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These workout routines are unusual because two of them use free weights. The main choices for workouts are Core, Strength Training and Yoga, each about 20 minutes, and each of these has a short cool down portion that can be watched or skipped. There are two instructors, Darcy McCue and Heather Schmidt. Darcy does the Core and Heather does the other two. Both are instructors at Canyon Ranch, and they demonstrate in the desert, with mountains in the background. There is so little breeze and the sound is so crisp that I wondered for a moment whether it was done in a studio via green screen, but I am pretty sure it is genuine. There is some electronic music added on the sound, -- energetic and appropriate for a gym.
Both the Core program and the Strength Training workouts are distinctive and beneficial. They keep you active and involve lots of squats and lunges, sometimes without weights, and sometimes with. Most of the time the instructions about what to do are clear and easy to follow. The Core program is fairly gentle, using just one weight, but it keeps you busy. The Strength Training is more demanding. Heather recommended using light weights, but it is tempting to use heavier ones to get more of a workout. People following the program should be careful though, because it is easy to do oneself damage when lunging and squatting when using heavier weights. The DVD has the usual health warnings about consulting a physician, but a bit more advice on what weights to use could be useful. There's also the issue of gender: there seems to be an implicit assumption that the person following this workout is a women, but it is never explicitly said. (If intended for men, would it include a "curtsey" lunge?) Nevertheless, despite my male status, I still found these workouts satisfying and helpful. My experience with doing the Strength Training was that it helped to have different weights for different exercises, to match the strength of the muscles being used. I used these workouts many times and I found them very helpful, giving me training that is hard to find elsewhere.
There are some bonus features which some people may find useful -- on cooking, building lean muscle and maintaining healthy joints. They take a holistic wellness approach, and they seem to have good information, but there are probably more useful websites with similar information more concisely presented.
© 2013 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York
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