Walk FitTamilee Webb, Tracey Staehle, David Snively, Judi Brown
Year Released: 2012
Categories: Treadmill/Elliptical/Running/Stairs, Walking Aerobics
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Let me just say, it has been a while since I got my rant on, so who knows where this will go. I forced myself to take 24 hours before I wrote this review, especially since it is a rant more so than a review.
Against my better judgment, I purchased Walk Fit at Target. Yep, that's me, spontaneous with my $12.95. I read the back of the case, four DVD set, one walk with Tamilee (love love love her); then an unknown to me by the name of David Snively wanted to take me on a walk in Barbados, no need for second thoughts there; then Tracey Staehle wanted me to do high intensity interval training with her ; and then Judi Brown wanted me to do some intense interval treadmill stuff with her. Who am I to disappoint any of them. In the basket they went with my razors, my workout socks and my Reeses peanut butter cups (hey, how did those get in there?).
But I digress. First, after my giddy excitement of flying into the unknown (otherwise known as buying a DVD without reviews), I got down to business. I did the ritualistic opening of the package. Now, for those of you who buy new all the time (known or unknown), you may not understand what it is like for those of us who buy mostly preowned. There just isn't that much of an opportunity for enjoying the sound and feel of the cellophane coming off that package. Yeah, sometimes you have to pull off the 37 discrete pieces of tape strategically placed to get the heart pumping and the blood pressure up, you know, when you think you have freed it from its bonds but you have yet to get that last piece of really sticky tape.
But at last, the final barrier to your happiness is removed and you take a deep breath, you firmly (yet oh, so gently) pull open the DVD holder. You hold your breath. Will there be pretty pretty pictures on my FOUR DVDs? Will I see Tamilee's smiling face, Tracey's happy-to-see-me grin? Maybe the first picture I see will be the cutie pie David Snively? And yeah, I could even deal with Judi Brown. I mean, I sense that soon we might have a deep, meaningful relationship even if my time with her will be on the low to moderate side of "intense."
But what I see breaks my heart, just a bit, and crushes my spirit more than a little. Inside is a square hole. In that square hole are four DVDs, all in their own little paper sleeve, stacked on top of each other with a complete stranger in the classic "I am walking fast because, see, my arms are moving hard" pose. Okay, so she is not a complete stranger. She is the woman featured on the top half of the cover of the FOUR DVD set. I was not looking forward to deepening my relationship with her.
I suck it up. I am stronger than this. I want to get my Tamilee on. So I pull Tamilee out (I had to go to the bottom of the hole. No respect at all putting Ms. Buns/Arms/Abs/Thighs of Steel on the bottom of the heap).
So Tamilee is up first. Why save the best for the last. She was the "known quantity" in this grab bag o' workouts.
First up, if you hate the Bat Cave, let me introduce you to the Erector Set. There is a large wooden floor, well, not that large. Tamilee and her backup walkers look a bit smooshed together on this wooden floor. But what is that behind them? The walls/sides are a stark white (say Hey to Charlene and the Bench Boys, ladies and gentlemen) but there are these black things that look like London Bridge has fallen right THERE. Are they drawn on the white surround? Are they obstacles on the set? I don't know. What I do know is they are discordant and don't belong on a "walking" set.
On to the workout. This is a 3 miler. It is chaptered, each mile is its own chapter as is the cool down/stretch. I just punched the whole walk option and off we went. There was a minimal warm up. For a walking workout, the warm up was fine, nothing unusual. But it seemed as if Tamilee left her personality somewhere offset. Yeah, she was nice, she talked to us, but gee, can we get a little smile with actual warmth. No, we couldn't, at least not that I saw.
Tamilee talked about the workout a bit, but more than that she counted, she reminded you which way you were going but she didn't teach you anything. Well, I take that back. I did learn that the tongue is the strongest muscle of the body. Or was that the most active muscle of the body? I guess I didn't learn anything except there is more to the tongue than I thought.
The first mile, very basic. There is a bit of a warm up . This is the only mile that has a warm up. She teaches you her steps. These steps you learn in the first mile will be the same steps you do in each mile, with a step and a quarter added on the third mile. You have a base step which is basically up and back; side to side (I won't elaborate on that), V steps, front and back. There was some one two three TAP, one two three TAP, even.
These are your basic walking steps but it felt cramped. The five ladies just seemed to be right on top of each other. But it was fine. The backgrounders are not offensive, not too much emoting, no one seems to be auditioning for their own workout show. These are "normal" women, different ages, no fitness models. Except for one Asian backup walker, the cast is as white as the set (to be read in a disapproving tone).
So mile 2, more of the same but this time we get to use our ARMS. So excited. Tamilee tells you if the arms are too much, just eliminate them. There was one backup walker that Tamilee said was going to eliminate her arms and I kept waiting, but at the end of the second mile it appeared as though the arms were still attached. I will say that Tamilee encourages the at-home walkers to eliminate their arms, too, when the going gets tough. I declined as the going never got that tough. Same basic walk as mile 1, just with arm movements. I will say (even though it is a trifle embarrassing) that I messed up the walk patterns a bit because Tamilee has you come back to the center and stand in place for a step or two. With Leslie, and most other walking DVD instructors I can think of, if you are asked to walk forward and then back, you either stay in the back position and walk there for 8 counts or so or you keep going back 8 counts and them go forward again. With this workout, you tend to stay at base a bit longer than seems to flow.
Mile 3, the excitement mounts. We got to use WEIGHTS, you guys. And I did enjoy this more. More upper body movement in a walking workout is great. There was more of a variety of arm movements than the second mile and it felt a bit more advanced. She introduces a quarter turn and then she turns the quarter turn into a 360 and then she just drops in a 360 turn, too. It was a good little mile. It was peppier. The group seemed to enjoy it more.
I can see myself doing this mile when I have 15 minutes and I want to do not-a-Leslie. This time two backup walkers were encouraged to eliminate their arms, it was just that intense.
Then the cool down. Just a nice stretch that you can see on any DVD in town. Nothing to be excited about, but it was thorough.
I read a lot of book reviews and one of the statements that makes me bonkers is "This could have been so much better." Well, yeah, anything could have been so much better. That's like saying "It is what it is." Of course it is what it is, what else could it be. But this could have been so much better. And how do I know this? I know this because they shared an outtake with us. It appears as if Tamilee is showing the backup walkers the workout. A step or two, and then she just jazzes it up. I see the Tamilee personality, I see a genuine smile, I see Tamilee. I see that she easily could have spiced things up just by being herself. It made me want to rage at the choreo gods.
But I had some time left and I really was feeling bummed about Tamilee. I looked at the back of the DVD box and saw that Mr. Snively, the man who wants to spend 23 minutes with me in Barbados, might just fill that time well. So I pop him in. I love a man at my beck and call.
He is a cutie patootie, that's for sure; but it looks a bit dated. Not too dated, but maybe early, mid '90s from the look of his hair (hey, didn't I see you on "Saved By the Bell"?), his shorts and his shoes. But I don't mind this. I love a bit of cheese with my workouts. Takes the edge off the whine.
Anyway, Mr. Snively is concerned about his viewer, he wants to educate a bit before we start, or so I think. He wants you to set reasonable goals, take some measurements. He wants you to make sure you are physically ready to walk. Wait, he is outside and on the grass. Is that ocean I see? Well, maybe, maybe not. He wants you to make sure you are not too tight msucle wise. He takes you through checking your hip flexors and how to tell if they are tight. Wait, they are tight? Here is what you can do to help. Oh, no, your calves and your quads and your hamstrings and your soleus are tight, too? Well, here is how you can stretch those. No, not by running on the beach, but by laying down with a towel and pulling your leg around or pushing against a wall or even dropping your heel off the back of a curb.
So by this time I am wondering when the walk is going to happen because we are a good seven minutes in. I think, okay, a 15-minute miler on the beach, I am so ready for it.
Nope. He now goes over the various types of walking. He shows charts. He gives schedules. He does a shoe primer, for goodness sake. The man cares about YOU. (I don't even want to know what it says about me that I loved the fact one of his shoes had a significant amount of mud on it.)
Now can we walk along the beach, whisper sweet nothings, maybe end up on a deck somewhere sucking down a pina colada? Nope. We need to talk about potential injuries. Bummer.
I will say that between these different sections of the DVD, there are clips of people doing workouts on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Breathtaking. They are doing stretches. They are doing some weights. They are smiling. They look young and beautiful (he has two attractive young women with him, one looking, I swear, just like Lark Voorheis). So I keep thinking, well, we will do these ocean view stretches and light weights workout and I will forgive you for not taking me on a walk on the beach.
He shows me a chart of how I can progress in three months. He gives a schedule for each of the three months. He explains it in excruciating detail. And then he just stops, almost mid thought it seems. Just.stops.
It is obvious this was a portion of a workout system. It is obvious that this was a total waste of my 23 minutes. What is not obvious is why I kept hoping for what the back of the box promised me, "Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Barbados as you walk yourself to a new body with David Snively." What they neglected to tell me was the only way I am going to walk with David Snively in Barbados is if I get on a plane and bring the DVD with me.
I will do the other two workouts on the DVD when my spirit is restored.
I will keep the name Mill Creek Entertainment (the compiler of this set) in my phone under the heading We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
I will survive.
So as not to seem a total DVD downer, these two workouts are excellent starting points. If you are just getting started with walking as an exercise, you have no history with exercise, the David Snively might be just what you need. He gives basic information that can be useful with anyone starting an exercise journey, start slow, be realistic, make goals, don't forget to stretch, buy some good shoes.
Tamilee is great, even when she is not. She talks to you, but she doesn't chatter. You don't hear about her laundry or the backup walker's newborn. You go one two three TAP one two three TAP, you go to your right, go forward and back and if it is too much, just eliminate those arms.