Day One Impression:
...What the actual hell? How can this be so hard? How can I be sweating like this after five minutes?! It's as if I've been at it for half an hour! Where's the towel?!
So I've been using BarreAmped Cardio Burn for two weeks now, and I have got to say that it has surprised me. I wasn't sure how barre could be combined with cardio very effectively because, based on the previous BarreAmped DVD I used, it consisted of very small, controlled movements that create a great muscular burn and really does sculpt the body, but it was difficult to miss the fact that you barely broke a sweat. I thought this might be more like barre-inspired step aerobics really.
I was so wrong.
The first of the three workouts on this DVD is definitely the most effective. It lasts for 26 minutes and uses tight body weight movements, more dynamic than what I'd seen in the original BarreAmped, but it uses them in a Tabata format.
Now, I'll admit that 'Tabata' is a pet peeve of mine. Tabata itself is a workout style formulated by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher, and is designed to last for 4 minutes - 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. The thing is, it's the ultimate form of HIIT and you're supposed to go like a bat out of hell, set alight and pursued by winged night snakes. In short: it is supposed to last 4 minutes and only 4 minutes; you're not supposed to have the energy to do any more after that. Most 'Tabata' workouts you see last for 20-25 minutes and are made up of 20/10 second sets, and this workout is no different, which means you have to tone down the effort if you're to last the whole thing.
However, this means that, after two weeks, my only gripe is a technicality. Because 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest does work, even with barre, and I couldn't believe how much I was sweating after just 5 minutes, and that wasn't just because I had doubts. I was sweating more from 5 minutes of BarreAmped Cardio Burn than I was in 5 minutes of pretty much anything else. I was genuinely shocked, and for that I can and have overlooked that pet peeve.
Mercifully, the Tabata circuits are broken up with more traditional barre moves to give your heart rate a chance to drop again, subsequently setting you back up for the next Tabata circuit and giving you more balance and resistance moves.
The second workout uses small weights and intervals and lasts for 17 minutes. It's not as intense as the first, but you still get a good sweat and lots of dynamic movements. The weights are there really to make the cardio more intense, it's not honey-badger-brutal like the weighted workout in the original BarreAmped DVD.
The third is an interval- core-based cardio workout and also lasts 17 minutes, but while it's the least intense, it's still very effective and it's not full of crunches (it's core, not abs) which means you do still move a lot and get a better-than-expected sweat.
So, to be honest, I'm very pleasantly surprised and very, very confident in this month's choice. While I thought highly of Suzanne Bowen and her original BarreAmped DVD, I actually only have greater respect and love for her now.
I'll report back again in 2 weeks!