Cathe Friedrich
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Step Aerobics

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Type of Workout: Step, then Circuit Training, then Upper Body weight lifting. You can break down this tape and do the different sections on separate days.

Workout Length: Warm up - 8 min. ; Step aerobics - 24min. ; Circuit training - approx 20 min. ; Upper Body weight work - approx 20 min.; Abs - 7min. Final stretch - 3 min. Total - 1h31min.

Fitness Level: Geared for Intermediate and Advanced exercisers, Beginners can follow due to the simplicity of the choreography in all areas of the tape... they will, however, need to acquire stamina, and endurance.

Equipment: Long step, Barbell (or Dumbells) and Dumbells.

Effectiveness: This tape is definitely as effective as they come.. It delivers!

The personality of the Instructor: For those who don't know Cathe, she is a very motivating, no-nonsense, tough, friendly and warm. and that comes accross. She even reminds you she's doing the workout with you and sweating with you. She is, one of the most professional and competent instructors. She explains, and reminds you about form. but doesn't dwell, or take too long with explanations in this tape.

Music: Techno, or upbeat dance-type music... very motivating!! Although it says at the end that it's Dynamix, this is not the usual CIA-style dynamix. (interestingly at the end it says that this tape was originally produced by CIA and Greg Twombly.) Surprised me!

Presentation: Not boring at all... instead it draws you in, and you are too busy trying to keep up to notice the time. (IMO)

Film Quality: Visually appealing as with all Cathe tapes.

Attire: Tank tops, and black lycra tight shorts. Cathe's top is white, everyone else wears black tops.

The Set: is painted with gray and white sections, and blue columns.

The Cast: Cathe and 4 students(who keep up with her at every step!!)

Height of Step: All the steps are set at 8" or 2 risers. They remove one riser at approx 47min. 2/3 thru the circuit section. Of course you don't have to do what they do, I did the whole tape with my step set at 6". She encourages you to modify.

Power: You will hear this term a lot! because almost the entire Step section as well as the entire step portions of the Circuit sections are filled with power moves. Elevating your Heartrate dramatically and reaching for maximum weight loss. Which makes this Circuit sections one of the toughest attacks on fat of any Circuit tape. the heightened cardio with tough weight gains is the most effective ways to lose fate of any other method.

Warm up: approx 8 min.
marches, basic, grapevine, walk around, side steps, sachee.
outer thigh lift around the corner, then diagonal over, repeater, basic.
repeat everything several times.
at 5 min. leg-stretches

at 8 min.Step Workout Begins: (approx. 24 min.)
basic, side up with power, horseshoe then power.
combo: click heel on step, diagonal hop turn, and jack, 2 A-steps.
at 9.30 min. add T-step
combo 2: run run, 4 side steps, 4 horseshoe, 4 powerhorse.
All these moves with power.
combo 3: at 12.20 min. add 4 accross the step , 6 jump lunge 4x entire combo.
4 step knee , 4x straddle, then combine.
7 power circle jumps with one foot on step.
at 16 min. combine all eariler combos.
combo 2, etc.
at 20 min. jump w/ knee up walk 3 on floor kick.
does this move several times.
3 knee repeater around the corner, 4x
then 3 repeaters reaching foot forward then back then forward while opposite hand reaches for foot.
repeat these combos.
at 24 min. continues cueing all these same moves, you should know them by now.
at 26 min. step knee & tap outside step, 2 step hops.
at 27 min. from the top (still cueing)
at 31 min. Heart rate check.

Power Circuit segment begins: (approx 20 min.)
Step segment: (3 min.duration)
basic, step knee around the world, push up repeater, straddle (repeat this combo several times)
power scissors (wide jumps into opposite lunge position) (you don't have to jump, I just did dips)
step knee tap with a lift.
Weight segment: at 34 min.
lunge back and hold, 8x each side
Step segment: at 35.10 min.
Power L. Abduction repeater 3x, knee straddle tap several times.
Weight segment. at 37.20 min. Place Barbell on shoulders. (or use dumbells)
32 squats
Step segment: at 38.40 min.
basics, power horse, (horseshoe with power) side up around the corner. repeat several x
T-steps, then power 7's (jump up and down with one foot on step - tough!)
Weight segment: at 41.30 min. pick up dumbells.
Lunges - 8x each leg.
Step segment:
double foot jump, outer leg around the corner, jump kicks.
at 43.50 min. Power segment of step segment: diagonal basic, 2 knees around the corner, straddle,
lunges to each side of step while moving arms as if swimming.
Weight Segment: Barbell on shoulders (or dumbells)
Pliee squats - 32x
Step Segment: at 47 min. takes out one riser, now at 6"
basic, quarter hop, long hop, quarter hop, 6 count hold, step down jump freeze - 6x this combo.
lunge hops along the length of the step. 4 sets of 14 reps.
Weight segment: at 50 min. Barbell on shoulders. (or dumbells)
Static lunges. 24x each leg.
side steps.
Stretches for legs at 52.30 min.

at 54 min. Upper Body Weight Conditioning (approx 20 min.)(you may substitute dumbells at any time.
She reminds you that you are going for endurance in this workout.
Cathe is using 15 lb dumbells and a 25 lb Barbell. She tells you to use Medium weight.
laying on step.
Bench press:w/ dumbells 5 times-> she does 4 reps normal speed and 2 reps normal up and 3-count down.
Bench press w/ Barbell 2 sets of 12.
Pushups: 2 sets of 6 then 2 sets of 4 then 8 reps.

Here Cathe uses 15, 10 and 8lb dumbells, and 25 lb Barbell. tells you to use heavy, medium, and light.
Lat Rows: 2 sets of 10 on each side.
Bent rows: w/ Barbell - 2 sets of 12reps
Rear Delt Flyes or Butterflies: 3 sets of 8 reps.

Here Cathe uses 15, 10 and 8lb dumbells, and 25 lb Barbell. tells you to use heavy, medium, and light
Military Press: 1 set of 8 then 4 3-count then 1 set of 8
Upright row: w/ Barbell 2 sets of 12 reps.
Side Lateral raise: bent arm position - 1 set or 8 reps then alternating arms for 8 reps each arm

Here Cathe uses 15, and 10lb dumbells, and 25 lb Barbell. tells you to use heavy, and medium.
Curls: w/ barbell 1 set of 12 then 8 slow
Hammercurls: 12 alternating
Crazy 8's: w/ barbell - 8reps halfway up, then 8 reps halfway down from the up position, then 8 3-count full
Hammercurls with a rotation at the top: 12 alternating.

Lie down on step - barbell - push bar up under chest 2 sets 8 reps
lower bar above head at 90 degree angle - 12 x
Triceps Dips off step: 24 quick counts
Triceps Kickbacks: 2 sets of 12 each arm.

Abwork (approx. 7 min.) This time one on one with Cathe.
lay down on mat on floor with feet on step.
then alternating heel lifts while crunches
one leg in and out while crunching
then hold one leg out repeat other leg while crunching
cross one leg over lift opposite elbow.
then hold both knees up while crunching
then alternate upper and lower.
lift lower legs slightly from up position, add upper body
then reach with arms
then tightly contract both.

Stretches for arms and legs: at 1h 28 min. (approx 3 min.)

at 1h31min. End

Total Rating: By reading this I'll bet you can guess that this workout far exceeds any! There is no doubt that it is effective, entertaining, grueling, and satisfying... I cannot give enough synonyms to describe it. I can only recommend it: I rate it 10 out of 10 possible points.

Instructor Comments:
For beginners and those new to step: During the step segment she cues you as to what you need to do and assumes that you know how to do those moves, hopefully you have already learned those moves, if not, they are not too hard to learn, you might rewind a couple of times...
For intermediate and Advanced: If you have done ANY stepping before, you will be able to follow. since she does cue the moves. As I said before, these moves are not very intricate at all.



This is the HARDEST and FUNNEST workout I've ever done. The step part is basic but pretty tough. I'm pretty tired after that part. Then comes the circuit. I'm really fatigued after this part. It's torture to the thighs! Then comes the upper body workout: all sections exhaust your muscles. After the first time I did this workout the following of my muscles were sore: quads, inner thighs, hamstrings, gluts,chest,back,shoulders,biceps,triceps, and abs****-really sore. This is a great workout. If you want a super-advanced workout packed with variety Body Max is for you.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is great! She pushes you to go longer and harder even when you feel you're beyond exhaustion.

pat griffin


I purchased this tape to use on the days that I thought I'd be able to get in a good 1 1/2 hr workout and for the days I needed to do both cardio and strength. I think I made a good decision. This tape is very thorough. It gives you a great cardio workout and a great upper body and ab workout. You get, in my opinion, a decent lower body workout, but not a super intense one. The first part is all step and I think it's about 25 min.

The second part is step with lower body toning. The lower body toning consists of lunges, squats,... things of that nature. Since they are done at a fast pace, I find myself using a bit lower weight than normal; therefore, this is more a cardio/endurance workout for me than a strength/muscle building one (Cathe does state that if you are a beginner, this will be more strength and if you are advanced it will be more endurance). In a way, I feel like I am not getting as great of a lower body toning session as I think I should, but then again, I feel this tape wasn't made to stress that. I just do Standing Legs (Firm) or Cathe's new PS Legs workout the next day - and that more then makes up for it! Anyway, the second part will definitely keep your heart rate up. Added to part one, you get around 50 min of solid cardio.

If you are short on time, you could stop after sections 1 and 2 and feel good about having a great cardio workout. Or, you could continue on and do the upper body toning and ab work. The upper body is faster paced than MIS, but it was intended to be like that. Again, I found myself using a bit lower weight here. This really helps my endurance and I feel some toning as well. It's also a longer section than the lower body section, so you will feel like you are getting more of a solid strength workout here. The abs are really good as well. Nothing fancy, just tough crunches and such.

Overall, I'd have to say this is a great total body workout. It's similar to the Firm's Total Body series, but this tape gives you longer cardio. Plus, with a baby, I don't always have 1 1/2 hours to workout. So I will always keep doing the Firm Total Body tapes on those days where I can only do an hour of exercise. Since I try and work out everyday, I really like doing this tape on the days where I didn't get a workout in the day before. This way, I feel like I've "caught up". This is a must have for Firm Belivers. It has everything packed into one tape!

Instructor Comments:
The more I watch her, the more I enjoy her. She is very likable! She is in such incredible shape, too. I hope she does more tapes like this one!

Diana mason


I wish I liked this tape - well, maybe it's not the tape I disliked. I don't care for cardio toneing interval tapes at all. I knew this and bought the tape anyway so I guess this is my own fault. I will keep the tape for the 30 minute intense step aerobics for my days when I need to get an aerobic workout in quickly, but probably won't do the remainder of the tape. It's just personal preference really. I don't care for intense movements done quickly and that is pretty much what the second/third parts were like. I have most of Cathe's other tapes and do well with them, but this did not appeal to me at all. It's not that it is a bad or poorly done tape, just my personal least favorite workout style.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is an amazing instructor. She is my overall favorite. She is energetic and creative and her motivational skills are superior. Her tapes are all just a little different from the last one challenging you on different levels.



I, too, love this tape. For me, this is close to a perfect tape--length, level, total body workout, production quality, everything--esp because I'm one of those who will be getting strength development as well as endurance from the weight sections. Watching Cathe and mimicking her moves, I get a tremendous, blowout session. When added into a mix of, say, running, or floor aerobics, whew! You may be brain dead by old age, but your body will be in superb shape!

I was lucky because my first Cathe was Step Heat (hooked me immediately), followed by Step Jam, Power Max (still in regular use), Step Fit (the only one I wasn't thrilled with), then MI-C, then these two new ones. I say this because, in both Body Max and Step Works, you can see how Cathe's developed--not only is she stronger, but her strides are longer, her physical articulation is clearer, etc.

Others have given excellent breakdowns of the contents, so I thought I'd add some different comments. One reason I love this tape is that I can use it in several ways. First, of course, is simply straight through--I do this once a week. Then, here are two alternation patterns that work very well. One day, I do BodyMax from the beginning through the end of what Cathe calls her circuit. That gives me just under an hour of combined aerobics + lower body w/o. Then, say the next day, I do Step Works (about 51 mins), then finish Body Max--that is, all the wt work. That gives me maybe an hour and 10-15 mins. Next day, I give my hip flexors and quads a break--run or something.

My one negative comment (which goes for Step Works too) is that on the cover, Cathe looks as though she's been at a tanning salon.

I recommend this tape very very highly!

Beth Simon


You know you are in trouble when Cathe F. decides she wants to test your endurance. After finishing the entire workout for the first time, I barely had enough energy to walk upstairs and take a much-needed shower.

This video is perfect for advanced exercisers who want a video they can grow into. Experienced Cathe fans will find the step moves very familiar, but the relentless high intensity will definitely keep your heart rate up there. It's like she took the hardest combos from all of her videos and strung them into one long combination.

The interval section is a killer: she uses a 35 pound barbell, but by that time I'm just a wee bit tired, and I only use 25 lbs. I thank god every time I get to the last step interval, where she lowers the board down to two risers. I'm sure eventually I will do it with 3; this is what I mean about being able to grow into the tape.

The strength section is sort of a mini-MIS, which in no way means it is easier. I am so fatigued by the time I get to this section that I can't do the poundage nor the reps that I can do in MIS (more room to grow, here). Cathe keeps saying that while the workout is geared toward building endurance, you may get some "strength days" in there as well. Well, no kidding! The abs section is also superb, and I think I enjoy it all the more because it is the last segment!

When you finally finish the workout, believe me, you will be proud of yourself.

Instructor Comments:
Without question, the best instructor in the world.

Carolyn Sproule


This video is worth every and any penny you spend for it. It is a complete high intensity workout. First it's a short warm up followed by an intense step section (about 30 minutes all together). Next it's power circuit segments interspersed with endurance exercises for your legs. For example, 1 minute intense stepping, 1 minute power stepping (shoot ups, power scissors, etc.) and then 1 minute weights (plie squats, lunges, etc.). This section lasts about 20 minutes. After a short cool down you do a complete upper body conditioning section. You use lighter weights and do more reps with less rest. Finally, a 9 minute killer ab section followed by a brief cool down and stretch.

This is a great video to do all at once or to break up to combine with other videos. Currently, I like doing the legs from MIS and then the first two Body Max segments on my leg training days. Then I do the upper body and abs on an upper body day.

I like the fact that the step sections are intense without being too complicated in their choreography. This is a great tape to use for cross training and for breaking through those plateaus!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is a down to earth, motivating, professional instructor. She cues very well in this video and made it easy for me to do the first time through.

Beth Dillman


I am reviewing this as an intermediate exerciser. This is the first step tape of Cathe's I've done (got it and The Wedding tape in on the same day so went with this first). I knew the choreography was considered moderate in Collage catalog which is where most of my step videos fall, so I was especially excited when I caught onto 80-90% of it the first time and the third time was a charm. I really like the ab section a lot on this tape as well, I didn't care for the ab section in MIS as much. I also love the way Cathe breaks her tapes up into sections so if you don't have time for the circuit leg work, you can skip it or whatever you want. I have had this MIC (too scared to try but will soon), MIS (I like how I feel after, but don't like doing it if that makes sense), and the Wedding tape and I have to say this is the best and most complete workout out there for a heavy day.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is very upbeat and motivating. I think she cues better than anyone, especially since I consider myself choreographically impaired and caught onto this tape perfectly the third time!

Stephanie Bridges


Body Max is the most awesome exercise video on the market!!! It is very high intensity and high impact. It is full of fun complex choreography. Cathe doesn't teach the moves slowly, because she feels that just doing the video over and over will be enough for you to learn it. Then when you do get it, you don't have someone breaking down moves you already know.

The video starts out with high intensity step that has alot of high impact. You might need to lower your step height on this one. My heartrate was in it's target heartrange within minutes of the workout. So Cathe does not waste a minute! I recall some of these moves from Step Heat( heel toe jack), A step( Step Max), Step Fit( step knee and back it up and kick). This choreography is so much fun. The music is the best upbeat music I've heard in stepping. It is MusicFlex.

The next part is a circuit using the step and lower body toning with a barbell and weights. Cathe starts out with a short step section using power and then she goes into a really really high impact power section to make your heartrate soar. Then you do toning for your lower body using your step. She does dips off the step with heavy weights. Then it's back to stepping with more power moves. The music is great and upbeat and really motivating. Other toning moves are , squats with barbell, lunges, plie squats, static lunges. My oh my! These are very tough combined with high intensity stepping. I even hear Cathe kinda gasping for air as she is doing some high impact moves.

After the circuit section, you do a small cool down with some stretches for your calves, hamstring, hip flexors.

Then you aren't finished! You do upper body work. This is the order, chest( chest press with dumbells and barbell and lots of pushups with very little rest!), back, shoulders, biceps, triceps. Then you do abs. The ab section is very very tough. I love it though. Then you do a very nice short floor stretches to some really nice soothing music.

The set is bright and colorful and Cathe is so friendly and cheerful. It is a pleasure doing her video's. It is so much fun even though it is very tough work!

You WILL see results using this workout with consistancy. It works your heart to the max and your muscles to the max! Total body. No other workout gets better than Body Max!!!!!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe's cueing is wonderful. She really is breathing hard and sweating away with you. It is like a live class. My favorite part is when she says," Is that you I hear breathing at home?!!" Cathe is my favorite cardio workout!

Mandy Lee


This is just another two cents to get this video into the VF Hall of Fame. This is a real, 90 minute gym quality workout with Cathe as your personal trainer. It has it all, step, circuit training, and upper body weight training that really has your muscles screaming. This is the video for kicking your fitness level up several notches. This is the next step after FirmStrength and Firm Cardio and Energy Sprint. Not a video to do everyday but maybe two or three times a week. This is a video that can grow as more weight is added to the lifting sections.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe Friedrich is good, really good. She knows her audience> I appreciate the fact that while some are CF veterans, she's aware that some exercisers may be using her videos for the first time. She cues so well that it's easy to pick up as the choreography isn't too difficult but still creative. She definately not low key but she's not perky, more like a coach who can work you like a drill seageant while making sure everyone has fun. She's at the top of her game in advanced video training.

Jean L. Wakefield


This is probably the most complete workout you can buy in one video. You get an intense step section...then an equally intense circuit section that alternates high intensity stepping with leg work with a barbell and dumbells. if that's not enough the last section is a complete upper body and abs section with weights.

I will not go into detail. I just wanted to add that this video should be in the hall of fame (if it's not already). It is truly a one of a kind workout that I highly recommend to any advanced excerciser that wants to go to the next level of all around fitness!! Super!!

Instructor Comments:
The best!!

Melanie Higgins


I won't repeat all the things that have been said about this video because everyone that has tried it is right on the money.

Cathe is just the best instructor out there.

Her tapes are for the advanced exerciser and I'm glad I found her. Three cheers for Cathe.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe Friedrich is by far, the best, instructor I have ever worked with. She has instilled in me, which got lost for awhile, the desire to really want to push myself and train five to six days a week instead of what I lapsed into (three days a week).

She is truly an inspiration. She cares about the people who buy her tapes and it shows.

Sandy Brookens


Cathe has done it again, making yet another video that rivals MIS and MIC in terms of sheer intensity.

You start off with a step segment, but it is almost all power/high-impact moves. You don't have to do the highest intensity, of course, but it's there if you want it. Unlike in her other videos, she doesn't teach any moves. The first time through, I was horribly frustrated, and I kept rewinding. I think it took me an hour just to get through the step! However, even though she doesn't break combos down, by the time you get to "putting it all together," you've got it. I like the fact that she doesn't waste time by over-teaching, but I have to say I would prefer a little bit more than what's here. Not necessarily the amount she does in her previous tapes, just a little bit!

The next section is circuit. You alternate power stepping with standing lower body work. The stepping segments include "power drills" that will really challenge you! The lower body work consists of squats, lunges, dips, and plie squats using weights or a barbell. She doesn't do as many reps as she does in MIS, and she doesn't use as much weight either. I used the same amount of weight, but there is no way in the world I would have been able to do the same number of reps as in MIS. Your legs are already tired from the stepping and drills.

Finally, there is upper body work. Although it's not nearly as long as the upper body in MIS, it is still very thorough. In fact, I consider this tape a complete body workout all in one. For upper body, she covers chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you haven't died yet, there is also an abs section after the upper body.

The total workout is 1-1/2 hours including the warmup and cooldown. That took me by surprise -- for some reason I thought it was going to be 75 minutes like MIS and MIC. There is no mention on the box of the length of time, and I would like to see that on future videos.

Grade A+!

Instructor Comments:
I admire Cathe so much, both for daring to make these TOUGH tapes and for being able to do them in the first place!

Annie S.


This is probably the hardest workout I have ever done! Since the Firm Variety series the Firm has not produced a full-length workout,and I have been "starved" for a full-length, challenging workout similar to the early Firm Classics. Cathe to the rescue! This video is the best of all worlds. Cardio lovers will be challenged and those who love strength training will be delighted. I can't speak highly enough about this tape and would recommend it to any advanced exerciser who wants to milk their workout to the max.

This video will definitely make it into the VF "Hall of Fame."

Grade for this Video: A++ Absolutely superb!

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is a new favorite instructor of mine. Her cueing is flawless, her style non-intimidating. She is truly a gifted instructor and choreographer. She listens to her customers and even takes the time to answer questions personally at her website.

Amy Steppe


In one word: extraordinary. Body Max has it all in one video. I always have to use 2-3 tapes a day to get my complete workout, but Body Max has it all in one video. Here is the breakdown: Warm-up (8 minutes); High intensity step (23 minutes); interval step with squats, lunges, power scissors (20 minutes); mini cooldown (3 minutes). Strenth: each section is 4 1/2 minutes: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps. Last section: abs (8 1/2 minutes); stretch: 3 1/2 minutes. The high intensity step section is only 23 minutes but I was sweating from my head to my tippy toes. I knew all the moves, because as a Cathe fan, she just has to say "around the world" or "heel toe over the top" and I just flowed right along. I loved all the familiar and popular moves. Tons of lunges, straddles, power all the way. Your heartrate will remain high in the interval section, so you are getting enough of a cardio workout. The strength work is faster than MIS, but I consider myself a light weight person (8-10-12 lbs. is my limit) and this was great. She says this is an endurance tape and she's right, but I am sure you will see more definition if you use this tape. It's my new favorite.

Instructor Comments:
Cathe is the best instructor for step videos, and with her new strength tapes, the best for weight training. She is extremely open and answers any questions she is asked on her Forum. She takes surveys from her fans and actually incorporates their ideas into her videos. She is one of a kind in the fitness industry.

maryann parker


There have been some very detailed reviews of what the workout itself contains so I'll skip that and just comment on what I personally thought of the video. If you are looking for an advanced workout that will work EVERYTHING and is extremely challenging even if you are very advanced than this is it. If you liked MIS but kind of found it boring or too long, you'll love this workout. If devoting your entire workout to a strength routine leaves you feeling guilty for skipping your cardio, this is the workout for you. Also, if you're very conditioned cardio-wise and have a hard time getting your heart rate up there, this is for you. And if you're a firmie, you'll love the diversity of this workout and will definately include it in your rotation. I do a lot of running so maybe that really conditions me, I'm not sure but I have a hard time getting and keeping my heart rate up and I'm also easily bored, not so with this workout. It went by really fast too. Even though the step portion was only 23 minutes, the intervals and lower body workout kept my heart rate up there. Oh yeah, if you were disappointed in the lower body workout in MIS, you won't be with this workout. Each time we did a lower body sequence, I was praying for the step drill thing to come. Then when that came I was praying for the leg sequence to come. It was very challenging because each segment pre-exhausted your legs. Towards the end, she tells you to lower your step all the way and says don't worry you'll keep your heart rate up there as she said that my monitor was beeping that I was coming out of my training zone, however, sure enough, as soon as we started going again, it went right back up there as we did lunges long ways across the board touching toe to floor.

The upper body section although similar to MIS was kind of different and seemed to go by quicker and seemed more light hearted, (I don't know why, it just did). I don't know if it was her sequencing or the fact that we seemed to do more reps with a little less weight but boy did I feel it. I think the cardio portion really pumped me up. It was enough to really get your blood pumping, challenge you, but not totally wipe you out that you couldn't give your all for upper body. When I used to do MIS in its entirety (before I started breaking it down), it was as if the warm up and then doing the workout just never really psyched me up but this work out definately does. Since you do so many different sets for each body part, you can use lower weight, truly focus on form and really exhaust the muscle. Also, Cathe's keeps the form pointers and comments to a minimum so when you do this tape, time and time again, you won't have to hear the same stuff over and over, assuming you are an advanced exerciser and pretty much know what you're doing. Just watching her form will show you, if you're not too sure. I had no problems.

Now on to abs. I do abs all the time. Mostly FIRM 5 days abs (old & new). I've done all 5 of the new FIRM 5 day abs in one session, I'm not bragging but just as a comparison, Cathe's abs, for some reason really got me feeling them right away, I had a hard time finishing. Very effective. But all in all, after one hell of a workout, I didn't feel that wiped out feeling that doing the entire MIS workout used to give me, I felt great, energized and real good. Definately a keeper! I'm so glad I bought this tape.

Instructor Comments:
I think most people who buy this tape are already familiar with Cathe's workouts. She's a fantastic instructor. Not one negative thing ever comes to mind when I think of her. Wonderful cueing, upbeat, in great shape, etc.



This is an amazing workout. I really couldn't believe how quickly it went by, and I was absolutely drenched after the first two sections. I don't think I have ever sweat so much during a workout. The first section is high intensity power stepping. There are a lot of familiar moves like the heel-toe & jack combo, t-steps, knee-ups/back up 6, and new moves like the in-out-in repeaters.

As in Maximum Intensity Cardio (MIC) Cathe uses the pump-circle runs to keep the intensity up. The second section is the power circuit section. There are five cycles consisting of power stepping, followed by power drills, followed by leg work. The stepping moves will probably be familiar if you have Cathe's other tapes. For example, for one of the circuits she uses the first part of the second section of Power Max (quarter hop-turn, etc), followed by the power lunges the long way across the step, followed by stationary lunges. I was so glad that was the last circuit because my legs were trembling after that one! I think Cathe is using a 35-lb barbell during this section. She also uses dumbbells for some of the leg work.

The last section is upper body conditioning, and it's very similar to the upper body in Maximum Intensity strength (MIS). Cathe uses a 25-lb barbell and various size weights during this section. These are the exercises that she does during this section.

Chest: dumbbell bench press, barbell bench press, pushups (5 sets!).
Back: 1-arm lat rows, bent-over rows w/ barbell, rear delt flies.
Shoulders: dumbbell military press, upright rows, side lateral raise (both short & long lever lifts).
Biceps: barbell curls, hammer curls, crazy eights, more hammer curls, w/ a rotation this time.
Triceps: close-grip bench press, lying triceps extension, dips w/out barbell, kickbacks.

I love it when Cathe announces that we're going to do one set of crazy-eights, and then she says, "no comments now!" (Just as I'm about to make a rude one.) Finally, she does ab work and IMO, it's the toughest ab work that Cathe does. It starts out relatively easy, but it gets tough! I did this workout yesterday and my abs are sore today. I really love this workout and I think Cathe did an outstanding job designing it.

Instructor Comments:
As usual, Cathe's cueing and form pointers are impeccable. She is such a great instructor and she really makes me want to try to work my hardest.

Melissa F


This video is for those who loved the intensity and the simple choreography of the MIC/MIS series. It is divided roughly into thirds--the first third is a warm up plus high impact, high intensity step work, the second third (power circuit) alternates similar step segments with lower body toning followed by a cool down and stretch, and the third is a very thorough, upper body strength workout.

The warm up is very thorough--you start easy, then have a brief stretch before moving into a bit higher intensity (but low impact) work to prepare you for all the power moves ahead.

The cardio work in both sec. 1 and 2 reminds me a lot of what you see in MIC, both in terms of style and tempo. It's more linear in nature, with no long combos to learn. This section is almost entirely power moves, and you'll recognize nearly all the steps from past videos and from StepWorks ("in and out repeater," "power lunges," and "figure 8's"). You could call the choreography a collection of "Cathe's greatest hits" except that her more complex moves aren't in here. You'll see stuff from Step Max (T-steps, basketball shoots, abduction repeaters aka "explode", oodles o' alternating lunges), Step Heat (A-step/heel toe/diagonal hop turn/jack), Power Max (power L, abduction repeaters, quarter hop turn/long hop turn, run on step/jump freeze, etc.), Step Jam (that scoop thing on the step), Step Fit (power scissors, step hop/walk back and kick), and more that I can't remember at the moment.

Cathe assumes her fans know most of these moves, and since they aren't broken down, the intensity doesn't lag for a minute.

The second section, called "power circuit," has very similar step choreography. It's a traditional circuit workout except that the cardio portions are very high intensity. The toning segments are all for the lower body--lunges, static lunges, dips off the step, plie squats--and most use the barbell, which she seems to have set to 35 lbs. like in MIS. The exercises are similar to MIS, with variations in set length and the reps are a bit faster.

After a cool down and quick stretch, you proceed to the upper body section. At first glance, it looks very much like the upper body work in MIS, but there are subtle differences that make this an endurance workout rather than the super heavy muscle building workout of MIS. As with MIS, she covers chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs, in that order.

For the barbell, start out a fair amount lighter than you would with MIS--Cathe has dropped to a 25 pound barbell here where she used 35 lbs. in MIS. Most of the exercises are like those in MIS, but here you do faster sets and in most cases more sets. I think there were 5 sets (short sets, but still!) of pushups! What makes these sets difficult (and why you can't use quite as much weight is she'll stick in "active rests" where you'll hold the weight in an isometric contraction before doing the next set. Your muscles get really fatigued. There is not as much opportunity to rest between sets/exercises, either, as would be expected from an endurance workout.

I didn't really notice the music in this video until the end, when I noticed that the stretch music was very nice and new-agey. The stretch is longer than usual and thorough, most similar to Step Fit's.

I suspect many people will choose to break this video up, because 90 very intense minutes can be a bit much some days. The structure of the video allows for this--sec. 1 and 2 could be combined for a great, hour-long cardio and lower body workout, sec. 2 and 3 would give you some cardio plus a complete strength workout, and each section can function independently, as well, provided you supplement with your own warm up or cool down as necessary. For example, sec. 1 would make a great, intense 1/2 hour cardio workout, and sec. 3 a good upper body workout to substitute for Cory Everson's Get Hard Arms and Shoulders.

All in all, a great video for MIC/MIS fans and any advanced exerciser who wants a challenge.