Video Fitness

Blast Away 10 Lbs.

Denise Austin

I bought Denise Austin's Blast Away 10 Lbs. Video because I like her upbeat tone and personality. I have mixed reviews about this video however. The video consists of 2-20 minute workouts. I ONLY buy workouts that are 20 minutes long because this way I can do them in the morning before work and still have time to eat breakfast and relax for a bit. (I also walk 5 miles each night after work.)

The box specifically reads "In the first, Denise guides you through martial arts-inspired exercizes designed to shed pounds, and firm your legs, arms and bottom...." I would agree that the first workout does this. It is fun, invigorating, and I SWEAT, which is what I feel I need to do in order to get any benefit. It was fun, challenging, and to-the-point, plus it included a nice warm-up and cool-down. The box also reads "In the second, Denise combines cardio-kickboxing movements and simple weight-lifting to sculpt your muscles......" I do not care for this workout. It is too dancey, which does not make me feel like I even exercised at all! It states it is a cardio-kickboxing workout, but there are only two short segments of kicking. There are a lot of jumping jacks and "jump rope" actions. I feel kind of jipped that I paid money for these elementary moves. I feel that I can do those kinds of moves on my own if I want to, but I buy a video to show me NEW moves that keep me motivated. This second workout was just too "saggy".

There are a few instances of less-than-perfect coreography but I can live with that, and contrary to others' comments her voice does not bother me. The background is colorful (kind of 80'ish) but it's fun and bright and that's what exercize is supposed to be, right? She does fabulous abdominal workouts that have made my abs rather chiseled and her ab workouts are the BEST. I just do not care for the dancy "Cha-Chas", jumping jacks and simulated jumping rope in the second workout of this "kickboxing" video.

Sara G., Burnsville, Minnesota

I should begin by saying that I've never liked Denise; I used to see her TV show years ago, and I just always found her raspy voice and fake (to me) enthusiasm to be annoying. However, I recently saw this video in the library, so I decided to be open-minded and give it a try. There are two workouts on this video, each around 22 minutes in length; I'm guessing that they were taken from Denise's TV show, but the commercials breaks have been nicely smoothed over.

The first program is called Kickbox Blast Off. Prior to the start of the workout, Denise briefly reviews the different punches, which was helpful. The workout itself begins with a simple warm up which includes punches, moves on to some standing abs work (twists), and then goes into kick-punch combinations. The kickboxing work is low impact, but unfortunately, Denise throws in quite a few jacks; I could have done without these. I definitely enjoyed the kickboxing combos, but Denise's exceptionally poor cueing really detracted from the workout: she suddenly goes into new moves and combos with absolutely no warning or instruction. At times, I found myself looking to her six background exercisers for guidance (they often displayed better form anyway), but even they were obviously having trouble following Denise. Towards the end of the workout, there is some focused leg toning work, and then it ends with a 3-minute Tai Chi-like cool down.

The second program is called Interval Workout With Weights. In this workout, Denise alternates 3-minute cardio intervals with 1-minute light toning intervals. After the 3-minute warm-up, the first cardio segment was somewhat dancey and included mambos and chassÚs. The first toning interval focused on shoulders, and then it was back to cardio for a kickboxing segment. Next came biceps work, another dancey cardio interval, back and triceps work, and then a final kickboxing interval prior to the 4-minute cool-down. The workout is mostly low-impact, but Denise does include some jacks and plyometric moves. Although Denise's cueing was again off, she repeats many of the moves, so I was eventually able to follow along. This workout did nicely raise my heart rate, but I felt that the toning segments were pretty inconsequential (using heavier weights would help). There are only two background exercisers in this segment.

If these two workouts were led by a different instructor, I probably would have really enjoyed them, but Denise's poor cueing and form definitely had a negative impact. These workouts are probably best suited to advanced beginners; I'm more in the intermediate category, but using my 1-lb. weighted gloves during both workouts increased the intensity for me. I'm glad I gave this video a shot, but at this point, I probably would not be willing to workout with Denise again.

Instructor comments: I know some people like Denise's personality; I don't, but I could have put up with it if her cueing was not so abysmal. It also seemed like Denise was trying to copy other instructors here--including Billy Blanks from Tae Bo fame and Kathy Smith from her Peak Fat-Burning workout--but her imitation does not come close to the originals. There are so many great instructors out there that's it's a really shame so many beginners start with Denise (and most likely struggle in the process).

Beth C (aka toaster)

September 10, 2004

I felt like I got an okay workout, but I don't know if I ever want to do the video again. I got really tired of Denise's patronizing tone telling me "God only gave you one body", "you're gonna look so good", etc. etc. ad nauseum. One or two comments like that are okay, but a continual blithering of "motivating" comments really gets on my nerves, and by the end I just wanted to turn off the tv instead of keep exercising.

If you feel you need constant talking and motivating throughout your workout, then this video might be good for you, if not definitely look for something else!

Instructor comments: Her voice is too quiet sometimes and I can barely hear it over the music. She also NEVER STOPS TALKING. I guess that's good for some people, but for me I really only need a cue for the next step, and maybe an occasional comment about form.



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