DVD Review: Amy Dixon's 'Breathless Body' Tabata DVD


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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I heart Amy Dixon. She's a veteran fitness instructor, master trainer and creator of many wonderful workouts you've probably seen in fitness magazines and DVDs alike. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and she is a real treat: super sweet, super fit and down to earth. It makes it hard for me to hate her when she kicks my booty in her DVDs, which she always does (in a good way).
Amy's latest DVD "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" ($14.99, amazon.com) capitalizes off the trendy "Tabata" style interval training, which involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. Tabata training is touted as one of the most efficient ways to boost aerobic endurance and fat burning, and although  I had read about it, but hadn't experienced it until I tried this DVD. I have to admit, I was a little scared. So how did I fare? And is this DVD right for you?
The DVD features eight different Tabata circuits that you can mix and match as you choose, plus a warm up and a cool down segment to bookend around your workout. The menu only allows you to "play all" or play one at a time. (I wished it would have allowed you to select your own combination and hit play.) Would you believe that I was too lazy to have to go back to the menu and select each workout I wanted…so I just ended up doing the entire thing? It made sense at the time, but in hindsight I see how silly that was.
So each segment features one simple movement, which is thoroughly explained and simple to follow—no complex choreography and no counting or staying with the beat of the music. Before each set of intervals begins, Amy shows you a low-intensity version of the move, an intermediate version, and a (super) advanced version. Then you pick one of the three levels and go: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, and so on until you complete 4 total minutes of that particular move. Then you take a little bit longer rest, get a drink, and get ready for your next set of intervals using a new move (shown three ways)—until you complete the number of intervals you choose for your workout. Here's a preview of what the moves are like:

I found myself mixing up each interval at different intensity levels. Sometimes I'd try the easiest version, but then move up to the middle or advanced versions within the 4-minute segment. Sometimes I made up my own hybrid somewhere between two of them. I liked that I had options and plenty of ideas to tailor it to how hard I was able to work at any given interval. I also mixed and matched them for pure variety. No matter which level you choose, you'll be working!
Although repeating a single move eight times in a row seems monotonous, the fact that each interval is so short made the time fly by. You really feel like you're making progress very quickly. Before I knew it, I had done the entire DVD (which took about an hour start to finish). Not only was I super sweaty and winded—it was a GREAT workout—but I felt amazingly fit and proud of myself. Anyone who can get through that DVD is going to feel powerful and strong almost instantly!
While Tabata training is pretty intense for beginners, I actually feel that this DVD is suitable for many fitness levels, including beginners who are ready for a little more intensity. Because the intervals are so short and you can choose how hard to work (you move at your own speed, not with any beat and not necessarily with the instructors' pace), I think it's pretty customizable. Plus, the low-intensity options really were lighter and tended to be pretty low impact. At the same time, the high intensity moves were pretty freakin' crazy. I feel bad for the woman who had to do them for the entire DVD (did you see her on the right in the preview above?). I didn't even try a lot of them myself—that is how intense they were. Let me just say, there is something for everyone here no matter how hard you're able to work. And if you don't have a lot of endurance, these short intervals may be just the ticket you need to boost your fitness level in a reasonable amount of time.
Here's what a few testers from the SparkPeople staff had to say about "Breathless Body." They all exercise pretty regularly but this was the first Tabata workout for many.
"I thought this was a great workout with lots of flexibility for different time frames and intensity levels.  In just 30 minutes, I certainly got a good workout.  People should definitely cool down if they end the work out prior to the coool down on the DVD though." -- Rachel, SparkPeople Accounting

It was intense, but since it was only for a short amount of time, the workout went by really fast. I really liked Amy’s style of teaching – she is encouraging, but also pushes you to work hard all the way to the end." -- Sarah, SparkPeople Marketing

"I usually do yoga or steady-state cardio, integrating as few sprints as possible. I can’t seem to push myself very hard on my own. That’s why I loved the Tabata workouts in this DVD. They got me moving quickly, integrating more 'sprints' into my workout routine—and they were over in no time. Plus, working out with my SparkPeople peeps always makes any workout more enjoyable. I was nursing a sore knee, so I did the modified version of each workout, and I still worked up quite a sweat. Amy Dixon is a strong instructor with good cuing, and her back-up exercisers were great, too." -- Stepfanie, SparkPeople Editor
If you're looking for a pure cardio DVD with lots of variety that's intense but easy to follow, Amy Dixon's "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" is for you. Amy's personality is encouraging without being mean or cheesy, and you're sure to get a great workout even if all you have is 4 minutes. This one is going to get regular rotation in my DVD player!
Have you tried Tabata training or one of Amy Dixon's awesome workouts? Would you?

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