I love Kathy Smith. Her Rules of Fat Burning DVD is one of my staples. It has great mix-and-match cardio and strength, and if you’ve got 17 minutes, you can fit in one hell of a jump rope workout. We’ve got an awesome Q&A with Kathy coming up tomorrow, so I thought in her honor, I’d go back and review one of her oldies. I found the oldest DVD of hers that I could on Netflix—a combo video of three workouts from the 80s and 90s.
You won’t be disappointed. This video blew my mind; it is fabulous on so many levels. First, the retro aspect of it is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and I can’t do every facet justice in the written word. But even in the face of 80s video technology, wardrobes and sets, the workout is sweat inducing and the aerobics are easy to follow. It also made me thankful that wearing pantyhose while working out is no longer fashionable. Be warned: The workouts are long, and none clock in less than an hour.
Weight Loss Workout This workout is mostly aerobics based but does add in some strength moves. Starting out in a warehouse setting, you do basic aerobics moves before flashing to a pink-carpeted studio to complete the warm-up. After picking up light weights, you work the arms, shoulders and chest/back while also getting cardio because you move a lot. The meat of the DVD is heavy on cardio, and each cardio segment switches it up with theme changes (beach party is one) and even different lighting. The aerobics here include lots of knee lifts, side-to-side moves and grapevines. The add-a-move is a staple, as well as moves that fit the particular theme of the segment. After the cardio, you get into leg strength work with weights, including lunges and leg lifts, before cooling it down with basic stretches at the end. A portion on healthy eating at the end is a good reminder about how to eat right. Highlight: A 50s-themed segment complete with skirts and a dance-off style dance tunnel.
Ultimate Video Workout This workout, circa 1984, is awesomely dated with its studio with cut-out skylines in the backdrop and its “foot lookin’” portion, which shows how your feet should look as they’re doing the moves. It’s basically everything awesome, 80s and aerobics in this one segment. Highlights include layered socks, moves that remind me of the “robot,” and can-can kicking, which was tough. Fantastic changing formations attempt to distract from the fact that you’ve been jumping up and down and doing jumping side lunges for several minutes straight. It’s like jumping rope but more entertaining to watch. Arm work using your own resistance made me burn, as did the thigh and ab floorwork. Highlight: An outdoor parking lot shoot with fans sitting on hoods of cars clapping and feigning the moves while the stars do add-on moves, including my fave, “space arms,” a kooky over-the-head arm move you just have to see for yourself.
Ultimate Stomach and Thighs Workout This segment is definitely "ultimate" if that means it lasts an eternity. If you do it, break up the abs and thighs unless you have about 85 minutes, although Kathy does talk for about 8 minutes at the start of the video. The ab work is broken up into the foundation, which is heavy on the basics and form; the workout, which includes reverse crunches and oblique crunches; and the challenge, which is more difficult versions of the basic moves and will fatigue your mid-section into oblivion.
The thigh segment consisted of both thigh and butt floorwork, which I haven’t done in awhile, so I was feeling it because I tried to rock it with the advanced moves even though they showed modifications for beginner and intermediate levels. Standing work also targeted the buns, and there were plenty of leg lifts, squats and lunges. Highlight: Gym bags on the floor as decoration made me giggle.
FBG Rating (Out of 5): Instruction: ★★★ Long-Term Likeability: ★★★ Music: ★★★ Fun Factor: ★★★★★ Meets Expectations: ★★★ Overall: ★★★★
Fit Bottom line: By far my favorite retro video yet, this one is great for its diverse cardio and toning, and you are guaranteed to giggle at the awesome 80s factor. Entertaining and sweat inducing, even if it is lengthy. —Erin
Want more reviews? Read the Fit Bottomed Girls' review of Cindy Crawford's 90s workout and my favorite Mindy Mylrea DVD. For more on how our ratings are determined (it's not a science, but we do have some method to our madness), read our review criteria.