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Kathy Smith's Fat Burning Workout

(Beginner-Floor Aerobics)

Superb introduction to fitness for beginners. The easy-paced, uncomplicated aerobics are a sweat-getting 40 minutes long, but broken down into 6 segments so one can progress at their own pace. Periodic "Body Check" video insets show you exactly what muscles you're working, and modifications for the less-fit are also shown. Nice long warm-ups and cool-down/stretch. This is the one that got me started!
Grade: A+

Sue Bryant TOP

Fitness Level: Beginner
Composition: 5-7 minute warm-up and stretch; 38 minutes floor aerobics; 5-7 minutes cool-down and stretch
Impact: low
Music: mostly traditional aerobic mix
Heart Rate Checks: two, plus two "perceived exertion" checks
Choreography: basic to moderate
Setting: Studio

Sue and I are kindred spirits where this workout is concerned--it was my first real exercise video, too. I bought this in January 1994 when the temperature was 20 below and the weatherman said it'd be that way for at least another two weeks. My walking regime had already bitten the dust due to our windchill factor, and the winter blues were setting in. To this day, I don't know why this video called my name, except I remembered reading where Chris Evert once said she owed her staying power in tennis to having had Kathy as a personal trainer. But once I took it home and started exercising, my workout life was never the same again. Now I only walk for exercise if I'm on vacation away from a VCR. If anyone reading this knows Kathy personally, tell her I said THANK YOU.

But enough about me. Let's talk about this tape. Kathy's put together a solid set of routines divided into six sections, very clearly marked, so if you don't have the stamina to go almost forty minutes, you can fast-forward through to the cool-down. Her teaching style is practically legendary among some of us in this forum--she cues well, and you really practice new steps thoroughly, before she adds on or combines them. Kathy is also very safety-minded. Using a split screen or picture insert, she or one of her students demonstrates modifiers for many of the moves. This way, her workout is accessible to even the most sedentary beginner without losing effectiveness for the more experienced exerciser.

"Fat Burning Workout" also includes muscle conditioning exercises built into the floor aerobics. Kathy works all the major muscle groups except the abs. The screen insert shows a still shot and the Latin name of the muscle groups being worked. For someone like me who'd rather eat nails than lie down on the floor and do calisthenics, this was a great way to kill two birds with one stone! The warm-up and cool-down sections include some great stretching. In this tape, Kathy has you on your feet until the last half of the cool-down; by then you're grateful to lie down and stretch out your legs and back.

Since 1988, when this video was released, experts have come out and said that you need both aerobics and strong muscles to effectively burn fat. Kathy incorporates dumbbell work in the Weight Loss Workout, which is a follow-up to this one. But this is a great "foundation" for beginners and those new to aerobics. If that's you, then don't mess around--Kathy's tapes don't cost much more than the real cheapies in discount stores, but you'll get a workout worth much, much more!
Grade: A

Melissa Cooper

Melissa gave a very thorough review of this video so I will only add my personal comments. Like Sue and Melissa, this was the first exercise video that I ever did and it got me hooked on this form of exercise seven years ago. This routine had enough variety and enthusiasm to prevent me from getting bored. I really liked the fact that there is such a long aerobic section. If you are an aerobics beginner, I highly recommend that you purchase this tape! It's fun, Kathy does a great job at talking you through the steps and it will help you get in good cardiovascular shape to move you on to even more challenging videos!

Rachelle Trigueros

I just began this video a week ago. I alternate days, one day doing her tape, the next doing one of my yoga tapes. This has helped me to keep from getting sore. I love how quickly the time goes by.. I am always surprised when she announces that there is only one more interval to go! At first I had some trouble with footwork, not being particularly graceful. Yes, its basic and, therefore, a good video for beginners. Nevertheless, a seasoned exerciser, in my opinion, can still get a good workout with this video-(just add hand weights). I own twenty-eight fitness videos and am continually looking for new ones. Furthermore, I have given many away over the years which I felt were not enough for me. This one, however, has remained and sits on the shelf with the twenty-seven others. If you want a good workout and don't mind basic choreography, then chances are you'll like this workout.

Sandy Martelli

This is a solid, basic floor routine. Kathy leads four others (including one man) through a warm-up, 35+ minutes of aerobics and a cool-down. The aerobics are divided into six segments. Following each segment is one or more of the following: heart rate check, perceived exertion check or a graphic showing the ratio of fat/glycogen calories burned thus far. Interspersed are "body checks" that focus on proper form during the toning moves. Occasionally, modifiers are also shown, but there are no designated beginners.

Kathy is energetic, a good motivator and cues well. The cast has some "real" people (as opposed to perfectly sculpted models) and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

This tape has little visual or auditory appeal. It was made in 1988 and it looks it. The studio is brightly colored and casts a pinkish glow. Kathy's strange outfit is even worse - a garish combination of hot pink, turquoise and purple. The music is a bland aerobic mix.

For those who don't care about these quibbles, I would recommend this tape for those in the mid-beginner to low-intermediate range; looking for a solid, moderately-paced routine. I would hesitate to recommend this to absoulute beginners, however, unless they already understand modification techniques. The occasional modifier inserts will not be enough for some novice exercisers.

Denise B.

This is an enjoyable low-impact workout for beginners and intermediates.

It starts with an 8-minute warming-up and stretch, followed by 38 minutes of aerobics, divided into six sections (making it easy for beginners to work up to completing the whole tape), and finally a thorough 10-minute stretch.

Rather than adding toning exercises in a separate section, they are introduced at various points in the workout. "Body Checks", screen inserts which focus on the toning exercises, help to explain correct technique. There are also several heart rate checks.

The choreography is simple, but fun (no complicated dance moves). This tape really gets the heart rate up - she makes you use your arms a lot. I like the way Kathy Smith starts with a move and then adds on to it. This is a great workout which really makes me work hard, sweat a lot, and feel very good when I've finished.

Glynis van Uden
17 July 1998

This was my first serious attempt at video workouts and one of the best I have found - and I bought it ten years ago.

The warm-up is long enough and the cool-down is thorough. The routine is easy to catch on to. Although I do a lot of others now by Kathy and also Denise Austin, I return to this tape when I really want a good, sound workout.

Just wanted to add my thoughts after all these years.

Instructor comments: Kathy Smith was one of the first instructors I bought and have stayed with her for a long time. She directs well and is enthusiastic while giving you many tips and modifiers if you are just starting out. I trust her.

Claudia Pierotti

This is the video that got me started and I agree that it is an excellent video for beginners. One of the good things for beginners is that so many new videos require equipment and this one requires absolutly none.

The only caveat for beginners is that you may find it easier to get started in an exercise program if the workout isn't so long. There were many times when I first started that I figured if I didn't have a whole hour, I might as well not exercise at all (not true!). Otherwise, this is indeed an excellent starter workout and one that could easily be alternated with shorter videos.

The other reviewers here have given excellent break-downs of the video. The one thing I want to add is that the final stretch is the best video stretch I have ever done. (I own Karen Voight Pure & Simple Stretch and Charlene Prickett Home Stretch). It is just short of 15 minutes and *very* thourough. Kathy has us do quite a few different stretches just for our backs. And her outer thigh and glute stretch is THE best. If I had DVD I would just tag this stretch onto the end of all my tapes.

Despite all this videos strengths, there really is no excuse for the awful costumes. Therefore, let me appologize in advance to anyone purchasing the tape based on these reviews. Just keep in mind that this tape is well worth the glaring costumes, because it is still such a good workout, even after 13 years.

Instructor comments: Kathy is very non-intimidating, caring and really focuses on educating about fitness and safety. In my opinion, she is truly the queen of work out videos!

Jennine in Baltimore

Type: Low Impact Aerobics
Intensity: Low
Difficulty: High Beginner
Choreography: Easy
Space Required: Enough for a grapevine

The Workout:
I got this for 50 cents at a yard sale and am glad to say it is a keeper! As a high intermediate exerciser, this workout has appeal for a day I want to so SOMETHING but don't feel up to really pushing myself. Its is neatly divided into sections, so you could easily use this as an add-on tape. The moves are all traditional low impact aerobic moves with lots of arm movements. I added 1 pound hand weights and it added a little more intensity. When my arms got tired I'd just do bicep curls or tricep kickbacks. Kathy incorporates upper body movements (bicep curls and tricep kickbacks) as well, using no weights. I was in the low end of my target heart rate range throughout the workout.

Overall Impressions: Nice slower pace for a veteran exerciser, easily modifiable to increase intensity, or a great starter tape for a beginner.

Grade: I'm downgrading it to an A- due to the ballistic stretches which have, since this tape's release, been proven to be unsafe.

Instructor comments: Kathy is very informative and professional in this workout, and seems to be having a great time!

Peggy Elliott
September, 2004

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