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on May 4, 2010
I own all of the Exhale Core Fusion DVDs and I also take the live classes at Exhale Spa. I continue to be amazed by how Core Fusion literally transformed my body. I am now toned and strong and feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin. Needless to say, I was excited about this new DVD because it is marketed as being like a live class. Even more exciting is that in the DVD with Fred and Elisabeth are three of my favorite Core Fusion teachers! So if you get this DVD, you'll be watching the teachers whose classes I take the most.

So what did I think of Core Fusion Lean & Toned?

I liked it! I think that for someone who doesn't have access to live classes or can't afford/doesn't want to pay for them, this DVD will definitely give you a good feel of what class is like. That said, Lean & Toned is not exactly like a live class as I thought it would be. It was like a compressed version of class - as if someone held a full-length class at both ends and squeezed it in.

Lean & Toned goes something like this:

Warm up (leg/arm lifts)
Pushups
Reverse Pushups (tricep dips)
Forearm Plank
Weights (for biceps, triceps, shoulders, back)
Thighs (ouch)
Abs (flat back/round back against a wall)
Glutes
Abs (pretzel/curl combo)
Stretch

That is a lot to pack in 50 minutes! The movements are fairly nonstop so it does work up a sweat, although the stretching in between creates a nice feeling of balance. That said, some parts did feel rushed, like the plank and arm weights sections, which were much shorter than I expected. I also never saw the pretzel move interspersed with the abs curl position, as was done here. I was confused by the pretzel (imagine sitting with one leg bent in front of you and one straight or bent to the side) being here at all since there was already a glutes section, and this pretzel was intended more for abs. Just something I haven't seen done in class. One final difference is that in class we do glutes right after thighs. In the DVD some ab work falls in between those sections, although a little birdie told me that was a production error.

All in all, this is an excellent workout DVD and you will get the idea of a Core Fusion class. If you decide to order the DVD, you will need to own a set of light weights. I've been doing Core Fusion for months and I use 3 pound weights. You also need a chair to hold on to for the thighs segment, and a wall with space to lean against for flat and round back abs.

While stretching after each exercise is crucial in Core Fusion, I do think this DVD had a tiny bit too much time devoted to it. But I love how Fred and Elisabeth explain the benefits of each movement; it really makes you understand why each exercise was chosen and what it will do for your body. Another great aspect of the DVD is the ability to do it all at once and work up a sweat, or pick and choose 10 minute segments if you are short on time.

All in all, a great DVD. I recommend!
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on May 28, 2010
I have been practicing Yoga and Pilates for over 2 years and discovered the Core Fusion series earlier this year. Since then, I have not picked up any of my other workout DVDs or bought anything other than Core Fusion. I use Body Sculpt, Lean and Toned, and Pilates Plus, and I literally have never had results like what I've gotten from Core Fusion. My body is leaner, I feel more solid and well-balanced, and I'm so toned- sometimes I can't believe it's my own body. I weigh 135ish, I have thick thighs and what I call a "juicy" butt, and no ankles. Now my thighs are lean and you can see the definition of the muscle at the knee. My ankles and calves are the same way, and my butt is actually shapely.
I'm literally addicted to all of these workouts. They're not easy, especially if you haven't done any core work before, but it is worth it and you just want to do more because of the results. I recommend it to anybody who wants to lose inches and is willing to work hard for an hour a day to do it!
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on September 5, 2010
This DVD is like a merging of all the best parts of Body Sculpt and Pilates Plus, but more advanced than either. The segments are:

Upper Body Tone & Stretch: starts with a brief barre style marching warm up before moving into a mix of pushups, planks, tricep dips, and then finally into upper body weights. I completed the pushups and planks on the toes (knees lifted) and it was a very nice challenge. Pushup options included: hands together in diamond and legs wide, arms wide and feet together, single leg pushups (these are quite challenging done on the toes). There are regular forearm planks and then single leg planks. I used 5 lbs weights for the upper body workout. The weight portion covers shoulders, lats, biceps, and triceps. The routine ends with some nice stretches. When I used the DVD on other times, I substituted more planks for the weight section and then caught up with them again on the stretches.

Thighs Tone & Stretch: In addition to plie variations, this sequence also includes standing leg lifts that really work the inner thighs. There are also lunges done up on the toes - I wasn't sure how my knee would like these but it did fine with it. The lunges on the toes feel very different from traditional lunges.

Flat/Round Back Tone & Stretch: I've done the Pilates Plus segment many times and am actually fairly good at it, although not as advanced as Fred. But the first time I did the one on this DVD I thought they were crazy. I stuck with it, though, and on the third try I started to get it. This is one of my favorite segments, but is definitely more advanced than Pilates Plus. Since I'm limited on wall space I first tried using the base of my sofa but decided a door worked better.

Gluteal Tone & Stretch: This is similar to other Core Fusion standing glute routines, but a little more advanced. She adds a brief optional balance pose before moving into first one hand on the floor and the other raised, and then both hands on the floor for a kind of standing split. I've used a chair or a wall for this segment. As usual, it ends with stretches.

Pretzel Core & Toner: As is true with the other segments, the version of pretzel is more difficult than that on Thighs and Glutes, adding an option to keep the back leg straight. Liz alternates ab work with the pretzel work. Some brief stretches close out this segment.

Bonus: Stretch (7 minutes): This stretch segment requires a wall space - I used a door. Starts with hamstring stretches (Liz does the splits) and then they move to the wall. They do some very nice feet up the wall variations - I really enjoyed these.

I really liked this DVD and see myself using it over and over again. I like the additional challenge they offer over the previous DVDs. At first I was using the DVD segments as add-ons to other exercise but now have completed the entire DVD a couple times and had some nice inner thigh DOMS after!
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on November 28, 2012
I bought this DVD to supplement my regular boxing workout -- and, admittedly, shrink and lift the remains of my Latina butt that boxing/running/yoga wasn't getting to.

To that extent, the "Gluteal Tone and Stretch" segment is FANTASTIC. It's 10 minutes long, but hits all the muscles back there and gives me the right kind of soreness the next day. I also feel stronger when taking the stairs or running, and I *think* everything's slowly starting to lift back there. Fair warning: the stretch at the end hurts like the dickens. Know your own limits and don't try to keep up with the instructor -- she is very, very bendy.

I also regularly do the "Thighs Tone and Stretch," as well (my thighs have always been a little big) but I've got a bum knee and this workout causes me a lot of pain unless I wear a brace. That said, my thighs aren't strong enough yet to do this routine without taking multiple breaks, but my thighs feel stronger without looking bulkier. I hope that trend continues.

I only really do those routines, though there are others on there. The "Pretzel Core" segment hurts my back (which, honestly, could be attributed more to a kickboxing injury than the routine), a "Stretch" segment that is mostly splits, and an "Upper Body" segment that's all pushups and free weights (I get the same effect with yoga and boxing, so I skip that one).

This is my first time trying any sort of Core Fusion workout, and I've done this DVD 3 times a week. It does what I wanted for my glutes, and I'm hoping it turns out the same for my thighs.
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on September 16, 2013
I absolutely love this DVD! It is such a great workout. I have been doing this 5 days a week for 2 weeks and I have already lost an inch off my waist and 1/2 inch from my thighs. (I am 5'7" and 120 lbs and thought I couldn't lose any more inches since I had my son, I am now getting fit from this DVD) I get an intense workout from this doing the advanced version. They also have other people demonstrate the beginner version if you are struggling. There are 5, 10 minute segments and 1, 10 minute cool down. So it's great if you're in a rush and only have time for a few. The 6 segments are as follows:

Arms: this segments uses weights, pushups, etc. to tone your arms and chest.
Thighs: the use of a chair is required in this one. They squat, lunge and lift legs. (This one is my favorite. My thighs are burning after this).

Back: A wall is used for this one. (This targets my waist the most)

Glutes: A wall is used for this one. Lowering and lifting legs. (You will feel this in your glutes and thighs).

Core: Pretzeling your core and mini curl ups are done here. You will feel this if your set up is right. It is so important to pull in your abdominals while doing this.

Cool down: various stretches cool you down and leave you feeling relaxed.

I hope this helped!
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on May 21, 2011
I have every single Core Fusion DVD, and I love them all, although they are each a little different. Body Sculpt and Long and Lean are both full body workouts, the latter a little more challenging than the former. Both Arms and Abs and Thighs and Glutes are self-explanatory. Pilates Plus focuses on abs/core work. And the yoga Energy Flow and the Bootcamp DVDs are cardio workouts, the latter more challenging than the former, although both are quite rigorous and will make you sweat buckets. I have taken both Pilates Mat and Pilates Fusion classes for a few years, and these DVDs are a wonderful complement when I am not in class, and in my opinion, are sometimes even more challenging than what I get in my exercise classes. I have tried a number of different exercise DVDs over the years, and these are the only ones I have ever stuck with. They are very enjoyable, challenging (but not so challenging that you give up), invigorating, interesting (they do not get boring because there is so much variety built in), and I have noticed some subtle differences in my body from my work with both the DVDs and my classes. To really burn fat, though, you have to alter your diet. These DVDs will help with sculpting muscle (like a ballet dancer's body), but not so much with fat loss (at least I have always found that my weight loss occurs with diet and not with exercise, but that's just me.) In short, money well spent, and I highly recommend the series.
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on February 28, 2014
Although I find Fred extremely boring and extraneous in his words and actions, I have to give this one five stars. I know their other workouts and this is the hardest and also the most effective. Their take on flat/round back is super innovative and works perfect for people without a sturdy barre. This section is also very demanding in terms of physical strength and more difficult than the previous version which can be found in pilates plus, barre basics and pure abs and arms (as a bonus). I do like their workouts and their approach as they do not make you go down on the mat and then stand up in the course of the workout (here you can see that jillian michaels will never work for me; but I like her a lot), instead you adapt a position or a stance and you work a group of muscles with small and/or straight forward moves. Long story short, lotte berk reloaded with a very cool spin. Try and see it for yourself. I do not know if I will ever be capable of executing flat/round back exercises as seamlessly as they do. If you smile when you hear pretzel, c curve, core and challenge, go ahead buy.
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on July 4, 2010
As A core fusion addict (haha) who owns mostly all of the dvds and are waiting for the next two to come out and takes the live classes at Exhale Spa, this one is a keeper. It is supposed to stimulate a live class which is half true. But in class you do 20-30 reps.

This is a good at home workout if you cant go to the live classes in person or stream it online over at yogavibes.com

You can work the 5 different sections together or pick and choose separately. The choices are all others but the results are the long and lean body of a dancer. Trust me, I know the sensation of the workouts and its truly worth it.
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on September 5, 2014
Once again the Halfpapps deliver on the lean & toning promise. More importantly for me as a fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferer, this video along with Body Sculpt doesn't trigger flare-ups. Don't get me wrong, this program is no walk in the park; it's just that push-yourself-to-the-limit strenuous training including long-distance running became impossible. Core Fusion doesn't stress my body's immune system or push it too hard cardiovascularly (I just avoid the Power videos).

This program does work. My muscles look lean and toned, much sleeker than when I was a teen-aged competitive gymnast with frankly much less work. Love these guys! Please keep up the good work and please please produce move videos with the Amazon streaming options... who living in an urban environment has space for DVD's anymore?
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on January 18, 2011
I had to work my way up from Core Fusion Body Sculpt and Core Fusion Pilates Plus. This workout seems tougher because the pace is faster and the moves are more complex. For example, instead of a simple tricep dip that you would do in the Pilates Plus DVD, you do a tricep dip on the floor, but also extend one leg out with each dip. There is also plank work AND work with 2 or 3 lb weights in the arm segment. You really feel the burn. This DVD also introduces the pretzel. I love it!

This DVD feels like a live class. Unlike Body Sculpt and Pilates plus with the voice overs, Lis and Fred are instructing while doing the moves. As Lis says, you can hear the strain in her voice, she is feeling it too!

I have been doing the Core Fusion series for the past three months..I feel much more flexible and I'm more toned. My pants are also looser on me.
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