Fitness by Cathe: Cardio+Weights 4-Day Split

In mid-July, we asked, “Who is your favorite veteran exercise DVD Celeb?” And, well at least for us, the results were a little surprising. We thought for sure that we had listed the most popular celebrities. But, as you told us in the comments, we forgot one big one: Cathe Friedrich.

I have a secret. Come in closer.

I had to Google good ole Cathe because I didn’t know who she was.
GASP. [I hang my head in shame.]
But, I have now seen the Cathe-colored light. I recently tried her Cardio+Weights 4-Day Split, and the woman damn near killed me…in a good way, of course.
4-Day Split is divided into two DVDs each containing two full workouts (from 59-71 minutes each) including separate warm-ups and cool downs. All together, the workouts provide four excellent cardio session and four heavy weight routines of multiple sets and exercises for every major muscle group. Again, she darn near killed me.
Higher Intensity Step Plus Heavy Weights Chest/Back
I am by no means a step person, so take this with a grain of salt, but this was my least favorite cardio session of the set. The choreography was all over the place, and although she cues beautifully, I was lost a number of times. I’m sure step aficionados would love it though. The chest/back weight-lifting section was Intense, with a capital I. You do numerous kinds of push-ups that make you want to scream. You literally do 100 by the time the workout is over. And you perform a bunch of rows with a barbell. (I subbed dumbbells though, and it did the trick, trust me.)
Lower Intensity Step Plus Heavy Weights Shoulders, Core and Calves
This step workout was easier than the first one and included more moves off the step, so naturally I enjoyed it more (aka fell down less). You do three combos with Cathe and then at the end you put them all together. Well, she puts them all together, while I attempted to keep up and ended up freestyling a little more than Cathe probably intended. Then, you do five sets of killer shoulders (on these even Cathe stalls a bit and starts to look a bit taxed, and sister is ripped!), three sets of calf exercises (enough to get that good burn/calf-ripping-from-your-leg feeling, depending on how you look at it), and too many crunches to count. She also throws in a plank at the end. Bonus torture! Oh, beware the cool down on this one. The moves are yoga-based and good, but the music is creeeeeepy and oddly high-pitched. My husband came in to check on me during it, thinking an alarm was going off.

Boot Camp Plus Heavy Weights Biceps and Triceps
Although Cathe says the first part is a warm-up, she starts off with squat thrusts and push-ups. Cathe is smoking. That’s no warm-up—that’s a workout. You have to pull out the step a few times for moves (I groaned a lot about this), and you need a lot of space for the jumping and running drills. You get to do suicides, too. If you’ve never done them, Cathe will show you how they got their nickname. For the bis and tris, the fun continues. You “warm up” the triceps with slow dips (note to Cathe: time to re-evaluate what a warm-up really is for mortals), and then progress to every bicep and tricep exercise known to woman. Look for Cathe’s veins popping out on this one. It’s a little scary and awe-inspiring at the same time.
Kickbox Plus Heavy Weights Legs and Core
Awwww, Cathe saved the best for last! This was by far my favorite and sweatiest workout of the four. The kickboxing moves are pretty basic, but it’s fun and gets your heart rate up. She really is a fantastically talented instructor, and despite what I’ve said before, she is human, and it’s nice to hear her genuinely comment about how hard some moves are, even for her. I’ll ignore her unusual breathy-ness in the warm-up. (For a second time, the husband came in hoping for something interesting on TV, as it sounded that breathy.) The leg exercises are crazy and made me sore for three full days. And the core? Same story. Be sure to watch the girls in the back in this one. A number of times you can tell they’re forcing a smile through big-time burn.
What I love most about these DVDs is that it’s almost like you’re actually in a group exercise class at a health club. Even the music is similar to what you might hear in weight-lifting classes. There are no gimmicks, no bizarre moves in attempts to be “different,” and the woman is somehow motivating without being mean, uber tough (although I think she could break me in half) or so perky you want to reach through your HD TV and strangle her with your resistance band. The workouts are also divided up into about a billion chapters, so it’s easy to program your own personal workout with Cathe.
However, this DVD requires so much equipment and space that you practically need a health club to do it in. I was constantly pulling stuff out from closets, the basement and even the kitchen (my step doesn’t go high enough for leg presses, so I subbed in a chair, a move that I’m almost positive wasn’t safe or smart on my part considering how klutzy I am). For the record, you’ll need the following items to fully and properly participate in this DVD: a step, multiple risers, dumbbells ranging from 5-30+ pounds, a barbell with accompanying heavy weights, a stability ball, a resistance band, a heel wedge, ankle weights and a mat. Whew. The DVDs are tough and not, I repeat NOT, for beginners.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★★

Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★

Music: ★★★

Fun Factor: ★★★★

Meets Expectations: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Fit bottom line: Not for the faint of heart, this is a top-notch DVD set for advanced exercisers who are looking for a cardio and weight-lifting challenge. In addition, they must also own enough equipment to run their own health club. —Jenn
Want more reviews? Read the Fit Bottomed Girls’ new release reviews and retro reviews. For more on how our ratings are determined (it’s not a science, but we do have some method to our madness), read our review criteria.

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  1. Marcy says:

    OK I have no idea who this chick is either LMAO! But I don’t know if I could swing it, I’m a little on the whimpy side LOL

  2. Mark Salinas says:

    Hmm…I do like the kickbox stuff! Very cool! 🙂

  3. tfh says:

    If I feel a little sore and exhausted just from reading your review, I’m guessing that means I’m not reading for the DVD…although I do know all about creating not-quite-safe substitutions for workout DVD equipment in my cramped apartment.

  4. Girl on Top says:

    Thanks for the review. Sounds like a good video!

  5. determinedtobefit says:

    Yeah! Glad you discovered what Cathe has to offer. My fitness level has increased so much over the past few years thanks to her workouts. I am not surprised that a lot of people have not heard of her. She doesn’t have infomercials and her videos aren’t sold in stores. Unless you are really into video fitness you have to catch her by word of mouth. Her workouts do come on FitTV though so I would encourage folks to check them out.

    BTW – I love step and do it quite often and I am challenged by that sequence in High Intensity Step. When I finally figured it out I cheered!

  6. christie i. says:

    Thanks for the review. I have a friend that swears by Cathe workouts. I should give them a shot!

  7. Erica says:

    I laugh pretty much every time I read one of your posts. My favorite part was: “so naturally I enjoyed it more (aka fell down less).” haha. That seems like a ridiculous amount of equipment. I teach step and I don’t even have a step at home so I’m clearly out 🙂

  8. eatingbender says:

    Haha, hey – come in a little closer.


    I didn’t know who Cathe Friedrich was, either ;o)

    Thanks for the review, though! She seems like one tough cookie. I’m with you on the step – I ALWAYS get lost when I go to those classes and one time the instructor literally shook his head at me! Needless to say, I haven’t been back…

    But I LOVE the idea of “boot camp” and kickboxing!! And I’d love to see her veins popping out – intense!

  9. Amy says:

    My “step” is a Bosu. Do you know how ridiculously hard Cathe’s step video is if you’re using a Bosu instead of a step?

    I love love love Cathe, but hate hate hate her step workouts. It’s still worth buying because all of the other workouts are really that good.

    I use the front of the couch (under the cushion) for tri-dips – Sometimes I use my son’s train table. I guess that I could get a weight bench to do things “properly;” but I justify the use of questionably safe /sanitary improvisations as a workout for my mind 🙂

  10. Healthy Hollywood says:

    Another great review from FBGs!! I have heard of Cathe and even read about some of her fitness philosophies but I’ve never tried her DVDs. Although, I have always wondered about them so thanks for this!

  11. Jenn says:

    Okay, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who knows her!

    You steppers amaze me…

  12. Karla says:

    I absolutely LOVE Cathe. My Mom and I taped her shows on FitTV and I do one everyday when I am at home (I’m in college, so that means summer when I think it is too hot for an outdoor workout/ Christmas break).

    Cathe is awesomely fit and her workouts always challenge me. I especially enjoy the step workouts because it is fun to try new moves and combinations after working out for years…Beware though, if you come upon IMAX 2: this workout is NOT for the faint of heart.

    I have yet to try out this DVD though, sounds like a good one!

  13. nolafwug says:

    I so heart me some Cathe! I do her Pyramid Upper Body and Lower Body workouts regularly and I am looking to try some of her other DVDs – but they are a bit pricey. She is a great instructor and her workouts are hardcore. Love, love, love!

  14. Fitness says:

    She sounds great! I’ll definitely be checking out her fitness routines. Thanks for the info!

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