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Amazon Customer "Ania" (Exeter, UK)

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Firm: The 500 Calorie Burn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Firm: The 500 Calorie Burn [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fat-burning workout, 25 Sept. 2009
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I am moderately fit (I workout for an hour 4 times a week with DVDs) but certainly am no fitness fanatic. I think this is a brilliant workout; it really got me sweating and I found it challenging enough to have to stop a few times, but not so difficult that I could not finish. The pace is really quick and the moves are varied so you go from one sequence of moves to another, alternating between cardio blasts and sculpting with weights. As usual, Kelsie focuses a lot on the legs and glutes, and there are dozens of plies, squats, forward and side lunges, with pivots, rotations, knee lifts and side sweeps added on to make them even more challenging. This must surely be one of the best workouts for the legs and bottom available at the moment - it is certainly more challenging than any other DVD I have and slightly resembles Kelsie's 30 minute Tight Buns and Killer Legs workout, only this one is faster, longer and much more intense. This is also a very good workout for the arms, chest and shoulders as upper and lower body are combined together in many of the sequences on this DVD. The only fault I can find with the workout is the very short abs section, so I tend to use the 10 minute solution DVDs to add more abs work.

The cardio blasts are really intense and energetic and use a wide variety of moves so you won't be bored by repetition. Some people say Kelsie does not cue very well; I find that rather surprising as I had no trouble at all following any part of this DVD, and believe me, I am no natural dancer and I am very clumsy on my feet when doing complicated steps! I have Rebekah Sturkie's Get Chisel'd and Total Body Time Crunch workouts which I also use regularly, and I actually found the aerobic sections in Kelsie's 500 Calorie Workout MUCH easier to follow, as there aren't any dancey steps that require co-ordination. I had to do Rebekah's workouts about 5 times to get the step sequence right so I feel that this one is much easier to get the hang of and I thought Kelsie's cuing was spot on. The music is not out of this world, as some people have complained, but then I have yet to find a fitness DVD that contains only the tunes I like. Luckily, the music is not invasive or in your face, so I am quite untroubled by the producer's music taste.

Overall, a great workout to get your heart rate going and give you a firmer behind. The Firm guarantee that you'll see results in 10 sessions, and with this intense workout I don't doubt that. I've used it for a month twice a week and I can fit into my size 10 trousers again after a slightly over-indulgent summer!

The New Family Bread Book
The New Family Bread Book
by Ursula Ferrigno
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another wonderful Ursula Ferrigno book!, 7 Sept. 2009
I am a huge fan of Ursula Ferrigno and have a number of her general cookery and vegetarian recipe books as well as baking books (both bread and cakes). So I was not expecting much when I bought The New Family Bread Book, thinking to myself "How many more delicious recipes can one person produce?" Well, I was very wrong - this is a lovely bread making book, totally different to her previous one ("Bread"). If you're a fan of Ursula's recipes or just a home-made breadbaking fan, you're going to love this book.

Being a "family" bread book, Ursula takes into account that you don't have all day for making bread and therefore most of the recipes in here are straight dough breads that rise for a couple of hours and then are baked later on in the day. However, it is also a "bread" book and Ursula fully takes into account the fact that sometimes bread needs more time and has to ferment for longer to give you a better taste. And so she combines both approaches exceptionally well: there are some double versions of recipes, such as the pizza crust recipe, one for a quick rise when you're in a hurry and have just a couple of hours to bake your dough, and one for a slow-rise pizza which ferments longer in a cool spot to give you even better taste. Most of the "quick" straight dough recipes have a variation at the end, telling you how much starter (the Italian 'biga' made the day before) you need to add to your dough to enhance its flavour or how long to leave it on the fridge for a longer fermentation. So whether you want a quick bread the same day or you want to leave it in the fridge overnight, you have both options.

Another aspect of its versatility is the information on how much yeast you need. Usrula says that she prefers fresh yeast and the amount in each recipe is for the fresh variety, but each recipe contains a note at the top of the page saying how many spoons of dried yeast you need. I live in a tiny town where it is absolutely impossible to get fresh yeast and I only use dried, so I find this information really useful. Many bread books out there give you complicated formulas for how to convert the amount of fresh yeast you need into the amount of dried but leave you to do the calculation yourself...however, Ursula makes the job much easier for you by simply telling you how much yeast you need whether it is fresh or dry that you are using.

And finally the recipes are easy to follow, some for simple plain bread like pizza dough, pain de campagne, spelt bread with herbs; others with added ingredients such as the roast garlic and courgette bread, walnut bread, or dill and creme fraiche bread. There are many wonderful suggestions for pizza toppings and stuffed pizza fillings. There are gorgeous photos accompanying the recipes - one look at the pictures and you can't wait to get into the kitchen to get started. And best of all the recipes work so well - I have made nearly 15 different breads using The New Family Bread Book and enjoyed every one of them, particularly the savoury breads and her sourdough bread (which is actually quite easy to make and you don't need a sourdough starter cultivated for a week). I would certainly recommend this book to all home bread bakers out there who prefer using quick starters in the breads rather than cultivating sourdough cultures, as this is definitely a book which tries to save time and you won't find much sourdough in here. You'll get quick breads with optional overnight starters but you'll be amazed how marvellous they are!

The Bread Bible
The Bread Bible
by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £27.99

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most comprehensive bread bible around, 10 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Bread Bible (Hardcover)
I ordered Rose Beranbaum's Bread Bible a few years ago, a few weeks after beginning my home bread baking journey. To a novice, it was daunting and I put it away with great trepidation where it gathered dust on my bookshelf for many months. At the time, I knew nothing about poolish, biga, sponge, sourdough, levain, and found all these concepts bewildering. The meticulous attention to measuring out ingredients and checking temperatures, as well as the author's almost mathematical insistence on calculating percentages to calculate the amount of yeast or flour required in your poolish if you chose to use it in your bread, all aroused bread making fear in me. If all this incomprehensible baking jargon and formulas for calculating the amount of sourdough you'll need appeared already in the introduction, how bad are the rest of the 650 pages going to be?

A couple of months ago, a few years after my first uneasy meeting with the Bread Bible and with a lot of home bread baking experience behind me, I happened to pick up the book again and was utterly engrossed in the discussion of sourdoughs and sponges; in fact, I could not get over how wonderful this book was. I spent all day reading it and thinking about how much poolish I should prepare for tomorrow's bread. In the years between first reading the Bread Bible and now re-reading it with a new interest, I have made many breads with various starters. I have also successfully cultivated my own sourdough and baked some wonderful rye breads with it (my bread bibles at this stage were Crust and Crumb by Peter Reinhart and Local Breads by Dan Leader). For some reason, they appeared more novice-friendly to me and I did not find them daunting at all.

I would therefore not recommend the Bread Bible to people who have never baked their own bread before. Try Dan Leader - his book was the one that encouraged me to make sourdough and try various types of bread with starters and sponges. And when you've had some experience do get Bread Bible, because it is really a magnificent book and will take you to a new level on your bread baking journey. There are wonderful recipes in there for all types of bread (white breads, wholewheat, rye) but it is the wealth of scientific information that I find so valuable here. You're not only told how to produce sourdough - you're also told about different types, how to convert one to another, and how to include it in a recipe that requires ordinary yeast. There's a discussion of the deifferenes between poolish and biga and how to convert some of the flour from your recipe into your bread...just a small addition of a starter can really elevate the taste of your bread unbelievably. And so,despite being very weary of this book at first, I am grateful to Rose Beranbaum for her scientific details and yeast percentages, which have allowed me to bake even better bread.

Ballet Workout [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ballet Workout [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £14.98

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does wonders for the legs and bum, 15 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What a wonderful workout. I have never done ballet in a class, and my only other ballet "experience" are the NYC Ballet workout videos, and so I was slightly hesitant about ordering this DVD. However, it came, I exercised once with it and was hooked immediately. This is a brilliant workout for the legs and bum and really, no previous ballet experience is necessary; in fact, I was quite surprised that I can manage the whole DVD without falling over my clumsy feet. The great thing is that there is not very much dancing (which is what I dreaded most, having two left feet). Instead, 90% of the workout are individual exercises to improve the muscle tone of your legs. Lots and LOTS of plies especially. They are quite painful but I noticed a change in my legs after regularly using the DVD 3 times a week for a month.

Level 1 starts off with about 10 minutes of stretching, then moves on to barre work (individual exercises of the legs holding a chair or bar for balance) which includes all those plies, lunges, battements etc done in first and second position. And then about 10 minutes of Centre Work where you do similar exercses but quicker and without holding on to your chair, and some ballet jumps which are a killer but probably wonderful for the legs.

Level 2 is basically the same, with a 10 minute stretch, then barre work, but the only difference is that all the exercises are done in first and second positions, and then in the extra third position. And the final 10 minutes Centre Work which is similar to level 1 but does include a couple of dancey sequences which I omit knowing how clumsy I am when it comes to dancing.

I normally do all of Level 1 and the first 2 parts of Level 2 to get an hour and 10 minutes workout - and my legs feel really great after using this DVD, as if every single muscle has been used. And even without prior experience of ballet I can do practically all the exercises; of course, in some of them my flexibility isn't good enough to lift my leg as high as the dancers do, but even lifting it slightly lower you feel your muscles working. The only down side of this DVD for me is that there is no proper cool down and so you have to do your own stretching at the end. And another problem is that this DVD only works the legs and bum, there are no stomach exercises at all, so you won't work your abs much just by using this DVD and you'll have to use another DVD for that.

But overall this is a wonderful workout for all those flabby bits on your thighs :) It an 80's video and so is not aesthetically pleasing as the NYC Ballet workout dvds; but the music is lovely and soothing and if you're after a good workout rather than a beautiful production, you will love this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2014 10:47 PM GMT

The Breads of France: And How to Bake Them in Your Own Kitchen (Culinary Classics & Curios)
The Breads of France: And How to Bake Them in Your Own Kitchen (Culinary Classics & Curios)
by Bernard Clayton
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A collection of great French breads...but there are even better books out there!!, 30 Jun. 2009
I have been baking my own bread for about two years now, starting off with quick, easy straight-dough recipes and then finally plucking up the courage to make my own sourdough a few months ago. After having visited France last year and been utterly bewitched by its culinary delights of perfect bread, never obtainable in even the best bakeries here in the UK, I began searching for books that would provide me with some recipes for traditional French breads that I enjoyed while in the Alps.

The Breads of France comes close to those wonderful hearth breads, but does not replicate them perfectly. Of course, since I am a home baker and do not have a traditional oven, I never expected my breads to be that good. What was surprising about this baking book is that none of the recipes rely on a sourdough; they all use packaged dry or fresh yeast (substituting instructions are provided). Perhaps for this reason they lack that authenticity of traditional French breads with their lack of sourdough tang. My most used bread book at the moment is Dan Leader's "Local Breads" and Nancy Silverton's "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" , whose French breads, most of which rely on sourdough, are absolutely wonderful and superior to the breads I made using "The Breads of France". Even though I always bake them on a baking stone, and mist the oven and create steam with ice-cubes etc, all the techniques that Dan Leader uses to create his delicious French breads, Bernard Clayton's are not THAT good and I feel that the lack of sourdough takes something away from the flavour. Don't get me wrong - the breads are very tasty, it's just that I've had even better results using the recipes in other books.

The Breads of France is a mix of straight-dough breads which can be made in a few hours, and breads made with a starer which is usually left to ferment overnight. So whether you're in a hurry to make something for the same evening, or want a bread with the deeper flavour of a slowly-fermented starter, you'll find plenty of recipes to choose from in the Breads of France.

There's a wonderful variety of breads here, including about 10 different recipes for brioches. There are some very healthy breads with a large percentage of wholewheat flour, quite a few rye breads with different proportions of rye and white flour, and of course many white breads recipes for baguettes, rolls and loaves. There are breads with various additions, such as raisins, cheese, pumpkin, pears and nuts. I also enjoyed making some of the sweet yeast breads and buns which contain half the amount of butter and even less sugar than cakes and biscuits but taste just as wonderful. There are also a number of wholewheat and bran breads here which are actually really tasty (and I'd never say that about any supermarket loaf).

Just a warning - this is a typically American book as far as measurements are concerned. Cups only - you won't find any grams or ounces in here. I don't find it much of a problem, after all, how difficult can it be to dip a cup into a bag of flour, level it with a knife, and put it into a bowl?? I have made successful breads using small mugs, large mugs, even extra large mugs, but if you're worried a set of cup measures costs about a pound at Sainsbury's. However, to measure butter Bernard uses 'sticks' and nowhere is there any explanation given of how much exactly a stick is. I had to look through nearly 10 cookbooks before I found one that has both these unfortunate stick and gram equivalents. And even worse is his use of 'packets' of dried yeast rather than teaspoons or grams... for one thing, I have no idea how much an American yeast packet contains and secondly depending on whether you use instant yeast or the type that needs to be reactivated in water you'll need different amounts. So if you weigh your flour after 'cupping' it, you can figure out from your yeast packet instructions how much to put in for your weight of flour. If you don't have a scale though and you use the cups it will be very hard to guess how much yeast exactly needs to go in. Not very practical!

Despite these little faults however, this is a lovely collection of recipes which will make you wish you had discovered home-made bread much sooner; it will also probably mean that everyone in your house will be force-fed the delicious results of your bread-baking experiments to keep up with the amount you produce... I certainly make more bread than anyone can eat in my household just because I am so keen to try the various recipes in this book. The freezer has become exclusively a bread storage device! You won't find anyone complaining though...I have yet to meet a person who grumbles about having to eat freshly baked home bread for breakfast!

Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery
Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery
by Nancy Silverton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.98

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous recipes for sourdough lovers, 18 Jun. 2009
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Nancy Silverton's bread book is wonderful, but only to those who enjoy eating (and baking with) sourdoughs. You won't find any quick, easy, straight-dough recipes - all require a sourdough starter, either white, wholewheat or rye. If you're new to making your own sourdough, you might find her methods slightly intimidating: to develop a sourdough you'll need 2 weeks, a quarter of which is spent feeding and nourishing your starter three times a day. If I were a beginner to sourdough I might easily have been put off by her meticulous methods (which I am sure can only result in perfect bread); and despite using sourdough for over a year and having become accustomed to its little whims when anything changes in temperature, I did cheat and used Dan Leader's recipe for liquid levain instead. His requires only 4 days to produce, with a feeding once a day, and I get consistent results every time.

This book also requires that you dedicate a lot of time and patience to making your bread even after you've made your sourdough. Very few breads can be kneaded, proofed and baked in the same day. Many require a sponge made using the sourdough which should ferment for 8-12 hours before mixing and kneading, and a further slow rising of 8 - 12 hours at room temperature or in the fridge. You'll need to plan carefully the day before or even two days before and work out a time schedule for your baking or you might just realise it is time to bake when you're just about ready to head off for work.

Before baking my first bread from La Brea Bakery, I did worry that a different sourdough might produce inferior results; however, substituting Dan Leader's sourdough in the same quantity produced some truly spectacular results. I especially enjoyed the baguettes, sesame-semolina sandwich rolls, the exotic and delicious fig-anise bread , and the sublime chocolate-sour cherry bread (had to order sour cherries on the internet but it was SO worth it). I have also made the Normandy rye and olive onion breadsticks for guests - everyone though I bought the bread at an Italian deli and couldn't believe it was homemade. Nancy Silverton also uses sourdough for various French and Italian breads such as Fougasse, baguettes and ciabattas. I made the fougasse a few days ago and it rose beautifully in the oven and tasted wonderful, again, with a sourdough tang and a soft, fluffy interior.

These are just first and second impressions, as I have only made a quarter of the breads in the book, but I have been really awestruck by every single one I had baked - each one was a truly artisan bread, with a lovely crisp crust that was just too good to leave for the next day. This book has become my favourite bread book; now I am looking forward to trying more of the wholemeal breads. Recommended for anyone who loves sourdough and has a real passion for baking (and time on their hands!)

Focaccia: Simple Breads from the Italian Oven
Focaccia: Simple Breads from the Italian Oven
by Carol Field
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of wonderful ideas for focaccia toppings, 18 Jun. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a lovely book for anyone who enjoys Italian food, and Italian breads in particular. I like baking my own bread, both straight-dough and sourdough methods, and have made some lovely focaccia bases in the past using recipes from Bread by Ursula Ferrigno or Local Breads by Dan Leader. And although the focaccia bases from those two books were really tasty and beautifully risen, neither of them gave more than 2 or 3 suggestions for toppings for focaccia. I therefore decided to buy Focaccia by Carol Field, hoping for loads of topping suggestions, and was certainly not disappointed... in fact, far from it - this book is a little gem!

The book contains 4 basic focaccia doughs: basic white focaccia, wholewheat focaccia, focaccia with a starter that should be prepared 6 - 24 hours in advance, and my favourite, focaccia from Genoa: the dough includes white wine which does something marvellous to the taste and texture, and it rises beautifully when you bake it.
And then there are the various recipes for focaccia toppings: 31 recipes for Savory Focaccia, 6 for Filled Focaccia, and 10 for Sweet Focaccia. The Savory Focaccia section is my favourite and includes, amongst others:
- basil - topped focaccia
- focaccia with rosemary, oil and salt
- focaccia with fresh sage
- focaccia with garlic and herbs
- focaccia with caramelised onions
- focaccia with sweet peppers
- focaccia with slivers of potato and rosemary
And the absolutely heavenly gorgonzola, red onion and walnut focaccia. These are the ones I have tried, and all have been so delicious that they disappear in one evening despite baking a double batch to last at least 2 days. I can't wait to try all the rest of the recipes now, especially as the ones I made before all were so great.

So if you're looking for some inspirational toppings for focaccia, look no further than this one. And apart from the recipes there are various photographs dispersed throughout the book of herbs, olive oil bottles, tables laid with focaccia and Italian wine... beautiful.

Exhale Core Fusion Body Sculpt [DVD]
Exhale Core Fusion Body Sculpt [DVD]
Price: £10.20

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for the thighs and bums!, 13 May 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I thought this workout would be something like the 10 minute solution series - because you get 5 sections of 10 minutes each, I expected a fast, challenging workout that gets the heart rate going. However, it is very different, the pace is actually quite slow and you take a lot of time realigning your body after each exercise and getting your feet in the right position and so on. Out of 10 minutes of each segment, probably only 6-7 minutes are actually spent doing exercise. Personally, I'd prefer a quicker pace, but I guess I'll just have to use 10 minute solution for that!

Some of the exercises on here are very good. The 5 sections are:
- upper body
- thighs
- bums
- abs
- stretching

I thought the best section was the thigh and bum workouts. You only do 10 reps of each exercise but it really, really hurts. In thighs, most of the exercises are plies on your toes with variations (eg. toe pointing out or parallel) and just doing 10 of each makes your muscles work very , very hard! Unfortunately, I don't think all these plies are very good for the knees; after using this workout my knees hurt for 3 days afterwards although I've never suffered from knee problems before when exercising. But the plies on here make you go so low that it seems quite strenuous on the knees, so sadly, I won't be able to do this DVD very often even though I like how tough it is.

The bums section was pretty good too, most exercises are done facing a chair for balance with one leg hip high, doing various lifts and raises. Works your behind well, and again you can feel it. The only problem I had with this section was the terrible cues from the instructor - they often don't say which leg you're doing or when you're changing legs so you have to have your eyes glued to the tv non-stop at first. Only after doing this a couple of times I realised that first you do everything with the left leg and then the same exercises on your right leg. So I recommend watching it through before you try it, just so you can see the different sequences and know when to change legs.

The upper body work was ok, while the abs was slightly disappointing. I always dread doing abs and find it the most painful of all my workout, but the ab workout on this dvd wasn't TOO challenging. Not easy definitely, but it did not have me moaning in agony like most other workouts do! So this could be the workout for you if you want something that works your abs but is not too hard-core.

I think the stretching bit was my least favourite part of this DVD, as it was really drawn out, and you only do 3 or 4 different stretches, and just stay in the same pose for a few minutes. I'd prefer more variety and more parts of the body stretched for a shorter period, but perhaps a few really long stretches are good in their own way too!

I find this workout really difficult to rate! On the one hand I thought the thighs and bum workout really made my legs burn which is great, but on the other hand it caused painful knees which can't be good at all. And the abs and stretching weren't that fantastic. If my knees didn't hurt after using this I would be happy to give it 4 stars just for the thighs and bum workout.

10 Minute Solution - Slim And Sculpt Pilates [DVD]
10 Minute Solution - Slim And Sculpt Pilates [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrea Ambandos
Offered by UK_Media_Offers
Price: £3.64

114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another fantastic set of exercises from the 10 Minute Solution series, 7 May 2009
I have the other 10 Minute Solution with the same instructor Suzanne Bowen (Perfect Body Pilates) and enjoyed it so much that I was really looking forward to Slim and Sculpt Pilates. And like the other DVD, this one is fun and challenging and the minutes fly by.

If you're worried that it will all be the same stuff as Suzanne Bowen's previous pilates DVD, you needn't worry - this is VERY different. The main difference is that you need an exercise resistance band to do almost ALL the exercises on this DVD. It is centred around the resistance band, and all sections, including abs and all over body pilates, make use of the resistance band. The American edition of this DVD has a sticker on it saying that a free band is included - word of warning however: the newly released British version does NOT include the resistance band!! So if you're buying the British release, order a resistance band at the same time so that you can start using your DVD straight away, otherwise you won't ba able to do any of it. (There's also a free resistance band included in Yogalates Energizer with L. Solomon, which is actually cheaper than buying a resistance band, plus you get another workout video!)

Working out with the resistance band is great and makes such a change to just moving your limbs about; the band makes you focus on other parts of your body as well. Suzanne shows you how to modify to increase resistance and get even more out of your work out, just by holding it nearer or further from the centre.

The first section is Lower Body Pilates which really flies by, it is so much fun, and because you're using the resistance band I personally find that my legs ache much less than without a band, perhaps because you take some off the pressure off by using your arms?? The next section is Upper Body Pilates, and this one is a killer! I have always focused more on my lower body when doing workout DVDs and this 10 minute section really showed me how weak my arms and shoulders are, so I hope that using the band will strengthen them. Pilates for Abs includes many traditional pilates sets (such as the hundred, scissors, leg pulls) but all done using the band again, and it was a really nice change. Total Body Pilates works a bit of everything and Pilates for Flexibility is a sequence of stretches, which is so nice and relaxing, and a lovely way to finish the workout.

Apart from Upper Body Pilates which I found very difficult, I did not think this DVD is as challenging as the previous DVD with Suzanne Bowen (Perfect Body Pilates), but it is still a very good 50 minute work out; it is so fun and varied, and just exercising with the resistance band makes such a change to many other workout DVDs out there. It is really great fun, but you can feel your muscles working too. Each section goes by really quickly, and often when I start I decide to do only 2 or 3 sections, but end up doing all of them because this DVD really makes pilates a fun activity rather than a boring chore. Highly recommend it!!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 27, 2016 9:17 PM GMT

10 Minute Solution - Rapid Results Pilates [DVD]
10 Minute Solution - Rapid Results Pilates [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrea Ambandos
Price: £5.99

157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic all over body shaping, stretching and toning, 5 May 2009
I really enjoy 10 minute solution Pilates and 10 minute solution yoga with the same instructor, Lara Hudson. I have been looking forward to the Rapid Results Pilates for a long time as I saw that it was available in America in Region 1 format and I am so pleased I ordered it! This is a wonderful all over body work out, with fantastic pilates sets to shape and tone your abs, arms, bottom and thighs.

Like the other two videos, it is fast-paced and challenging, and gets right down to business. If you're a complete beginner to pilates, you won't find a lengthy introduction or detailed explanations - you start exercising and working those muscles straight away. In fact, I really like this about all the Lara Hudson workouts - you don't lie on your mat for 5 minutes with your legs in the air waiting for the explanation to end and to actually start actually doing it!! So for each of the 5 segments, you actually are working out, and the instructions and cues are really spot on, so even if you're not looking at the screen you will know what to do.

Some of the moves are quite advanced and require a lot of flexibility, so be prepared to keep your legs slightly lower at first until your flexibility improves. Some of the sections call for weights to really sculpt your arms and shoulders - and boy can you feel it! There is plenty of variety here, lots of different moves with a few repetitions, so you don't get bored. In fact, these are all pilates exercises with a twist - typical pilates moves but with new, challenging variations added. Expect a lot of bridges, leg lifts, and flow series to burn calories...but they all have new elements added, so you're not doing the same things as on the other pilates dvds.

This is very varied, challenging, but also fun. Whereas I could do 10 minute solution pilates and keep up with it, I had to stop at least twice while doing this dvd, especially the Total Body Blast section which is a killer and gets you sweating. Luckily you can choose just one or two sections to start out with. And the great thing is that even if you do 10 or 20 minutes with this dvd you will still get a decent workout that you can feel.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2010 8:20 PM BST

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