This is classic Mari Winsor. It's not classic Pilates, mind you. This is Mari Winsor's inventive Pilates based approach to a more calisthenic Pilates aimed at weight loss and body sculpting.
The Slimming Pilates program is an evolution of the Winsor Pilates Super Sculpting Program. It is for people who are already in fairly good shape, or have some Pilates or Winsor Pilates background. It is not for beginners. It's also not for you if you have back pain or other reasons to want a more careful Pilates approach. With that caution, if you like to mix it up and have some fun with your workouts, read on.
The Slimming Pilates DVD Workouts
In the Slimming Pilates DVD program, Mari Winsor leads 5 different DVD workouts that are assigned to different days of a 30 day weight loss plan. There is a great "abssession" workout as well as full body workouts, and workouts that focus on sculpting different areas like lifting the butt or toning the arms. They are all fairly short and intense, with Mari Winsor's upbeat energy pushing them along.
Mari Winsor usually keeps a fairly good pace in her DVDs. She doesn't take a lot of extra time with modifications or alignment tips along the way. That approach has its pros and cons, but it does have the effect of keeping the workout moving along. There is, however, more effort put into demonstrating modifications in these DVDs than in some past Winsor Pilates DVDs.
One of the workouts is meant to be cardio. It is a good workout, but if you are the level it takes to do these workouts it's probably not going to be very cardio for you, though it will be body toning.
Overall, I like the slimming Pilates DVDs. They are challenging and fun, and they use the "accelerator" which I'll talk about in a minute. I can't say they represent the most balanced Pilates workouts ever, but they will sculpt a lot of key body areas. If you are young and strong, or know how to take care of yourself, you might really enjoy this program.
The Slimming Pilates Accelerator
I think the accelerator is really cool. When I opened my box and saw all the ways you could combine the stretchy cord, bar, 1lb. hand weights, and foot/hand straps I was tickled. I especially like the way you can unscrew the ends of the weighted bar to make hand weights.
The accelerator is kind of like a budget PilatesStick or Tower on the Go. There is a stretch cord that has an attachment that lets you fix the middle by closing it in a door. Then you can pull on the band ends for resistance exercises. It's not super sturdy, but it's fine for home workout equipment.
The accelerator also has extra clip on handles so that you can have one set in your hands and one set on your feet and stretch them away using your arms and legs to create the resistance. There are any number of ways you can combine the elements of the accelerator for a workout and I think Mari might have included just about all of them in the Slimming Pilates DVD workouts.
I would have loved to have an introduction in the DVDs explaining everything... They don't do a good job of telling you what configuration of accelerator elements you are going to need until the DVD gets underway. They also don't always warn you when they change a set-up right in the middle of a routine. And some of the mid-exercise adjustments shown by the petite ladies who do the demonstrating are not going to work for the rest of us. I found these issues annoying at first, but if you did the routines regularly you would figure out what works.
To lose weight with Pilates you have to exercise at a quicker pace, add resistance, and eat for weight loss. The DVDs have the pacing, the accelerator adds resistance, and as an extra, there is a little book with a 7 day weight loss eating plan. The plan is low carb - too low in good complex carbs in my opinion, but it does look like a fairly nutritious support for short term weight loss. The booklet includes recipes and snack options as well.
There is also a tape measure (which I have been glaring at, but haven't opened), and a small poster with a few thankfully detailed exercise instructions.