Our rating: 5 hearts
The workout: Hour-long sessions feature fast combos of classic kickboxing kicks, punches, and footwork. After a warm-up, the class revs up into longer, more intense sequences. The emphasis is on mastering skills and learning which muscles to use to achieve the best form and the most power.
The claim: This is touted as a challenging strength and cardio program that requires concentration, but burns hundreds of calories and boosts motivation.
Reality check: "I'm addicted," our tester reports. "I feel totally different about exercise after this class." It wasn't easy to learn all of the combos, which are mentally engaging as well as physically demanding, but she says she hung in because the instructor explained the hows and whys of every move. After 6 weeks, our tester was charging up flights of stairs without panting, and had better posture and more energy. Plus, she says she's become more interested in challenging herself in her life outside the gym.
Expert take: This is indeed an intense workout that burns loads of calories and helps you build self-confidence along with strength and endurance.
Is it love? Definitely. Our tester says she's totally renewed her commitment to fitness. She couldn't stay away from the class, showing up 3 and 4 times a week.
The bottom line: If you want to commit body and soul to a challenging exercise class, this might be the perfect match. Caution: This isn't for you if you think the ideal workout session involves watching TV while strolling on the treadmill.
Powerstrike Kickboxing DVD (from Summersdale Productions), $22.99; Visit www.powerstrike.com for class info or to order DVD.