Video Fitness

CIA 9801 with Christi Taylor

AWESOME EXCELLENT WORKOUT!! How is that for the beginning of this review? Christi does it again with two super fun workouts. At the beginning of the workout, Christi tells you to fasten your seatbelt because it's going to be a bumpy ride. She sure it right!

It is Packed full of complex choreography. Workout one is hi-lo. Now, I usually don't do hi/lo. I mostly do stepping. Not anymore! Christi's workout looked so fun that I tried it. I loved it! Christi has converted me to love hi lo. The warm up is actually part of the choreography for the hi/lo. Lots and lots of turns with grapevines to the right and to the left. Christi does say that you can make it high impact whenever you want. She shows mosty high impact but also does low impact to. It was kinda like Kari's sweat express but FAR MORE COMPLEX. She will teach a turning grapevine move to the side and then really change it by making it towards the tv. WHEW! I was trying to keep up with the choreography that by the time I realized it, I was cooling down. Time flies while you're having a BLAST! Christi will teach you a new move and then she will keep changing it so the it gets harder and harder. She cues very well so I was able to keep up. Although I do need more practice! After she teaches a new combo. She will go all the way back to the beginning of the first combo and combine them. This really tests your memory! The cool down is really fun egyptian move with your hands. I loved the music! Very upbeat to keep you moving. The warmup is 8 minutes, the hi/lo is 4- min, the cool-down is 12 minutes.

Workout two was the best present anyone could have given me this year. A COMPLEX Step routine ripping to the seams with turns pivets and well, your gonna haved to see it to believe it! I thought CIA 9001 had the toughest choreography. The warm up which is 8 minutes gets you used to your step prepared for whats to come, which Christi calls the "steppin zone". She starts of with a ricochet that turns into a 3 count turn step and keeps adding on and on. ONe of my favorites is her"Rocka bye knee". Like I said, your going to have to see it because it is too hard to describe. The first part of the workout has the step parallel to the tv. Then the second part has the step facing towards the tv. The music in the first part of the stepping I had heard before from CIA 8003 but the second part was all new and super energetic. Christi's cueing is excellent and she keeps layering the step combinations to keep it fresh. Don't expect to keep repeating the same move over and over like in MI-C( where Cathe does over the top of the step a lot). Christi is always changing each 8 count. The workout is anything but high impact. So it is really intense for your memory! It does have some hops but she does keep it low. I think my brain was sweating too( ha!ha!) with the complexity of the combo's. This would be a perfect workout to do the day after say Power Max, Maximum Intensity Cardio or Intense Moves or some other really tough high impact, high intensity step workout. This CIA workout has be my favorite! I highly recommend it!


Instructor comments: Christi is my absolute favorite CIA instructor. Her fabulous choreography always make you forget your exercising. Her cueing is so good that her complex hi/lo and step are a joy to do instead of pure frustration. There is something about Christi. She has such a sweet loving spirit that I seem to have the same happiness after the workout is over. It makes me look forward to doing her workouts. She is very down to earth. Nothing frilly or showy. You know she loves her job! She is a real Natural in front of the camera. Not nervous at all but full of smiles and ENERGY!

Mandy Lee

As Christi would say, "Oh My My!" This is her danciest, most complex tape yet; even her staunchest fans were agonizing over this one, especially the step. Unless your name is Paula Abdul, I recommend that you master Christi's other two tapes, CIA 5004 and 7002, before attempting 9801. But with her in the lead, even the learning process is tons of fun and you won't waste any time with excess marching. This tape contains two complete one-hour workouts, one floor and one step, and they are both loaded with dynamite brand-new moves from warmup to stretch. The floor warmup is a superb combo incorporating cha-cha turns and kicks, and after a static stretch (which I prefer to the "limbering" stretch in 7002) the warmup combo is then used in the aerobic section. There are a half-dozen combos in 40 minutes, and Christi keeps taking it from the top before going to the next one, then there are a couple of final run-throughs at the very end. Like you'd expect, there are lots of turns, knee-ups, jumps, leaps, lunges and pivots, all melded together beautifully with the music and with creative yet unconfusing arm motions. The floor takes up more space than her previous tapes; I was having to do a lot of the motions in place, but if you love to dance, don't let that stop you! You can modify the moves to (mostly) low-impact or add propulsions as you wish, and turns can also be easily omitted until you get the steps down. The "Walk Like an Egyptian" cooldown combo is a blast, using her X-step from 7002. When it comes to dancy hi-lo, Christi RULES!

The step is the most complex I have ever seen; it requires patience and practice, but nothing good ever comes easy, right? I still cannot get the "rockabye knee"; I'm struggling with the hopturn/pivot/boxstep move and after 4 tries, I'm just "muddling" through most of the vertical half. Christi goes over the routines much quicker than she did on her previous tapes, and again it helps to learn her old tapes first because she reuses some of the moves from them. There are a lot of turns, so you need to really LISTEN to her cueing as your back is turned to the TV. She doesn't say "left" and "right" as often as she used to, which would help make learning easier, but this is still an awesome workout that will take your dancing skills to the outer limits. The cooldown is an amazing six-count mambo over the step - how does she dream up this stuff?? - and then there's a good long stretch. The music is all new except for the first half of the step which uses the 8003 music. A+ and two thumbs up!!

Instructor comments: Christi is one gal who doesn't mess with success. The things we love about her - the mind-blowing combos, super cueing, singing, and sweet, sincerely happy personality - are all here by the bushel. Christi makes exercising a joyful, glad-to-be-alive experience, and her tapes are my most treasured.

Sue Bryant

This is my newest pick for the best hi/lo of all time, knocking even Christi's own 7002 off it's lofty pedestal. Christi is truly a champion choreographer. This tape arrived when I was sick--I plopped down on the couch, feeling like death warmed over, and started to preview the workout. What a surprise! It was all I could do to restrain myself--sick as I was, I wanted to jump up and join in the fun! The workout is that good, and Christi's enthusiasm and the music are that infectious (no pun intended).

Christi's warm up sets the stage for a fabulous workout. I've never had so much fun with a warm up, and was glad to see the warm up steps incorporated into the first combo.

I could rave all day about the hi/lo routine. Sue is so right that Christi makes you glad to be alive! The music is new, very motivating, and perfectly paired with Christi's choreography. It does require a fairly large amount of room to use full range of motion. I have to move our loveseat into the hallway, which is a pain, but it's worth it.

The hi/lo is so much fun that I didn't even get to the step section for a week afterward. I just couldn't resist that hi/lo routine. As Sue and MaryAnn have said, the step section is about the most complex out there, and will take several rewinds to grasp the moves, but once you do you have a ball. If I had to compare the style of the step section to other videos, I would say it's a cross between Christi's 7002 step section and Kari Anderson's United Steps, with a bit of Cathe Friedrich thrown in, only Christi's step combos are more complex, believe it or not. She doesn't spend as much time breaking down the step moves as she does in 7002.

Part of what makes both the hi/lo and step sections so tricky is Christi's creative use of 32 count phrases. I'm not really sure how to describe this well. Whereas with more basic choreogaphy you will always be stepping on the downbeat of the music, Christi makes full use of every single beat. For example, the first combo has you doing a knee step step knee step step knee... around in a circle, where your knee is coming up on counts 1, 4, and 7. The rhythm feels very different if you're not used to it, but once you get the hang of it you feel very connected to the music.

I can't say enough about this video. It's not for everyone--if you have two left feet you'll probably be frustrated to no end, but CIA veterans and Kari Anderson fans will adore it, and it's a must-have for Christi Taylor fans.

Wendy Niemi Kremer

Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine anything so awesome as Christi’s hi/lo on this tape. I was so hooked on it, I did it every day for a week before even attempting the step section. Christi’s warm-up is so much fun, I was happy to see it as part of the workout. I have a smile on my face and sometimes even giggle when I do each and every combo. My favorite is the spinning move - I feel like I am flying. Christi has made me feel like I can be a dancer. When she does a move for the first time and says, “Ouchy, ouchy”, I just roar. I absolutely adore her. When she says “I love this job” I say to her, “I’m glad you have this job, you are a genius.” This tops her other CIA tapes and I want more, more, more!!! The step section was extremely hard for me to conquer, but after 5-6 times I got it, but only if I concentrate on every word she says - otherwise, I am on the wrong foot. Especially that A-step - I was constantly on the wrong foot until I realized it was sort of a “backward A-step.” I can’t explain it, you have to see for yourself. I advise everyone to keep trying the step section - it is well worth it.

maryann parker

Christi Taylor: CIA 9801

This video has the most creative, complex, imaginative choreography I have ever seen. Christi takes moves from funk, jazz, and regular aerobic using syncopated rhythyms.

You're hardly ever doing moves on the "down" beat here. If Christi were a jazz musician, she's be Miles Davis. Turns, turns, turns. Every single move in this video turns. These turns can be exceptionally difficult to follow in the 2nd step section where the step is vertical. Visually, it's hard to figure out, using mirror image, which way to go. And when you're on the opposite side of the step, Christi's doing something new WHILE your back is turned. Aaargh! Many times, there's no demonstrations. She'll whip in a turn or complicated move with no introduction and say, "You get that? Do it with me."

That said, this video takes effort to learn. The step section was far more difficult for me to master than the floor, and I've always considered myself better at step than floor. Don't plan to get a truly intense workout doing this video the first time. You'll probably spend loads of time rewinding to get the moves. I found that when my frustration level maxed out, I'd take a break, watch some of the video from the couch, and then try again. The cuing is excellent, but there's so much going on in this video! Christi couldn't possibly explain it all in words. Despite this, I sometimes found myself wishing that Christi would say "Turn towards your right/left shoulder" or "start the reverse turn into the mambo with your right/left foot" or "pivot back to the front with your right." The alternative to temporary confusion, is of course, breakdowns that disrupt the flow of the video once you've learned it. I personally will take the temporary frustration anyday, because this video will never get old.

I don't mean to scare anyone off from this video. I didn't spend as much time trying to learn this as CIA 9001, yet it has FAR more complex choreography. And it was WORTH EVERY MINUTE of the time I invested. What separates this video from other hard ones is that you don't get any breaks where you repeat a familiar move for 8 counts. Things change rapidly, and you always have to think. For some reason, I like the step more than the floor. Intensity wise, I would rate the step as intermed/advanced, and the hi-lo as advanced, though not killer. The music is the best I've ever heard on a video, and it's perfectly matched to the choreography. I even liked the techno-country! And Christi, like everyone said, is a doll in this one. Adorable, funny, witty, and encouraging.

One small criticism: I found the hi-lo section (which requires lots and lots of room by the way) a little repetitive. The first combo is taught in the warmup and you find yourself doing it over and over 45 minutes later. After the first perceived exertion check, you go back to the first combo AGAIN, and that's sort of irritating to me. I wish she started with an entirely new 20 minute segment after the break like she does in the step section (ala Cathe Friedrich), instead of stringing together the old sequences each time she adds a new one.

Eulonda Skyles

Christi Taylor: CIA 9801: Double Impact Workouts

Note: These comments apply only to the high/low portion of this workout (60 minutes).

Excellent! This has great music, great choreography, great intensity -- and Christi's great cueing keeps you right on track.

When I read the early comments on the Forum about the choreography on this tape being very hard, I was a little nervous about it. I had tried Faith Scarinzi's tape (which was released in the same batch of CIAs), and I thought her choreography was tough. So I figured if this tape was harder than that, then I was in trouble. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that, although it is definitely advanced, I was able to pick it up with little or no trouble. Christi's cueing is excellent, and her steps "make sense." You just kind of flow from one to the next, and you don't have to worry about which foot goes where, because it flows so well. As Charlene Prickett would say, you can just let your feet do the thinking.

The routine is all one long combo that you build onto a little at a time. I did not find it repetitive, however, and I actually preferred it this way. After learning a challenging new combo, it was comforting to be able to go back and start from the top with familiar patterns.

The high/low gets an A+. I'm not reviewing the step. I started doing it once, but lost interest.

Annie S.

Awesome choreography! Christi not only puts together fun moves, but plays alot with rhythyms of the music. For those who don't know alot about tempo's in music, it can feel a bit awkward, but it's great fun. I didn't find it hard to following the hi/lo (her wonderful cueing), but the step segment took a couple of times in a only few spots. Lots of turns! I love to turn! I'm going to keep this short, because everyone has already told you about this workout in previous reviews. I just wanted you to know my opinion- it's an A+++

Instructor comments: I think it's all been said before: fun, energetic, great cueing, very motivating; Christi is quite simply *marvelous*!!!


I'm just doing my part to convince all lovers of complex, dancy choreography to buy this tape. This was the best trade I've made. Each time I master the complex steps with the help of Christi's impeccable queing I can't help but think "am I really doing these impossible moves?" My husband always comments that I can't wipe the grin off my face while I'm doing this workout. I can't imagine tiring of this tape. It's FUN FUN FUN and brings out the dancer in you.

Instructor comments: Christi is the perfect instructor. Her cuing is flawless, she has a sweet, caring disposition and judging by the care she puts into her routine she clearly loves what she's doing.

Melissa Pollack

This video contains 2 separate workouts from warmup to cooldown: hi/lo for 60 min. and step for 60 min. I've only done the hi/lo part (it's so much fun that I just do it over and over again...I've only previewed the step, but it looks just as fun) so I'll just review that. The choreography is very complex (which I love) but it is just so much fun!!!! The intensity is definitely, Christy, and her 2 workout buddies are definitely working hard throughout the whole workout. Even though Christy uses a lot of space in the video, I was able to modify a lot of the moves (I work out in a small/medium space) w/o sacrificing intensity or the fun factor. I work out on carpet, too, which isn't a problem for me either. The hi/lo on this video is the best hi/lo workout ever!

CIA 9801 definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame!

Instructor comments: Christy is enthusiastic, fun, and so creative! She cues very well and you can tell that she really loves what she's doing. She is a wonderful instructor.


This is complex, complex, complex. If you feel like putting your foot through the televison the first five or ten times you try this, you are not alone. I was quite vocal on the VF forum concerning my frustration with Christi's 9801 tape, especially how hopelessly complex I thought the steps and cuing were (although I did take it all back publicly). I wanted to chuck 9801 the first couple of times I tried it. I consider myself quite coordinated (no problem learning Cathe routines the first time through), but I thought this tape was impossible. I don't have the room for the hi/low, and I could barely get through the step warm-up without being near tears in frustration. I even listed this tape under a thread about "popular tapes that you hate." The only reason I wouldn't trade the tape is because I spent $30 on it, which also aggravated me to no end. I put it away, and did not touch it in months.

And then, one day I did it. I have been doing 9701, and the 9702 and 9704 step sections pretty regularly over the past couple of months. I recently received 7002, and after one time through, could see how Christi added turns to everything and how she used the rhythm of the music. When I was doing 7004 for the first time, I said to myself, "this is pretty boring choreography."

Then I said, "okay, smarty-pants, let's see if your choreography-demanding behind can do 9801 yet." I was only hoping to make it through one combo, but it kept working! My feet were doing the same thing as Christi's! And I became more and more excited! And then I was through with the step section (I still do not have the room for the hi/low)! WOOO-HOOOO! What a wonderful routine! I love it! I think learning the "vocabulary" of CIA tapes was the key to my success.

I remarked rather snidely once that Christi could have been cuing in Greek for all the sense it made to me, but I guess I learned Greek through my other tapes! :) I am posting this for three reasons: to take back all the sour-grapes remarks I've made about this tape, and to let anyone else who is similarly frustrated know that doing other CIA tapes and learning the lingo may be the key to success. This tape is worth the trouble. It is excellent.

Instructor comments: She is darling. Very real, very personable, very joyous to watch. She obviously loves her job, and it is contagious.


Christi Taylor and Cathe Freidrich are my two favorite instructors, and as such, I am tougher on them than anyone else, which is why some things about this video kind of grated on me.

Hi-Lo: This is a great hi-lo routine ... which is why it drives me crazy that Christi uses the warm-up throughout the whole workout! Why does she do this?? I don't mind her putting it in the routine at the beginning, but about halfway through the workout, I'm sick of going through it again. There is one point in the tape where she says, "Let's take it from the top again. I don't know why!" and I always want to scream at her! I love everything else about this routine, and think I would do it more often if it didn't repeat the warm-up over and over and over.

Step: This is another great routine, and a little different from anything I've ever seen before. But what grates me here is how difficult this was to learn. I am an instructor and consider myself above-average in catching on to choreography,but the only way I could learn this was by breaking the tape down in sections and trying my best to walk through the routines. I couldn't do this section as a work-out because there was so much I couldn't catch that I wasn't getting a work-out at all. At this point, I have down about 3-4 sections of "walk-throughs" and then done the whole workout twice, and there are still some things I don't get. There are a lot of times where I think she could have explained *what* she was doing better, or *which* leg comes up first, or *which* direction you're going in. For a normal routine, that might work, but this stuff is so complex and different, and she adds to it so quickly, that I found it irritating when she would giggle and add a new move without explaining it.I guess there is a feeling of accomplishment now that I have mostly learned it, but I'm sure some people would not think it was worth the time and effort. Why bother when Cathe's tapes are also complex but so much easier to catch onto? (Of course, I have my own complaints about Cathe.)

I know I must sound like a grump. I guess I wouldn't care except that this is such a great tape, I hate for these two things to irritate me. I guess now that I've learned the step routine, that isn't even a true complaint anymore. But I would recommend people keep these two things in mind if they're considering this tape. And yes, I will be first in line to buy Christi's next tapes.

Instructor comments: Very very likeable, although the cuing in the step portion could be more specific. I also really like background exerciser Michelle DeNinno ... when is she going to make her own video?

Jen Blaske

I wanted to review this video even though it's in the Hall of Fame because I love it so much. I am an intermediate exerciser and I prefer low impact hi/lo and step, with a jump thrown in here and there. I like step more than hi/lo.

This is a video that I always look forward to doing, especially the step section. If there weren't so many other videos that I enjoy, I'd do this one several times a week. I give it an A+!

Hi/Lo: Christi's choreography is amazing. It flows together so well. There are 6 combos. For those of you who want low impact, the first 4 combos can easily be done low impact. The last two combos I find really hard to do low impact, although it is possible. I love the music in the hi/lo. It's vocal and dramatic, which adds a lot of energy to the workout. This is definitely a workout that could convert a step lover to hi/lo.

Step Section: Whew. This step section is long, intense and the 2nd half is my current favorite. (tied with Step Jam) The step section has 6 combos that flow together well. She spends too much time teaching the beginning of the 2nd combo, but otherwise my heart rate stays up there. What makes this section so great for me is that my favorite choreography is at the end, so throughout the workout I have this incredible anticipation. Then, when she teaches the 5th and 6th combos, I'm so happy. The music in the 2nd step section is great too.(vocal and dramatic) The music in the first section is the same instrumental music as 9802 step and others.

Flaws: The biggest flaw (imho) is her cuing. She does say 'watch me' instead of articulating what to do. She also changes some common steps, for example, she does a backwards A step, but calls it an A step without explaining what she's doing and why it doesn't look like an A step. But if you have the patience to rewind and teach yourself at times, you'll be glad she doesn't stop to teach new moves when you're doing the tape for the 50th time.

2nd flaw: This is only for the high low-it is very repetitive. Some days this bothers me and some days it doesn't. The step section does not seem repetitive to me.(except for the 2nd combo)

I love this video. It is such a gift. Both workouts are spectacular. Thanks Christi.

Instructor comments: Christi is a fabulous instructor. Her choreography is the most creative I've seen so far and none of it seems awkward. She appears to be having a ton of fun instructing and her enjoyment is contageous.



I love this tape – both the hi/lo and the step. The choreography is very complex, but because Christy cues so well and breaks down the moves, it is not that difficult to learn. The moves really flow; I learned to just trust my feet!

Both workouts are moderate to high in intensity. These can be done low impact, but there are a lot of turns to watch out for. I like the length of the cardio, i.e. about 40 minutes each.

Only complaint is the taking it from the top in the hi/lo portion. Otherwise, I love everything about this tape: length, choreography, music, Christy’s personality and teaching skills.

Instructor comments: Christy is an amazing instructor. She breaks down incredibly complex choreography into basic moves so that one is able to learn it quickly. Christy is upbeat, motivating, and creative. I am thrilled to add her to my video collection!

Jennifer H

CIA 9801 Hi-Lo Workout

Christi Taylor

Definitely a tape I will never outgrow or tire of. No matter how many times I do this tape it really does get better each time. If you’ve got two left feet or a low threshold for super choreographed hi-lo then you may want to pass on this one. This is by far my most favorite hi-lo workout. Seamlessly integrating hi impact moves with low impact alternative and great choreography keep this tape in my rotation.

While the workout is neither all high nor all low, there is a good mix of both that really helps your to power through the whole workout. Since your brain really has the think the first few time you do it, you need all your wits about you. Also I wouldn’t suggest this for small spaces unless you are creative about modifying some of the traveling moves and also if your on super plush carpet. Christi does lots of pivots and turns so you have to be a bit more diligent on foot placement if you have really thick carpet.

The whole workout is full of great choreography. But someone Christi arranges the moves and combos in a very logical and natural way. If the attitude of “Watch Me” are like curse words to you, then you’re not going to like this one. Instead of breaking down each move she does a base move then “layers” and continues to add intricate foot patterns to the base move. With that in mind expect a big learning curve.

There are six combos. Three before the heart rate check and three after. The warmup will find its way back into the body of the workout. With the way Christi layers and mutates moves, it’s really hard to do a thorough breakdown of the moves. So I’m not even going to try. But if you’re at all familiar with Christi, expect to see grapevines with a twist, turning hamstring curls, leap jumps, lots of traveling, double hamstring curls, spins, and great arm patterns.

The only thing I don’t care for is that the warm-up finds it way into the body of the workout and there is a lot of taking it from the top, especially in the first half of the workout. I would have preferred to leave the warm-up out of the final product. It creates a bit of lag when you take it from the top, since compared to the rest of the workout the warm-up is very low impact and not very intense. Also I would have preferred a few less runs throughs during the first half of the tape. Maybe instead of that one shorter combo before the heart rate check. I don’t mind repeating the whole routine at the end of the workout but when you’re doing it a lot in the body of the workout it can get tedious and repetitious.

Even though this tape is a bit older, it feels to me more intense than Happy Hour Hi-Lo and even Hi-Lo Heaven. That’s probably because is so much more choreographed. But even flubbering the first handful of tries at this tape, I was still having so much fun. Christi’s great attitude is infectious. Maybe one of these years I can master the step portion as well. She and her girls are having such a great time its hard not to following along. Years later this is still one of my all time favorites.

Susie F.

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