Hardcore Kickbox CircuitJanis Saffell, Guillermo Gomez
Year Released: 2003
Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Circuit Training (cardio and weights)
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I've enjoyed Janis Saffell's other kickboxing workouts, so I decided to give this one, which she teaches with partner Guillermo Gomez, a try as well. As the name suggests, this is a circuit workout which alternates cardio kickboxing sequences with both weighted and unweighted toning work. Janis and Guillermo switch off instruction of the various segments, with both cueing fairly well (Guillermo sometimes counts in Spanish) and mirroring the viewer. Janis, Guillermo, and their three female background exercisers all wear weighted gloves for the workout.
Guillermo begins the warm-up, introducing each of the four punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut). He includes both jumping jacks and push-ups, so my heart rate got up there pretty quickly. Janis then takes over with some simple kickboxing choreography which feels very similar to her other videos, particularly the lower body segment of Quick Fix Cardio Kick. The only time I had a little trouble following was when she added a turn sequence, but I just skipped this (no modifications are shown). She transitions very smoothly into the first toning segment, mostly squats without using any weights.
Guillermo is up next. Most of his sequences were performed to the side, which I found kind of different and liked. He builds up his first kick punch combination, practicing this on both sides, then introduces a second kick-punch combination. I was a little thrown off when he combined the two combos--they start of kind of similar, so it's easy to get thrown off--but I was able to pick it up once I realized what he was doing. Next comes the first weights segment using dumbbells (I found that 5# weights were plenty heavy). There are traditional moves such as bicep curls and shoulder raises, but there is a bit of a kickbox flavor added in. My heart rate dipped a bit during both this and the second weighted segment.
Janis returns with another kickboxing sequence; unlike Guillermo, her choreography was front-to-back (without requiring much space). This was quite different, with quick jabs and a hook kick. Again, Janis included some turns, and again, I skipped these. She then does a very short weight segment concentrating on the shoulders. Guillermo returns, teaching the segment the same way as before: he introduces one kick-punch combination, practices it on both sides, teaches a second combo, and then combines the two together (I caught on more quickly this time!). There are some unique moves here as well, including a circle jab and a roundhouse-cross. Guillermo also leads the final toning semgent, which is again unweighted; this short segment includes more squats and slowly performed side kicks.
The cool-down, which is performed entirely on the floor, offers some nice lower body stretches; it finishes in a seated position with some brief neck stretches, bringing the entire workout in at about 52 minutes. The DVD also includes a bonus 10-minute Aikido workout lead by Guillermo. This is performed on the floor, and it's an interesting mix of back-stretches (mostly rolling back from a seated position into a sort of plow pose) and some leg work in the form of seated side and roundhouse kicks; these moves are supposed to add power to your standing kicks. For some reason, Guillermo does not mirror-cue in this segment; also, it ends rather abruptly with no cool-down. The bonus workout can be selected off the main menu, which is well-chaptered with the individual workout segments but which does not let you string several segments together for a customized program.
Overall, this is a nice kickboxing workout that kept me in my target heart rate zone for over 35 minutes. The workout was probably appropriate for low intermediate exercisers (there isn't much discussion of form, so I wouldn't recommend it to someone new to kickboxing), and the choreography is mostly basic, with some twists added in here and there as I mentioned above. I would recommend this workout to anyone who enjoys fun, easy-to-learn kickboxing combinations and doesn't mind a bit of toning work thrown in.
If you've done any of Janis's previous workouts, you'll find her to be very similar here. She is pretty laid back and can be a bit goofy at times, but she teaches in a very straightforward add-on manner. Guillermo speaks with a moderate Spanish accent and sometimes counts in Spanish, which I found a bit annoying rather than cute (as it seems to be intended). However, he cues fairly well, and I didn't have a problem with him overall.
As said by others, there is very little talk of form or technique with this one, so I would say it is intermediate/advanced.
That being said, I love this workout! The time flies so fast. There are some tricky combinations with choreography, but I find it kind of fun. A lot of hi/lo moves going on which can be modified. I will say that I don't think this has enough weight work in it to really be a circuit workout. I would make it a cardio workout in a rotation and use light weights or skip the weight sections. The abs bonus also didn't do it for me.
Still, my heartrate was staying up throughout and I was a sweaty mess. I also did the workout with weighted gloves which I think really adds to the intensity.
Also the stretch portion at the end gets the job done.
Both Janis and Guillermo are energetic and inspiring. I enjoy their teaching style very much.
I am a high intermediate-low advanced exerciser who is currently at a healthy weight for my height. I've been exercising daily for some time. My favorite kickboxing workouts are the Powerstrike millennium series. I also occasionally do some Tae-Bo for variety.
I originally bought this DVD from Collage because it was a staff favorite. After the first 15 minutes I got annoyed by Janis's using turns in her routine, turned it off, and traded it for Bosu Core Synergy, which I love. But then I kept reading all the raves on the forum about what a fun workout this was and so I rented it from Netflix to see if I had missed anything. Nope.
I programmed my DVD player to skip the upper body "toning" sections (this is not a menu option, you must either have a programmable DVD player or have your remote handy to keep choosing segments from the "mix and match" menu), so I can't comment on those.
I wore my heart rate monitor and found I hardly got up into my aerobic zone. Instead it was pretty much in the fat burning zone, which is fine for a light day. However, because there is no instruction on form, I would not recommend this for someone who is new to kickboxing. As someone who does kickboxing but is no expert, I found there was not as much kicking as I had hoped there would be, and I often found myself doing extra jumping jacks or knee-ups in order to keep from dropping out of the fat-burning zone.
This is a better (and longer) cardio workout than Kathy Smith's kickboxing workout, but in retrospect she was less annoying. Compared to HKC, I feel far more worked out by the advanced Tae bo workouts, and Billy and his backup exercisers don't annoy me so much because they're clearly working as hard as they can. From the way the people in HKC were hooting and hollering you'd *think* they were really pushing their athletic limits, but given how easy of a workout I found it I think this was more for dramatic effect, as they are all clearly in excellent shape. I also still vastly prefer the Powerstrikes for an intense cardio workout with focus on good form and quiet background folks.
As a Latina, I found Guillermo's whole "look at me, I can count in Spanish while the white women behind me giggle and whoop" shtick extremely off-putting. My (non-Latino) husband was in the room when I worked out and he commented that Guillermo and his backup ladies were more annoying than Kathy Smith at her worst. I have to agree. If you don't like whooping or Latin cheese, or you believe background exercisers should be seen and not heard, this is not a workout for you.
I'm not a big fan of her other workouts. I tried, and tried to like them - but for some reason - just didn't.
This one changed all that. This is my absolute favorite kickboxing workout - better than powerstrike, better than the Sherry jaqueline CIA workout that I have... just all around wonderful.
It alternates cardio sections with weight sections, which is why it's called a Circuit.
She uses some kicks not always found in kickboxing workouts: Crescent kick and hook kick.
The combos were just so much fun.
The workout + warmup is about an hour, and then there is a 10 minute Ai-Ki-do ab workout that is on the DVD. It's challenging and fun. (Guillermo teaches that).
Janis has really come to a new level of instruction. She came across as much more centered and mature. If she said 'awesome' - I didn't notice it.
Her cuing was great too.
Guillermo, her co-instructor is also a very very good instructor. If he makes other dvds, I'd be eager to get them.
Janis and Guillermo alternate two 10-minute aerobic segments each and two short weight segments.
Janis starts off with familiar yet fresh choreography and builds it up section by section. The first segment includes step-knees and step-kicks, alternating side leg lifts, front knee lifts that circle around, plus jab-cross-uppercuts. Then you do a brief sequence of sideknee-lift-punch turning into a crescent kick-punch and squats.
Guillermo follows with double-jab-double-cross-scissors-back-knee-lift (building up to the total combo) on each side, then jab-cross-upper-upper-roundhouse, then combines the two sequences, interspersed with jacks.
After a short weight segment (I don't have weights so I skip forward)Janis builds up a sequence of eight jabs-circling pair of roundhouses plus step-hook-kick on either side.
After another short weight segment, Guillermo follows with circle-jab front-knee-back kick, then knee-knee-roundhouse-punch (a move often seen in taebo).
Then more squats plus slow side kicks, eight leg lifts on each side, and that's it.
I really liked the instrumental music. At one point it had a tribal drum beat. Guillermo sometimes counts in Spanish, to the giggles of the four background exercisers. Everyone seems pretty happy to be there.
Overall, 10 minutes of warmup (including pushups, punches, jacks and twists), 40 minutes of cardio and about 15 minutes of weights. It's a moderately advance video that is great for a day when you don't have a lot of time but want a decently hard workout. Janis and Guillermo are a great duo.
Janis has gotten better and better in her style, with a polished yet still peppy delivery, even less miscues and a more relaxed yet professional demeanor. Guest instructor Gomez is fabulous, a sort of motivational drill sargeant who looks very stylish as well as fit and crisp in his style, often wryly humorous. (at one point, when you still "hold" or "rest" for a beat before punching, he says, "Your favorite part, eh?)