Intensity–just as the title indicates–is an intense cardio workout and I adore it! I really don’t know why I am ever on the fence about purchasing a Cathe workout. This was another one I went back and forth on and finally just did it. Let me give some background on this workout. It is described as a workout that “mixes Cathe DVD favorites like Bootcamp, Imax, Plyo and HIIT all in one workout.” Cathe has two other workouts with a similar description: Terminator, which mixes Imax 2, Boot Camp, Cardio & Weights and Muscle Endurance; and Hardcore Extreme, which mixes Imax 3, Low Max, Kick Max and High Step Challenge. Terminator and Hardcore Extreme are both multi-workout DVDs as well. They each contain 3 full (long!) workouts. All of the workouts are compiled from literally piecing together different segments from the workouts listed. This is what I assumed Intensity was—a compilation of 4 different individual workouts.
That is not what Intensity is at all! It is an individual workout created using the concepts from other workouts, and though some of the individual exercises/moves might be familiar, they are put together in entirely new ways.
I was on the fence about Intensity because the “Imax” portion. I know Imax workouts contain Cathe’s complex step choreography. What made me decide to just go for it was the 9 premixes. If I hate the step choreography there are two premixes that contain the HIIT/Plyo/Bootcamp with no step work. Well, this did not end up being an issue at all! The step choreography was extremely doable and lots of fun! I will not lie, there were a few complex step combos, but I caught onto them and the more I do the workout (and this will definitely be a workout I come back to frequently) the better I will learn the steps.
To be honest, this is a little troubling. Here is why. I thought I was finished purchasing Cathe workouts. I love almost every single Cathe workout I’ve purchased, but I’ve avoided the step workouts. Now…. I’m getting curious again. If I only had minor problems with the step choreography in Intensity—maybe I am underestimating my ability to do Cathe step workouts? I do own Terminator, which has Imax 2 and Cardio & Weights—both of which have step work (FYI–I do own Cardio & Weights (but no Imax workouts) and will be reviewing that workout eventually). If I have no problem with the step work on those two…. Then I might feel compelled to get some of Cathe’s step workouts. Or maybe give Body Max another try?
Alright, back to the review. As mentioned before, Intensity is a cardio workout that uses the concepts of Cathe’s Imax, Bootcamp, Plyo and HIIT workouts. However, the Bootcamp stuff is a “bonus” and only appears in the premixes. The main 57 minute workout combines concepts of Imax, Plyo and HIIT. (Imax is short for Interval Max). The first time I did this workout I did the main workout. When I did it again, I did the 71 minute Maximum Intensity premix that contains the main workout plus the bonus Bootcamp segment.
Equipment needed for the main workout is a 6 inch step. Main workout: 56 minute cardio workout; 5 minute warm up, 21 minutes of step cardio, 10 minutes of high intensity/plyo HIIT, 11 minutes of low intensity (no jumping) HIIT, 6 minute stretch. The workout begins with a warm up on the step. The step moves are basic with a few moderately complex steps thrown in. The first half of the step cardio has the most complex choreography, but, like the warm up, it is only moderately complex in a few places. Pretty easy to catch onto. There are some intense and relatively high impact moves like Power 15s (or Power 7s or Power 3s—she does all of them at some point), jumping on and off the step, power scissors (lunge jumps) both on and off the step, squat jumps, 180 jump/turns with one foot on the step, jumping jacks, plyo jacks and more—these are all combined with low impact step moves and combos. The more complicated choreography includes things like cha-chas, hesitation steps, “around the worlds” (which I am getting the hang of now—Cathe uses them a lot, in other workouts, too) and figure 8s.
Next are the high impact/plyometric HIITs. There are 8 high HIIT sequences. The first HIIT is a long one—60 seconds, but after that they are shorter (until you get to Low HIITs). There are 20-30 second rest periods between each HIIT. 1. combo of side jumps and bunny hops. 2. jumping jacks, side leaps, air jacks and tuck jumps. 3. Sumo sprawl with 4 plyo heel clicks. 4. Forward and side jumps. 5. Squat thrust/air jack combo. 6. Lunge jumps to sumo tuck jumps. 7. Plie/leap frog jump combos. 8. Leap frog jumps.
The cardio section of the main workout ends with Low HIITs. There are 7 low HIIT sequences and several of them are 60 seconds. Many of the low HIITs can be done at a higher impact of you wish. I did some of them low, some of them high. 1. “Climb the rope” with a side lunge/elbow strike. 2. Squat digs. 3. Reach and lunge. 4. Static lunge pulses with overhead “pull downs” and plie squats. 5. Puddle jumps/skaters. 6. Windmills. 7. Air squats.
The workout ends with a nice long stretch.
Bootcamp bonus: The second time I did this workout, I did the Maximum Intensity premix which is 71 minutes. It has the same time break down as the main workout, only after you finish Low HIIT you move right into the 13 minute bootcamp bonus, and end with the stretch. I didn’t love the bootcamp bonus section like I expected. I didn’t hate it either. But overall, I like the main program better than Maximum Intensity, which is a little rare for me. I generally appreciate her longer cardio premixes more than the main programs. The bootcamp section is part metabolic weight training and part toning/sculpting–so not a true strength workout. That’s actually what I didn’t care for–the floor work. The metabolic weight training was great. In fact, if she had ended it after the firewalker section, I think I would love the Maximum Intensity premix. In fact–note to self–skip over floor work in the future. BTW–it’s not that I have a problem with the exercises she did on the floor; it’s just that, in the context of this workout, it was out of place. This is a cardio workout. Metabolic weight training added on to the end is fine, but that’s not what the floor work is. I’d have felt better about getting on the floor if it was for abdominal work only, but that’s not what she does. In my opinion, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the workout. The floor work clocks in at 3:30 minutes, so I’ll save a few minutes when I do it in the future.
You will need dumbbells, Cathe uses 8 and 10 pound dumbbells, a firewalker band and a yoga mat.
Metabolic Weight Training:
Plyo jumps in T formation and air jacks
Squat press with dumbbells
Sumo squats and line taps
Functional rotation lunges with dumbbells; before you lunge on the other side you do lateral raises and after you finish lunges on the other side you do shoulder shrugs
Jumping jack/jab combo
Bicep curls with squats
Pendulum/high knee combo
Move to the floor:
Side plank with crunch with firewalker band around thighs
24 push ups then after a brief rest you do 12 more push ups
Premixes: Maximum Intensity 71, Step Only 37, Step + high HIIT + Bootcamp 59, Step + low HIIT + Bootcamp 60, Timesaver – Step + high HIIT 46, Timesaver – Step + low HIIT 48, Timesaver – Step + Bootcamp 49, Timesaver – Double HIIT and Bootcamp 46, Timesaver – low HIIT + Bootcamp 36