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'Pilates Weight-Loss Workout for Dummies' doesn't 'dumb down' the burn

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"Pilates Weight-Loss Workout for Dummies"

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Any product from the "For Dummies" or "Idiot's Guides" reference material automatically brings to mind making a task simpler, but who wants to do a "simple" workout routine? Isn't the idea to lose weight, "feel the burn" and get results? Regardless of the name, "Pilates Weight-Loss Workout for Dummies" doesn't disappoint.

The Anchor Bay Entertainment workout DVD is from 2004, but like most useful workouts, no matter the publishing date, it's never too dated to get results. The strange thing about pilates is it has a yoga feel, which means the "exercise" part sneaks up on you in between stretching and small movements.

The instructor Tracey Thompson included instructions for everything from side planks on one arm to rolling backwards into a ball. Standing routines go from simple turns working the waist to steady lower planks.

The 35-minute routine was easy to follow. One of my biggest pet peeves with fitness instructors is talking too much, speaking in a sing-song voice and constantly egging the routine on ("and two" "and three" "c'mon you can feel it" "isn't this great?"). Thompson kept it simple. She'd explain what an exercise worked, show viewers an example of how to do it and get right into it.

It's obvious that Thompson hits up a weight room or does a lot of strength training because viewers can see the muscles from her thighs and arms at a glance, which is also great motivation to tighten up. It's not necessary to be ripped in order to keep up with her, but this workout is ideal for viewers at an intermediate level and beginners who are already in decent shape. For people who have never done pilates before, go at your own pace because some techniques may be a bit difficult.

As for the "dummies" part of the workout, when Thompson would mention body parts, the big-eyed guy with the spiky hair popped up to alert viewers of a "jargon alert" and what her instructions meant.

Instead of having an exercise assistant with Thompson to demonstrate ways to make an exercise easier or more challenging, the screen would split into two. On one side would be text explaining alternative exercises and a voice reading the tips, and on the other side Thompson continued to work out.

Similar to Rodney Yee's "Yoga for Beginners," the tips also included ways to avoid injuries and correct posture for certain workouts that could easily be done incorrectly. For this pilates routine, abdomen position was a major push. Now whether those pop-ups will become a distraction later on remains to be seen, but as of now, they're useful. Although the pilates routine is 35 minutes long, the 20 minutes of standing exercises and 15 minutes of leg workouts were quicker than expected.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago nutrition and fitness entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Diet and Exercise channel at the top of this page. Feel free to follow her @BlackHealthNews. Also, you can keep track of her favorite cardio exercise routines, dance workout routines and stretch yoga routines on Pinterest.

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