Newest Review: ... it's a nice, informal way of telling you about the plans if you are interested in following one. There is also a section with Weightwatcher... more
Excellent exercise DVD with brilliant interactive features - perfect for beginners
Claire Sweeney - Perfect Fit With Weight Watchers (DVD)
Member Name: mouche202
Claire Sweeney - Perfect Fit With Weight Watchers (DVD)
Date: 14/12/09, updated on 14/12/09 (360 review reads)
Advantages: Simple, ultra-effective exercises at a doable pace; interactive features allowing selection of a ran
Disadvantages: None for me - some may miss the lack of 'aerobics' and music
I bought this DVD over 2 years ago when I was trying to lose weight on the Weightwatchers plan. I didn't stick to it long enough to actually try the DVD out and it stayed in my pile of 'I know I will never use but feel too guilty to throw out' things. Last summer I made a relatively successful attempt to lose some weight using the Wii Fit and realize that I much prefer forms of exercise that I can do at home at my own convenience. This year I tried to restart doing the Wii Fit but found that I was fed up of the long gaps between exercises and having to stop and choose what exercise to do next. I simply didn't have the time to spend 45 minutes doing 30 minutes worth of fairly light exercise.
That's when I decided to dig this DVD out of the closet and give it a go. I've done it regularly for 2 months and I wanted to review it ages ago but I felt that without more knowledge of what exercise DVDs are like, I'd end up giving a pretty restricted opinion. So recently I got myself a box set of Rosemary Conley DVDs and tried out one of them. Armed with experience of at least 2 exercise DVDs, I feel better equipped to review them so here is the first one.
The Weightwatchers Perfect Fit DVD is made by - surprise surprise - Weightwatchers, with Claire Sweeney along for the celebrity angle. The DVD is divided into 2 sections - Food and Exercise. The Food section features Claire talking to a Weightwatchers representative about the Weightwatchers plans - namely the Points system and the No Count system. It covers their experiences with Weightwatchers and how it's such a wonderful system. I will not comment on how wonderful it is but it's a nice, informal way of telling you about the plans if you are interested in following one. There is also a section with Weightwatchers chef Daniel Green who shows Claire how to plan meals in either of the plans. Again, helpful enough but I think if you were following one of the plans you'd get a lot of this information from your local group or online.
The really exciting part of the DVD is the exercise section and the reason it's exciting is because it consists of one warm up session (6 minutes I think), one cool down session (5 minutes) and about twenty 5 minute segments of interval training. BUT it doesn't force you to follow them in any particular order like most exercise DVDs AND it doesn't force you to stop after each exercise and choose the next one (though you can if you want to). All you have to do is choose how long you want to exercise for (bearing in mind that the warm and cool down is extra) and the DVD will put together a randomized selection for you to do. For example, if you choose to do a 15 minute session, today you might do Warm Up, Box Fit, Trim and Tone, Yogacise and Cool Down and tomorrow you might be given Warm Up, Pump It, The Chair, The Burner and Cool Down. This way it doesn't get boring because you never know what's coming next (though once I'd done it a few times, I remembered enough to pray fervently that the next one wouldn't be Pump It!) For advanced users, you can also put your own routine together - just choose the length of the routine and choose which exercises you want to do as part of it.
I thought this interactive feature was absolutely brilliant and very well suited to beginners. I started out huffing and puffing through 10 minute routines for a week but now I am up to 30 minutes a day. The DVD recommends a plan i.e. Week 1: 18 * 5 mins; Week 2: 24*5 min; Week 3: 27*5; Week 4:30*5. It also shows how the backup exercisers have done on the plan and both of them plus Claire have lost inches as well as weight.
Each routine is performed by the trainer Caroline Sandry, Claire Sweeney and two women who have lost weight through Weightwatchers - these women do the exercises at different intensity levels so you can follow along with whoever is working at your ability level. I'd like to also say that all the women have nice figures - not too muscular or super skinny. They all look like normal people, which is very encouraging. Even Caroline doesn't have bulging muscles. Also, they are dressed in flattering workout gear unlike in the Rosemary Conley videos where some of the volunteers look far too muscular and wear very unflattering gear.
There is minimal music in the DVD which suited me very well because a) it didn't distract me from the exercises or the instructions and b) it didn't impose a pace that I had to keep up. In fact, apart from the interactivity my second favourite thing about this DVD was that the exercises were very simple but very effective and were done at a relatively slow pace. That might sound like it would do no good, but I found it's far better for me to do 10 squats focusing on my posture and on working the correct muscles rather than rushing through 20 squats trying to do arm movements at the same time and trying to keep up with the music. I always found that after doing the latter in the Rosemary Conley video, I would have knee pain - presumably because I was not focusing on making sure my knees didn't go in front of my toes while squatting. I believe Caroline Sandry bases many of her exercises on Pilates and certainly I felt my core muscles were used far more in the Weightwatchers DVD.
The one negative for some people may be the relative lack of cardio - there are some twisting jumps, jogging and other cardio moves to get the heart rate up but the Weightwatchers DVD is primarily interval training and intersperses the cardio bit with the muscle work. For me this was a good thing as I am hopeless at cardio and can't keep it up for more than 30 seconds which is excellent as just as I'm getting too puffed, Caroline Sandry says 'now back to a march...next we're going to do lunges'.
Another major advantage is that you can do this DVD in very little space. I have your average small drawing room and really struggle to do the Rosemary Conley DVD in it. The exercises in the Weightwatchers DVD however, not only require less space, they aren't at super speed so if you need to move to a different spot to have room for an exercise - you have a few seconds to do it.
I would strongly recommend this DVD to people who are new to exercise - it really helps to build you up and getting through even a 10 minute routine gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you have never exercised before. Plus, despite looking like they aren't really very tough, you will REALLY feel it in your muscles the next day after doing these exercises. Claire Sweeney says in the DVD that she used to do 50 sit ups in the gym and nothing happened but 10 of Caroline's chair based situps for a week made her stomach rock hard. I can't claim a rock hard stomach myself but I am sure if I persevere with this DVD, I will get there sooner rather than later.
Summary: Buy it at once - you'll need it after Christmas!
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