Charles Harris
Year Released: 2001

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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This workout made me think of many others—Tae Bo Extreme (kickboxing with a step and light dumbbells), Slim Series (low weight, high rep) and Firm Volume 4 (stepping up and down and up and down while doing arm work). It’s different from all of these but contains elements of each.

Charles intersperses step work throughout. At the beginning, you do one section that’s all upper body while just stepping side to side. Most of the upper body work focuses on the shoulders. I seem to remember just one little tricep section, one for back, and a couple of bicep exercises.

The choreography is very simple and athletic, as other reviewers have mentioned. It includes one of my favorite moves—the side crunch (like Slim Series and Tae Bo).

The music is repetitive, but appropriate. The song actually seems to be “Chizel-It.” I believe I heard “Chizel it, just a little bit” many times. I’m not in love with it, but it didn’t bother me.

This workout would be good for someone who wants simple, athletic choreography, light toning, and variety. I didn’t really consider it a cardio or sculpting workout. Maybe sort of a circuit/interval workout? I’m sure my heartrate dropped low and often (though I never really keep track). I thought my arms would be sore the next day, but they’re not. So, you may see my copy on the swap one day, but for now I’m keeping this one because it seems like a nice change from my usual.

Instructor Comments:
Charles seems likeable enough. During the warm-up, he says “You can do it!” so many times I started to dislike him, but he stopped after a while, at least until much later in the workout. He seems young, and like he’s really into the workout, which helped me get into it too.



This workout must be a good one for women named “Laura”. If you are wondering what I am talking about, look at the names of the people who have reviewed this workout and how many have that name.

Anyway... On cardio work, I am an intermediate exerciser who enjoys with intermediate to advanced choreography. With strength work, I am an intermediate exerciser, who doesn’t really want to move up to advanced work.

I’m not sure if this is an interval or circuit workout. It has elements of both types. I do this workout on one of my strength days, even though (every time) I think that’s not a logical conclusion. It’s really a cardio workout. However, I do get some strength benefit from it. Since I’m way more into cardio than strength workouts, I guess I do it on days I really don’t feel like doing an actual strength workout. I must have the opposite tape from Alta’s, because my tape is always L-O-U-D and I have to keep turning it down so it doesn’t blast me into the next room.

He leads a fairly large group of background exercisers in a gym-style setting. He does count constantly which sometimes is irritating and sometimes motivating to me. The workout goes by pretty quickly except for one seemingly endless step sequence toward the end. The abs section at the end was actually one I enjoyed (something that doesn’t happen often), so it was probably pretty easy. He also does standing ab work throughout the workout.

Overall, I like this workout, although in some sections I wonder why. I find it motivating and feel like I’ve had a decent workout at the end.

Instructor Comments:
He is a loud, motivating instructor who draws me into this workout.

Laura S.


I really like this video! As other reviewers have stated, if you do not like basic moves and simple choreography, look elsewhere for a workout. But I enjoy the basic, intense moves that keep your heart pumping and your mind focused on form rather than learning complex steps. This video is an interval-type of workout with fast step/hi-lo/kickboxing moves (some with weights) followed by somewhat slower-paced light weight lifting. Note that I mentioned light weight lifting - I didn't feel like I got much of a strength workout, especially since the strength moves were performed at such a fast pace with not many reps. But, for a sweat-producing, heart-pumping workout, this one can't be beat.

Instructor Comments:
Charles is very motivating and fun. He keeps you moving with his encouragement and simple, yet effective moves.

Laura Wehrwein


This video is not for everyone, but it is just right for me. I am an intermediate exerciser. The stuff that some seem to dislike about it is: very basic choreography, he counts constantly, it's the same song for 40 minutes, etc. I like the counting. I like the upbeat, loud music and I especially like the easy to follow choreography.

Charles has a nice, encouraging style. This is a tape I will use often. My only gripe is that it is hard to hear him sometimes. But the moves are so simple that it isn't a problem. Avoid this one if you must have complex, dancy moves .

Instructor Comments:
He has a charming and enthusiastic manner. I hope Charles makes more videos.



I found this boring, to be blunt. I like Charles Harris and I like his energy, but I don't like this workout. Using a step, you do very basic aerobics with dumbbells. The moves are fast, so you use light weights. It's repetitive and seems never-ending. The intensity is pretty decent (intermediate/advanced). I thought this would be nice for a change of pace, but there are too many other *fun* workouts to choose from.

Annie S.


This is 45-minute, total body interval workout. It has a very wide variety of moves in it, from kickboxing moves on the step to “jumping rope”, and doing squats while lifting weights. It has a class like setting in a small gym with Charles Harris working out in front of 10 other exercisers. There is definitely no complex choreography in this video. It is very easy to follow, and Charles counts out every move. The music sounds like something you would hear on a hip hop/R&B radio station, but it has an exercise beat that fits perfectly with the workout. I would call this an intermediate workout, but it could have easily been turned into an advanced workout if the intense cardio segments were longer, and if the ab work at the end was longer. Overall it is a great workout to do when you want to add variety to your routine and hit every part of your body in a short amount of time. Here is a breakout of the workout:
5 minutes – Warm up stretches while stepping from side to side, warm up squats followed by a ton a knee lifts which are combined with various arm movements such as bicep curls, overhead presses and chest flyes. Warm up front kicks, side kicks, and punches.
5 minutes – Still the warm up, but the music starts getting faster as you pick up the pace. Step side to side with arm movements. Right and left punches followed by some jumping jacks.
1 minute – “jumping rope”, “jump rope” while jumping from side to side and bringing your knees up.
3 minutes – Step ups. Start with right foot on the step and bring your left leg up while doing arm movements, then switch to the other foot.
Pick up your weights (Charles recommends 2 to 3 lbs, and “sometimes 5 lbs.”)
4-5 minutes – Step side to side while doing arm movements (bicep curls, chest presses, overhead presses, chest flyes). Oblique work- hold your right arm up and then bring it down while bringing your right knee up to meet it. (do this on both sides). Begin stepping side to side again and do bent over rows, tricep presses, side lateral raises, shoulder shrugs, combination bicep curl and overhead press.
1 minute – Put weights down and work your lower body with some front and side kicks.
4 minutes – (Get ready for an intense cardio segment) Turn your step so it is vertical to the TV. Quickly step on, over, and off your step while doing arm movements.
1-2 minutes – Put your step back horizontal for another intense cardio segment. Step up onto the step and do front kicks and punches.
2 minutes – Now you have a chance to catch your breath as you do some side bends and torso twists.
1 minute – Squats
2 minutes – Stationary lunges followed by a standing thigh stretch
Pick up weights
4 minutes – Step up and down on your step while doing arm movements (bicep curls, front raises, side lateral raises, overhead presses, chest flyes, chest presses).
2 minutes – Stand on your step (still holding weights) and do side bends, deadlifts, squats, squats with bicep curls, squats with front raises.
1 minute – Step down from step, put weights down, and do punches to the right and left
3 minutes – Pick up weights. Oblique work (Right elbow to right knee then repeat on other side). Stand with legs apart and do 3 count lateral raises (3 up and 1 down), do 3 count front raises (This is where you begin to feel it in your shoulders).
2 minutes – Put weights down and do some cool down stretches while stepping from side to side.
3 minutes – Ab work. While lying on your back, holding a dumbell in your right arm, bring your right arm to meet your right knee (do this on both sides). Work lower abs by raising your knees and butt off the floor. Work your upper abs with crunches.
2 minutes - Stretch

Instructor Comments:
Charles Harris keeps you going with words of encouragement during the workout. By counting out every move, he keeps you motivated while letting you know exactly when you are going to switch to a different move. He is a fun and friendly instructor, and I hope he does more videos.