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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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