I put Mindy Myrlea on my Netflix queue after Lisa over at Workout Mommy named her as one of her fitness faves in our comments. Just as Cathe didn’t let Jenn down, Mindy was no joke. I knew nothing about the combo DVD Action Packed/Interval Express when I put it in the DVD player and opted to do the Interval Express workout first.
It was hate at first sight. I’m so not a fan of step workouts, my first step experience being a basic class in which I was always facing the opposite direction as all of the other participants. Lesson learned: Do NOT judge a workout DVD before you’ve tried it. I actually opted out of using a step for this workout for two reasons: a) I don’t own a step and b) my own safety depends on me not owning a step (yet). Have no fear though: This workout kicked my rear, no step required.
Interval Express (60 minutes)
Interval Express is a 60-minute workout of, you guessed it, interval training. I laugh now because after each interval I’d think, “Ok, surely this must end soon,” having no idea that I was in for a good hour of cardio fun.
The warm-up starts you off with some “basic” step moves—stepping over the bench, step ball changes. I say “basic” moves because if you’re unfamiliar with step aerobics, you’ll be thinking “basic my arse!” But even if you flub up consistently, if you’re putting in any effort to keep up, you’ll be sweating buckets in no time. Trust me. The medicine ball gets involved in the warm-up as well, and you start in on squats and torso twists. By the end of the warm-up you’ve forgotten it was just that: the warm-up.
This hour of intervals is fairly basic when it comes to cardio, because, as Mindy says, she doesn’t want to clog it up with choreography. Instead, you spend time really getting your heart rate up on intervals and praying for it to end, yet loving it. The intervals get you going, sometimes simply by making movements HUGE and sometimes by making you do insane squats, then jumping and turning to face the other direction for another squat. Some of the step moves are confusing, I won’t lie, and you will get turned around when she makes you face away from the television, but by the second time, I caught on more quickly. The recovery choreography is tricky, but the interval moves such as high-knee football drills over the step are simple but way tough.
Action Packed Step Workout (45 minutes)
This step workout warms you up quickly and gets down to business in a hurry with lunges right off the bat. The workout has really fun moves such as lots of stomping, the waitress (think: you’re holding a tray and spinning around) and lunges. She repeats the combos, so you start to catch on whether you like it or not. At one point, after doing a lunge, jack, knee-up combo, she has you turn away from the TV, which was a lost cause for me. The second time I did the video I was a little better, but it’ll take me 10 times before I’ve got it down.
You don’t get away from intervals just because this doesn’t have “interval” in the title, either. One interval combo includes speed running and then slow running, which is harder than it sounds. While the step moves allow you recovery time, they’re followed by serious power moves—squats and jumping—that will have you about to pass out. This is super hard, so don’t be afraid to take it down a notch.
Hi/Lo Workout (45 minutes)
With no pretend step to worry about, I thought nothing could be thrown at me that I couldn’t handle. I was wrong. This one involved a lot of coordination and had a lot of cheerleader-style moves, so I loved it, as I confess, I was a cheerleader in high school. You get warmed up with a sexy walk, jacks, hamstring curls, jazz squares and shuffles before you get into the four combos. She teaches each combo and then does a “power” interval before going back to the combos to get your heart rate back down. The first combo was really fun with lots of scooping and knee lifts (again, cheerleader style), while the second combo had the trickiest arm moves I’ve ever attempted. Think of it as “patting your head, rubbing your tummy” times a million, with one arm going up and down, and the other arm going up, middle, down. I can’t even get it when attempting it in slow motion. After this trickery, you do some normal-paced lunges and then fast lunges for your power interval. Combo three includes a pony move and the waitress move and is really fun, and combo four throws some fun scissor and tuck jumps at you.
This DVD is tough, and the choreography takes coordination. I did the entire DVD twice, and I still didn’t get all of the moves, but each time I did the workouts, I slowly added a few more pieces to the choreography puzzle. This video can be high impact at times, but considering the workout I got without the step, even if you keep it low impact, you’ll get a kick-ass workout.
Honestly, I liked Mindy so much that I cannot fathom how I hadn’t come across her before. She is very upbeat but not overly perky, and she’s just so encouraging and high energy that it’s contagious. She also makes frequent hilarious comments throughout the workout, such as “Don’t kick your dog” (which is valid advice for me) or “If you’re smiling, don’t.”
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Fit Bottom line: For killer at-home cardio with fun and challenging choreography, this DVD fit the bill and has landed at the top of my favorites list. In fact, it’s the first five-star rated workout DVD in FBG history. —Erin
Check it out at Amazon!