Saturday, July 20, 2013

Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim System

Leslie Sansone’s Walk Slim System is one of her more challenging sets. It is also one of her earlier ones.  As a result, there are some problems with the cues given for when to change and such.  Over all, I can't say that this is my favorite set of her various walking dvds.  But let me go through each one at a time so you'll have a better idea why I feel the way I do about these workouts.  Also, bear in mind that I'm writing from the perspective of someone with a balance disorder so what may be challenging for me may be super easy for you.  Hopefully so, anyway.  
First there is the Fast Firming dvd.  This one is all about using the “Firm Band” that comes with the set.  You will work the chest, back, arms, legs, etc.  In less than 30 minutes you get a full body workout.  This is good for beginners and the bands can easily be adjusted to create more or less tension.  Warning:  I once broke a band trying to get enough tension.  If you think the band that comes with this set is too loose, you may want to invest in a set of bands that includes stronger ones, ones that give you more tension.  I was expecting this to be more like her other dvds that use the band where it is incorporated into the walk itself but this is not a strength/cardio combo.  This one has Leslie on her own.

The second dvd includes two separate dvds--Fast Start and 3 Fast Miles.  The Fast Start is a two mile walk with 3 interval boosts.  In other words, put on your trainers because you're going to be jogging.  Of course, you can choose to just keep walking, leave the workout low-impact.  It is doable. In fact, for me there was a move in the boosted walk that was more than my balance could handle.  So I skipped the "leg swings" altogether.  There's also a big, burly man in this workout.  His name is Jim and Leslie and he have a lot of fun.  It is not at all mean-spirited, just friendly.

The 3 Fast Miles dvd is baffling to me.  At one point Leslie Sansone has one of her walkers, a woman who also teaches at Sansone's studio, take over and lead the walk for her.  But the woman is has no microphone so you can't hear anything she is saying.  You have to really watch and try to follow along as best you can.  Clear instructions are crucial for avoiding injury and I can't even begin to express my disappointment.  I expect better from Sansone's production company and this dvd is simply so far below standards that, had this been the first dvd I had tried, I may never have tried another.  As it is, I'll likely only include it in my exercise rotation when I am especially bored of every other exercise dvd I own.  Shame shame shame on them for not doing better.

The third dvd, Fast & Firm 4 Really “BIG” Miles  is Leslie with her people. It’s a four mile walk although the package says it’s a fast start with 3 fast miles.  I tried to see if there was warm-up separate from the other mile and there isn’t so unless you do the first mile, there is no warm-up.  The concluding stretch, however, is separated.  So the menu is a bit deceiving in its breaking up the four miles and stretch.  I just went ahead and did all four miles.  This one incorporates the band (in the fourth mile) and introduces boosts (in the second and third miles).  I found this dvd to be a little uncomfortable for highly subjective reasons.  At one point the camera person does a close-up on one of the walker’s crotches and just lingers.  I found this odd and wondered why they didn’t choose to edit this highly peculiar camera shot.  I also found myself not enjoying how Leslie Sansone was picking on one of the walkers, Steve.  I realize that they are all like family and it was not unlike listening in on how close relatives will mock and pick on one another.  But in a dvd where you don’t really know the people, it was strange and I didn’t like it.  However, I loved the stretch at the end.  One of the better ones she does.  The running time is 56 minutes.

Last but not least is Walk Slim: 4 Fast Miles! and they aren’t kidding.  In 50 minutes you’ll do a warm up and cool down and, thanks to five different sets of “boosts” you’ll work through four miles in under an hour.  You won’t need the band for this walk but be sure to wear shoes.  Of course, Leslie Sansone reminds the viewer that you don’t have to jog in place.  You can keep everything low impact.  Nonetheless, the pace is very fast.  I was unable to do the leg swings because it required more balance than I had the day I used this dvd for the first time.  I just kept jogging in place and didn’t feel I was missing out on the intensity.  And there is always someone showing a low impact version so no need to job if you prefer to walk.  The best thing about this one:  there’s an option to do the dvd “Music Only” so if you want to do your own thing without following along but you want to ensure that you get in a good cardio workout, you can turn on the dvd in “music only” mode and walk however you choose.  I think that’s great.

Overall,  these are good dvds but I don’t love them.  I would love to see Sansone’s company repackage her older workouts in a more technologically savvy way.  With options to create menus and such, there’s no reason a menu couldn’t be created with a separate warm-up and cool-down.  Then there could be single miles added, some fast with boosts, others less intense, some using the band, or not.  The user could then create the perfect workout, beginning with a warm-up and then as many or as few miles as wanted or needed for that day, and still end with the cool-down and then stretch at the end.  I know this can be done as I’ve seen it on other workout dvds and goodness knows Sansone has a large enough library of different walking workouts to create one really amazing dvd that makes full use of dvd menus.

However, that's not the reason that, for me, this is not the best Leslie Sansone set and I would only recommend it to someone who already has a solid walking dvd collection and really wants to add some variety.  Even then, I'd probably say just take a walk outside and skip this set altogether while you wait for Sansone to come out with something new and certainly something better.

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