WEIGHT LOSS PILATES
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125 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2009
Bottom Line: "Weight Loss Pilates" is a great value. The workouts are easy to understand, but challenging to do. You can adjust the length to fit a busy schedule. The instructor is positive and helpful without being chirpy. The production values are great for a fitness video, and there are a couple of nice extras. Five stars.

The Workout: The workout is a mixture of Pilates and cardio. Each segment alternates between cardio moves to get your blood going, and Pilates moves on a mat to increase flexibility and strengthen your core/abdominal muscles. This workout kicked my butt (in a good way!). I had no experience with Pilates before my wife got me to try this, but I do heavy cardio in my regular workout routine (mostly cycling--like most cyclists, I'm pretty inflexible). The cardio segments were fairly easy for me, but the Pilates exercises really challenged me (this first time I did this, I kept thinking, "when do we get back to cardio?"). It was easy to understand how to do the Pilates moves, although I'm sure that it'll take me a long time to make it look as easy as it does on screen. On each new move, I quickly went from "Oh, I get it..." to "Ow! I have a muscle there? Argh!" It's the best sort of fitness routine: easy to learn, but hard to master. A real strength of the workout is how it's organized. There are four pieces: a warmup, two 20-minute "fat-burning flows," and a cool down. You can mix and match the pieces any way you want: play each piece individually, play both 20-minute workouts with warmup and cooldown (for a 50-minute workout), or play either 20-minute workout with warmup and cooldown (for a 30-minute workout). I really like having these options, since you can tailor the workout to the amount of time you have to exercise or to the level of energy you have that day. As my wife often reminds me, my schedule isn't an excuse not to work out (there's even a 5-minute mini-workout in the extra features). Five stars.

The Instructor: According to the box, Kristin McGee, "believes passionately in the profound effect Pilates can have on the mind and body." Well, it certainly comes through in the video. She's positive and encouraging, without being too chirpy (my pet peeve with fitness instructors). She's careful to offer little tips on form throughout her workouts, and I don't think she'll get annoying after 10 or 20 times doing the workout. My only complaint is that she makes it look so easy! Seeing how steady Kristin is in these exercises, I can't imagine how strong her core must be. It gives you something to aim for! Four stars.

The Extras: The disc comes with a pair of bonus workouts, a set of "moves on the go," and a cross-promotion from Cooking Light magazine. The first bonus workout is a five-minute "Ab Blast" of concentrated Pilates ab-torture that's even easier to squeeze into spare moments of a busy day than the 20-minute segments. The second bonus workout is actually a 5-minute preview of another title by the same company, "Weight Loss Cardio Sculpt." The "moves on the go" are a set of pliometrics you can do while sitting at a desk or standing around doing chores. Lastly, the Cooking Light cross-promotion is a 16-page booklet in the box with 7 recipes from the magazine and some basic tips on "eating right." There's also one of those "two free issues! 80% off!" subscription cards. The "Ab Blast" and "moves on the go" are the real value here for me. Four stars.

The Production: The workouts were nicely shot. They cut back and forth between an outdoor garden setting and some kind of converted loft space that looks like it might be a hip downtown restaurant. The sets are decorated with candles and plants, so it was pleasant to watch while I was lying on the mat with my stomach muscles on fire--a nice change from the grim-looking gym floors in some workout videos. The menus were clear and easy to navigate with attractive fonts. Production is hardly the most important part of a fitness vid (and most titles show it!), but this one really shines. Five stars.

Overall: The workout is accessible, challenging, and flexible. The instructor is good, the extras are okay, and the production is top-rate. Five stars.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2009
Positives first: I very much like the flexible format (select combinations of workouts of ~30 minutes or full 1 hour, warm up and cool down that can be selected separately). I also like the instructor -- as others have said, her enthusiasm comes through strong and clear, and she is encouraging and positive without going "over the edge" to annoying. On the minus side: the pilates elements are tough moves, that are challenging (good) but hard for a beginner. I believe this would benefit greatly from a second on-screen participant who provided some alternatives to the moves that Kristin is using. I frankly just can't keep my butt in the air as long as she can, or my neck and shoulders curled off the floor, without giving out. I've attempted to invent some alternatives of my own while my strength/stamina is building, but it would be great if there were "approved" alternatives demonstrated. I'll keep trying, and I hope I can manage the moves Kristin is doing in some future time!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This is another DVD from Acacia that offers two 20-minute workouts plus separate warm-up and cool-down segments. It is led by Kristen McGee, a Pilates and yoga instructor, and it offers Pilates matwork at a high intermediate to advanced level. However, Kristen spices things up a bit by adding cardio bursts throughout both Pilates workouts.

The Main Menu of the DVD read as follows:

Introduction
Workout Options
Bonus Features
Also From Acacia
Credits

If you select "Workout Options," here are your choices:

Play All (53 Min)
Warm-Up (7 Min)
Fat-Burning Flow 1 (20 Min)
-->With Introduction: Yes/NO
Fat-Burning Flow 2 (20 Min)
-->With Introduction: Yes/NO
Cool-Down (6 Min)
Warm-Up + Fat-Burning Flow 1 + Cool-Down (33 Min)
Warm-Up + Fat-Burning Flow 2 + Cool-Down (33 Min)

I decided to try the entire routine my first time through. (Note: one editing flaw is that if you select the "Play All" option, the introductions are left in.) The Warm-Up (6.5m) is performed entirely on the mat. Kristen moves slowly, encouraging you to focus on your form as you breathe. Some of the exercises include the bug and floating bridge.

Following the Warm-Up comes the first workout, which begins with an approximately 4.5-minute cardio segment. Kristen performs arm circles, leg kicks to the front & side, plies, zip ups, little hops or plyos, and grande plies, repeating the entire sequence once. She then moves to the floor for traditional Pilates matwork moves such as the 100, roll-ups, and the series of five; however, she adds little twists to many of these exercises to increase the intensity. Kristen then repeats the cardio series, performing less repetitions this time through. Then it is back to the floor for more matwork, this time focusing more on moves that target the lower body such as bridge, 1-legged and full teaser, and the seal. The entire Fat-Burning Flow 1 was about 24 minutes long.

The second workout also starts with about 4.5 minutes of cardio moves, but this time, the sequence is a bit more high impact, as it includes Pilates jumping jacks, standing side crunches, punches side-to-side, plie jumps, and twisting lunges to either side, repeating once. The Pilates work is performed from an hands and knees position. Kristen performs some knee in-and-out moves as well as a kneeling push-up. She then moves into a series of exercises on one side of the body, such as moving the leg/arm in-and-out and a kneeling side kick series. Following this, she does another cardio segment, but this time, it is done in a plank position and includes jumping in and out, running man, open & close, and ski jumps. Kristen then repeats the one-legged movements on the other side before moving to a prone position, where she performs supermans, heel beats, hamstring curls, elbow plank. This workout, which comes in at 22.5 minutes, concludes with Pilates push-ups.

The Cool-Down is just under 6 minutes. Here Kristen combines dynamic and held stretches, concentrating in particular on the hips and the hamstrings; this was a nice conclusion to the workout. The Bonus features on this DVD include a 5-minute Ab Blast. In this segment, Kristen performs a rowing series from a reclined C-curve position, doing a sequence of three movements in the middle and then to either side. She also does and advanced corkscrew combined with the jackknife, and she finishes with the neckpull, adding an "around-the-world" twist. (Other Bonus features include the bonus segment from Weight Loss Cardio, a short "Moves on the Go" segment that focuses on posture, and Kristen's bio.)

As noted above, this is definitely a HIGH intermediate to ADVANCED Pilates workout. I consider myself to be solidly intermediate in Pilates, but there were times that I had to rest/take breaks during the Pilates exercises, as some of Kristen's variations on the moves were quite challenging. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about adding the "cardio bursts" to the Pilates workout. I didn't mind the cardio so much at the beginning of the workout, as it felt like a nice way to warm up for the matwork (better in fact than the actual Warm-Up, which felt kind of useless), but I didn't like it as much in the middle of the workout, when it seemed to interrupt the flow of the Pilates matwork. Still, this DVD is nicely done, and I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a challenging Pilates workout that is a bit different from the classical Pilates teachings.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2009
I have a ton of workout dvds - and this is by far one of the best I own! Kristin is one of my favorite instructors. Her Power Yoga dvd is also fantastic. She's so positive and INCREDIBLY strong. Her energy is definitely contagious! This is a surprisingly tough workout. Kristin really gets your heartrate going and the pilates moves completely target your abs. Mine were so sore the next day - in a fantastic way! I love it!! The time factor is also awesome. I love having the flexibility to do one or both depending on how much time I have. I really hope Acacia produces more like this one. I think there are a lot of of us who enjoy pilates/yoga, but want to have cardio incorporated as well. NICE JOB KRISTIN!! :)
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2010
I would consider myself a medium level of fitness. Pilates and yoga work more muscles than a regular jog/situp/pushup. This is what makes pilates so challenging and this workout was seriously tough --- which I like. The instructor was alright for me (i.e., not too annoying) but there were some points that just made me dislike this workout.

I thought the view switch between her in the studio and outside in the garden was distracting and added nothing. At one point, the film cuts to her doing the move outside and, artistically, the focus is on the giant flower in the corner of the screen while she is mostly hidden behind the flower and you can barely see what she is doing. Ridiculously unhelpful.

During some of the matwork, she was facing forward which I also found less than helpful --- having a side shot is easier for me.

Lastly, at one point, I believe she does a move with one leg --- then instead of repeating it with the other leg, you do a different move on the other leg. I suppose at least we switched legs but I tend to think always doing the same move on both sides would give a more even result.

Just not a keeper for me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2010
Kristin is very strong, very focused & flow oriented. The dvd does what it says; gives you a hard core pilates work out with enough cardio to keep your heart rate up. There are two sequences to choose from. My problem is this: they should tell you this is for people who have done pilates before. Due to the flow form instruction or prompts to get you from one exercise to the next are minimal at best. There is also no tips on how to modify if you aren't a master pilates person. It gets frustrating when you feel left out from a series and this can happen here if you can't keep up. If you've done a lot of pilates, this is a great dvd. PS... she does these "flippy flops" in the cool down which could destroy your knee joints. Just sayin'....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2009
Wow! This is a phenomenal workout. I have been doing pilates for years, and would consider myself advanced level. This workout still challenged me. It got my heart rate up, and worked my abs really well. Actually, it worked my entire body really well.

Kristin is outrageously GORGEOUS, fit, strong, healthy, and totally knock-out beautiful. She is obviously very fit and healthy, and it is inspiring to come back to her videos everyday, knowing that this is what pilates can achieve for a body. Strong, lean, healthy, energized. I like that I can do pilates and then have a fresh, healthy glow and be energized, and continue on with the rest of my day, which is very different from sweating it out on a cycle at the gym, leaving sweaty and exhausted.

The video itself is uplifting, calming, and energetic, but neither the images nor the music are in any way obnoxious or obtrusive. In fact, it is in every way energizing yet also calming. As well, the scenery is beautiful. I love the surprise switch to the outdoors. It's very dream-like, refreshing, spirited, mentally cleansing.

I love Kristin and each of her workout videos. I have a whole stack of Kristin McGee DVD's and it is thrilling to be able to change it up. I have done other pilates DVD's with other instructors (who shall remain nameless), but what I find especially wonderful about Kristin is her positive, refreshing, upbeat, hip, yet calm energy. She doesn't sound nagging or parental or pushy or scolding. Instead, she is warm, engaging, admirable, fresh, and friendly. She is someone I want in my home everyday, someone I actually look forward to working out with. If you're going to exercise several times a week, you might as well find a joyful route.

I can't say enough good things about this video or Kristin McGee in general. Pilates has changed my life and my body dramatically for the better. Just stick with it and you can achieve this for yourself, too. Kristin is magnetic. You will want to stick with it, not only to look as incredibly fit as she does, but to enjoy her warm and beautiful company while you get there.

Bottom line: ORDER THIS VIDEO. For less than the price of a few pilates classes, you can order an entire collection of Kristin McGee yoga and pilates DVD's, and ultimately transform your energy level and fitness for the better.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
I started doing this work out after I had my first son about three years ago, I was so impressed by the results, I have never seen my abs so tight and my butt(haha) do lifted! I had been doing it on my cable TV and after they took it off I just stopped doing it all together. Well after I had my second son I couldn't think of a better work out so I searched and searched untill I found it here on amazon. I have been doing it for about 4 months now and I still love it! I don't have any of that awful flab left,haha! It really tones your abs,butt and thighs! For the first time in years I've been wearing shorts and I get so many compliments on the way I look and recommend this video to every girl I know! It's hard, there is no doubt but it really works! Give it a few weeks and you will notice a huge difference and never want to stop!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2010
I love this video and Kristin McGee is a great instructor. She has a kind and supportive way of instructing. I have a chronic illness so the 20 minute workouts are great for me when I am not feeling strong enough to do the entire 53 minutes. The workouts are actually enjoyable and there is room to challenge myself in each sequence.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2010
My mainstay workouts are kickboxing and boot camp style workouts but since I've been doing the same Pilates vid for a while, I decided to pick this one up after seeing that it had something of a ballet element to it (cardio portion of Flow 1). During the intial viewing, Kristin made it look so easy but believe me, this workout cardio/Pilates combo is no joke! I dare say it's as hard, if not harder than my kickboxing workouts. I'm always on the look out for a good inner thigh workout. THIS IS IT!! The tops of the inner thighs down to the inner portion of my lower legs were screaming at the end of the first workout (Flow 1). That has never happened! I guess I would describe it as that "zipped up" feeling that I hear people talk about. But this one really is not all about the legs, it's a total body workout. Of course, being ambitious (ok, just plain stupid) I had to do Flow 2 the very next day. We're talking mountain climbers, punches, push-ups, planks, crunches, jumping jacks. Oh, yeah and Pilates. Whew!

With the warm-up and cool down, both workouts are just over 30 minutes and alternates cardio segments with a Pilates segment. Flow 1 is more traditional matwork (the 100, teaser, seal) and Flow 2 (IMO, the harder of the two) consists on Pilates moves that are done from the table top position (on hands and knees).

Beginners beware: You just might die! I actually had to humble myself and downgrade. Yes, it was that serious. Since I truly loved Kristin's style, though, I bought her Pilates for Beginners. But don't think I just shelved Weight Loss Pilates. Oh no! It's definitely a keeper! I'm saving it as something to master in the hopefully not so distant future.
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