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DVD Review: Amy Dixon's 'Breathless Body' Tabata DVD

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I heart Amy Dixon. She's a veteran fitness instructor, master trainer and creator of many wonderful workouts you've probably seen in fitness magazines and DVDs alike. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and she is a real treat: super sweet, super fit and down to earth. It makes it hard for me to hate her when she kicks my booty in her DVDs, which she always does (in a good way).
Amy's latest DVD "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" ($14.99, capitalizes off the trendy "Tabata" style interval training, which involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. Tabata training is touted as one of the most efficient ways to boost aerobic endurance and fat burning, and although  I had read about it, but hadn't experienced it until I tried this DVD. I have to admit, I was a little scared. So how did I fare? And is this DVD right for you?
The DVD features eight different Tabata circuits that you can mix and match as you choose, plus a warm up and a cool down segment to bookend around your workout. The menu only allows you to "play all" or play one at a time. (I wished it would have allowed you to select your own combination and hit play.) Would you believe that I was too lazy to have to go back to the menu and select each workout I wanted…so I just ended up doing the entire thing? It made sense at the time, but in hindsight I see how silly that was.
So each segment features one simple movement, which is thoroughly explained and simple to follow—no complex choreography and no counting or staying with the beat of the music. Before each set of intervals begins, Amy shows you a low-intensity version of the move, an intermediate version, and a (super) advanced version. Then you pick one of the three levels and go: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, and so on until you complete 4 total minutes of that particular move. Then you take a little bit longer rest, get a drink, and get ready for your next set of intervals using a new move (shown three ways)—until you complete the number of intervals you choose for your workout. Here's a preview of what the moves are like:

I found myself mixing up each interval at different intensity levels. Sometimes I'd try the easiest version, but then move up to the middle or advanced versions within the 4-minute segment. Sometimes I made up my own hybrid somewhere between two of them. I liked that I had options and plenty of ideas to tailor it to how hard I was able to work at any given interval. I also mixed and matched them for pure variety. No matter which level you choose, you'll be working!
Although repeating a single move eight times in a row seems monotonous, the fact that each interval is so short made the time fly by. You really feel like you're making progress very quickly. Before I knew it, I had done the entire DVD (which took about an hour start to finish). Not only was I super sweaty and winded—it was a GREAT workout—but I felt amazingly fit and proud of myself. Anyone who can get through that DVD is going to feel powerful and strong almost instantly!
While Tabata training is pretty intense for beginners, I actually feel that this DVD is suitable for many fitness levels, including beginners who are ready for a little more intensity. Because the intervals are so short and you can choose how hard to work (you move at your own speed, not with any beat and not necessarily with the instructors' pace), I think it's pretty customizable. Plus, the low-intensity options really were lighter and tended to be pretty low impact. At the same time, the high intensity moves were pretty freakin' crazy. I feel bad for the woman who had to do them for the entire DVD (did you see her on the right in the preview above?). I didn't even try a lot of them myself—that is how intense they were. Let me just say, there is something for everyone here no matter how hard you're able to work. And if you don't have a lot of endurance, these short intervals may be just the ticket you need to boost your fitness level in a reasonable amount of time.
Here's what a few testers from the SparkPeople staff had to say about "Breathless Body." They all exercise pretty regularly but this was the first Tabata workout for many.
"I thought this was a great workout with lots of flexibility for different time frames and intensity levels.  In just 30 minutes, I certainly got a good workout.  People should definitely cool down if they end the work out prior to the coool down on the DVD though." -- Rachel, SparkPeople Accounting

It was intense, but since it was only for a short amount of time, the workout went by really fast. I really liked Amy’s style of teaching – she is encouraging, but also pushes you to work hard all the way to the end." -- Sarah, SparkPeople Marketing

"I usually do yoga or steady-state cardio, integrating as few sprints as possible. I can’t seem to push myself very hard on my own. That’s why I loved the Tabata workouts in this DVD. They got me moving quickly, integrating more 'sprints' into my workout routine—and they were over in no time. Plus, working out with my SparkPeople peeps always makes any workout more enjoyable. I was nursing a sore knee, so I did the modified version of each workout, and I still worked up quite a sweat. Amy Dixon is a strong instructor with good cuing, and her back-up exercisers were great, too." -- Stepfanie, SparkPeople Editor
If you're looking for a pure cardio DVD with lots of variety that's intense but easy to follow, Amy Dixon's "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" is for you. Amy's personality is encouraging without being mean or cheesy, and you're sure to get a great workout even if all you have is 4 minutes. This one is going to get regular rotation in my DVD player!
Have you tried Tabata training or one of Amy Dixon's awesome workouts? Would you?

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I tried this today. I did 4 of the exercises along with the warm up and cool down. I definitely felt like I got a good workout. I also wore a heart rate monitor and didn't start the next exercise until I was completely back to around 120 bpm. Report
I actually have Amy Dixon's Breathless Body 2: The Edge. Same basic concept, though I believe the exact timings are a bit different. Also, there is a final 6 minute, non-stop intense bit.

I love it! It is the best. When I have the time (and the obscene amount of necessary energy and gumption), the full DVD makes an amazing workout that leaves me drenched in sweat. What I really love is that each short segment (paired w/ the warm up and cool down) makes a perfect ~15 minute workout that I can do before going to work. An awesome sweat, and done and in the shower before you know it. Report
I'm so grateful that SP reviews these DVD's. I'm going to be ordering this after I finish T25 for a new challenge! Thanks! Report
Demand must have seen a big upsurge: Amazon is now charging $17.99 for it! A little pricey for a DVD, but I hope to get it soon. I'm chronically short on time, & it would be wonderful to get maximum benefit from a brief workout when that's all I can squeeze in. Report
i'm 54. I have several physical problems but even I do these workout 2-3 times a week. I stopped making excuses and started taking better care of my body Report
Bought this one based on the review and finally got around to trying out. Wish I hadn't waited so long. It was a great workout-I stayed pretty much with the intermediate level except for one that I alternated middle and beginner and one where I could actually do the mad crazy hard one. It went fast and Amy was really nice-encouraging without being overly perky or annoying. This is going in the regular rotation. Report
Bought this one and finally got around to trying out. Wish I hadn't waited so long. It was a great workout-I stayed pretty much with the intermediate level except for one that I alternated middle and beginner and one where I could actually do the mad crazy hard one. It went fast and Amy was really nice-encouraging without being overly perky or annoying. This is going in the regular rotation. Report
Great video and definitely leaves you breathless! I did the modified version and got a good workout. I do agree that the stretching at the end could be longer. But I love that you can customize to different levels and Amy pushes you in a good way to get through it. Report
I bought this recently and have done it twice. Whoa. It's a tough workout. I was indeed breathless from the get-go doing mostly intermediate level. I did the advanced for the first circuit and could barely finish. One thing I will say is that the stretching at the end was not enough. In particular, my hips were very, very sore for days, and when I did the dvd a week later, I had to modify some because my hips were still so sore. They're fine now, after several days, but I just will need to make sure to spend extra time stretching. But the writer is right; it goes by very quickly. Report
Tried this DVD yesterday and yes it was a butt-kicker, but will do it again tomorrow.... Report
Looks interesting!! May give it a try! Report
I like what I've seen here and may well purchase it through Collage Video.

I will say that I think it's a little unfair to use the video provided by Collage Video but then refer buyers to Amazon. Collage provides a great service by posting clips of every workout they sell and offers a good return policy. Amazon's a fine company and may be cheaper but it wasn't their expenditure that provided that video clip. Report
I tried intervals on my bike ride home from work today, and got home in record time. Report
Looks great..I LOVE Tabata style workouts...I'll have to try to pick it up when I get some extra money... Report
I have been reading about Tabata Training since I first heard about it three weeks ago. The moves, to me, looked like something I couldn't do for more than one rep - a session of squats followed by a session with weights followed by a session of push-ups followed by a session of medicine ball throws and finished with a session of 20 second sprints.

Dealing with multiple health challenges, heart and back, made me decide I couldn't do anything near to this.

After seeing the DVD, I realized I could make up my own routine from things I can do and still gain some added benefits. I don't know how long I'll be able to go, but it looks very interesting. Report
I have 3 of her DVDs, including this one. It is AS hard as Turbo Fire (which the moves remind me of) and AS hard as Insanity. I love it! 20 seconds is plenty for the intervals- try it and you'll see! Just as the title says, it really does leave you breathless! Report
Interesting. The DVD isn't terribly expensive but I think I'd still want to rent it first and try it out before I buy. I don't know if it's right for me. Based on the preview, I think I'd need to stay somewhere in the beginner and intermediate levels. All I could think while watching the preview is "that poor women doing the high intensity version the entire time, how does she do it?" Report
OK...I've been reading up on Tabata since reading an article here on SP...gotta try it! Thanks for sharing her DVD. It looks like a good place to start. :) Report
I agree with NYS_EMT. A 20 second interval is too short for me. We do those same moves in Insanity for up to 45 seconds in each interval. I will completed my second round of Insanity, I'm forever spoiled from "normal" fitness DVDs. Report
It looks great but I think it would be a bit much of me because of my health problems. God Bless You and Have Have a Wonderful Week. Report
I do the tabata inferno in the supreme 90 day workout series and it never fails to challenge me. A true tabata is only four minutes. Period. Four minutes of working so hard you want to puke. Maybe once a week or a couple of times a month. I would consider these hybrids because you work hard but you still pace yourself somewhat or you couldn't do so much. Report
Looks like a great workout. Report
I like the idea of it, but my knees would never forgive me. It looks pretty intense! I may look into other DVDs by Amy Dixon though. Report
I am usually willing to try new things but this looks a bit much for me. Report
Look slike an interesting video. I'll probably order it. I alredy have started to do Tabatas on my own with my kettlebell or power moves like burpees. It would be nice to have a variety. Even nicer if SP had a way to track HIITs. Report
this was good Report
Boy, was I exhausted just watching that video ... And I'm a runner!

I've been hearing a lot about Tabata workouts lately. I think this blog post inspired me to finally try it! Report
Looks good!!!! Can't wait!! Report
Sounds like something I need to try. Report
I love this DVD! I do it at least once a week and I always feel awesome when I'm done. It truly is a calorie torcher and it goes by surprisingly quickly. Amy is a wonderful instructor, one of my favorites. I also love her Give Me 10 DVDs. Great to hear that she's a nice person like I thought she was. Report
I do all those moves (and more) in my Insanity workout program. Except Insanity is 3-4 more minutes of high intensity with a 30 second rest in between. I am almost done with the 60 days and it is great! I'm so used to working out for an hour or more each day that I would probably do this DVD twice in a row! Report
I bought this a few weeks ago and have tried it a couple of times now. I liked how there were 3 intensity levels of each move and that each one was very well explained and demonstrated before we actually started it. The 20 seconds on/10 seconds off did make the time go by faster than I expected. I'd consider myself a "high intermediate/advanced" exerciser and I'll say that it's definitely a butt-kicker! Report
I haven't tried Tabata yet. To be honest, it sounded a little scary/intense to me. I like the way you explained the exercises and I like that there were others who tried it who were able to give an opinion on it. I think I'd like to get this DVD. Report
Haven't tried her DVD's yet - this one sounds like fun! Report
I'm going to try this one. I have several of her DVD's. Report
I haven't bought this DVD, but Amy Dixon is such a great trainer! Her DVDs with Women's Health Magazine helped me lose 30 pounds! Report
I bought this last week and can't wait to try it. Report
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