concerned that START HERE might feel too easy. Turns out that I need not have worried, as the workouts on this DVD were a near-perfect match for me.

As with the other DVDs in Kelly's 30 Minutes to Fitness series, Start Here offers two approximately 30 minute workouts. The first of these is described as cardio, but in reality, it breaks down into two sections, a short cardio routine and then a light weight sculpting routine which focuses mainly on the upper body while still providing some cardio effect (more on this later); there is also some standing abs work to finish. The second workout is a basic body sculpting routine using dumbbells.

Kelly works out on her usual set with two of her usual background exercisers, Sam and Lori. The DVD Main Menu offers the following options:

Warm Up
Workout One (Cardio)
Workout Two (Body Sculpting)

In her short (1 minute) Introduction, Kelly suggests that these workouts would be a starting point not just for beginners but also for walkers looking to cross-train as well as more advanced exercisers needing a recovery day. The 5-minute Warm Up begins with simple moves such as marches, tap and reach, and hamstring curls; Kelly also adds in knee ups, squats, and kicks. After performing a few stretches, she repeats the entire sequence once.

WORKOUT ONE (27 minutes)
The first part of this workout is the true cardio portion. Kelly basically moves through two separate cardio sequences--i.e., she performs the first a few times, then moves on to the second. Both contain some fun moves as well as a bit of impact (easily modified). The first sequence includes pop squats, side leg lifts, knee pulls, repeater knees, and a fun move called "He's Safe/Touchdown" that was oddly only performed once. For the second sequence, Kelly does front stomps, side squats into hip rocks, side jacks, rear jacks, and side hops. The total cardio portion is about 13 minutes. Kelly then picks up weights--she suggests going no heavier than 5 lbs. but because there was so much shoulder work, I stuck with 3 lbs. The moves here included lateral raise, back stroke, and alternating biceps triceps. Kelly performs several sets of of each exercise, so the arms get really fatigued; this is a great low-weight, high-rep arms workout! However, for some of the exercises, the feet aren't moving at all, so there really isn't much of a cardio effect. Kelly finishes the first workout with some standing abs work, including a fun twisting move called the lighthouse and a few standing crunches. The stretch is very brief (<2 minutes) and involves little more than taking a few deep breaths.

WORKOUT TWO (26 minutes)
As noted, this is a fairly straightforward weights workout. It appears that Kelly and crew are using lighter weights (5 lbs.), but I started with 10 lbs. and stuck with the heavier weights until Kelly started on the shoulder work. Kelly's usual pattern here was to perform one single-arm upper body set, a lower body set, and then repeat the same upper body exercise as a double-arm set. The standing exercises included rows, squats, bicep curls, static lunges, lat raises, plie squats, kickbacks, and alternating reverse lunges. Kelly finishes on the floor for two sets of push-ups, a unique kneeling reach and pull move for the obliques, and two sets of super-"womans". The 3-minute stretch (which is the same stretch you will get if you select it from the Main Menu) includes a lunging hip flexor stretch, brief squat, side bends, additional upper body stretches, and hamstring stretch.

As always, Kelly included a nice variety of premixes on this DVD. They are listed on the Premixes Menu as follows:

Aerobic Cardio (19 mins)
Cardio Sculpting (19 mins)
Floor Work (16.5 mins)
Cardio Sculpt & Upper Body (23 mins)
Cardio Sculpt & Legs (23.5 mins)
Upper Body Lift (24.5 mins)
Lower Body Minimizer (15.5 mins)

Some people might be disappointed that Workout One wasn't pure cardio. For me, it was perfect, as I don't particularly like traditional cardio, so I can add this short 13-minute segment onto other routines. Plus, I loved the arms and abs sculpting, and in the future, I'll also look at adding this segment onto weights workouts.

I do wish that Kelly offered a Premix option which allowed for a longer workout--i.e., playing both routines--although it is easy enough to select each workout yourself off the Main Menu. Also, I'm not sure why Kelly did not use her usual modifier, Lauren, for these routines. Although the actual cardio is short, as noted above, it does include some impact, and I would NOT recommend it for the true beginning exerciser. Rather, I think this DVD would be better suited to experienced beginners, re-starters, or just those like me, who need something a bit more basic now and then.

Instructor Comments:
I really click with Kelly as an instructor--I find her very down-to-earth, and I just like her style in general. Her workouts almost always seems to fit solidly in the intermediate range, which works out perfectly for me. :)

Beth C (aka toaster)


Iím reviewing this workout after doing it three times, twice doing the 30-minute segments separately and once doing the entire workout altogher in one session.

General workout breakdown: Laura S. and Beth have already described this workout well, so Iíll just add a few notes of my own.
- Cardio
Iím probably not the best person to ask about the cardio portion, as I love cardio and have shelves full of kickboxing, choreographed hi/lo and step, walking workouts, and more that I enjoy doing, so I donít feel as drawn to these ďeat your wheatiesĒ type of cardio workouts for non-cardio lovers (and I believe Kelly counts herself among that crowd). Iím also more of a cardio purist (meaning when I do cardio I just want to move arms and legs around without added props), so Iím probably also not the best person to ask about the cardio sculpting portion. So for me this segment was all right. I wonít do it as often as I do the body sculpting portion of the DVD, and I wonít reach for this when Iím not otherwise doing the strength portion of the DVD, but thatís fine, since when Kelly announced this DVD I was primarily interested in the strength portion. I do see why some people donít like some of the moves: the ďsquat popĒ isnít for everyone (although I found my groove there and appreciate it more than the bouncing Leslie Sansone has been doing in her recent videos), and as Beth mentioned this is mixed impact, which seems ambitious for true beginners (well, unless youíre Jillian Michaels, who believes beginners should do jumping jacks as a warm-upÖ). I would like to have seen Kelly do more of the sports-inspired cardio since my favorite move was also the ďHeís safe / touchdown!Ē one, and I also wonder why it didnít get folded back into the sequence.

- Body Sculpting
Kelly does 16 reps (per side) for the upper body moves and 10 reps (per side, where relevant) for the lower body moves.
I agree that this is a nice, straightforward strength workout. I like alternating upper and lower body moves, so the overall format here works well for me. I also really appreciate that Kelly has included a move to strengthen the lower back (and I like that she renames superman to superwoman :-)), an area too often neglected or at least underworked. Things are pretty well balanced here. Iím on a hamstring kick, so I personally would have liked a little more direct work for the hamstrings (they did get some work in the lunges, for example), but that would be easy to add on or substitute.
There is one move I have problems with, however: that quadruped reach through move. Thereís always one move in a KCM strength workout I have to modify and/or swap out; sometimes Iím the one to blame due to my idiosyncratic anatomy and/or preferences, but sometimes I feel Kelly has been a little too creative and come up with something thatís more complicated than it needs to be when something simpler and safer would do just fine. In this case itís the latter with that reach through move. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS MOVE IF YOU HAVE LOW BACK ISSUES! I would highly recommend lightening up or even dropping the weight if you want to do the move as shown. However, if you want to protect your low back I would recommend altering the move; the first time or two through I dropped the weight for the reach through, then picked it up for the pull back movement to get in some extra back work, for example. For those with sensitive backs and for beginners, I would actually recommend substituting in another move: how about a bird dog (quadruped with alternate arm & leg reach, also known as ďdrunken table,Ē which I did the third time through  this is a substitution I highly recommend to those who have low back issues, as itís easy to do to Kellyís count and will help strengthen the core), or, if youíre more experienced and stronger, renegade rows or planks with reach throughs / taps on the opposite shoulder or hip, if you want to get to those obliques?

- Stretches
I needed more and longer stretches than Kelly included here, but Iíll give her a pass because she is trying to keep these workouts close to 30 minutes (and I usually do my own stretches and yoga after my main workout). The stretch after the cardio portion is very short and focuses primarily on releasing tension in the upper body. I definitely needed to add on calf stretches after the impact moves. And I was surprised that Kelly left out a triceps stretch after the body toning portion, so I just added that in. The stretches she includes are straightforward and, as she points out, tried and true.

Level: I would also not recommend this to true beginners, especially those with minimal to no exercise experience, as Kelly doesnít provide enough form pointers and includes a few moves that could be tricky for those who donít yet have a good sense of movement to pick up on. I also think this is more appropriate for those who are ready to move on from introductory and other beginner workouts (provided they could get over the title) and especially for those who are restarting or at a more beginner level for whatever reason: coming back after a break, dialing things back down for health reasons or because of their busy schedule, battling illness, etc. And, as Kelly herself suggests, those who have since left the beginner level behind can use this on light or recovery days.
I think this workout is more at a beginner / intermediate level as shown and is easily solidly mid-intermediate with the proper weights.
Usually Iím happily at that intermediate / advanced point, but Iíve been currently working my way back up through the intermediate level. This felt appropriate for me. I felt worked out without being wiped out.

Set: This was shot on the CIA studio set against the wall of frosted windows. You can see a little bit of greenery outside, and obviously the filming took place later in the day, because I noticed it gets progressively darker outside! Anyway, the studio is brightly lit, with nice wooden floors and some items like potted plants and exercise equipment (including stability balls and barres, neither or which are used in this workout) neatly arranged around.

Production: clear picture and sound, mostly helpful camera angles. Kellyís voice is audible over the music.

Equipment: Kelly has designed this so youíll just need one pair of light dumbbells for the cardio portion (she recommends no heavier than 5 lbs.) and one pair of dumbbells for the body sculpting portion. I suspect if I had picked this up when I was more of a beginner I would have used 2-3 lbs. for the cardio portion and 5 lbs. for the body sculpting portion. I understand why she used so little equipment, but because of the exercises she chose more experienced exercisers like myself will want more than one pair of dumbbells for the body sculpting, and there is just enough time to switch out weights if you have them close by. In fact, I used 10-12 lbs. for the lower body and back exercises and picked up 8 lbs. for most of the upper body moves (which led to me swapping out overhead presses for lateral raises if I wanted to keep the 8 lbs. or dropping down to 5 lbs. for the lateral raises and reach through). Oh, and the first two times I did this workout I used 3 lbs. for the cardio portion because I wanted more of a cardio effect; the second time I used 5 lbs. for more of a toning effect.
Youíll also want a pair of sneakers and, depending upon your flooring, perhaps also a mat for the body sculpting portion.

Space Requirements: This is decently compact. At 5í9Ē I was able to fit the workout within a space of about 5í by 5í.

Comments: I also wish there was an option or a premix that combined the entire workout, especially since the cursor skips back up to the top. So thereís some extra button pushing on your remote if you want to play the warm-up, then workout #1, and then workout #2. Still, thatís a pretty nitpicky thing, as I doubt Iíll be using this video that way all that often. As I mentioned, the main reason I got this DVD and the reason Iíll pull it out is that nice, straightforward strength routine.

Instructor Comments:
What I enjoy most about Kellyís DVDs is Kelly herself. In this one sheís down to business, without any extraneous chatter. Sheís not quite as smiley as she has been in some other recent workouts, but she still comes off as friendly. Iíd say she gives off more of a professional vibe, taking the responsibility of being an instructor for a beginner exerciser seriously.
Kelly mirror cues, meaning when she says ďleftĒ she means the viewerís, not her own. She cues decently, but considering this is marketed at beginners she could be much more descriptive and forthcoming with form instruction, tips, etc. I also wish she had been more forthcoming with cues when the home exerciser was in a position that makes it difficult to see the TV, like on the floor for the superwoman exercise, again especially since this workout is supposed to be for people with less experience. That said, more experienced exercisers who are using this while restarting or on lighter days may appreciate the relative lack of discussion on the basics and Kellyís less talkative approach.