I’m not gonna lie. When I first popped in Cardio for Beginners with Petra Kolber, I didn’t expect a whole lot. Generally, I’m bored by “beginner” DVDs because they spend a lot of time of explaining and little time actually doing. This usually results in said DVD sitting dusty on your shelf because, once you’ve mastered the moves, you’re annoyed by the pace and constant explaining and just stop doing it altogether, which is really counter to the point of getting you to exercise regularly.
Phew. I’ve wanted to get that off my chest for awhile now. Back to the point…
This DVD is not like that—AT ALL. It met and surpassed my expectations within minutes. Petra Kolber is an amazing instructor. She’s natural and her energy is infectious. Throughout the 65-minute DVD’s mix-and-match athletic and dance cardio sections (love this setup, btw), she perfectly cues both the moves and your form. And as a group exercise instructor, I can honestly say that it’s not an easy DVD to cue. In each section, two of which are 10 minutes while the other two are 20 minutes, Petra runs you through traditional aerobics moves (think V-steps, grapevines and mambos) and then cues them together for a full funky 32-count combo. It’s like the best cardio class you’ve ever been to, but in your living room.
She also—and this may be some of the reason why I love her so much—has a group exercise teaching style very akin to my own. She’s big on staying on beat and timing the routines to the music, and she gets really excited with her voice and hand movements whenever you’re about to put it all together. I swear she even does the same hand gesture that I do, only better. And she has an English accent. I heart her.
Seriously, I could only find two flaws in the DVD, and they were minor. First, the moves in the athletic 10- and 20-minute workouts weren’t exactly athletic. They were more like basic aerobic moves (side steps, more V-steps and marches) that were repeated in the dance cardio sections just with more hip shakin’. Second, there was no formal or set apart warm-up, which is a feature on DVDs I really like. Petra does run you through a minute or two of moves and a few quick stretches and deep breathes before every section, and this is good if you’re just doing one or two sections, but when you start adding them up, it gets a little repetitive. Petra gets it right though with the bonus stretch section that has its own spot on the menu and makes for a perfect 5-minute cool down.
FBG Rating (Out of 5)
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★
Fit Bottom Line: This highly rated DVD is fun, funky and the perfect cardio DVD for beginning exercisers who aren’t afraid to get their hi-lo floor aerobics on. —Jenn
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