There’s no denying that Denise Austin is a modern day fitness icon. She has been around doing her thing with enthusiasm – and looking good while doing it – for 25 years. Mrs. Austin has sold over 20 million exercise videos and DVDs and is the host of two Lifetime Network fitness shows that she claims are the nation’s most popular TV shows in the health and fitness category.
However, Mrs. Austin’s accomplishments and popularity do not mean that her latest exercise DVD is worth recommending.
I say this not as just an exercise junkie, but as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer (through the National Strength and Conditioning Association), a USA Weightlifting Certified Coach, the Head Strength Coach of a high school and a professional strength and conditioning coach who has conducted more than 20,000 personal training sessions during the past sixteen-plus years.
The DVD Burn Fat Fast – which is advertised on the case as “Cardio, Dance and Sculpt” – “promises” via a sub heading on the case that this DVD will give you “flat abs, tight buns and lean legs in minutes.”
This is a bad start, as anyone who has been in the fitness biz for 25 years should know that changing a body “in minutes” is not possible. By the way, any time that you see the term “in minutes” attached to some kind of fitness or appearance altering exercise program you should stay away.
The marketing of fitness has resulted in the idea that you can change yourself in a quick and easy manner, when the reality is that this is not so. This “marketer’s approach” may be good for business, but it is not the way things work.
Mrs. Austin deserves credit for being enthusiastic and positive in her approach – and her fans will surely buy this DVD – but there are a lot better ways for people to spend their exercise time and money.
Basically, Burn Fat Fast is nothing more than a recording of what you could find in almost any aerobics class that has been conducted almost anywhere during the last 25 years. There is nothing new here – from the aerobics class choreography to the “mat work” exercises – and almost every aerobic class-based misconception about exercise is on display during this 52-minute “program.”
Hook: Denise Austin is a fitness phenomenon and she is going to give us some new twist on an aerobic class-style workout.
Gimmick: No new gimmick. However, the same old gimmick that aerobic classes can sculpt, tone and strengthen blah, blah, blah, is played to death.
Inconsistency: During the “abs training” session, easy basic exercises like “crunches” are mixed in with extremely difficult straight leg lifts and other high-difficulty moves with little – if any – acknowledgement of the “difficulty gap.”
Glaring Omission: Mrs. Austin doesn’t let us know how many repetitions that we’ll be doing while we’re doing them. She doesn’t tell us how many reps we should try to do.
There really isn’t much coaching going on here. When we are being told what to do, the comments display a misunderstanding of the functions of muscle groups that is typical of aerobic class-based training.
Annoying Features: There are several, but the number one annoying feature of this DVD is that there is no indication that anything has changed in the world of aerobics workouts over the past 25 years. Except for the very-high production values of this DVD, you could think that you are watching something that was conceptualized and performed in the mid-1980s.
Also annoying are the many and constant “aerobic class exhortations.” Words like, “toning,” “sculpting,” “shaping,” “super sculpting,” and phrases like, “no more bra overhang!” and “no more back fat!” are liberally sprinkled through the DVD. It’s no wonder that people have a disconnect between being healthy and capable and being thin.
To constantly use terms such as these displays a remarkable lack of understanding as to the mechanisms at work – both physically and emotionally – while a person exercises.
Most Outrageous Claim: That this workout will turn any body into a “fat-burning machine” and that with this workout a person will be able to reshape their entire body. Also, during the tape Mrs. Austin tells us, “there’s no wrong way, there’s no right way.” This is just plain wrong.
Also, you aren’t engaging in strength training when you are holding 2-pound dumbbells for 20 minutes.
Say Something Nice: Mrs. Austin looks fantastic and is in great shape. And there’s no denying that she is enthusiastic.
Bottom Line: Not only isn’t there anything new here, there’s not a whole lot that’s right here either, as this kind of aerobic class-based training is about as inefficient of a training method as there is. Anyone who can actually get through this entire DVD is fit enough to engage in more effective training methods while beginners will have no chance to make it through.
It is a shame that Mrs. Austin doesn’t use her considerable clout and influence to break out of this outdated idea of fitness. If she were able to embrace a more forward thinking philosophy she would be able to accomplish so much more.