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3 DVD Reviews in 1: The 'Keeping Fit' Series

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I've been really bad. You see, there's this new DVD—actually set of DVDs—that I tried months ago and loved. I mean L-O-V-E-D. And even though I continue to work out with these DVDs and still enjoy them, I haven't shared them with you. I know, it's completely unforgiveable. But I'm finally finding the time to share my this secret now, and the good news is that you, too, can now benefit from this fitness trifecta by Andrea Metcalf called "Keeping Fit" (Acacia, 2010). These were sent to the SparkPeople offices and I've been keeping "Keeping Fit" all to myself, and I don’t plan on giving up these DVDs any time soon.
The set ($32.49 at contains three distinct titles: Strength, Cardio and Pilates. Each DVD has 60 minutes of total workout time that can easily be split up into multiple 5-minute segments.
Based on the description on this box, it's actually geared toward middle age exercisers, designed to help "build lean muscle, increase bone mass, and enhance balance and flexibility so you can remain active." So I was actually expecting a pretty easy workout when I first popped in the DVDs. Boy was I surprised!

Andrea is fun to work out with. She looks great and is encouraging but not over the top—definitely NOT annoying. And this woman is in awesome shape. She totally kicked my butt, but at the same time, she talked about modifying the workouts as needed. And I needed it several times. Here's a little more about what you can expect on each DVD (you can also buy them separately on

Keeping Fit: Strength
This is my FAVORITE in the set. All you need is one pair of dumbbells, and a mat if your floor isn't comfortable enough to lie or kneel on. All of the moves combine upper and lower body at the same time so your heart rate elevates and you burn more calories while also working your core. And the moves are interesting. She throws in balancing exercises, and a 5-minute shoulder series that will kill your arms, but you'll love it. Lots of different lunges and squats are expected, too, along with a very thorough full-body routine (although I did think chest exercises were lacking). At the same time, you can always use the modifications she provides and still get a really great workout. Here's a little video snippet that gives you a sense of how she builds the exercise, explains modifications, and cues really well for form and safety.

Keeping Fit: Cardio
This is a fun little cardio routine that's a mix of low-impact aerobics and dancing. Like all of the DVDs, the choreography is progressive and starts out simply and slowly builds up to each move. You will need a little coordination to do this one, but her instruction is great and really makes it easy to follow along. It got my heart rate up to a low to moderate aerobic level, and I really had fun doing it! Not quite as challenging as the Strength DVD, and definitely appropriate for exercisers at many fitness levels. I actually enjoyed the high-energy music in this one, too.

Keeping Fit: Pilates
You'll want a mat and also a resistance band (or tube) to best follow along to this DVD. You CAN also use a towel in place of the band, but the short routine of upper body exercises (which are really great by the way) won't be as effective without a band. For anyone looking for a great standing Pilates routine, this DVD doesn't disappoint. The first several minutes of the routine are all standing up to work through the core, upper body and legs. It also includes a good amount of mat work—including some pretty challenging core moves. But this isn't what I would think of as "traditional" Pilates in any way. There are very few of common Pilates moves and very little emphasis on the breathing, but it was still a nice routine that worked the legs, arms, abs and back without any added resistance. Beginners would benefit a lot from this routine, I think, but I enjoyed it, too.

Overall, I think this is a well-rounded set of DVDs exercisers would really enjoy at any age—and be able to grow into. Don't let the marketing fool you: These workouts aren't a walk in the park. There are "easy enough" moves sprinkled through, but also challenging exercises that you can master over time, which is the perfect combo for a DVD that you want to keep using. It's fun to follow and has great exercise combinations and choreography that will keep you from getting bored. These three DVDs get two thumbs up from me!

Have you worked out with Andrea Metcalf before? Would you try any of these DVDs?

Photo Credit: Acacia

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I do the one that is on the SP videos and it,s great. It,s one of my regulars that I rotate. The SP e is only ten or so minutes so it,s quick cardio and I feel like I,ve moved my whole body. I didn't,t know there was a series so I,ll check it out. Report
liked the videos im going to go buy them it well give me somthing to do on bad days or days dont want to walk thanks for the videos Report
Thanks for sharing this exercise DVD. I tried the three demos and it really made me sweat. I even save them so that I can do them again. This can help in with my walking exercises sometime. Report
I'm definitely going to leave this site and go to to purchase them now! Thanks Nicole and healthybound4me!! Report
From the sneak preview, I love those strength & cardio. But for pilate, since I was introduced with it with a trainer, I think I'll stick with a trainer before I finally confident enough to do Pilate with myself, with a video, with a worksheet :D Report
No, never heard of her. I like DENISE AUSTIN who has been around for years & just gotten better & better. Denise is 54 years old now & the mother of two grown girls. She's 5'4" and 112# & looks great. Report
I've not seen her videos, but one of the best things about your videos, Nicole, is that you are so NOT annoying! I am not an exerciser person and I really have to push myself to do anything pertaining to sweating, but I find that your videos are so doable and you are not so perky that I want to throw my hand weight at you! I have a walking video by someone who shall remain nameless, that I tried to follow but just couldn't get beyond the perky factor! Thanks for being so down to earth! Report
Thanks for sharing. I have never tried any of Andrea Metcalf's videos, but these look great. I like how she seems to take her time for the Strength and Pilates portions. Some intructors go too fast for me.
I think I will try them out. Report
I wish my Mom was healthy enough to do these, but she has too many issues and would actually need something even easier. As for me...I love Chalene Johnson's Turbo Jam :D Report
Thanks for sharing this info! I need to find a good strength training dvd & this looks like I would like it. Seeing the clips definitely helps! Report
Sadly not on Netflix yet so will have to wait to try. Report
I did a "cheap" search and found these videos available at the 3 pack for $20.49! Shipping is free and no sales tax unless you live in Illinois. Can purchase them separately but it's cheapest at to purchase the 3 pack! Makes each video $6.83. I have used that website for books, movies and I've never had a problem. I have friends who use them as well always fast and great prices. I'm going to order the 3 pack! Report
Thanks for the review. This looks exactly like what I need. Report
Looks like something I would like to try! Report
I can check this out for free with Amazon Prime, thanks to my wi-fi blu-ray/DVD player. Thanks! It sounds like it's right up my alley. Report
Have not worked out with her before will try it, thank you for sharing these DVD's with us. Report
Thanks for sharing this DVD set. The DVD's look very interesting and something that I will sure purchase and try! Report
I like her verbal images to help you picture how to do the exercises Report
Thanks Nicole for sharing this exercise DVD. It was so helpful to get a clip of how she does it. Was looking for something to mix in with walking everyday. This looks great for rainy days and winter. Report
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