I got a mixed review on my fitness DVDs — specifically my Pilates mat DVD. I’ll be honest: I’m not happy about it! Nor was I expecting it. Sadly, I don’t think my ego had thought of it as a possibility before it actually happened. (Ah, learning experiences … lol)
Marguerite Ogle and I have followed each other on social media for quite a while. We don’t know each other well, but have always been friendly. Marguerite is the Pilates Guide for About.com and is quite influential, something I didn’t even know until I started my outreach efforts. She reviewed my “Modern Pilates with Lisa Johnson” DVD and gave me 3.5 out of 5 stars.
She said some truly great things like:
Lisa Johnson has a winning personality online and it carries over onto the screen. I immediately felt comfortable in her class, albeit a DVD class.
Lisa keeps the energy light and encouraging, and she has a knack for making you feel like she’s with you which is a great quality in a Pilates DVD.
Those are great, right? That was the second paragraph of her review … and then the rest of it was pretty much:
- It wasn’t really for beginners, only intermediate students.
- Her feeling that “there’s nothing exceptional here” for advanced-level Pilates practitioners.
- I spend too much time in extension during one segment.
- Kegels don’t belong on a Pilates DVD.
Ouch, right? Yeah, that smarted a little. So I put on my big girl panties, took a deep breath, and gave her critique some serious thought.
It’s Only Intermediate
Marguerite’s comment has some validity. On the DVD, I “cue and do” the intermediate level, while my two “back-up dancers” behind me perform the beginner and advanced variations. I made a conscious decision not to go slow at a true beginner pace. Initially a newbie will feel rushed, but they should quickly catch up after a viewing or two, and I didn’t want anyone to outgrow the video quickly.
As for advanced level, there are 40 exercises in my 50-minute long video, and 10 of them have very clear advanced variations that are significantly harder than the intermediate version. So I’m not sure what she was looking for.
Too Much Extension
This is something that comes directly from my Pilates studio and the clients that I teach daily. Yes, I still teach “real people” … something MOST fitness DVD stars don’t, and something that differentiates me from the pack. My extension series on the disc is about five minutes long and includes breaks in “neutral” spine (not bending forward or backward, just the normal S-curve). I also heavily cue the entire series so that people can take additional breaks if they need to. It is not five minutes of straight extension!
Kegels Aren’t Pilates
A Kegel is a deepening of the muscles underneath your pelvis, the “stop your pee” squeeze. I am different from most Pilates instructors in this regard because I do use them regularly to cue form. Here’s why: over the years, I’ve noticed some confusion from clients when using standard Pilates cues. When I switched to saying Kegels, two things happened. One, my clients actually made the connection I was looking for, and two, that little pooch that you can sometimes get over the lower abs disappeared. Boy, do those suckers work!
My clients were happy and looked better and I was happy because their form improved. Once you’ve trained with Kegels for a while, you’ll find there’s a lot of nuances there and you can really get great results. I wish Marguerite had asked me about them instead of just declaring them bad.
I feel as if the mixed review has more to do with our different training styles. Marguerite is Boulder School-trained and I’m Stott. There’s nothing I can do about that.
A mixed review from a really influential website, that’s what I got … I’ve shared every moment of my DVD experience with you, and I’m going to keep sharing. I wonder if Marguerite has ever had one of her reviews reviewed? This probably won’t be my last mixed or even negative review either.