Cardio Collectibles

Christi Taylor
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance , Step Aerobics

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Iím reviewing this workout after doing the workout several times, although Iíve only done the step portion once.

General workout breakdown: This approximately 71.5-min. half step, half hi/low aerobics workout has already been described, so Iíll just add a few more details.

The warm-up is almost 7 min., the step is just over 28.5 min., the hi/low is 32 min., and the cool-down / stretch is only 3.5 min. I felt the cool-down was too short; I could have used another minute or two after that step workout, although since the hi/lo isnít quite as intense for me itís not as big a deal if I come off just that. If I want to be really picky Iíd say Iíd prefer all of the dancing (Bollywood-inspired?) at the beginning rather than interspersing the moves with the stretches.

Christi combines standard aerobics moves with a dancey flair. As always, youíll often start with hamstring curls, knee lifts, grapevines, step touches, v-steps, mambos, cha chas, and other moves which get jazzed up as the routine progresses. Although this isnít straight up dance, Christiís ability to match moves to music and make them flow together in a sequence will make you feel like youíre dancing.

Christiís teaching method: Christi always begins with basic steps but quickly layers them, either making the step into something different, changing the order and/or rhythm, or cutting down the number of repetitions. Her style of instruction is to begin with a few counts of basic moves, then layer it up, run through the new variations of the moves a few times, then put them together to take it from the top. Sheíll then add on another set of base moves, repeat, and then run through all of the parts of that combo before doing another TIFT. In the step workout she never really stops to introduce a new move: as you keep running through, sheíll show the next variation (often without verbal breakdown during the ďwatch meĒ portion), then you immediately add it in to the half or full combo. In the hi/lo, in contrast, she might run through the new move or the new layer several times on its own before throwing it back into the half or full combo.
Christi teaches things symmetrically, although sheíll often have you do the layered variation on the second side without repeated all of the break down (or build up).
There are some taps to switch sides in a few combos, mostly in the warm-up and step portion only.
Christi never weaves, or slices and dices, combos; sheíll always do combo #1 on the right, combo #1 on the left, combo #2 on the right, and then combo #2 on the left (or whatever side she does first), and so on.

As has been mentioned, thereís a decent amount of impact here, some of which you can modify out and some of which you canít really, especially if youíre trying to avoid extra torque on your knees. There are a number of pivots, including some quick ones across the top of the step and some twisty moves on the floor, so be careful if your sneakers like to catch on your step and/or carpet.

Level: Iíd recommend this to experienced exercisers at the intermediate through intermediate / advanced (maybe low advanced) level who are comfortable with at the very least moderately complex choreography.
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced in cardio, although Iím more of an intermediate plus when it comes to step, since Iím still working my way through more complex step aerobics workouts. I pick choreography up pretty quickly if itís broken down and cued well, which is very true here. I felt very confident with the choreography after just one run through (again, know I think Iím better than average at picking up Ė although probably not exactly executing Ė choreography). This gave me a solid steady state workout that had me in my moderately low zone for the hi/lo and moderately high to high (?! I guess I really put some oomph into this!) zone for the step, according to my heart rate monitor.

Class: 2 women (Julie and Kim) join Christi.

Music: mostly upbeat vocal remixes, many of which I recognized but few I could name (except ďI Like It Like That,Ē which I think is what itís called).

Production: clear picture and sound, although not super crisp. The music is definitely audible; in fact, Christiís voice comes off as kind of quiet here. The camera angles are mostly helpful, but as mentioned the main one is maybe a hair far away (especially for the step, where they donít travel side to side as much). Most close-ups focus on the whole leg.

Equipment: Obviously that the step portion uses a step (Christi and crew have Reebok steps; I used my full-sized club set with one set of risers, my usual setting, and got a good workout) and the hi/lo portion needs only sneakers. The warm-up can be done entirely on the floor or with the step, but the cool-down and stretch are done entirely on the floor (and standing).

Space Requirements: The warm-up and cool-down are fairly compact; if you can take a few steps in all directions you have enough room. You should be able to move comfortably around your step, with enough space to land your foot comfortably to each side and in front plus room to lunge backwards behind the step.

DVD Notes: Thereís an intro of Christi gardening, then alternating shots of rehearsals and the finished product. Annoyingly, you canít skip this almost 1 min. long intro (counting the warnings at the front).
The main menu options are Before you begin, Warm-up, Step, Hi/Low, Cool-down & Stretch, MoveMaster, and Bloops & Credits. Each combo is chaptered separately, so if you want to skip to the hi/lo after the warm-up youíre better off hitting ďmenuĒ and picking the workout from there.

Comments: This isnít my favorite Christi, but I still like it. Actually, I like it better now that Iíve done the step. Iím with those who enjoy the step portion more than the hi/lo, which feels unfinished in places, as if Christi is holding back on the last layer of choreography for each combo (for example, the third combo is my favorite of the hi/lo except that Christi turns the grapevine out and back into a shuffle shuffle shuffle tap and leaves it there, and it just feels awkward, so I do more of a scoot and ball change).
Overall this is less complex and intricate than most of her earlier works. That said, those whoíve picked it up alongside Mission: Possible are going to be in for a bit of a shock, as this one assumes prior familiarity with complex choreo (and it helps, too, if youíre already comfortable with Christi).

Instructor Comments:
Christi cues well, focusing on announcing steps a little bit ahead of them. I like that she says, ďI call this X,Ē usually after breaking it down more step by step, so itís clear what her terms mean. She mirror cues, although she doesnít provide many directional cues, especially for footfalls. As usual Christi, although ever the professional, brings a sense of fun during the workouts themselves, whether sheís singing cues or smiling as she dances along to the music.



I put off buying this workout when I read that the choreography wasn't as complex as Christi's usual stuff, and after having been somewhat disappointed in Stepsational. My favorite Christi workouts are CIA 9801 and Step Heaven, but I like all of her workouts aside from Funktional Fitness. I love complex choreography and in particular the way Christi cues fits me very well. I finally decided to rent it from Netflix, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I love the choreography in the step portion of this workout. Although it is broken down slightly more than some of her other workouts, I feel that Christi layers changes on quite quickly, so that you never feel like you're just doing the same thing over and over. The way the moves go together is really very fun, and by the end of the step section the moves and the music just make me smile.
I am a bigger fan of Christi's step than of her hi-lo, but I was happy to see that this hi-lo was more reminiscent of Still Jumpin' and Totally Hot Cardio than of Solid Gold Cardio, which I traded. The difference to me is that CC is more adaptable to low impact than was SGC, which is important to my knees.

All in all, I enjoyed the originality of the choreography, Christi's sunny disposition :) and the lack of Theresa's camera-hooging ways (sorry!).

Instructor Comments:
Christi is her usual upbeat, smiling self. She cues perfectly (for me) in this workout.



Cardio Collectibles starts off with a quick warm up and then leads into about 32 minutes of step and 28 minutes of hi/lo...followed by a cool down.

The step portion is great - a few turns, though not as many as in some of her other workouts. Some unique moves I've never seen before.

The hi/lo portion seems to me to start off a little slow but it builds up speed before long. There is some impact that can't be avoided (unless you just skip the turns and stick with her original move), but lots of modifications as well.

I'm an advanced exerciser and I loved this workout - it's a keeper. I rate her Totally Hot Cardio (hi/lo) above this one, as well as some of her other step but it's still really good. I haven't tried some of her other recent ones that didn't get such great reviews though.

Cons: The only one I can think of is that some of the screen shots seem a little too far away - there is space both above & below Christi & her two cohorts on the screen (not such a close up). I guess that can be a pro or a con, depending on if you need to see it all and not just rely on cueing !

Instructor Comments:
Christi is the cueing queen. She knows her way around a breakdown and gets you doing advanced choreography before you know it ! She has an upbeat approach and incredibly innovative stuff !



Cardio Collectibles was released at the same time as Mission Possible. Like Mission Possible, it is a split format: half the routine is step, half the routine is floor aerobics. The workout takes place on the same set as Mission Possible-- light hardwood floors with pale pink and ivory cutains in the background. It is fairly tasteful and not distracting. It differs from Mission Possible in that it is longer, higher intensity, the choreography is more complicated, and there is slightly less break down of the moves. Each half has four combinations to learn. There are more pivots and turns than in Mission Possible, but the step routine does not have a huge amount of travelling moves. You do stay close to the step. I liked the step routine a lot. The music goes well with the choreo. It is not super recognizable tunes (which is fine by me), but it is fun and danceable. I especially like the song that complements the second step combo.
It took me a few tries to get the routine down. I had difficulty with the third combination in the step routine. The moves are a little less precise (if that makes sense) and includes some walking away from the step with which I always have a hard time. The finished combination seemed to be easier to perform than the learning part. Fortunately, the last combination of the step routine is easier to learn. She has you run through it a couple of times and then it is on to a super fun floor routine. The floor routine is a little bit longer than the step routine. You will need enough room to grapevine from side to side and do some side kicks. Christi starts you off with a fun hamstring curl, figure eight combination. It is then on to the aformementioned grapevine, knee turn, side kick combination. The third combination is fabulous. Lots of turns, pivots and up and backs. I love that. The last combination is a bit of a dud (to me). I have not really mastered it and it always seems like a bit of a let down. Sometimes I cut it out. After all, the routines plus warm up total over 65 minutes. It can get a little fatiguing-- mentally as well as physically-- to d the whole thing.
Sorry! I have not done the cool down enough to comment on it.
The great thing about this workout is that it is so long and you can always skip various parts to give your workout a different feel each time. Of course, sometimes you may find yourself having such a good time that you complete the whole thing!

Instructor Comments: