Take 20

Aimee Nicotera
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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Aimee is a new instructor, one I haven’t done before, so I was glad to get this to preview. There are four menu options: Kickboxing, Strength, Recharge, and Play All

I enjoyed the cardio kickboxing; Aimee makes good use of imagery (i.e., when we bob & weave, she tells you to imagine you’re going under a rope and coming back up on the other side.) The opening moves are bob & weave, wide squats, torso twists, then we move into punches: Jabs start slow, go to tempo, then turn into cross punches. She transitions with a jump rope move. She does a combination jab/cross (one side, then the other) before moving to knee lifts and kicks. Next comes side taps that transition to chamber lifts, then side kicks; we repeat it all on the other side. Then comes a combination: Shuffle, double jab, cross, knee lifts that turn into kicks, then she adds a side kick. This was a fun combination, but a real space hog.

One of the nice things I noticed right away is that Aimee mirror cues – YAY!!!

We do our jump-rope transition, then move to squats, hooks (slow, then fast), uppercuts (slow, then fast), followed by the combination: Hook, uppercut, squat, and add a jump “just for fun” – then we do both of combinations.

Time for a quick stretch: cat/cow, low crescent lunge, twist, and child’s pose. The music during this portion was really nice, like bubbling water.

Next up is a new combination: Front & rear taps that transition to front & rear kicks; then jump rope transition to uppercut flurries & hammer down on the right; then uppercut flurries & hammer down on left.

Moving into the final stretch (so to speak), we do slips, side stretches, squats and final stretches.


6 exercises, one minute each, three rounds

Round #1 – slow, no weights (1) squats; (2) traveling pushups (I did regular pushups); (3) reverse lunge; (4) one-arm row; (5) lateral lunges; (6) arms: biceps, front raise, side raise, triceps kickback.

Quick stretch

Round #2 – add weights, go a little faster, some exercises had leg lifted for added balance challenge, or added row. She reminds us that “you can go faster than me or you can go slower.”


Start in corpse pose (which was strange to me), bring knees to chest for back stretch, rock side to side, return feet to floor with bent knees, stretch one leg to ceiling, do some ankle circles, return foot to floor, cross ankle over knee for Figure 4 stretch, arms flat at sides.

Instructor Comments:
I enjoyed Aimee as an instructor and I’m looking forward to more of her workouts!

Debbie J


Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this workout.

Aimee is new to leading exercise DVDs, although it sounds like she has a lot of experience and education in the fitness industry. With this DVDs, she tries to give 3 different types of training sessions that users can choose from to customize their workout. She focuses on fitting in exercise and these options do give flexibility.

Collage ranks this DVD has Beginner/Intermediate and I concur with that ranking. The workouts are pretty straight forward and offer one cardio session (kickboxing), one strength session (a strength circuit workout), and an athletic stretch, mainly for the lower body. There is a modifier that does a pretty good job of giving easier options throughout all the segments. The segments are AROUND 20 minutes. None are less than 20 minutes, but a couple do go over the 20 minute mark by 2-3 minutes.

In these segments, she encourages you to go at your own pace and the participants at time do the moves at different paces. Usually, I think this is a good thing, but it doesn't quite work in parts of these workouts. The visual on the screen can be confusing as the exercisers are moving at different speeds.

The cardio kickboxing workout offers classic kickboxing moves. She does moves slow at first, giving form pointers, and then they speed them up some. People who have experience with kickboxing will likely feel bored through parts of this. On the other hand, if you want a beginner and/or slower-paced kickboxing workout, it could work for you.

The strength circuit workout takes you through six strength exercises structured in three "circuits." First you learn the moves with no weights (although I used light weights in this part). Then you add weights to increase the intensity (and I upped my weights from 5 pounds to 8-10 pounds). The pace of the workout allows for heavier weights with some of the moves. Finally, you "rock it" with the more challenging options. She gives different options, encouraging you to do what works for you. This section is not exciting, but it is a solid strength segment that moves at a reasonable pace and that gives different optios to keep the interest up. People experienced in strength workouts might not be drawn to this segment, but people looking to increase the intensity of their strength workouts or who are beginning with them might enough this segment.

TAKE 20! Recharge is an athletic stretch series that focuses mostly on relaxation and stretching the lower body. I found it highly relaxing and my lower body felt great at the end. I wish she had included some stretches for the upper body, including the neck and shoulders (my main problem area). On the other hand, my legs and hips feel incrdibly relaxed and stretched out.

I found this DVD useful to what I am doing now. I am going through a rotation of Look Great in 8 and in the first week one day called for 25 minutes of cardio and a strength circuit. So, this DVD was perfect for that day. Other than that, I don't see me reaching for this DVD in the long-term. I do think it will be good for some people who are looking for easier and slower-paced workouts that give a range of exercise options. It also might be good for people who are into DVDs that give them add-on options. Personally, I don't see people who are solid intermediates and above enjoying this DVD.

Instructor Comments:
She obviously is an experienced fitness instructor because her instruction is solid. It's also obvious she is new to video instruction because she stumbles several times with her mirror cueing in the cardio section, but she does mirror cue and does a pretty good job with it.

Laura S.