ICE: Intermediate Conditioning Extreme

ICEICE is Cathe’s latest fitness program. ICE is an acronym that stands for Intermediate Conditioning Extreme. Now, Cathe is my #1 favorite trainer and an auto-buy for me but I will not lie, when I first learned that this was intermediate level I was disappointed. I love Cathe’s advanced workouts (and the majority of her workouts are advanced). But I pre-ordered anyway because it is Cathe and I assumed that I would like it anyway. I can always use the workouts when I feel like taking things down a notch. There used to be a time in my life when every workout I did was super intense, but anymore I like to vary the intensity of my workouts. I don’t always need to feel wasted after a workout. Besides, the workouts in this series contain a bonus–Blizzard Blasts. These are “bonuses” that kick the workouts up to a more advanced level.

I considered just reviewing each workout in this program alone and not creating the program blog post, but this program contains too many components that work together. You can purchase these workouts as a program and you receive them all in a nice clamshell case, or you can purchase each workout separately. If it is used as a program then you should also check out the ICE User’s Guide. It is digital and free to anyone. It contains 6 different rotations; 3 that are different levels and use only ICE workouts. Each 30 day rotation becomes more advanced. The other 3 rotations combine ICE with some of Cathe’s other series/programs: Low Impact Series, Xtrain and Ripped w/ HIIT. The User’s Guide also contains breakdowns for every workout, a list of all of the premixes, and workout cards for the upper body workout and Muscle Meltdown bonuses.

What does ICE contain? As a program it contains 7 workouts: a total body metabolic strength workout, a bootcamp workout, 2 lower body workouts, one upper body workout, a kickboxing workout and a low impact cardio workout. That’s just the basics–there is more. 5 of the workouts contain “Blizzard Blasts.” These are advanced cardio bonuses that you can add on to the workouts that have a cardio component–this kicks your workout up to the next level. There’s more! Muscle Meltdowns are strength training bonuses. There is one for each upper body muscle group: back, chest, biceps, triceps and shoulders. There is one included on each DVD except the upper body workout. And finally, there are two core bonuses. There is at least one core bonus on each DVD. All of these bonuses are used in the many, many premixes Cathe included with each workout.

As you can see, using ICE alone you can piece together a pretty comprehensive rotation (which Cathe does for you with the rotation calendars included in the User’s Guide). The Muscle Meltdowns are so that you can work one upper body muscle group a day–so they obviously work together since each DVD only contains one body part Muscle Meltdown. I am not following any of the rotations. My goal is to sample each workout twice before posting a review for it. My plan is to first do each workout using the addition of either a Muscle Meltdown or Core bonus (using a premix to do this). The second time I try each workout I will use the premix that adds the Blizzard Blast onto the workout and then, for my doubles workouts, I will do the premix that does the Muscle Meltdown only (but with warm up and stretch) and does 4 rounds of the giant sets rather than 3. That’s the plan at least. Each workout will be reviewed individually, but at the bottom of this overview there are also links to each workout review in this program.

***I’m writing this program overview in stages. The above section I wrote before doing any of the workouts. This portion, I am writing after doing all of the workouts once, all of the Muscle Meltdowns once and both Icy Cores once. So, first impressions–I love it! First, let’s start with the main workouts sans any bonuses. These are intermediate workouts, overall easier than Cathe’s normal fair, but not easy. However, how challenging these workouts are depends entirely on the home exerciser. Let me explain. To make these workouts less advanced than her usual workouts Cathe does several things. She frequently does a less intense version of some of her high impact moves–they are still high impact, just not as high impact. She also doesn’t rep you out with her plyo moves like she does in other workouts (Ripped w/ HIIT comes to mind). She seems to give you slightly more time between exercises to regroup–not tons more time, but maybe a few more seconds than usual. But the biggest difference is the weights she uses. Cathe is lifting super light weights, abnormally light weights for her. If you grab the same weights as Cathe is lifting, you are guaranteed to get an easier workout than normal. However, no one is holding a gun to your head, telling you that you MUST lift the exact same weight as Cathe. If you are an advanced home exerciser, then you already know what you are capable of. My first time through the workouts, I automatically grabbed heavier weights than Cathe for nearly every single exercise and I got awesome workouts!

My other note at this point is that the Muscle Meltdowns are amazing! They are set up in giant sets–5 exercises done back to back with very little rest in between. Then you get a brief rest before repeating the giant set. Another brief rest before you do your third and final round of the giant set. Once again, know thyself! Do not lift the same weights as Cathe if they are too light–otherwise, what is the point? I lifted heavy weights during the Muscle Meltdowns and they burned my muscles out! I loved them! Very intense and challenging strength work if approached properly.

And finally, I found the Icy Cores challenging. In fact, Icy Core #1 left my abs sore for days, but in retrospect, I did it with Chiseled Upper Body which has a strong core component, so that might have something to with my severe ab DOMS.

***This is my final note before posting this overview. I have now done every workout twice. As of today I have also done all of the workouts with the Blizzard Blasts. For most of the workouts I think the Blizzard Blasts elevate it to an advanced level or close. If I had to rate these workouts, I would say Boot Camp Circuit is the easiest of the 7 followed by Chiseled Upper Body. (Keep in mind I am rating these workouts as I did them–and that is using heavier weights than Cathe used; I am also not considering when I added on the Blizzard Blasts either–just the main workouts, using my weight choice, not Cathe’s.) Next would be Chiseled Lower Body. Then Rock’m Sock’m Kickbox. Low Impact Sweat was the second to hardest and the hardest/most advanced of the 7 is Metabolic Total Body. I left out To The Mat because it is just different. Mat work is hard and hurts. I’m not sure where it fits in. It was hard but just very different.

Will I be returning to these workouts? Some of them definitely. Metabolic Total Body, Chiseled Lower Body Blast, Rock’m Sock’m Kickbox and Low Impact Sweat are definites. To the Mat I may use the premixes as add ons and doubles workouts. But probably not frequently. I have recently acquired a lot of barre workouts and Tracy Anderson workouts which have challenging mat and barre work that I am more likely to use for that purpose. Boot Camp Circuit will probably used as a recovery workout. I did enjoy Chiseled Upper Body but Cathe has better upper body workouts on Cathe Live that I  am more inclined to return to. And the Muscle Meltdowns–YES! Particularly premix 7 as a doubles workouts or just the Meltdown itself as an add on to any workout, not just ICE workouts.

Workouts:

Boot Camp Circuit

Metabolic Total Body

Chiseled Lower Body Blast

Rock’m Sock’m Kickbox

Chiseled Upper Body

To the Mat: Lets & Glutes

Low Impact Sweat

28 responses to “ICE: Intermediate Conditioning Extreme

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  8. Thanks for these great reviews! Like you, I was hesitant to order an “intermediate” series because I felt it wouldn’t be challenging enough, and only changed my mind after completing the 30-day RWH rotation (which I find exhausting) and reading Cathe’s blog post about deloading (http://cathe.com/what-is-deloading-and-how-does-it-apply-to-resistance-training).

    Once I complete my annual X Train 90-day rotation, my plan is to try the ICE & RWH rotation to see if I can improve my RWH performance by alternating the intensity of the workouts.

    I am not strong like you, but I really enjoy all of your posts, and find your achievements very motivating. Thanks!

    • thanks! I am glad they are so helpful! And that is a great idea–doing the ICE & RWH rotation. I would like to do that as well–or maybe do a rotation that combined all 3–ICE/RwH and Xtrain, since I keep meaning to return to Xtrains strength workouts (but haven’t). As much as I love Cathe’s intensity, sometimes I overdo it and I get tired of killing myself every day. I kind of felt like that when doing RwH, too–it did get exhausting. I like the idea of combining them to make it more enjoyable overall.

  9. Great Reviews. As a long time Cathelete I also just automatically buy the pre-orders, but unlike you I was super excited. I have seriously fallen off the workout train so was excited to see Cathe workouts that would help me take the steps to get in the condition I used to be in. I am already (only 2 weeks in to the Level 1 rotation) seeing improvements in my stamina and strength! I love Cathe and your reviews are spot on for the intensity and how innovative some of these workouts are.

    • Thanks! So glad my reviews are helpful. I ended up loving ICE and I think it is perfect for your needs right now. I love how she made it accessible to all fitness levels. Another winner from Cathe!

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  24. Thank you so much! Your review and post was so helpful. As a long time Catie fan since 2002 I wasn’t sure if I would like this. I didn’t care for the STS series which required too much set up and more equipment than I had. Just wanted to thank you for an awesome review.

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