Real Fitness: Circuit Training

Keli Roberts
Year Released: 1993

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

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I just did this video for the first time this morning and WOW! It turned out to be a really great workout.

The step segments were straight up athletic moves, simple, but effective combinations. No complex choreography at all. I typically workout on a 6" step but I raised my step during the second step segment to increase intensity and to keep my heartrate elevated during the next strength segment. Next time I'll probably start out on a higher step.

For the strength segments Keli uses exercise bands. I used resistance tubing which worked well for most of the exercises. For some of the exercises I had to modify. I don't feel like I worked terribly hard for most of the exercises in terms of strength, but there certainly was some cardio benefit, as I was able to maintain an elevated heartrate throughout.

Instructor Comments:

Helen K


My background: Iím just getting back into exercising regularly after having been extremely inconsistent because of chronic back problems. I enjoy FIRM tapes (the combination of aerobics and weights), but I donít want to use any of them right now because theyíre either too advanced or I have a history with them and can remember how I ďused to be ableĒ to use a particular weight or do a particular move. I decided, of course, that I needed to buy new videos that are in the style of circuit training.

I absolutely love this video! Iíve loved Keli ever since Cherís tape and I donít know why I didnít purchase this workout sooner! I like how the step portions keep my heart rate right where I want it (high end of my target heart range). I also like how theyíre much longer than Step Reebokís Circuit Challenge. Also, the strength segments are longer than Circuit Challenge and that made me feel like I was working harder.

The parts that were disappointing to me:
You do have to use bands during some of the segments because otherwise, you wonít get the same muscles working using dumbbells. Thatís ok with me because I have the bands that came with one of Cherís tapes but I prefer using dumbbells for most workouts now. I decided to use dumbbells for some of the exercises and bands for others and thereís not much time to switch between the two.

I also wish that the camera wouldnít have moved so much. It wasnít bad, but I would have liked to have seen the people on the right hand side of the screen more and would definitely have liked to have seen the 2 women on the left hand side - who showed the low impact modifications - for longer periods of time. Sometimes all that was shown was a quick shot and then the camera moved on.

It would have been nice if there had been more variety in the different strength segments rather than repeating the same moves for each one. The way itís done, you get multiple sets for each exercise. I like hitting the same body parts multiple times but sometimes I like to use different exercises to do that. However, the exercises that are done are very effective. I also wish that some squats had been included as a lower body exercise. Instead, I think the only leg exercise is some lunges on/off of the step.

I know it seems like there are several things Iím disappointed in about this video but they really donít take away from how much I love working out to it. My endorphin levels are quite high by the end of the workout and I enjoy every minute of it.

Grade: A-

Sharon Muha


Good music, great routines, challenging!

Instructor Comments:
Keli is GREAT. The best step instructor, excellent routines, good motivaional music. I wish she would release some more tapes soon! Her tapes are the only ones I don't get bored with.

Sandy Flatt


I love this video! It's 56 minutes of fun. There are three step segments followed by toning sessions with PowerFLEX band. She help you work your back, triceps, shoulders and biceps, slow lunges off the step with biceps and rows, then on to tricep dips off the step then push ups. The step sections are tough if you add power. My heart rate was up there the whole time and barely came down during the toning because of the added lunges. The third step section was my favorite. This is challenging if you add hops with the knee lifts and lunges - you'll definately burn calories. I also like the PowerFlex band as an alternative to weights. As Cathe says, "Variety is the key!"

The only things I don't like about this tape are, the step is pointed toward the tv the whole time. My living room doesn't deal with that well but I do manage to have "just" enough room. I also don't care for the funky shoulders in the cool down, but that's just a personal preference and it's for less than a minute so I can deal with that too. I recently bought Gay Gasper's Step-n-Stones II - this is SO much better than Gay's. Kelli's Circuit Training is an A+ tape and one that will absolutely be in my heavy rotation.

Instructor Comments:
Kelli is the queen of abs and stretching! I get the best stretching and ab work done with her direction. She's the perfect mix of coach and friend.

Tami Skelton


There are three segments: step, abs, and hips/buns/thighs. I do the entire thing all at once (1 hr, 20 mins), but you can break it up if you don't have enough time.

The first part, step aerobics, is an intermediate-level class with fantastic music. The choreography is easy to follow -- nothing dancy -- but you'll find yourself really getting into the music and wanting to dance! It includes songs like Born to be Wild and other great rock. Some of Cher's music is included, too -- all with a great beat that motivates you to move.

The next section, abs, is about 10 minutes and is one of the best ab workouts I've seen. Keli herself has abs to die for. (If I had Keli Roberts' abs, Karen Voight's legs, and Jane Fonda's arms, I'd have it made.)

Finally, the hips/buns/thighs section is 32 minutes and is TOUGH. It's all done standing, except for a short inner-thigh segment at the end. You don't use any weights, but you *will* feel it, especially during the beginning plie section. Excellent. The great music continues here, too, and even into the final stretch.

Although the tape is intermediate, I would recommend it to anyone. Advanced exercisers will be challenged by the toning sections and will have a blast with the step part because of the music. Beginners will find the entire routine challenging, but since the steps aren't complicated, it can be learned using a lower-height step and moving up to higher heights as their cardio capacity increases. I rate this one an A+.

Although I'm a major Keli Roberts fan, this is my least favorite of her 3 tapes. It's a circuit workout, alternating between step aerobics and toning. The step is excellent and challenging - especially the last segment. The toning is done with a band, which I don't care for. But when I tried to substitute dumbbells, some of the exercises just didn't conform well. So now I either just do it with bands (blech), or fast forward over the toning parts and just do the step. If you like bands, this will be an A+ tape for you. If not, a B+.

Annie S.