I’m going to apologize in advance if this review seems a little more vanilla than usual. Shape magazine’s 20-Minute Makeover workout DVD was just so…normal. No futuristic catsuits, no spandex-clad gladiators, no overt innuendos. Just solid, basic, fundamental fitness.
I think the funniest thing I can say about it is that the instructor, Elise Gulan, reminded me of a perky, fitness-minded Jane Krakowski, whom I love on 30 Rock. Darn those solid DVDs.
The DVD consists of a 20-minute cardio interval training segment, plus four 10-minute toning segments. You can mix and match the routines for your perfect workout routine—always a feature I like in workout DVDs. I did notice that most segments ran over by a minute or two, but hey—more bang for your buck! I loved that Elise broke down each move with levels for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers. You can’t go wrong here, no matter what your level of fitness.
This interval segment is 22 minutes of cardio interspersed with strength exercises that keep your heart rate up. After a quick stretch, you start walking with high knees and kicks, which both get your heart pumping but also work the core. Most of the moves are dual purpose: Some stretch and strengthen while others combine cardio and core work. You never stop moving, that’s for sure. Once the cardio moves are over, you recover with lunges that hit the glutes. The cardio is unique, though, as Elise brings in both dance and yoga influences to her workout, with yoga-inspired stretches and strength, and some ballet-inspired jumps for cardio.
This upper-body workout hits the arms, chestand back, while also getting a fair amount of core work in, too. For example, during the forearm plank, you’re hitting the core, while the added leg lifts are working the glutes. A challenging set of push-ups, tricep dips and work with dumbbells rounds out the workout for a great arm sculpting session.
I’ll be honest: Not my favorite ab workout. The first four minutes are spent seated with your legs in front of you, core engaged. Small moves with the legs from this position definitely make this a challenge. But while you’re also working your inner thighs and quads with these moves, I just felt really awkward. Thankfully, later in the section, Elise did some more classic Pilates-style ab work, which I enjoyed much more.
Firm Lower Body
This section is the most dance- and yoga-inspired of them all, with pliés and calf raises while holding your arms up for upper-body work. You also do some warriors and lunges with twists that work your core while your lower bod burns. My fave exercise of this section was the bum-burning frog pose.
This is a perfect segment if you’re in a rush. With basic cardio elements such as torso twists, bobs and weaves, skates, and faux jump rope, this workout with keep your heart rate up even with the strength moves, such as curtsy lunges.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★
Fun Factor: ★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottom line: While there’s no new-fangled craziness here, the instructor is a sweetheart and this is a solid DVD that’s perfectly fit for all levels of fitness. —Erin
Want to take a stab at Shape’s workout DVDs? We’re giving away today’s 20-Minute Makeover ANDthe Ultimate Bikini Body Workout. Enter to win a copy of these workout DVDs by commenting below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org by next Thursday (U.S. only, please!).