While Pilates is a sensational way to get in shape for many people, not everyone is so crazy about certain exercise videos that show how to do it.
As with any infomercial that makes things sound too good to be true, Pilates workout videos don’t work for everyone. And even when they do, it may not be necessary to spring for the whole ball of wax — “systems” that include not only the videos, but a meal plan, journal, and a letter from the host. It may be just as well to borrow a video from someone, or buy it used.
For example, the Mari Winsor Pilates infomercial shows many bodies that are highly unusual — not the typical results. Yet, it obviously gets people to buy the videos. Not that getting in that kind of shape is impossible. But, most people purchasing the videos will not stick to the program long enough to see such results. That’s how it is with most exercise programs. And those who have the kind of tenacity to perfect their abs to the degree pictured in the infomercial, probably do not need a Pilates video — they’d work out anyway.
This “system” contains a 20-minute workout, a 30-minute Basics video, a 1 hour advanced video, the above-mentioned extra materials, and something called the Winsor Dozen (a 10-minute Pilates workout featuring just 12 exercises, which makes it great for travel). The Mari Winsor Pilates system costs $60, with a $20 discount if you call within a time frame specified in the infomercial.
The 20-minute workout is kind of rushed. Actually taking less than 20 minutes does not enable you to do any one exercise deeply. There are also no exercises designed to target the upper body. The exercises are quite doable, if you are already in decent shape, and will seem very simple if you are already experienced in Pilates, dance, yoga, or stretching. The choreography is very simple and not difficult to follow. Also, the host, Mari, can be annoying. She says “tushie” instead of buttocks — not very professional. But, she’s good at what she does and that’s what matters most. The 20-minute video does work, and you will feel better after doing it, just don’t force yourself to get it done in 20 minutes.
The advanced video can be very difficult, due to the sequences of the exercises. However, it does work, if you work it. The more diligent you are about sticking with your program, the better the results, and these results can be dramatic.
The meal plan that comes with the system, while containing some useful information about eating well, has a very rigid menu. The Winsor Pilates diet does not accommodate vegetarians or those with allergies. And because it dictates exactly what to eat over a period of 10 days, with no viable substitutions offered, it might be difficult to follow. On the other hand, if someone wants a very militaristic approach to being told what to eat, this booklet will do it.
The bottom line is that the Winsor Pilates tapes do have value, but maybe not $40-$60 worth, depending on how much of it and how often it will get used. It is suggested that one rent a variety of Pilates titles from the local video store before deciding to purchase this set.