Video Fitness

Cathe Friedrich's "Step Fit"

Video Clips of Step Fit available from

Here's my preliminary review of Step Fit after three times through. I'll update the review as I get to know the video better.

If you liked PowerMax and/or Step Jam, you'll like Step Fit. Although the combinations in Step Fit are every bit as intense as those in PowerMax, Step Fit doesn't seem quite as intense overall because your heart rate is allowed to recover a bit more while Cathe teaches the complex combos. In PowerMax, Cathe amazingly managed to teach complex combos quickly without allowing heart rate to drop at all. Although I wasn't as immediately enamored of Step Fit as I was with PowerMax, I like it better every time I do it. On my personal "Cathe continuum," this one is probably tied for 2nd place with Step Max. PowerMax remains my absolute favorite.

Featured new moves in Step Fit include:

  • power scissors: Extremely intense. These are basically lunges(on the floor) where you leap and switch legs. You have to be very attentive to form on these.
  • up and back: Sort of like a backwardsricochet.
  • flying angels: This is the only new step that Ididn't care for, at least initially. They seemed kind of awkward.
  • macarena step (cooldown): I was pleasantly surprised to find this tolerable, for several reasons. She doesn't stop to teach the macarena arms, figuring everyone knows them by now (I didn't, but quickly learned). Best of all, there's none of that hip swaying at the end that makes people look so ridiculous. At that point you're doing a repeater. The whole thing is basically macarena arms with a basic step, ending with a repeater instead of the hip sways.

There were some other interesting moves, but I don't think they hadnames so I don't remember them all.

I really enjoyed the workout structure. There are really just 2 main powerful, long step sections, but the 12 minute warm up and 9 min. cool down are basically slightly slower, less powerful step segments.

Her warm up is basically like an intermediate level step combo with lotsof different steps, and she uses it again in section one with power.It's more complex than her usual, and it's totally low impact. I likedhaving a longer but still challenging warm up, especially since itallows you to get right down to business in section one, preparing you for both the intensity and choreography.

The "cool down" is all Latin inspired, but is definitely still aerobicuntil the last few minutes. It has some power moves, like a 4 count run and a "power mambo", as well as a bunch of triple steps. If you liked Cathe's Latin cooldown in PowerMax, you'll probably like this one, too. I really like it. On the other hand, if you dislike Cathe's dancier moves, you may want to substitute your own cooldown and sit this section out.

I loved having the long (8 min.) stretch segment. Cathe includes lots of good hip, hip flexor, and hamstring stretches.

There is unfortunately very little new music in Step Fit. Most is from Step Jam/PowerMax, though someof the songs sound like slightly different mixes. I'm the type of person for whom choreography and music are closely connected, so I think this is part of why StepFit didn't "grab" me as much the first time out as PowerMax did. Still, this is a great video, and it will be a part of my current rotation.

Wendy Niemi Kremer

Cathe's new tape is fantastic. First of all, she uses a 6" step. I just used my 8" step like some of the other participants on thetape. She begins with a 12 minute warmup, which gets your heart rate up right away. Then into Section One, which is 18 minutes long. She does "power scissors" which are extremely invigorating. You will hear music from Step Jam and Power Max on StepFit, interspersed withsome different music. Section Two is about 23 minutes long. The combinations are intricate, just like Step Jam. It's a lot of fun. One of her new moves is called "flying angels" which is a hop on the side of the step, and then you do something like a scissor on the step from side to side. There are backward pivots, so be careful. It's confusing at first, but I'm sure it can be mastered after doing the tape a couple of times. I found that I needed lots of run around the step, so I had to make extra room so I can walk around it. She does grapevines, jump overs, cross overs, all the good stuff. The cool down consisted of lots of jumping too, and she did moves to the macarena. There are some tricky moves here, and this was the cool down!!! She dedicated more time to stretching, which was done without a step. She used a mat and did some nice stretches for about 8 minutes to Elton John music. The tape is so much fun. Comparing it to PowerMax I would have to say it's a notch, just a notch, below in intensity, but I was sweating so much, I needed to drink tons of water. Great workout, great instructor, great music, lots of fun, what more can you ask for?

MaryAnn Parker

StepFit is the latest in a long line of step aerobics videos Cathe Friedrich has written. Like her most recent tapes, this workout is NOT for a beginner, it's for an advanced stepper. Cathe wastes very little time or energy on StepFit.

It's produced by Greg Twombly, of CIA fame, uses the CIA studio, has very upbeat music, some drawn from her previous videos (but it seems livelier and a bit quicker), and she uses some people you'll recognize from previous CF videos and at least one or two new people.

Cathe looks as fit as ever, and her magnetic personality is undiminished. I find her enthusiasm to be motivational.

The warmup is very energetic, more so than any of her previous workouts. It's a mini-step workout in its own right, and it gets you into the spirit of a high-energy step aerobics with brief repetitive stretches. I find the design of the warmup to be perfect, and I am hard to please!

The main portions of her workout incorporates some new power moves, like power scissors, which will test the strength of your quads, a rotating grape vine, which appears over and over, as you tour around the step

CF flows through her moves quicker and smoother than ever before, and she is very talented at it. I find her cuing skills to mesh very well with her preparatory talents. StepFit moves along better than any stepping tape I have ever seen. It is a masterpiece!

The cooldown incorporates the macarena into it, which may be weakest part of the tape. I think the macarena has been overused and should be allowed to fade away; however, Cathe doesn't dwell on it and her cooldown is still quite good. I was surprised I could do a cooldown using the macarena, as one of its moves without becoming bored, but I wasn't.

The stretching section, at the end of the tape, is also very good.

So, I rate this tape as outstanding. If you like complex intense stepping, this tape is for you. It will work you hard and it's fun to do.

I think this is CF's best effort to date.

Joe Rosenfeld

I've just done this tape, cathe's newest, for the second time. I continue to be amazed at her capacity for new and innovative moves. The first time I did the tape I had to rewind at a couple of places, but today I really didn't have too much trouble. Her tapes are fun and you really get a workout. She always seems to come out with new moves - this one has a "flying angel" move that I have not seen before. I bought my first Cathe tape just a few months ago on the strength of reviews at this site - I now own 4. Her tapes are for the advanced stepper, and this is assumed in the instruction. Some of the music, I noticed, is repeated from at least one of ther other tapes, but it still works. This one is also a bit longer than the others I have, about 70 minutes.

Barbara Paola

This may be CF's greatest step tape ever. The kind you can't wait to do again. Gets the heart pumping with innovative yet uncomplicated moves. Makes every other instructor look poorer by comparison. How does she keep on doing it?


I definitely have mixed feelings about this tape. The first two sections were great for the most part - the usual killer workout I've come to look forward to from Cathe. My legs were screaming from those power scissors, and I liked the new "Flying Angels" move a lot. There's a lot of walk-around-the- bench moves, which is unusual in Cathe's tapes, and I found them quite boring.

But then we hit section three, or the cooldown, which is a fairly long lower impact step section. What can I say but GAG!!!! This entire section consisted of the dancy/funky stuff that I so hate. Everyone knows the Macarena?! NOT! I don't Macarena, I don't "swing it, baby" (my hips, that is), and I most definitely do not "get an Attitude" when I work out. Whip me, beat me, make me sweat, BUT DO NOT MAKE ME DANCE!!! One thing I've always liked about Cathe's tapes is they're not dancy or funky. Her last two tapes have shown a dismaying trend towards this stuff, and I am not at all happy.

So, you have your usual tough workout here, but if, like me, you hate the dancy/funky stuff that seems to pervade the aerobic market, you'll be cooling yourself down on this one.

Debbie Kenny

4/7/97 FUN!!! Love the workout. It starts off with a fairly intense warmup that Cathe incorporates into section 1. The warm up is about 15 min long. Section 1 is a lot of fun; I especially like the power sissors. The next move is a little tricky; I kept ending up on the wrong foot, and kept re-winding the tape until I got it. Needless to say, the first time I did the tape I only made it thru section 1! However, the next day I made it thru the whole tape. Section 2 has the possibility for a lot of intensity, but Cathe incorporates a lot of step taps into the routine; the intensity on those step taps can be increased if you wish. Section 3 is Cathe's version of the Macarena - this is probably my favorite section. Very creative moves, and a lot of fun. The whole cardio section lasts for 42 minutes. I'd say its not as intense as Cathe's last tape, but defintely very choreographically creative and a lot of fun. Cathe is always consistent in delivering excellent workouts.
Grade: A

Kathy Lapinski

This is the first tape of Cathe's that I've bought. I had never heard of her until I found this website, which was only about 2 months ago. Anyway, I didn't know what to expect, but the first time I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised. I found it to be the most challenging step workout video that I had ever done and I absolutely love it. I'm just sorry that I didn't discover her sooner. The choreography was complex, which I liked, and the cooldown was okay, except that I really didn't care for the macarena, but I liked the triple steps. I find it hard to use my other step tapes now, because compared to CF's, they're not as challenging. Needless to say...I'm a fan for life! I can't wait to try her other videos!

Anna L

The stepping is of course complex and advanced filled with a lot of high impact. For all the Cathe 's tapes you have to not only challenge your body and cardiovascular system but your mind as well. There are so many new combos that keep coming to you. Cathe always goes back to the first combo so you really have to be coordinated as well as have a good memory. Step Fit is really over an hour of pure stepping from the warm up which is 12 minutes of stepping to the cool down which is 9 minutes of stepping. The two sections of stepping in the middle is over 42 minutes. The first step segmant has grapevines around to the front of the step then you power over and then do a u turn. Then you do some power scissors where you do hop lunges on the floor as well as a tricky turn that you do on the board then you straddle. Wonderfully tough and the time flies. The choreography keeps you so busy that you forget you are doing excercise. It's just plain fun! I really enjoy my time with Cathe.

The second step segmant has a lot of fun steps. There is a back and forth move over the step. Kinda like her ricochet but you don't turn. You keep your body forward. There is a lot of walking back and forth around the step which is fun because you have to do it really fast. Last but not least are the power angels. Like you would make an angel in the snow. You will have to see it to believe it. This one is too hard to describe.

The cool down is also tough with power holds and a fun swing move with your hip. I must say that I still am breathing hard in the cool down. It's not a cool down for me.

The long and awaited cool down is nice. She does her usual stretches but adds some new floor stretches for your back. You begin standing stretches for your arms neck and some for your legs. And then go to the floor on your back for your hamstrings. She stretches all the muscles to nice relaxing sax music and then an Elton John song ( it's not him singing but someone else)

Cathe is sure to keep you motivated in this great advanced step video. Her cueing is great that some can do the video without looking at the TV screen. Cathe uses a 6 inch step because she had reinjured her knee from surgery. She is so much more relaxed in her teaching style then Mega Step Blast. Friendlier, smiling and she is having so much fun that you can't help but have fun too. She talks to you as if you are right there excercising with her. It's funny that during the stepping segmant, Cathe and her background excercisers are smiling but during the stretch they are all serious and not smiling. It's weird to see Cathe this way. Every tape that Cathe comes out with is chuck full of new complex choreography that will keep you happy untill her next tape.

Mandy Lee

Each time Cathe makes a new video it's better than the last, and StepFit is no exception! I love everything about this tape from the warmup to the cooldown to the ending stretches.

This workout always puts me in a great mood, no matter how stressful my day has been. The choreography is powerful, intense, fun and not for the novice stepper! There is so much choreography jam-packed into this workout that it would take up too much space to describe all the moves, so suffice it to say that Cathe's loyal fans will not be disappointed. As usual, her cuing is dead-on, so you'll get a good workout the first couple times through. Even the macarena cooldown, which I thought would be corny (and is really a mini-step workout in itself), is awesome.

As mentioned in other reviews, because some of the choreography is very powerful and complex, Cathe spends a bit more time teaching the moves or placing the class in a holding pattern, unlike PowerMax. This causes the heart rate to drop a bit, and so the workout doesn't appear to be as intense as PowerMax. However, the heart rate can remain elevated simply by putting power on the sidesteps, or going right into the move itself while she's teaching it. I for one am grateful for the recovery periods the teaching and holding patterns provide, and will usually stay low impact then go full force once the combos are built.

The music is faster in this tape, and yes, it does push the guidelines Step Reebok has established. However, as an instructor myself, I think it moves along at a safe enough pace and I don't feel my form suffers as a result. I'm step certified myself and do not hesitate to be critical where safety is concerned. This is not a video that moves at lightening speed where full range of motion is virtually impossible, at least in my opinion.

Many Cathe fans have chosen PowerMax as their favorite video, but mine is definitely StepFit. Section 3 of PowerMax is my all-time favorite Cathe step *routine*, but StepFit is by far her best video effort to date! Definitely an A+++ production.

Roberta Kagno

Step Fit is my favorite Cathe Friedrich video. This video particularly grabs me for several reasons, mostly though I really love doing the moves, and I really enjoy the music. I love the extra long warmup (it’s about twelve minutes long), which surprises me because I am normally bored by warmups. It’s a basic step combo, that I think is a lot of fun, followed by some really fun stretches. The first section is full of great moves and the time flies. The only part of this video I don’t like is the Power Scissor moves in the first section. I think of it as a leaping lunge, and I am worried that I could hurt my knees when I do it. It is a very powerful move though. The second section is even better. My favorite move is the flying angel, rock press, jumping on the board combo at the end of the second section. The third section is supposed to be a cooldown, but it is definitely more intense than most cool downs, but the latin style dance moves are a lot of fun. The cool down is extremely dancy. The extended stretch at the end is really effective and very relaxing. While this video is slightly less intense than "PowerMax", I still have that "wrung out" feeling after I do it.

Andrea H.

I had never really cared for Cathe's step tapes before, but after being wowed by MIS and MIC, I decided to give her another try. Well, I finally hit on a keeper! I'm really pleased with this tape. Everything from the warmup straight through to the cooldown is great. Even the music is outstanding.

The choreography and intensity are both advanced, but I wouldn't necessarily call the choreography complex -- at least not compared to many of the recent CIA tapes. And it's not dancy either. There are some plyo and high-impact moves. Those power scissors are especially good for getting your heart pumping!

The cardio portion is either 42 minutes or 51 minutes, depending on how you look at things. 42 minutes is listed on the back of the box, but if you add in the 9-minute cooldown, which is quite a bit more vigorous than a typical cooldown, it's 51. The cooldown is lower intensity, of course, than the stepping part, but it is still aerobic. The total length is an hour and 10 minutes.

I am now officially a Cathe convert. All these years I thought I was the oddball because I just couldn't get into her tapes. Now with Step Fit, MIS, and MIC, I'm hooked -- and will definitely try more.

Annie S.

I'm of two minds about this video. I love Cathe's rapidly expanding repetoire of choreography on this tape. I especially like how she has incorporated hi-lo moves into the routine, such as grapevines, pivots, and walk around the bench moves. Yet, even despite the content of the video, I find that Cathe veered a little on the outer edges of safety in this one.

First, I think the warmup is not much of a warmup at all. You're stepping after about 30 seconds in, and I'm not talking itty bitty stepping. Though there are no propulsions, the warmup easily qualifies as an intermediate step tape. I personally lower my step to one riser, and that helps. I tried it once with two risers, and I felt the blood rushing to my head fast, and I felt a little lightheaded. Now, I just make sure that I make my motions smaller on that part.

Secondly, I think the tempo on the power lunges in the first step combo is too fast. I feel like I'm flaying my arms and rushing to get on the bench on the recovery move following the lunges. I also think the flying angels move, while fun, is a move that should be best avoided. Yes, Cathe reminds you to stay airborne, but it's really difficult to make a complete rotation so that you don't hurt yourself. The first few times I did the video, I stopped the tape right there, because something in my knee felt terribly wrong. It's like holding a chicken "wishbone" still while while twisting the other half above the joint. Your knee is that poor joint that is twisted if you're not careful to complete your rotation *while* you're airborne. Hope that description is comprehensible. I've since mastered this move, and I admit that I love it! But I wonder if it's worth doing at all, given the down side.

Like I said, I really like this tape. Even more than even the beloved Powermax. It's second on my all-time favorite step tape list behind Step Jam. I like how things quickly change, and I like the addition of the walk around the bench moves that let you get your wind back after the grueling 1st section. Maybe I'm just a little conservative on the safety issues.

Eulonda Skyles

This is my first Cathe video. It was a breath of fresh air. I've been stepping for a couple of years and found this tape very difficult. Maybe someday I'll get all the way through, but not this month anyway.

It's fairly easy to follow, but I did find her lunges/exits/walk-arounds hard to follow at first.

It's a tape I look forward to doing and there's no chance of getting bored with this one - she keeps you on your toes.

I give it an A+.

Instructor comments: Cathe is the greatest. She has a style that's very motivating -- and it never gets old. One has to wonder what kind of workout she does when she's NOT taping. And she never gets winded. How does she do that?????

Michelle Finney

Darn those Flying Angels! They practically ruin this whole tape for me! Actually, it may not be the Flying Angels themselves, but the fact that I have one of those cheaper, shorter steps. Either which way, the Flying Angels move feels very uncomfortable to me and I'm afraid I'm going to fall off my step, so I just do abductors off the end. After a while, though, I get bored and frustrated that I can't do the "real" move (she seems to do it for a while), and I often shut the tape off. The rest of the tape is pretty good, but knowing that I will probably get frustrated and end the workout early because of the FA unfortunately makes this a tape that I am doing less and less.

Jen Blaske

I love this one as much as I love PowerMax. If someone were to say I could only keep one, I'd have to deliberate for about 3 weeks before deciding what stays and what goes. This one is more "laugh out loud" funny than PowerMax--it contains the classic line "was that a sheep?" and Cathe growling out, "we're WORKIN!" in the second section. And oh, yes--the power scissor section where she says, "no, we're not doing them again?" Then she turns to the camera and says, "WHAT? You WANT them again? Well, OK--we're going for it!" Yes, it's corny as all get out, but you know hwat? I'm more likely to do the extra set than I would be if she were to say something earnest like, "I know it's tough--but you can do it." Besides, she makes me laugh. An instructor who can make me laugh can make me do anything. Except maybe pushups:)

The one also gets a 10 for the "slime factor" (where I sweat so hard my daughter tells me I'm "slimy" afterward). But it's so much fun I don't realize how hard I've worked until the cool-down. And I like the cool-down. I've always like it when instructors incorporate popular dance steps into their routines, and this one is no exception. The only problem is that next time I'm at a pro football game and they play the Macarena, I'll have to make myself swish my hips instead of basic stepping on a board that isn't there:) And the stretch is pure bliss. Cathe is as good leading a slow-paced stretch as she is power stepping. Judging from what other VFers have said, her strength videos are as good as or better than those of the FIRM. Is there anything this woman can't do?

I like how Cathe doesn't have you on the step all the time, but also uses the space around it and even away from it on occasion, so you're not just stepping ad nauseum. There's nothing in the aerobic section I don't like--although I'm not super crazy about the flying angels and half the time I just do the "teaching move" just preceeding them where you just kick to the side and stay facing the TV. I love the grapevines around the step, the repeater that goes inot a pivot that goes into side lunges, and the opening moves of the second step section--the basic step, kick, "ball change" and straddle. In fact, I love it all:) This whole workout is a 10 on the Fun Factor, too. Like she did in PowerMax, Cathe just puts it all together so well and is having so much fun herself that you just have to join in and before you know it, it's time to Macarena!

Grade: A+++++ and ten extra points for the stretch:)

Melissa Cooper

Humm....I really love Cathe, but video needed a few edit's....primarily with her cueing. Several times she didn't know if we were gonna go with the left or right foot, turn to the left or right, or sometimes she just "missed" the cue ~ I was left standing on my step going, "Duh?". I felt pretty lost and this is a first because I can usually do a tape of hers the first time through. I enjoyed the routine, the combos were creative and fun, however if it weren't for the unedited bloopers, I would keep this tape. I guess I sound like a perfectionist, I guess I am!!! Don't get me wrong, I've kept all the others :-)

I will give a thumbs up for her motivating manner, I had a low blood sugar crash 30 minutes into the workout, but instead of calling it quits, I heard her same something like, "keep it up, keep it strong..." so I gulped some soy milk and persevered the rest of the workouts with my arms down. So, I do love her, I was just having a hypo-glycemic episode!

Myra Marangi
AFAA/BodyPUMP Instructor

The majority of this tape is affords an excellent workout. Section one is not too difficult, but by the end of the section, I'm already dripping sweat. The third section is also a lot of fun. Both sections have Cathe's unique and fun step combinations.

I have to give the second section a "razzy". I thought it was me at first. It wouldn't be the first time I had to take some time to learn a new Cathe combo. But after the fourth time through, I realized that the cueing was throwing me off. Another reviewer of this tape said she thought her blood sugar was off that day and was much kinder than I. This section (not all of the section) mis-cues right foot when it should be left, walking inside instead of outside.

I can live with the tape and continue to look forward to doing it when it comes around in my rotation, but I could not recommend the tape unless you are a veteran Cathe stepper. Parts of that second section are still confusing to me but I plan to work around that with side ups or something that will keep my heartrate up until that section is over.

Again, the tape as a whole, is classic and unique Cathe. You may have no problem with it at all. Go for it. It's worth the addition to your collection, as I stated, if you are a Cathe stepper.

Donna Nihill

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