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Cathe Friedrich Interview

by Wendy Niemi Kremer

WNK: I once read in Collage's "Complete Guide To Exercise Videos" that you were a pioneer in higher impact step routines. How long have you been an aerobics instructor and how did you begin your career in Step?

CF: I have been an aerobics instructor for 16 years now and absolutely love it! Obviously, step was not around 16 years ago... but when it came out in 1989 I was teaching aerobics to private celebrity clients in Carnegie Hall in NYC.

We were doing leg strengthening exercises on 14 inch high long wooden benches. About 6 clients could fit on one bench. I have always tried to be creative in this industry...so I began experimenting with ways to use these wooden benches aerobically instead of only for muscle conditioning. At just about the same time The Step and Reebok launched their Step Reebok program and came out with the first modern-day step. I attended their seminar and realized that I was already doing a similar type of workout, but with a different twist.(My approach was a bit faster, more aggressive and more diverse).

I contacted a close friend who was already in the aerobic video business and asked him if he would be interested in helping me make one of the first ever Step Aerobic videos. This video ended up being called Step N Motion and quickly became the hottest and best selling step video of the year.

WNK: What is the structural breakdown of your new video, PowerMax?

CF: The warm-up is 8 min., step aerobics 45 min., cool down 7 min.

WNK: How does the choreography, workout structure and difficulty level of PowerMax compare to your other recent videos?

CF: I'll start first with choreography. PowerMax has the most choreography of all my videos.The next most similar would be Step Jam, followed by Mega Step Blast, Step Heat and Step Max.

As far as workout structure goes, I think all of my videos are very similar and each is about 60 minutes in length.

When you say difficulty level, I'm going to assume that you mean intensity level rather than complexity. As far as intensity goes I feel that PowerMax is one of the hardest videos I have made - though some people may feel that StepMax is even harder.

WNK: How does choreographing a video workout differ from choreographing a live step class?

CF: It's funny that you ask that because I just addressed that issue in PowerMax. A live aerobic class is much different. You have people from all walks of life coming in the door. You have those who come 6 days per week, those who do double classes, and those who just signed up that day and have never exercised before in their life. So you have to teach things longer and you have to make sure 90% of the class gets it before you move on. In a live class I get instant feedback from the participants ... so I know right away if the class is able to follow me and if they are having fun... or if I need to make some adjustments.

Unfortunately, with video I can't see nor can I get feedback from the person doing my workout. I also can't change the workout or make any adjustments . That is why I assume that any person who buys my videos is an experienced stepper. Since your video workout will be the same routine every time, I like to keep things moving so it doesn't get boring. If you teach things too long on video, your heart rate can drop at times due to the 1/2 time-tempos or the added little marching steps that are involved when teaching a move. So if we can cut down on the teaching time (because you can rewind it if you want to see it again) we can keep your heart rate up and your interest level high.

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