November 5, 2016
This DVD embodies the phrase, "Less is More" over and over again. Being a seasoned exerciser, and a long-time fan of Jessica Smith's DVDs, and YouTube workouts, purchasing this DVD was a no brainer for me. This DVD, the first in a set of four (three more will release later this fall/winter) is Jessica's second DVD series release this year. Despite the production of multiple DVDs and DVD sets, Jessica is clearly at the top of her game, producing winning workout routines, and astounding us over and over again. New concepts, sets, moves, and patterns, with very little repeat aside from signature moves being used in new and interesting ways. And don't let the term "WALK" fool you into thinking this is just a walking DVD, while there is walking-like movement, it is anything but basic, and trumps Leslie Sansone for me ANY DAY. Once you try it I think you'll agree.
Historically, in the past, I have written my reviews, also including calorie counts for each individual routine. As I am currently 5 and 1/2 months pregnant, I elected to not use a heart rate monitor (for safety concerns), and will compose this review, instead, on my opinions of the routines and how they compare for me both during pregnancy, and for those who are not pregnant, but may be looking for a new fitness DVD or just starting out with their fitness journey. Before I continue, please note, I am not/will not be compensated by Jessica Smith or In Wellness Systems for this review. The opinions and statements forthcoming are of my own free-will, and in THANKS to Ms. Smith for creating such amazing, versatile and fun workouts.
Packaging: This DVD arrives in a hard shell case with artwork as show in the stock photos. There are no inserts.
DVD: The workouts are included on a single DVD.
Workouts: There are (7) total 10-minute segments on this DVD. From the menu screen, you have the option to select a single workout at a time (unfortunately you cannot build your own routine from all 7). There are Premix options that allow you to complete all 3 of the strength routines plus the stretch routine (approx. 40 minutes total) or all 3 of the cardio routines together (approx. 30 minutes) based on your preferences. If you follow the premixes with the schedule provided, Strength and Stretching are done Monday/Wend/Friday, and Cardio is done on Tuesday/Thursday with the weekends off.
This DVD was professional shot on a set that is different from the other sets used in Jessica's earlier DVD releases. Despite being shot on set, the atmosphere of the exercisers is such, that you feel like you are working out with your friends LIVE. Jessica continues to shine, with enthusiastic personality (the main reason I fell in love with her workouts in the first place). It's obvious the routines were filmed in one take, because at times, you notice Debbie, or Raquel throwing in an extra rep, starting sooner than Jessica, or what I call "moving to the beat of their own drum". I really feel this lends the feeling of "realness" to the routines, and makes these workouts something I can relate to, meaning I don't feel the need to look or be perfect, as long as I am having a good time. And really, that should be what workout out is all about anyhow. The music is new, and tailored to each workout, in terms of beat and tempo. There are THREE level options to choose from, with Jessica's Mom, Debbie, on low impact, no weight modifications, Raquel on high impact, higher weight modifications, and Jessica staying at the intermediate level. Jessica uses 3# hand weights, and Raquel uses 5 pounds, although the DVD states you can use anywhere from 2-8 pounds depending on level, or no weight at all if you're just starting out, or need the modification. Raquels modifications provide the speed, power and impact necessary to keep even the most "seasoned" exerciser satisfied, making these routines something that ANYONE can feel good doing, whether you are doing simple THIS DVD, or adding these into other routines and workouts you have on hand. And don't let the 10 minute routines fool you, you WILL get a great workout, no matter how you mix and match (or even choosing a single routine) things. Variety abounds in these routines, and the pace is such that you will get your heart rate up in the fat burning zone, whether you are doing 1,2 or all strength or cardio routines.
The individual workouts each include their own built in warm up (roughly 1 minute each) with a short cool down at the end (time varies). There is also a countdown clock for each routine so you can see just how much longer you have to go.
The routines include:
1: 10-Minute Powered Up Walk: This great little walk combines cardio intervals for the first half, followed by upper body "kickboxing" moves set to fast paced music, to get your heart pumping, and that sparkle popping. Fans of Jessica's "Cardio Abs" will appreciate the second half of this routine.
2: 10-Minute Steppin' Strength Walk: This routine was my favorite of the strength routines. It efficiently combined strength, with movement (think forward and back, and side to side motions with the feet while using weights). The reps we're enough to reach muscle fatigue (assuming you are using the right weight), without compromising form. Moves included shoulder raises, side to side moving squats, upper back pulls, high knees with shoulder raises, upper and lower bicep curls, squats, and tricep kickbacks to name a few. I was happily out of breath and had worked up a good sweat after this one
3. 10-Minute Happy HiiT Walk: A "deceptively sweet" combination of lower intensity moves, followed by higher impact intervals, with modifications for all three levels. I stuck with a mix of moderate to intermediate, and definitely felt the burn, in a good way. Forgot those HiiT routines where you're gasping for breath, or jarring your knees and hips when you're done. There is NONE of that here. This was my FAVORITE routine of the cardio routines on this DVD.
4. 10-Minute Dance Walk: Very reminiscent of many of Jessica's earlier "dancy walks", and nothing entirely new, but a great mix in in conjunction with ANY of the other routines, or an add on to another workout. (also great for beginners). The first half of the routine is more "funkier" while the second half features some of those fun, classical Latin moves, set to a beat. VERY FUN.
5. 10-Minute Abs + Arms Walk: Another one of those "sneaky get-it-done" in 10 minutes routines that packs a punch both in the strength AND balance department, as you work not only the upper body, but the lower body, with the option to engage the core more, but strengthening your balance. There are NO floor movements for abs, and all these targeted movements are done standing. Moves include arm raises with alternating knee raises, front raises, more bicep and tricep work, "bow and arrow" arm pulls, and a series of standing abs work, that is repeated once. The focus with this routine is slow and concentrated, with an emphasis on "time under tension" to get the most of out the strength work.
6. 10-Minute Buns + Thighs: As stated, this routine is lower body focused, but also emphasizes balance and control, with weighted moves to sculpt and tone the lower body. The moves include several familiar lower body movements, including side leg raises with weights, wide squats, pulsing squats and side to side squats, rear split squats, plies, and a fun new move called the "Flamingo" which is similar to the courtesy lunge. A quick, efficient lower body routine that gets a lot done in only 10 minutes!
7. BONUS 10-Minute Chair Stretch: This delicious "bonus" routine felt amazing after the strength work, but could be used ANYTIME you need a little added stretching, or gentle movement. Most of your standard standing stretches are featured, with a chair being used to help with balance, followed by a short, seated section to help open the hips and inner thighs, and restore peace and focus.
I recommend this DVD without hesitation to anyone who may be looking to add variety to their existing workouts, and want something short and efficient, with variety. To someone NEW to fitness or getting back into things, or to ANY fan of Jessica's DVDs.
I was able to stick with Jessica throughout 80% of the routines and Raquel the other 20% at 21 weeks pregnant, so this DVD is certainly do-able, yet kept me challenged, I would encourage anyone who is expecting, or new to exercise to check with their doctor before beginning this or ANY exercise program to make sure it's suitable.