5 Day Fit Pilates
with trainer Ana Caban & Jillian Hessel
You will love it if:
These are fairly classical Pilates workouts. Pilates is ideal for protecting the spine, improving core strength and posture, and offering a no impact workout that can be done in a tight space. It is also virtually impossible to hurt yourself while doing Pilates mat work. Pilates is a very specific workout routine developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. While the workouts included on this DVD diverge slightly from Pilates’ original vision, they do not diverge greatly from Pilates’ method, so you will see a lot of the same moves repeated during each of the workouts. So this video series offers enough variety to allow you to spice up your workouts a little if you plan to do Pilates every day, but in order to stay fairly close to the Pilates’ method, they are a bit repetitive.
Ana Caban instructors 4 of the 5 workouts. She has a nice, soothing voice, and gives good instructions and reminders throughout the video. She does not crack jokes or shout messages of encouragement—so she has the perfect personality and voice for a relaxing workout. Jillian Hessel’s voice is not quite as soothing as Caban’s, but her instructions and cuing are extremely clear and she has a pleasant personality. Though the workouts feel relaxing, Pilates is anything but easy when it is done with proper form. Pay attention to the instructions and pointers, use control while doing the movements, and you will get a great core workout.
One other thing, the title menu only lists numbers 1 through 5, and the order of the workouts is not the same as the order on the back of the DVD case. Workout 1 = AM Pilates, 2 = PM Pilates, 3 = Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss, 4 = Cardio Pilates, and 5 = Pilates for Beginners. It’s not much trouble to memorize the order if you use the DVD regularly.
AM Pilates (24 minutes): Late Beginner—This video starts out slow with 4 minutes of breathing practice. If you are older or have injuries that make it difficult for you to get going in the morning, the breathing exercises are a nice way to ease into the day. There is more of a focus on stretching in this video than in other Pilates workouts I have done—probably because it is intended to be done in the morning. Jillian Hessel gives great directions and cues—I hardly ever had to look at the screen to be sure I was doing the moves correctly or that my timing was correct. One section of the workout is a bit more challenging than the rest of the video, but it lasts for only a few minutes, so I gave the video a “late beginner” rating despite this slightly harder part. This video does require a chair. You can also use a body band to make the moves a bit easier.
PM Pilates (25 minutes): Intermediate—Most of this video is done at an intermediate level, but there are a few sections that are quite challenging for the hip flexors and lower abdominals. Ana Caban has a very soothing voice that is nice to workout to and the video was filmed with a beautiful, relaxing backdrop.
Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss (27 minutes): Intermediate--This is a fairly traditional Pilates mat workout. It includes the push-ups (3 sets of 3) which are done in traditional Pilates routines but are not often included in Pilates videos. There is also about a minute of light cardio at the end—the cardio is low impact except for 8 jumping jacks. (This cardio is not done in traditional Pilates routines.) Ana Caban has a very soothing voice that is nice to workout to and the video was filmed with a beautiful backdrop.
Cardio Pilates (29 minutes): Intermediate—This video is very similar to Ana Caban’s other Pilates videos except that it includes 2 ½ minutes of low impact cardio work at the beginning and ½ minute of low impact cardio work at the end. Other than these short bursts at the beginning and end, the video did not include any cardio work. There were a few moves I have not seen in Caban’s other videos including a leg scissor and lifting sequence and a few moves that work your glutes. As always, Caban has a soothing voice that is nice to workout to.
Pilates for Beginners (11 minutes): Early Beginner—This workout is very short and easy. It has good modifications of traditional Pilates moves to make Pilates accessible for someone who is very inflexible or has a weak core. This workout would be ideal for someone who was recently pregnant or hasn’t worked out in a long time because it is a bit less challenging for your abdominal and hip muscles.
One of the workouts requires a chair. You also have the option of using a body band to make the movements easier. The other videos do not require any equipment. However, you will want a soft rug or workout mat to perform the workouts on since you will be lying on your back and/or side for each of the workouts.
The workouts require very little space. If you can lie down on your back and extend your arms overhead and out to the sides, you will have enough space to complete this workout.
Individuals of all fitness levels will be able to try this program. The 11 minute Pilates for Beginners workout will be accessible to individuals with lower flexibility or core strength. Once your flexibility and strength improve and you have mastered the Pilates for Beginners workout, you can move on to the AM Pilates and then to some of the other intermediate level workouts.
What NOT to Expect
Do not expect to get a cardiovascular workout or strength in your arms and legs. Pilates does not target the muscles in your arms and legs—it focuses on the butt, hip, back, and abdominal muscles. It is also a toning video that is done in a slow, controlled manor. Your breathing will also be slow and controlled and your heart rate will increase only slightly during this workout.
How does 5 Day Fit Pilates compare to other similar programs?
This is a good Pilates program to try if you want a variety of Pilates workouts to choose from each day. One drawback is that, with the exception of the Pilates for Beginners workout, they are all about 25 minutes in length. However, Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss includes one of the workouts from this DVD and is a bit more versatile since it includes 3 intermediate workouts of different lengths—8 ½, 15 ½, and 27 minutes—and the 8 ½ minute workout is an audio workout that you can add to your i-pod and do from anywhere (the beach, the park, your backyard…). If this is your first time trying Pilates, I would highly recommend Winsor Pilates: Basic 3 DVD Workout Set. This is definitely the best Pilates program for teaching proper form, and Winsor shows you how to both beginner and intermediate versions of every move during her workouts. This allows you to start as a beginner and progress to an intermediate level. If you’d like something longer than 27 minutes, Winsor Pilates: Basic 3 DVD Workout Set also includes a longer 52 minute workout. If you want a wider variety of workouts, 5 Day Fit Pilates includes four different intermediate workouts that are all about 25 minutes long and one 13 minute beginner workout. If you are a Pilates enthusiast or really want to learn Pilates according to the classical method as Joseph Pilates intended for them to be done, you might try Classical Pilates Technique: The Complete Mat Workout Series.
MORE WORKOUT OPTIONS
Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss
BETTER FOR YOUR BOOTIE
Winsor Pilates Bun & Thigh Sculpting
Winsor Pilates Basic 3 DVD Set
MORE CHALLENGING NON-PILATES MAT WORKOUT
Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout
BEST FOR LEARNING CLASSICAL TECHNQUE
Classical Pilates Technique
SHORTER WITH NON-PILATES MOVES MIXED IN
10 Minute Solution Rapid Results Pilates