Walking for Weight Loss

Jessica Smith
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Walking Aerobics

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This workout approaches exercise nirvana for me. I sweat, but I feel energized at the end. I fall into a time warp and 70 minutes passes in a flash. My knees don't hurt. Best of all, I am downright giddy through it.

Jessica is working out in the yard of what might be a hotel or resort. I like her walking workouts where she is on the boardwalk of a marina, but this one is a nice change of scenery. She is joined by two exercisers (one of whom is her mother, I believe) on circular concrete platforms. This is so, as she explains, they demonstrate the moves in a small amount of space, as this is what most home exercisers have. This is just one reason why she's one of my favorite instructors: she really thinks about her viewers. She also mirror cues and has consistently good music selections. It's all instrumental here, with lots of variety.

Jessica and her two workout companions demonstrate three variations of almost all moves. Asha will do the highest intensity moves (level changes, bigger motions, high impact), Jessica will do intermediate (low impact but big range of motion with the arms) and Andrea demonstrates low (arms stay at shoulder level, less "bounce".) For that reason, I'd say this workout is perfect for just about any fitness level.

Entire workout time: 70 minutes

From the DVD menu, you can chose any of the segments below or play all.

Breakdown of segments:

Warm-up: 5 minutes. Jessica spends some time getting your posture adjusted and then gently revs up the tempo. She includes dorsi flexion in her warm-up moves, which you will see later. I love that she does this, as that part of my body is always tight and I tend to forget about it.

High Energy Walk: 29 minutes. This is a lightly choreographed routine. There is a lot of change of direction: front, back and lateral movement. I particularly liked the Latin segment, which has choreography that is a little dancey, but not complicated. It also has a great drum solo. This walk is not chaptered. It's the easier of the two walking segments.

Power Walk: 30 minutes. This routine is harder than segment one, but there are multiple options available. Asha demonstrates lots of high impact moves (jogging, jumping jacks) so you can make this as intense as you desire. Meanwhile, Andrea doesn't raise her arms above her head, so you can follow her and keep your heart rate lower and/or give your arms a bit of a break if needed. I followed Jessica, and will say that I was surprised how much my arms burned. This is an interval workout. Intervals are repeated twice, except the elliptical arms segment which Jessica returns to a few times (sidebar, I hate elliptical machines and arms. The movement feels really awkward to me for some reason. But I don't doubt their effectiveness.) This walk is also not chaptered.

Cool down: about 6 and 1/2 minutes. I did both workouts back to back, so I was looking forward to a nice cool down and this delivered. There are some simple movements to lower your heart rate, followed by some effective but uncomplicated stretches.

As you have gathered, I love this workout. I have OA in both knees, and while I can still do a variety of workouts, it's nice to have some walking options. I cannot get into Leslie Sansone, so I'm elated to have more choice with Jessica's workouts. I love her constant attention to form and detail, as well as her encouragement. Here are some quotes I particularly liked (paraphrased a bit since I was too lazy to rewind and find them):

"Really lift your leg here, like you are stepping over puddle...we need to be ready for anything life throws at us, right?"

"We're going to take this up to tempo and test our brain power."

"With every movement and breath today, you are going to feel stronger."

"We want you to feel energized with this workout, and feel better when it's over than you did at the start."

"Just enjoying that we can breathe and move our bodies this way."

Bottom line: this walking workout will keep you interested and engaged all the way through. There are modifications available to make this any kind of workout you want or need. Do one segment or both and love it.

Instructor Comments:
Like many VF-ers, I'm a Jessica Smith super fan. She's so natural and personable that you feel-like others have said-that she is a friend working out with you. Her cuing is excellent, I wish more instructors counted out their moves these days. She reminds you of your form several times, which I need as I am a criminal sloucher. I recommend her workouts highly (her walking workouts are all low impact, but some of her others have some high impact so check before you buy if that is an issue for you.)



This is a beginner/intermediate workout with two 30 minute walks. There are separate warm-up/cool down segments at 5 minutes a piece that makes the total DVD running time around 70 minutes. I like that the warm-up and cool down are separate; therefore, optional.

Jessica has an adorable mother/daughter team as her back-up exercisers that show modifications. Asha shows the more advanced versions (higher intensity/impact) of each move to take the workout up a notch and her mother, Andrea, shows the more beginner options, including never lifting her arms overhead. If you have shoulders issues, she offers alternative movements. I should note that Asha does a fantastic job of going deeper into the moves and showing you how to make them more challenging. I really liked the upbeat music in this workout. It made it even more motivating to move.

The setting is beautiful with a white, resort-like building in the background with palm trees. Jessica and the ladies are working out in the sand on mats. It is so refreshing to see a workout filmed outdoors.

High Energy Walk (30 min)
This is a steady paced, low impact workout that requires minimal space. You will see a wide variety of marches (in place, forward & back, side to side, v-steps) with some Latin flair at times, and easy to follow combinations that were fun and elevated the heart rate. Jessica uses a large range of motion for the arms that increases the intensity. There are no weights used in this workout, but I held my 1lb weights at times and felt the added resistance in my arms.

Power Walk (30 min)
This is an interval walk that takes it up a notch. Asha demonstrates high impact options during the intervals such as jogging, jogging with butt kicks and jumping jacks. Each move builds in intensity until you are in your interval, and then you slow back down to recover. Even though I followed Jessica and didn't do any high impact moves, I still felt the difference in my heart rate during each interval by really making each movement bigger and more intense. You can really make this as easy or as challenging as you want. You will get out of it what you put into it. There were lots of push/pull movements with the arms that I felt in my back & shoulders, even without weights.

If you're familiar at all with Leslie Sansone's walking workouts, this was a nice change of pace. They're actually not similar at all. While Leslie's workouts have 4-5 basic moves performed throughout, Jessica had a nice variety of moves that kept things fresh and was more of a challenge, yet still accessible to all fitness levels. I'll admit that I've tried Leslie's walks and just can't get into them, but I can definitely see myself using Jessica's walks when the weather is bad. The scenery, music and Jessica's demeanor makes this workout a keeper for me!

Instructor Comments:
As always, Jessica has a positive and encouraging demeanor in this and her cuing is perfect.



I am always on the lookout for a new, great walking workout, so I was excited to try this one by Jessica Smith (which I received as a free preview.)

First and foremost, the outdoor setting is absolutely beautiful: Jessica works out with a mother-daughter team, and they do their walking on circular mats set on sugar-white sand in front of a large whitewashed resort building. Potted palm trees keep the background from being too stark. The music is better than average, and Jessica is friendly and upbeat; she shows the intermediate moves while the mother-daughter team show the easier and more difficult modifications, respectively. They pretty much keep at the same walking same pace throughout – there were no “energy bursts”, but there were several level changes (for example, turning a “tap-out” into a “side-lunge”, etc.) and there was a lot of variety in the arm movements, especially moves that worked the chest and back.

I also really liked that the DVD is programmable in that you can do either of the 30-minute workouts (Energy Walk, Power Walk) with the warm-up and cool-down, or you can “play all” to combine both into a nice long 60-minute workout with warm-up and cool-down. My only complaint is that I wish the actual walk was a bit faster – but to be fair, this is marketed as a beginner/intermediate level. Overall, this one’s a winner! If you can walk, you can do this workout – and you will love it!

Debbie J


My background with Jessica's workout has been a change in progress. I tried her DVDs, some of the more recent ones from the past year or two, and didn't keep them. I liked HER in the workouts, but the workouts were hard on my hands and wrists and/or knees. Given I have arthritis in those joints, I look for workouts that don't have much impact and that doesn't require you to support body weight on the hands and wrists. So, I had given up on her DVDs. Then, I tried the workouts on her YouTube channel and loved them - both her and the workouts. So, when she came out with this DVD, I decided to try it given I loved the walks she had posted on her YouTube channel.

This workout reminded me a little (just a little) of Walk Your Way Slim because they both have three exercisers who show three levels of moves - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Jessica, the instructor, does the intermediate version and the two background exercisers do the beginner and advanced. In this case, the background exercisers are a mother and daughter team and each does well at leading her version. Unlike Walk Your Way Slim, this DVD is set outside and Jessica and her two modifiers are standing on round platforms set in sand.

I love the set! These workouts are set in a beautiful white sand zen garden, complete with tropical palms and other plants, sunshine, and a white building in the background. The music is appropriate and matches the intensity and style of each portion of the walking workout. It was good instrumental music for a DVD, but it is NOT the great music found in Jessica's YouTube workouts. I'm sure this is because of the cost of music in DVDs.

This DVD is broken down into a 5 minute warm up, 30 minute moderate intensity walk, a 30 minute higher intensity interval walk and ends with a 5 minute cool down segment. All of these segments are represented on the menu, along with an option to play all. This lets you set up the configuration of the workout you want for that particular session. I just did another exercise DVD this morning that put the two workouts on the menu, but not the warm up and cool down and that makes it harder to get a complete workout. So, I really appreciate how Jessica set up the DVD. It's like she totally understands the home exerciser!

The steps are fairly easy to follow and there are a lot of arm movements to keep your heart rate up. The High Energy walk is steady state cardio. The Power Walk incorporates intervals with higher impact options such as jogging and jumping jacks. I really enjoyed both walks on this dvd and enjoy having two different walks that offer a choice of walking workout styles. I thought the Power Walk took more energy due to the intervals, but they both gave me a good workout.

Jessica is very upbeat and encouraging. I love it when instructors encourage exercisers to work at their level and to keep in mind what is good for their body. She doesn't push the workouts as a way to lose weight or get into a bikini or burn umpteen gazillion calories. I highly recommend this DVD and will be keeping it in my collection.

Instructor Comments:
She is upbeat and encouraging. It's like working out with a friend.

Laura S.