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DVD Review: Cardio for Beginners is Fun for All Levels

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Many people think of cardio exercise as a necessary evil. You know it's good for you—it burns calories to help you manage your weight; it strengthens your heart, lungs and immune system, and so much more. You've told us that you want more cardio ideas, especially workouts that you can do that home. That's why I was excited to review Cardio for Beginners, featuring award-winning fitness instructor Petra Kolber.

Last night, I knew I wanted to fit in some cardio, but I didn't feel like going to Spinning class. So I popped in this DVD (my second time trying it). Want to find out what I thought about it?

I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD! It contains 4 cardio workouts that you can choose from (or program the DVD menu to play any combination of the four):

  • 10-minute athletic cardio routine
  • 10-minute dance cardio routine
  • 20-minute athletic cardio routine
  • 20-minute dance cardio routine

All four of the workouts are different (the 10-minute versions are NOT abbreviated versions of the 20-minute ones); each workout is unique. The athletic-style workouts are still choreography based, but less dance-y. They include moves similar to step aerobics (grapevines, V-steps, marching, etc.), squats, and some small kickboxing moves. The dance workouts are similar to the athletic ones, but they involve a lot more flair and hip shaking, which I found to be refreshing. Even if you're not a good dancer, you could probably keep up with these—as Petra says throughout the DVD, "If you can march, you can dance!"

Both times I tried this DVD, I did all four workouts in a row for a 60-minute aerobic workout, but this DVD set-up makes it easy to customize your workout length.

Check out the video below to see a preview of some of the DVD. If you can't view the video here, click here to see it on

As you can see, these are choreography-based workouts, which means you have to stay on the beat (or at least try!), learn the moves a little bit at a time, and then put them together into a routine as the workout continues. Just watching the video clip above, you might think that this routine looks fast-paced and intimidating, but it's far from it! Petra does an excellent job instructing, explaining the moves, and slowly adding new moves so that you can follow along with the routine without ever stopping. She always lets you know exactly what is coming up so you have time to react and stay with the routine. She gives plenty of tips to slow down and make it easier throughout each workout, such as keeping your hands on your hips (instead of moving your arms), marching in place or making your movements smaller.

Unlike some too-peppy aerobics instructors, I thought Petra was motivating and encouraging without being overboard. She encourages you to keep going and to monitor how you're feeling. She makes you feel proud and accomplished for each step you master, and always reminds you that following this workout is about feeling better and improving your health—not "looking hot" like too many other workout DVDs talk about, in my opinion. And I appreciated that the background exercisers looked like beautiful, real women—not stick figures flaunting their six packs.

Overall, this workout is named appropriately: Cardio for Beginners. It did not challenge me intensity-wise (my heart rate was in a low aerobic range, between 55% and 65%), but I still thought the workouts were a lot of fun! I would use this DVD again myself, even though I'm not a beginner, because I enjoyed it so much. It is great for intermediate or advanced exercisers who want a lighter day of exercise or just want to try a new choreographed routine. I would highly recommend this DVD for beginner-level exercisers who like choreography-based workouts, such as step aerobics, jazzercise, and cardio dance. It will not disappoint!

You can buy Cardio for Beginners for just $13.49 at

Will you try Cardio for Beginners? Why or why not?

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If u guys want to try walking dvds that are different and a bit more fun, try Jessica Smiths newest ones. I love her personality and she has three different levels to workout to. There are three walkers, her mom is one of them, and its a fun workout with nice music. I have about 15 walking workout dvds in my libray of fitness dvds and Jessica is my fav. Her dvds are more exiensive than Leslie but Imlike her better. She is on Youtube. She has a 21 day walking rotation workout that it is really cool and u pick ur level! Report
$10.96 at, thinking about buying it. Thnx for the blog support. Report
I can tell that this one would not be for me. Too much space is required and my two left feet would immediately be tangled. Report
I like reading these reviews but I find that some of these videos are too hard to do on carpet - too much friction and then my feet get hot in the shoes... can you review DVD's that work well on carpeted surfaces? Thanks! Report
sounds fun. Report
Looks great to me...heading to!!! Report
Well for one I am glad that you can preview them on the youtube it is a bit too dancy for me. I have two left feet and both of them go on the wrong direction. I personally would not consider that a beginner video. To each his/her own. I could not handle that one. Report
Thanks for the review. I am new to all of I have been looking for a dvd for beginners. It is hard to decide on which ones to get. So this has been very helpful for me! Report
i will try anything once. Report
My library doesn't have this, but they had another Petra Kolber video, which I just placed on Hold to try. Report
I just LOVE Petra - yes I would try this one. I have other workouts of hers and she is just great at encouraging you to try, even if you don't think you can do anything fancy.just Report
I've seen Petra on FitTV and her workout looked challenging and fun. I am going to try to find out the name of the workout and order it somewhere. It wasn't the one reviewed here. Report
Yes, I would try this dvd because I like Petra.I've done a few of her All-Star Workouts that comes on cable's FITTV channel and she is awesome.Although,some of her choreography was a little challenging after you do her workouts 2 times you know what to expect.Truthfully,I find that an unfamiliar workout challenges me as well ,because I'm forced to quickly think of a modification or some other exercise that will keep my heart rate up while I take mental note of the step or sequence.Petra is loads of fun , very energetic,encouraging, and provides you with the precautions and modifications to work out safely . Report
Nope, never was much of a fitness video junkie. Good review, though, Nicole! Report
I might. I'm looking for something a little different from the Walk Away the Pounds dvds that I have, however, I did try one Cardio dance something from the Firm and they went way to quick; I'm okay, but I couldn't follow. So, I'll look at it on You Tube and take it from there. But, it is going on my potential dvd list. Report
I would try this video. Maybe rent it first if I didn't find it on sale. Report
I bought this DVD a few weeks ago because I thought I was getting a little bored with my Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds workouts.

Unfortunately I am not the most coordinated bear in the forest, and I found it difficult to keep up with the moves on this one. I didn't sweat at all, although I kept moving the entire time. When I couldn't figure out what she was wanting me to do, I just went back to WATP moves that I am familiar with.

I do the WATP DVD's 4 times per week, and I work up a sweat every time. I know I've had a good workout with them. I didn't feel like I got a good workout with this Cardio for Beginners DVD.

Leslie makes her workouts so simple to follow, I haven't had any trouble whatsoever even at the beginning when I first started them. I think I'll stick with Leslie! Report
I have so many workout videos and dvds for beginners that I wouldn't purchase any more. And besides, the local Zellers is selling off all kinds of VHS movies and workouts for one dollar here in Canada. Report
I might try this... wonder if anyone has tried Flirty Girl Fitness.. seems like it might be the same as the dance segments on this one Report
I'm not sure I could learn the moves, but it would be fun to try. I'm glad to discover Petra. Report
I strongly agree that the background exercisers are real women. People who need these exercises are people who are trying to trim fat here and there; so it is only realistic to have the background exercisers to be normal people rather than those stick figures with six packs Report
Good tip from Flipflopper--I'm going to add it to my Netflix queue right now! Report
i would like to try this video Report
I love it based on what I see in the clip. I am not a dancer by any means, but it looks fun though a little fast paced for me....but it might be what I need to kick it up a notch. The down side I see is that I have very limited space in my apartment so I'm not sure I could do all the moves. Bummer cuz otherwise I might try it. I'll add it to my list of look intos. I'd rent it at netflix before buying it.

Thank you for the review! Report
I just rented mine from Netflix. Cant wait to try it. Report
It looks interesting. I've never done any of her workouts, but have heard great things about them. Report
I've never heard of Petra Kolber. But I do like Denise Austin, Kathy Smith, Karen Voight, Joyce Vedral, and Gilad. They all have good aerobic work outs, not to mention Leslie's "Walk Away the Pounds" and Billy Blanks "Taebo." Report
Looks very similar to some of the Leslie Sansone dvd's, so probably not -- at the moment I have a good variety of exercise dvds from easy to very challenging. They should keep me busy for quite a while, especially as the weather improves and I am outdoors more. Report
I just ordered this video. Can't wait until it gets here. I may not be able to keep up due to physical issues, but I sure will do the best I can. Looks like fun. Report
uhhhh if someone's willing to buy me a dvd player i MIGHT buy it, lol. Report
I have a video that is "The New best bodies in motion on location in Hawaii", and many books for excercises. I have gone to some aerobic classes and I keep the excercises in my head. I have little books and big books.I'll will try to buy it. Report
I may get this one my girls and i would like it. looks like a fun time to start with Report
I have a few at home DVD's.. I won't get this one 'cause it looks too 'dancy'... not my thing... I am too un-coordinated ... Report
Wahoooo!! I just ordered it for 8.64 plus 2.99 shipping!! I am sooo excited, to try this, and I'm going to get my 66 year old, diabetic mom to get in on the 'getting healthy movement' too! Report
It is a good one. Maybe I'll get it for my birthday. Report
Looks wonderful! I found the DVD on netflix, and added it to my queue! Report
Funny I saw this post this a.m. I have been using "My Fitness Coach" since December, but started wth Petra's "Get Moving Mix." I dusted it off just yesterday as my weight loss group wanted to try some aerobics! So, I did the 20 minute "Fat Burning Basics." They did okay, and for me it was a breeze, even though I had rode yesterday...against the wind. So, yes, I will purchase it. Report
I ordered it plus another of her tapes. Thanks for the suggestion! Report
After watching the clips, I decided that it's something that I would like to try. I'm not very coordinated, but I love dance type workouts. To me it's not as boring as just standing there exercising!

I headed over to Amazon and ordered it and a couple of others of hers too. And I found it for $8.99 plus $2.98 shipping. Report
This one looks pretty good. Makes me want to check out other DVDs Petra Kolber has done. Something different to do, or something for my lighter intensity days.
I really appreciate these DVD reviews, Coach Nicole! DVDs are my main form of exercise, and I'm always looking for new ones to keep my body guessing. Thank you so much! Report
Will have to get this one out. It looks like a fun video to workout with. Report
I would try this DVD because it looks like a lot of fun, and I love the grape vine move, it's my favorite! Report
Looks like a good one but my knees won't take that yet. Report
It looks good but I doubt I'll get anytime soon, already got a good cardio DVD that I really like. Report
This looks like it is fun. I'll look into it. Report
Thanks for another great idea! Report
looks like fun !!! Report
I would like to try this! It's looks like fun and I can combine with Leslie Sansome! :-) Report
This looks like fun. Report
Thanks for the article. Report
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