Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Your Personal Best workout -- Karen Voight & Elle Macpherson

If you want a really great circuit workout and still have a VCR, you might want to check out "Your Personal Best" with Elle Macpherson and Karen Voight. This workout was produced in 1994 when workouts with Supermodels were easy to find (and Karen Voight was an unknown in retail stores). Karen did have a name in the fitness industry, training the elite in Santa Monica and had produced a handful of fitness videos: Power Packed Workout, Lean Legs & Buns, Firm Arms & Abs, Energy Sprint and Pure & Simple Stretch.

Since then Karen has produced dozens of workouts. I love Streamline Fitness and really like Sleek Physique, but my very favorite is still Your Personal Best. I'd love it if they ever produced it on dvd.

Your Personal Best is a 5o+ minute cardio/weights circuit workout with absolutely beautiful scenery that switches with each segment. The video was shot in Hawaii, sometimes in resort settings, other times in more natural settings. Near the end, you might recognize the setting from Jurassic Park, only instead of seeing brontosauruses roam in the background, you see sheep and cattle. It's just stunning. At the very end, Karen and Elle stretch on slabs of rock at the ocean's shore while the waves come crashing in behind them. During the credits, they show Karen instructing the stretch segment while the tide is too high. The waves keep tumbling in on them, getting their legs and hips wet. They keep giggling through like they're trying to keep their composure to finish up the segment. It's always fun to keep watching even though the workout is over.

The workout consists of a warm-up, 3 cardio segments and 3 weight segments (alternating cardio and weights throughout. The music is great (and real) -- you hear songs like "Break My Stride" and "Some Like It Hot." The best is hearing Sting's "Fields of Gold" during the stretch at the end.

Karen instructs the workout in her reserved, but competent way while Elle interjects. It's pretty obvious that Elle is no fitness expert, but she has fun with Karen and helps gives tips here and there too (for people with long arms like hers or new shoes like she has -- don't know how many people that applies to :)).

The cardio is pretty basic and athletic instead of dancy and builds up in intensity from one segment to the next. The weight work is light, but with plenty of reps, especially on the lower body floor work. I'd say it's a solid intermediate workout. You can use heavier weights and add intensity to the cardio, but it wouldn't really make it an advanced workout -- just higher intermediate. The last cardio segment uses a combination of sports moves. I just love it and they seem to have a lot of fun together too, which is great.

This workout is over 15 years old and truly is timeless. Even the workout clothes they wore were classic enough that they don't seem dated. I guess the pants and shorts came higher on the waist than they do now, but that's about it. The only thing that dates this workout is the fact that they haven't put it on dvd yet. I say "yet" with the hope that they will. :)

Here are some thoughts on health and fitness from Karen Voight:
“Know that your body likes to exercise, the more you do, the more it can do. When you wake up in the morning and feel energized and enthusiastic about life, that is the most immediate effect of starting to exercise and it carries through at any age you are. Also remember, nobody has the luxury being fit if they don’t work out. People might look like they are in shape, and if they don’t work out, they are not as healthy as they could be. It’s more about how you feel when you wake up each morning. Thinness is not fitness.”
Karen is certainly an example of that. She doesn't simply look thin. She certainly looks toned and healthy inside and out. This is my favorite picture of Karen from her Sleek Physique dvd cover.

Here are some video clips if you want to get a peek at Your Personal Best before trying to find it used online.

Go about 4:20 into this next segment if you want to see the Jurassic Park field.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sarah -- Accidentally deleted your comment. Sorry! Here it is. Thanks!

    "Hi. I just found out they put this workout on DVD but changed the name to The Body. I just downloaded the whole thing from YouTube. I used it back in 2000 and it's the only video I've ever done and gotten results. I can't wait to see if that still holds true. -- Sarah"

  3. I've just started working out again and decided to try to go back to an old faithful workout that I used in the 90's. Because I only have the VHS version of Your Personal Best, I googled it to see if I could purchase it on DVD. Although I've found links to it, I can only seem to find versions that play on UK DVD players. Have you located the DVD that will play on US DVD players? I'd really love to use this workout again, as it has always been my favorite. For someone who does not really enjoy working out, I actually enjoyed this one a lot and really saw results. Please let me know. Thanks.

  4. I haven't heard of any dvd releases of Your Personal Best. I sure wish there were one. Karen still produces new workouts and I would think she could still make money on it. Maybe with the original music rights on there, it's more expensive to re-release. I don't know. I'll post on here if I ever do hear of it though. I'm on the Video Fitness forum quite a bit and I'm sure there would be talk about it if it ever did get released to dvd.