After having surgery on both knees, my running and aerobic workout days were gone forever. Talk about devastation. Working out was more than just being in shape for me; it was a stress reliever, a tension breaker, a way to recenter physically. To lose that outlet was nothing short of losing part of my life.

A friend suggested I try pilates. I grimaced, rolled my eyes, snorted… you get the picture. Pilates was for sissies.

amazon deals
NEW! Amazon Interesting Finds. Click Here.

Then I tried it. I was astounded and amazed. Not only that, I was in in pain the next day. And the day after that. And then a third day. I was hooked.

Then the pilates series I originally bought got way too easy, way too fast. I saw Winsor pilates on TV and was intrigued. I bought two of her DVD’s and promptly fell in love. They were too hard to get through! Imagine that, “sissy pilates” DVD’s, too hard to do the first few weeks.

I began with Mari’s Accelerated Body Sculpting video.Approx. 51 minutes long, including Mari’s instructions at the beginning of the video, the entire workout is comprehensive and incorporates over twenty-five pilates moves.

While working out to this video you are joined by five other participants on the screen, one who is implementing modified pilates techniques. Mari narrates the workout rather than joining in on it. Her lead participant so flawlessly and gracefully executes the moves that it causes you to want to get to her performance level.

The entire workout includes well-known pilates moves such as the Pilates 100, Rolling Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker, The Saw, and the incredibly difficult Teaser.

Pilates moves that I was unfamiliar with, up to that point, also make up part of the routine, such as the Neck Roll, Bent Leg Teasers, the Can-Can (a little Moulin Rouge, as Mari teasingly puts in), and Hip Circles (which after two years I can still barely accomplish, though I cite a recent pregnancy as the reason for that!)

As already stated, each of the exercises has a modification to it, so that you can still get a full work out in instead of having to stop at the exercises you can’t perform.

Within the workout is a section that targets the abs (and you will feel them burning by the end!) and another series that targets the hips, thighs, and butt (my favorite). The entire workout is one that targets all the muscles in your body, and instead of bulking them up, tones and slims them down.

The one critique I have of this particular workout is that Mari takes quite a bit of time between each exercise in order to explain technique. While this is wonderful in the first weeks of using the video for rest purposes, as you begin to move through the workout with more ease and familiarity, it can be a bit frustrating to have to listen to the same spiel repeatedly.

After I felt I had conquered the Accelerated Workout, I moved on to the Maximum Burn, Super Sculpting and Body Slimming DVD.

the Maximum Burn

This particular workout took me to a brand new level and, honestly, felt as much of a challenge as any Tae Bo workout I had done in the previous years! This takes many of the well-known pilates moves used in so many of Mari’s earlier videos, as well as a few new ones, and speeds them up into double time. This not only achieves a great muscle burn, it also provides an incredible cardiovascular workout.

This particular workout is not for beginners. Mari moves from exercise to exercise with little time and explanation. Be prepared to be moving the entire 50 minutes of this particular workout, with hardly any breaks in between exercises.

Sometimes Mari’s cues are a bit off in this video, and due to the speed of the transtions, it can be hard to adjust. However, once you become familiar with the routine, it’s easy to know where she is going and keep up.

I love this workout! It continues to keep me challenged and after two years and I have yet to become bored while doing it! I especially appreciate that this video, along with the other one, does not bulk me up muscularly, but instead, tones and sculpts, just as they promise to do.

These videos are not for those who have never done pilates. Although Mari does a great job introducing each exercise, she does so with the assumption that the participant already has an awareness of basic pilates concepts.

In order to achieve maximum results with these particular DVD’s and keep from becoming frustrated and giving up, learn the basics first. Once a basic pilates routine is learned and mastered, these DVD’s will be much easier to follow and keep up with.

As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before beginning. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, it is imperative that you put off a new workout program until you have first obtained medical advice and clearance.

Pic of the Day: meet the new love of my life

meet the new love of my life