Thursday, September 9, 2010

DVD Review: Total Body Makeover - Hardcore Fusion Express

I have been partnering with CSN Stores in recent months, offering product reviews of some of the many items that are available on their website.  In addition to the fitness equipment that I prefer, CSN also sells many products for the home, such as rocking chairs, bookshelves, small appliances and more!

CSN graciously sent me a copy of Total Body Makeover by The Firm on DVD, which includes four complete workouts.  Recently I reviewed the second workout, Sculpt-ilates Express.  Today's review will focus on Hardcore Fusion Express, the third routine on the DVD.

Like Sculpt-ilates Express, Hardcore Fusion Express is derived from a previous Firm workout.  The original Hardcore Fusion DVD is 56 minutes. The express version of the workout, which is available on the original Hardcore Fusion DVD and Total Body Makeover, is 35 minutes.  

Hardcore Fusion Express is led by Master Instructor Allie Del Rio Pointer, with cast members Rebekah Sturkie, Ania Zalewski, Jenny Anania and Alison Davis-McLain.  Allie is an experienced Firm instructor, participating in their videos for over 20 years.  She comes across as a tough, yet fun person, challenging her students while having a good time as well.

Hardcore Fusion Express begins with a fast-paced workout, with marching steps and moves that warm up and stretch the areas of the body that you're about to work.  As is the case with most of the workout, Allie's cueing is very good, but the moves are coming at you pretty fast if you've never done the workout before.  I would advise new users to watch the video all the way through the first time, so they know what to expect from Allie.  The moves don't require tons of coordination or anything, you just have to be ready to move on to the next step.

After a good warm up, Allie starts the first weight training segment of the workout.  On this DVD she utilizes the Firm's "Cardio Weights", but you can use whatever weights you have available at home.  Having a light set (about 3 pounds) and a medium set (about 5 pounds) would be great to start with.  Strength training gets alot of the spotlight during these 35 minutes, with the weights sometimes used, and other times just resisting gravity provides adequate resistance.

After a few minutes focusing on just strength training, Allie moves back to just keeping the heart rate high, with simple, fun moves.  There are a few high-impact moments, but Alison always provides a lower-key option for beginners.  Moments of strength and balance training are worked into the cardio segments, always challenging multiple areas of the body. Some of the moves found in the cardio segments are lunges, a hop-scotch/jump rope type of move, a touch of kick-boxing, standing ab work and cross-country ski hops.

After the cardio, we move back to just weight training, focusing on our back, arms, legs, glutes and abs. Most of these moves are fairly easy to do-- the intensity is changed by the amount of resistance you want in your choice of free weights.

There's one more strong cardio segment that's exciting and alot of fun.  The music is really motivating!  Kick boxing moves come into play, but this boxing novice had no problem with what we had to do.

The last moments are spent in some light balance training, working the core and arms.  Some work is done standing, but the latter moves are done on the floor.  If you're not working on carpet, a padded mat would be helpful to protect your back.

Allie then leads us through stretching our whole body and cooling down. She does a little bit of plank work during this segment, but it's mostly stretching and releasing those tense muscles that were just worked.

At 35 minutes, I found this "express" workout to be a really effective use of time.  The strength training was the main focus, but even during those segments, we were moving fast enough that my heart rate remained high after cardio segments.  Plenty of sweat droplets made their way to my carpet tonight!

I popped this video in when I knew that I had less than 45 minutes to get this day's workout done, and I really needed it.  My afternoon had been really stressful and I hadn't met my fitness goals for the day.  By the time I was done, I was well worked-out and relaxed within my time limit.  Hardcore Fusion Express is a great addition to the Total Body Makeover collection!

Coming Soon:  My review of the last workout on this DVD, plus a unique kettlebell workout!

These materials were provided to me by CSN Stores. No obligation other than an honest review was required.

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