The Workout You Don't Get
I hate to break it to you, but the extra-specialness of workouts at Canyon Ranch might have lot to do with actually being at Canyon Ranch. The workouts on the Strong and Sculpted DVD are average, professionally produced, fitness DVD material. That doesn't mean it's bad, but it does mean that if you have a few workout DVDs already and you are looking for something new or super special, this is not going to wow you.
On the other hand, there are 3 intermediate level 20 minute workouts here: core work, yoga, and strength training which makes for a nice overall approach. The thing is, and I'm saying this from a Pilates perspective where we don't go in for, as Joseph Pilates would say, "mindless repetitions repeated ad nauseum", these workouts are very repetitious. I was also disappointed that there wasn't better coaching on form and safety. There were places in both the core workout and the strength workout where I cringed at the lapse in core connection I saw on the screen and worried for those following at home without good visual or verbal instruction.
The Workout You Do Get
Though the workouts fell short of my expectations for Canyon Ranch, they are not bad. Certainly the instructors are in good shape and lead easy to follow routines with generally clear instruction and demonstration. They are also encouraging. I liked the yoga workout the best. It has a nice flow. The strength training is incredibly predictable -- step, bicep curl, step, lunge, repeat then change the arm work slightly -- but with a 3 - 8 lb. hand weights you do a get a nice upper body workout and some legs and cardio as well. As for the core workout, well, I'm spoiled by Pilates. These workouts will tone and stretch you, and they don't slack on the pace. If you are looking for a few basic, intermediate level routines to pop in the DVD and plug away at, I can recommend them for that.
The Bonus and the Bogus
Here's the bogus part: You don't get to see much of Canyon Ranch at all! The workouts are done on a pallet set out in the desert. You see a few cactus and shrubs. The bonus feature with the nutritionist and chef is set in the kitchen but you don't get a real peek. All you see is some stainless steel and a bunch of spoons and graters hanging behind. Why couldn't they set up in the dining room, maybe with a beautiful view behind? The other bonus interviews are in offices or too close up to see anything. Drat. You might be thinking for heavens' sake, Marguerite, it's a fitness DVD, get a grip. And you would be right. You wanna see Canyon Ranch, you spend the big bucks. You wanna workout with their instructors and get a few tips from their health experts, you can do that for $16.99. Not bad.