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Denise Has Really Outdone Herself Here…

Posted May 06 2010 3:00am

Body Makeover Mix As promised, today we’re reviewing three of Denise Austin’s most recent workout DVDs. Historically, we’ve given Denise’s DVDs high marks , but read on for what we think of her new trio of titles! And if you missed yesterday’s interview with Mrs. Austin , be sure to check it out. She never fails to inspire!

Body Makeover Mix

We’ve said it once, but we’re saying it again. When it comes to needing a solid intermediate workout DVD, nine times out of 10, you can’t go wrong with Denise. She just gets it. And year after year, she produces great workout DVDs. This one is no different. In this no-fuss DVD you get three 15-minute workouts: Upper-Body Sculpt, Lower-Body Sculpt, and Ab and Core Conditioning. Each have a quick warm-up and cool down and all get your burn on without making you scream for your mommy (could be a con for some of you who relish the pain ).

I really enjoyed the upper-body section because of how fluid the exercises were. It wasn’t just standing and doing bicep curls and tricep kickbacks but rather graceful and full range-of-motion exercises that hit the muscles in new ways. I can’t tell you the last time I lifted weights and felt graceful. The lower-body segment is similar in its uniqueness. Denise borrows a chair and some ballet moves to target the tush. I didn’t find the ab and core section to be much of a challenge, but you didn’t do crunches the whole time (instead you did planks and some standing work—yahoo!), which was nice. And, as usual, Denise’s cuing was right on. And because this workout was a little more Pilates/ballet and therefore a touch more mind-body, Denise had her perkiness turned down a notch. A total plus for those who don’t do perky workout DVDs.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★★
Music: ★★
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

Best for: Intermediate exercisers who want to add a softer yet challenging DVD to their workout mix.

3-Week Boot Camp

Before we begin the review of Denise’s 3-Week Boot Camp , I have to be honest about something. I really, really like music . In fact, half of the reason I like to work out is because it gives me a reason to jam to some tunes either in a group exercise class or on my iPod. And while this DVD has a lot going for it, what it does not have going for it is its tunes. The music in this one is B-A-D. Like 90s video game  music bad. Ick. I had a really hard time getting over it during the workout, and if you’re a music snob you might, too.

Once I got over the music, I was impressed with some aspects of the DVD. Denise gives you a 20-minute Cardio and Strength Interval segment, a 20-minute Athletic Training session and a bonus 6-minute Ab Fat-Blaster workout. The intervals were great and got your heart rate up ( we heart intervals! ) , the athletic training segment used some fun kettlebell-type moves but with a dumbbell (no funky equipment needed, hooray!) and the bonus ab workout hit it quick and hard (errr…that sounded wrong). Denise doesn’t show a whole lot of modifications for beginners, and I was hoping for a bit less perk and aerobics-type cardio in a boot camp DVD, but it’s got good moves nonetheless.

FBG Rating (Out of 5) Instruction: ★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★
Music: ★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★

Overall: ★★

Best for: Aerobic gals or Denise fans who want to add some interval training to the mix and don’t mind cheesy, outdated tunes.

DeniseBest Buns and Legs Best Bun & Leg Shapers

Denise sticks it to your lower half in her Best Bun & Leg Shapers workout DVD. She takes her seven favorite lower-body exercise segments and combines them onto one disc for the ultimate customizable mix-and-match workout. If you’re a huge Denise fan and celebrate her entire collection, this may not be the DVD for you because it includes workouts that can be found on her other DVDs. But because all of the segments come from previous workouts, the result is a good variety of moves to target your lower half.

Almost all of the segments are 10 minutes long except for one that clocks in at 5 minutes and another that’s 15. I will say that my pregnant self found this DVD to be much more challenging than usual. I’d get out of breath during lunges and squats and felt the burn much more quickly; the extra weight is definitely adding some resistance!

The Lower-Body High-Intensity segment really packed a lot into 10 minutes: lunges and side lunges, plies, squats with kicks and standing kicks for the butt. The Hit the Spot Pilates segments toned the buns and hips with mat work, while the Get Fit Fast Legs and Buns workout piled up the basics with squats, lunges, leg lifts and traditional mat work. My two favorite segments were the Power Zone Ultimate Workout, which used a resistance band to add difficulty to the lower-body moves, and the Hit the Spot: Core, which had new moves using the stability ball and weights. (I had to opt out of a few of these because I couldn’t do the belly-on-the-ball positions, but they looked fun and challenging!)

I do wish Denise had thrown a good warm-up segment onto the program though. While some of the workouts include a short stretch at the end for a cool down, they all jump right into the moves without a warm-up.

FBG Rating (Out of 5) Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★

Overall: ★★★1/2

Best for: Anyone who likes to mix-and-match their lower-body workouts and who doesn’t already have a massive Denise DVD collection!

FIT BOTTOMED LINE: ALL OF THESE DVDS ARE BEST SUITED FOR INTERMEDIATE EXERCISERS. IF YOU WANT TO ADD SOME FULL-BODY STRENGTH, PICK UP BODY MAKEOVER MIX. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOME INTERVAL WORK AND DON’T MIND AEROBICS, CHECK OUT 3-WEEK BOOTCAMP. IF YOU LOVE TO POP IN A DVD TO FOCUS ON TARGET-TONING SPECIFIC LOWER-BODY TROUBLE ZONES, BEST BUN & LEG SHAPERS IS YOUR BEST BET.

Are you a Denise fan, too? Leave us a comment in the next week and you could win one of these FBG-approved titles! U.S. residents only please. All winners will be contacted directly by email, so check those inboxes, ladies! —Jenn & Erin


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