This review is a little different from many of my other reviews. First let me explain what Workout Blender is, for people who don’t know. For $19.97 a month you can join Cathe’s On Demand streaming service. What this entails is access to every single Cathe workout that is available on DVD–all ready to stream at your fingertips. But that’s not all! You also have access to every single Cathe Live workout Cathe has created. This equals hundreds of awesome workouts (the description says “300+”). This in itself is worth it to anyone who does not already own every DVD Cathe has created. However, I do own every single DVD she has created. So what value is On Demand to me? Especially when I can get Cathe Live only for $9.97 a month? Why pay another $10 a month for something I already own?
Enter Workout Blender. This puts creating the perfect workouts for you and your goals at your fingertips. Now, Workout Blender might not be for everyone, but let’s look at the big picture for a minute. I own almost every single Cathe workout DVD available for purchase. I think there are 2 I haven’t done and reviewed, Step Moves and Timesaver. But I own them. (The ones I don’t own are her beginner level workouts). So I know what I love (and don’t love) about every Cathe workout out there. And if I forget? I have this blog to reference. This makes cobbling together workouts from everything Cathe has created very exciting–and very addictive! I did it compulsively for 2 weeks!
What did this mean for me? Let’s start with the little things. What about creating that perfect premix? Cathe does offer lots of premixes on her DVDs but sometimes I want something different than what she put together. Maybe it’s nothing major, but I would still like the workout I want that plays straight through w/out having to make my own alterations by stopping my workout to back out into the chapter menu(s). I did that with two specific DVDs: Butts & Guts and Pure Strength. I wanted an all Butts workout (no guts) that also included the butt bonuses in the order I wanted them–and I wanted it to equal an hour. In order to make that happen, I created a workout that cut out all the “guts” and the floor legs that used ankle weights (I kept floor work that used the stability ball) and I added on all the leg bonuses (high step got added twice–I like high stepping and I think I need a double shot when I do it). That equaled 59 minutes. How perfect is that? For Pure Strength I wanted an all upper body workout. So I picked the warm up and cool down I wanted and structured the upper body segments in the order I wanted them: Back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps. This equaled 62 minutes. Again–how perfect is that? BTW–I did my Blender Butts & Guts one day and my Blender Pure Strength the next day and every muscle in my body was fried.
That’s just the basics. What about creating the perfect workout from several different Cathe workouts? This is where the real gold lies. When I started doing this, playing on Workout Blender became an obsession. Seriously. I was on it a lot over a two week period–and have continued to return to it to create nearly 40 blender workouts (as of this writing). I’ve been doing (and loving) Cathe workouts for a long time. Long before I ever heard of Workout Blender I had put some thought into what would make a perfect Cathe workout. Or just the perfect workout for me, in general. For example, one thing I really love about Kelly Coffey-Meyer is that she does workouts that alternate boxing with strength work. And I love those–they are unique to Kelly. And I love that Cathe gives us intense cardio + strength lower body workouts. But I want more. I want kickboxing + lower body strength work; not HIITs or plyometrics, but kickboxing mixed with lower body strength work. This doesn’t exist that I am aware of. Well, guess what? With Workout Blender I created quite a few workouts that mixed Cathe’s kickboxing with her lower body strength work. Then for S&Gs I decided to create a low impact boxing + lower body strength workout. I was having so much fun I thought, why not do lower body + cardio blasts (not boxing/kickboxing) but all low impact? And I just kept going from there.
In fact, my favorite types of workouts are cardio + strength workouts but I frequently want heavier strength work–especially where upper body is concerned. Which leads me to upper body workouts. I wanted intense upper body + cardio workouts that are an hour long. So my first attempt was to combine Strong & Sweaty Ramped Up Upper Body with Tabatacise. However, to equal an hour and hit my upper body thoroughly I could not use an entire tabata. So I used the 4 segments of each tabata–half a tabata. So an intense 2 minute blast between each upper body muscle group at 59:30 minutes. This just led me to creating many more (different) cardio + upper body strength workouts.
Workout Blender also lets me use my own personal strength training philosophy to create upper body workouts. What is that philosophy? That you do not need to spend as much focused time working smaller muscle groups. For example, your large muscle groups are quads, glutes, hamstrings, back and chest. Smaller muscle groups are shoulders, biceps, triceps and calves. I feel the most time should be spent strength training large muscle groups. The smaller ones should not be ignored, but they do not need the same focus. The reason for that is that they are accessory muscles. When you are working your back or chest you are also working your biceps, triceps and shoulders. And just about every lower body exercise you do also hits your calves in some way. So if you do focused/isolation exercises on the smaller muscle groups in the same amount/quantity that you work the large muscle groups, they are getting more work than the large muscle groups because they are always working when you work the larger muscle groups (whereas the large muscle groups are not working when you are isolating the small muscle groups). And, to me, it just makes no sense to work your biceps, triceps and calves more than your back or glutes. (I did not come up with this philosophy on my own. This is the philosophy Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove use in many of their New Rules of Lifting books.) Like I said, I do not ignore the smaller muscle groups–especially my shoulders. I actually do work my shoulders nearly as much as larger muscle groups. But that is because I not only enjoy shoulder work but I love the look of sculpted shoulders. Workout Blender has made it possible to fix the imbalances that are present in many workouts that isolate muscle groups. When constructing upper body workouts in blender, I included more back, chest and shoulder work than I do bicep and tricep work.
Here’s how that works. Gym Styles and Ripped w/ HIIT contain some of Cathe’s most amazing upper body strength/isolation workouts out there. But if you did them back to back, here is how it would play out: Ripped with HIIT Lift It Hit It workouts (Back, Biceps & Shoulders and Chest, Triceps & Shoulders) would be a 92:30 minute workout if you did them back to back; cut out one warm up and one stretch and you still have an 88 minute workout (plus, if you are using DVDs, the start up time of swapping DVDs multiple times if you wanted to work your upper body the way I do–larger muscle groups first, smaller last, makes it even longer). With workout blender I reduced that time for a total upper body Ripped w/ HIIT workout to 61 minutes–by working smaller muscle groups less than larger ones. But they are all worked. Gym Style (Back, Shoulders & Biceps and Chest & Triceps)? I reduced a 98 minute workout (if played back to back; 90 minutes if one warm up and one stretch are skipped) to 61 minutes. Want to get even crazier (or more awesome!)? I created an STS upper body workout from Meso 2 muscle split workouts that works the muscle groups the same way–67:30 minutes. I could go on (but I won’t) because I created a lot of upper body only strength workouts.
What are some other ways I played with Workout Blender to create workouts perfect for me? I cherry picked my favorite exercises from different but similar workouts and put them together into a single workout. Here is the really neat thing–you can upload your blender workouts so other people can do them. So below, I have listed every blender workout I have created to date and what the workout contains as well as the length. The numerical code is what blender assigns to it when you upload, so using that code makes locating the workouts easy. As a disclaimer, I have to note that when I created these workouts–the cardio ones in particular–I put in my favorite exercises and left out my least favorite. So I might have left out all of your favorite exercises. That’s the beauty of the workout blender–personalization. There are hundreds (thousands?) of shared workouts in blender. It is overwhelming to even peruse them. My advice is, if you are paying for workout blender, create the perfect workout for you–not someone else’s perfect workout. That’s what I did. I think it’s great people can share, but I know what I want so I created it.
Finally, the thing that finally made me give in and join On Demand may seem silly to some, but it is something that I wanted so badly that I decided to join just to create it. Muscle Meltdown workouts–total upper body. Yes! If you own ICE on DVD like I do, you would have to pop in 5 different DVDs to work all upper body muscle groups–plus, decide on your warm up and cool down. Well, I used ICE: Chiseled Upper Body for (most of) the warm ups and cool downs then put all of the Muscle Meltdowns in to 4 different workouts: 1 set of each exercise (36 minutes), 2 sets of each exercise (62:30 minutes), all 3 sets of all exercises (90:30 minutes)–and the one I will use the most: 3 rounds of back & shoulders, 2 rounds of chest, 1 round of biceps and triceps (62 minutes). I also went a step further and created a workout that alternates each Muscle Meltdown muscle group circuit with a cardio blast (62 minutes).
Below are all of the workouts I created. I uploaded them all so if you are interested, you can use the code to find them. I list the name I gave the workout (all pretty unimaginative), all of the workouts that are contained in each blender workout and the total running time of the workout. On some of them I list how they are put together but if the workouts contain both cardio and strength, just know that they are always done circuit fashion–cardio alternated with strength. There is also always a warm up and a cool down/stretch. I also linked to most of the workouts so if you want more info on the individual workouts included in each blender workout you can click on the link and it will take you to the blog post about it. Finally, these are Cathe workouts–which means lots of equipment. So on some of them I also listed equipment changes that you should be aware of.
Summary: So how did this work out for me? I am in love. I seriously do not want to do anything else anymore. Maybe some Cathe Live sprinkled in, but mostly–my blender workouts. I have created the perfect workouts for me. Every single day I do a workout I adore, that works my body in exactly the way I want it to be worked. I have even stopped doing doubles every day after work. What’s the point? I am already covering every base in the morning. Thank you Workout Blender!
As an aside, I have found blender so amazing and wonderful that I have attempted to talk to people about it–to share my enthusiasm. In my off-line life, I don’t know people who work out like I do. Most do not workout at all and the few that do exercise are either runners or go to a gym to lift weights. So when I try to share, I get these looks… like I need mental health treatment. Or they are amused–“Isn’t her enthusiasm cute?” Sometimes just blank stares like I am speaking a foreign language. Sigh. But if you are here, and reading this, then maybe this excites you, too. If so–have as much fun with it as I am.
Finally, one last note. I am posting this on 4/17/17 and there are currently 38 blender workouts listed (if you are reading this after that date–there may be more than 38). Just like everything else on this blog, the core purpose is for my reference. So when I create more, I will return to this post and add them. Also, I have not yet done every single workout I created that is listed below. Half the time when I do one for the first time, I have to go back and tweak it, fix any little problems I came across. When I do that, I will re-upload the workout. That is also when I list equipment needed. So below, if the workout has “*” in front of it, that means I have done it and tweaked it–so it is now perfect (for me). If there is no “*” in front of it, I haven’t done the workout yet–so it may change. I plan to get through all 38 by mid-May.
***3/19/18 UPDATE: Due to recently having a mastectomy and treatment that is projected to last more than a year (chemo, radiation and reconstruction), I have had to make a lot of changes to the way I workout that will continue throughout the next year. With that in mind, I decided to sign up for On Demand again so I could create some appropriate workouts for my situation. Those workouts will be at the very bottom of this post and labeled “Rehabilitation Workouts.” I cannot lift dumbbells for a while and when I am able to lift them again I will be lifting light weights, working my way back up to heavier dumbbells. I also cannot do any impact, so no jumping or plank based moves and currently (10 days after the surgery) I still cannot do mat lower body workouts where I am on my hands and knees or resting on an elbow. Until my incision is entirely healed my lower body workouts are limited to standing, no weights, no impact and if I do any mat work I have to be on my back. Surprisingly, there is still a lot I can do. However, when it comes to Cathe, there is no one full workout I can do. But using Workout Blender I was able to construct several. You will find all of them below under “Rehabilitation Workouts.” I added them for my own reference but also, there might be other people in the same or similar situation as me and need these types of workouts for themselves. So I will be sharing them for others to use if needed. And since I am on here anyway, I created some more blender workouts. I can’t do them yet but when I do try them I will add them to the appropriate category below.
Upper Body (strength only):
*STS Upper Body 0000899 (all exercises are from Meso 2) (67:30 minutes) (Equipment: dynband, pull up bar or substitute, bench (needs to incline) and rack or substitute, barbell, dumbbells, chair or substitute, stability ball)
*Muscle Meltdown—2 rounds 0000907 (62:30 minutes) (dumbbells, stability ball and step @ 10 inches)
*Muscle Meltdown—3 circuits 0000941 (90:30 minutes) (dumbbells, stability ball and step @ 10 inches)
*Muscle Meltdown–back & shoulder focus 0001071 (3 rounds of back & shoulders, 2 rounds of chest, 1 round of biceps and triceps; RwH w/u and stretch) (62 minutes) (dumbbells, stability ball and step @ 10 inches)
*Pure Strength Upper Body 0000909 (62 minutes) (barbell, dumbbells and step as high as you need it for upper body work)
*Gym Styles Upper Body 0000911 (61 minutes) (barbell, dumbbells and step @ 10 inches)
*RwH Upper Body 0000913 (61 minutes) (barbells, dumbbells, dynaband, step @ 12 inches and a chair)
*Xtrain Upper Body 0001065 (Super Cuts, Chest, Back & Shoulders, and Bi’s & Tri’s) (65:30 minutes) (you need a stability ball, a medium resistance tube w/ handles, a firewalker, sliding disks and dumbbells)
Upper Body (cardio + strength):
*Burn Sets + AOLIH 0000989 (done circuit fashion: Xtrain Burn Sets + All Out Low Impact HIIT) (82 minutes) (You need dumbbells, resistance tube w/ handles, sliding devices and your step at 14 inches; there are two 10 second breaks in this workout, when you see the first one, lower your step to 8 inches, when you see the second one, raise your step back to 14 inches)
*Upper Body + Cardio Blasts 0001009 (cardio blasts from Xtrain Cardio Leg Blasts and S&S Bootcamp; strength from STS Meso 1, ICE Chiseled Upper Body, RwH Upper Body Circuit and S&S Bootcamp; w/u & c/d from RwH Upper Body Circuit) (65:30 minutes) (you need your step @ 10 inches, stability ball, DBs and a firewalker.)
*Muscle Meltdown + Cardio Blasts + Core 0001017 (1 circuit of all ICE Muscle Meltdowns; each muscle group is alternated w/ cardio blasts from Xtrain Cardio Leg Blast + STS superman segment + RwH Core #1; uses Cardio Leg Blast w/u & Flex Train stretch) (60 minutes) (equipment: step @ 10 inches, dumbbells, stability ball and mat)
*4DS Upper Body + Boxing 0001085 (Xtrain Supercuts warm up, Upper body strength work from 4 Day Split alternated with boxing blitzes from MMA Boxing and boxing tabatas from Xtrain Hardstrikes) (you need your full step @ 8 inches, your square step @ 14 inches, a dynaband, dumbbells and barbell; Cathe uses the stability ball for one exercise (seated bicep hammer curls) but your square step is right there so you can easily just sit on that for the exercise–no need to pull out your ball for one exercise) (68 minutes) (low impact)
*Upper Body + HIIT 0001169 (3 HIIT 30/30 and 40/20 blasts alternated w/ 3 strength exercises from Strong & Sweaty Total Body Giant Sets (upper body only) and Push Pull (upper body only); HIIT Pyramid warm up + one HIIT, and Push Pull stretch) (58 minutes) (equipment: step @ 8 inches, dumbbells, barbell, stability ball and square step @ 14 inches (for one exercise–inverted shoulder press)–you can also use a weight bench or a chair for that exercise, or just do the shoulder presses w/ feet on floor or on 8 inch step)
Lower Body (cardio + strength):
*Lower body + Boxing 0000905 (Athletic Training step cardio, MMA Boxing + RwH LIHI Legs, STS Meso 1 Legs, STS Total Body–legs only, Butts & Guts–stability ball bonus only) (62 minutes) (start with long step @ 8 inches, but after the AT step cardio, change to square step @ 10 inches) (this is a low impact cardio + strength workout)
*CTX Leg Blast 0000937 (Cross Train Express power circuit w/u, step circuits, Lean Legs, kickbox circuits (uses step & DBs), lean legs stretch) (63:30 minutes) (you need step @ 6 or 8 inches, square step at 14, 10 & 16 inches, barbell and dumbbells)
*STS Plyo Legs + ICE Cardio Kickboxing 0001067 (RwH LIHI Legs w/u & stretch, Plyo Legs strength & some blasts, ICE Rock’m Sock’m cardio kickboxing) (60:30 minutes) (You need dumbbells and your step @ 10 & 12 inches; start with it in 10 inches, then it is raised to 12 inches)
*Cardio Legs + KPC 0000991 (strength work from Xtrain Cardio Leg Blast done circuit fashion and alternated with Kick Punch Crunch kickbox combos) (63:30 minutes) (you need your step @ 10 inches; it is only used for strength work)
*4DS Lower Body + Leg Blitzes 0001087 (4 Day Split lower body strength alternated w/ leg blitzes from MMA Boxing and one drill from MMA Fusion, 4DS w/u & stretch) (60 minutes) (square step @ 14 inches, barbell, dumbbells, two resistance tubes w/handles (for markers), dynaband, ankle weights and barbell pole for balance)
*Party Rockin Step + To the Mat Legs 0001103 (Party Rockin’ Step 2 step combos alternated w/ To the Mat lower body work) (85:30 minutes) (you need a step @ 8 inches; nearby have a mat, a stability ball, a firewalker and a dynaband. Also have either one heavy dumbbell or the square step at 6 or 8 inches–this is for hip raises; Cathe uses the dumbbell for her heel but I find the square step works better. I have placed a 15 second recovery between each segment shift–so after a step cardio segment you get 15 seconds to put your mat in place (and wipe away sweat and/or get a drink) and after the mat leg work you get a 15 second break to put the mat away and get a drink/wipe away swat)
Lower Body (metabolic/strength only):
*Blender Butts & Guts 0000903 (59 minutes)
*STS Leg Bonuses 0001119 (w/u from Turbo Barre and stretch from ICE To the Mat; all of the bonus segments from Meso 1 Legs–so all barre and mat work) (58 minutes) (Equipment needed: chair or barre, stability ball, firewalker, dynaband, sliding disks, fitness mat and ankle weights)
Cardio (low impact):
Cardio (high impact/HIIT):
*MIC + Intensity Step 0000959 (Intensity w/u, Maximum Intensity Cardio step cardio + interval blasts, Intensity interval blasts, MIC c/d, Step Fit stretch) (56 minutes) (Intensity uses a 6 inch step and MIC uses an 8 inch step; you can just use an 8 inch step throughout, or start with the 6 inch step (Intensity warm up) then raise it to 8 inches after the warm up (MIC) then lower it to 6 inches for the final Intensity blasts)
*HIIT Compilation 0000897 (HIIT 30/30, HIIT 40/20, HIIT Pyramid, Circuit Blast, Cardio Core Circuit) (59 minutes) (for this one, start w/ step @ 8 inches; at first 10 second break, add 2 more risers to each side, raising it to 12 inches; will remain at 12 inches remainder of workout)
*Crossfire + To the Max Tabatas (all 6 tabatas in their entirety, TTM solid step, CF fitness blasts + S&S Cardio Slam recoveries) 0000915 (58:30 minutes) (step starts at 8 inches for solid step but have 2 risers ready because first tabata it is at 10 inches (so add 2 risers after solid step), then lower it again to 8 inches after the first tabata)
*CTX Step 0000923 (all step segments from Cross Train Express except step segments that use weights) (step @ 8 inches) (65 minutes)
*Blizzard Blast Compilation 0000931 (Rock’m Sock’m–all, Lower Body Blast–all, Metabolic Total Body–most, deleted least liked ones to bring time to 60 minutes, Low Impact Sweat–all) (60 minutes) (dumbbells and you’ll need your step at 8 inches for the final blast)
Metabolic Total Body:
*Metabolic Mayhem 0000957 (To the Max (compound legs), S&S Bootcamp, Cross Fire (circuit blast), Athletic Training, RwH Upper Body Circuit–there are no cardio bursts in this workout, it is all metabolic weight training, but it will still get your heart rate elevated and work your upper body!) (58 minutes) (you need a step @ 10 inches, dumbbells, a firewalker and your barbell set for 20 pounds)
*S&S PHA + Cardio Slam 0000987 (2 rounds of each PHA circuit; each round is alternated with Cardio Slam exercises) (60:30 minutes) (you need a step @ 10 inches and dumbbells; after the final PHA circuit, you can break the step down to just the topper (4 inches) or 6 inches for the final cardio slam round; this workout also uses a mat as a marker (Cardio Slam) but the exercises don’t really need the mat–you can do them easily w/out it)
*Lower Body + Back + Cardio Blasts 0000995 (lower body & back from High Reps and Flex Train, lower body from Xtrain Legs; done circuit fashion and alternated w/ cardio blasts from RwH Upper Body Circuit, Plyo HIIT #1 and LIHI Legs) (sliding device, firewalkers, dixie cups, dynaband, dumbbells and barbell) (63 minutes)
*Low Impact Cardio + Abs #1 0002535 (58 minutes) (everything is low impact in this workout–I used some high impact moves from Strong & Sweaty Cardio Slam but I used the version where Cathe shows a low impact modification of the same exercise. Since Cathe’s warm ups can be pretty vigorous and give your body lots of good work, this workout includes 4 warm ups, one right after the other: Xtrain Legs, Supercuts and All Out Low Impact HIIT + Strong & Sweaty Cardio Slam warm ups; in addition there are exercises from all of those workouts. A few of the low impact cardio exercises use dumbbells to increase intensity but I just did the exercise w/out dumbbells. The workout ends with Turbo Barre‘s ab segment, 2:30 minutes of supermans from Ab Hits and the stretch from Xtrain Legs. Equipment: firewalker, sliding disks, dixie cups and a mat.
*Lower Body (no dumbbells) 0002537 (1 hour & 24 minutes) This will fry your lower body without a single dumbbell. The workout starts with Great Glutes warm up followed by Great Glutes disk work, then Flex Train firewalker work + disk work. Next a few ICE Chiseled Lower Body Blast exercises; you do use a dumbbell for one but only as a marker. Next you do some barre work–the barre segment from Kick Max and the barre segment from Lower Body Blast. The workout ends with stability ball mat work from Great Glutes and Gym Style Legs. You also get the Great Glutes stretch. Equipment: firewalker, sliding disks, stability ball, chair/barre, one dumbbell (as a marker) and mat.
*Low Impact Cardio + Abs #2 0002543 (52:30 minutes) Tho this one is a bit shorter it is more intense–but everything is still low impact. It starts with Afterburn‘s warm up but then goes right into Athletic Training‘s warm up, so have your step set up @ 8 inches before the workout even starts. Then you go into Athletic Training‘s step cardio segment. There is a 10 second break and in that time, put your step away (or at least get it out of the way because you don’t need it for the rest of the workout). Next you go into Afterburn cardio segments–all standing and no dumbbells. You get another 10 second break to get your mat out. The workout ends with core work: exercises from both of ICE‘s core workouts. You need a light dumbbell and a band. I just clasped my hands rather than using the dumbbell and used my towel instead of the band. There is also a low back segment from Ab Hits included. The workout ends with Athletic Training stretch. Equipment: step @ 8 inches, dixie cups, sliding disks and a mat; optional: light dumbbell and a resistance band (for core work).