Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Denise Austin: Boot Camp-Total Body Blast

THE WORKOUT: Denise Austin: Boot Camp -- Total Body Blast


WHO CAN DO THIS: Because Denise spends no time explaining form or technique here, this workout isn’t for beginners.

THE BREAKDOWN: I’ve mostly avoided the whole “boot camp” workout fad because the term brings to mind millions of push-ups, bellowing, sweating and grunting…ugh. I prefer workouts that have words like “cupcakes” and “pink daisies” and “lavender unicorns.” I’m just not boot campy. I’m Richard Simmons campy.

But, in the interest of hard-hitting journalism, I figured I should give some boot camp workouts a shot. Besides, I’ve always liked Denise Austin. She's been around forever doing her thing. She strikes me as very slightly, and delightfully, insane. She’s loud, she has a wild look in her eyes, she can’t count, she’s happy beyond all rationality. Plus, she knows her stuff. Her workouts work. What’s not to like?

This DVD includes two solid 20-minute interval workouts, one focusing on cardio, the other on strength. The workouts—which include some easily-eliminated high-impact moves—are similar except that one uses light hand weights and the other doesn’t. Moves include lots and lots of squats and lunges, jump rope-free rope jumping, jabs and uppercuts, some basketball jumps, karate kicks and just a few push-ups, all done in front of an exposed brick wall crisscrossed with pipes. Macho. Both workouts end with abdominal strengtheners, both unusual and classic. Denise loves her some crunches.

A 10-minute flexibility segment is unusual in that Denise uses “active isolated stretches” instead of static stretches—that is, instead of holding a stretch, she has you hold and release, hold and release. Interesting.

Denise chatters incessantly through the workout and her cuing, as usual, is haphazard. That’s just the way she rolls.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: You should sweat like a big smelly soldierman.

BUT IS IT FUN? Define “fun.”

WHEN IT'S OVER: Your heart and muscles will know you care.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Supportive shoes, mat, light hand weights (heavier than five pounds might be hard to control), a decent amount of space, preferably on an uncarpeted floor, and a mat.

FINAL WORD: Not bad, but I’ll stick with cupcakes and unicorns.

And, by the way, Denise was airbrushed to the point of unrecognizable on the DVD box. Heaven forbid she should look her age--an astonishing 51.

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