This month's workout has been pretty awesome, if I'm completely honest. For starters, doing something different every day really did make each week speed by. There was absolutely no sense of repetativeness, and I've experienced that even with workouts I've enjoyed like Yoga Inferno or Kickbox Fusion. Monday was cardio, Tuesday was strength, Wednesday yoga, Thursday strength, Friday cardio and Saturday strength - it worked a dream. I had renewed energy every day, and taking a day in the middle of the week to do some active recovery rather than anything intense re-energised me to the point that it was as if I'd taken the day off completely, making Thursday's strength as faultless as Tuesday's. Not to mention the fact that my muscles got a really good chance to recover after every strength day before I touched the weights again.
Secondly, revisiting Ripped in 30 was good fun, too, and a little less mentally taxing through using it for just 3 days a week, as stated above. I had the chance to learn the most alien moves from the DVD a little more, but as I'd only used each section for a week the previous month, it was all still a huge challege. I hate duck-walks.
And, thirdly, Kukuwa is amazing.
The Kukuwa African Dance workout DVD is made up of just two 30-minute workouts - intermediate and advanced - and they're both made up of six 5-minute dance routines. I only actually used the intermediate workout throughout June. The reason for this is simply the way I use dance workouts: it usually takes some time to learn the moves before you can throw yourself into the workout and actually get anything out of it. As a result, any time I try a new dance workout DVD, I run through just one choreographed routine a number of times until I get it before I'll try another. But these dances are usually quite showy as I usually go for hip-hop despite hating the music - the routines look impressive when you get it right, but they require a good amount of coordination and, by being so showy, they're often not as high-impact as you might want them to be. Plus, because of this reason, the moves are generally broken down a great deal and every time you want to use the workout you have to hold yourself back and keep pace with the DVD rather than rush ahead, even if you know what you're doing.
Kukuwa simply isn't like that.
Each 5-minute routine is broken down into single moves like any other dance workout, but they're much easier to learn. They're not showy, either, and because of that you can learn them much more quickly than any other dance workout and subsequently get a lot more out of it a lot sooner. The DVD also doesn't need to hold itself back to teach you the moves like you're new to it every time, meaning you don't need to hold yourself back to keep pace with it.
Because the moves aren't showy, they compensate by being very 'big' - lots of hip movements, arm movements and leg movements - and it's these big movements that really burn the calories. Rather than performing impressive dances and worrying about getting timing and choreography right in order to keep up and move from one movement to the next, you can just throw your enthusiasm right into it really early on, making big movements and going at your own pace - be that faster or slower than the dancers.
But, as simple as the movements are, there is also an 'instruction' section for both of the workouts that covers every move used in each 5-minute routine - but, like I said above, the movements are so simple that I never actually used it. I jumped right in to the workout itself thinking I could always just stop and go into the instruction section if I needed to, but that need simply didn't arise.
Anyway, like I said, I only worked through the intermediate workout throughout June, and while that would usually be because it took me a while to learn the dances to get anything out of them, in this case it was actually because they were so much fun. I started off by using just the first two 5-minute dance routines and going through them both 3 times each. They were so big, energetic and fun that the 5 minutes passed so quickly I was eager to do them again, so I did. Half an hour passed in 10 minutes. A week later I decided I was ready to try the third routine, so I did the first three twice each, and then I started learning the rest. It was only on the final week that I used the sixth and final dance of the intermediate workout.
This method also prevented me from both burning out on the DVD by learning too much too fast, and simply getting bored of it. The intermediate workout lasted me the month just perfectly. I am now tired of the first few dances of the intermediate workout, but the last few are still enjoyable.
But, of course, I'm not done! As I still have the advanced workout, I have 6 more routines to learn that will undoubtedly last me another month, and that's fantastic for so many reasons.
I absolutely loved Kukuwa, the new set-up, and the fact that I had the option of returning to a past strength DVD and running through it again, even if the first use was only last month. I think this new set-up will be a really, really good change to have made and I'm going to keep at it. My enthusiasm has increased again, I actually made greater progress in my weight loss than I have in months, and I'm also really happy that I have the opportunity to use some of my older workouts that I quite enjoyed a second time. As you can probably guess by the fact that it's been mentioned so much on the blog in the last year, Kickbox Fusion will probably be one of the first to be revisited when I'm stuck for a brand new cardio routine.
I highly recommend Kukuwa, and I'm so, so glad I wasn't left disappointed by it like I was with Buti yoga. It cost about £17 with shipping, I think, but it is so, so, so worth it. It's the most effective dance workout I've seen both because of its big and truly full-body movements, and because of the fact that the moves are so easy to learn you can actually get results from it much sooner than most other dance workout DVDs.
The single downside is that there's only one DVD, unless I fancy buying the one for kids. Yes, there's a Kukuwa dance workout for kids. If you're a parent, just buy it. Don't think. Buy them both, in fact. I promise you won't regret it!