Amy Dixon is one of my favorite trainers. Her workouts are invariably both creative and challenging, plus she's got so much darned personality that she makes even the toughest workouts seem fun. So I had great expectations for her new DVD Breathless Body—The Ultimate Calorie Burn! And I wasn't disappointed.

This butt-kicking interval workout is based on the Tabata method, in which you do a certain drill eight times; each time, you go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, then repeat. Amy doesn't stop at one drill, though—she makes you do eight of them. (The "breathless" in the title? She's not kidding.)

While the moves, with names like Pogo Jumps, Hot Feet, and Speed Skaters, may sound like play, they're anything but. Amy has two backup women, one demonstrating the basic level and one doing the advanced (Amy herself does intermediate). Really, though, the levels should be labeled Hard, Harder, and Hardest. This is not a workout for exercise newbies, and do not feel bad if all you can handle at first is the lowest level (or if you think Sarah, the gal doing the toughest versions of the moves, hails from another, far more physically advanced planet than Earth!).

This may sound like torture, but it's not. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a workout DVD this much. Sure, it hurt, but the moves were easy to follow, I never got bored (no time for that!), and, most importantly, it felt like a Workout with a capital W—you know, the kind that gives you that "I totally rock" feeling afterward.

And Amy? She's so likable and supportive that you find yourself wanting to work hard for her. She's right in there with you, too, sweating hard and breathing harder. It makes a huge difference, knowing she's feeling every bit of the pain she's inflicting.

I do wish you could mix and match the drills to create a personalized, shorter workout for busy days (you can't). The DVD runs close to an hour, yet I rarely have more than 40 minutes to exercise on weekdays. True, I can just bow out after the fourth or fifth drill (and still get a killer workout), but it would be nice to be able to pick the drills I want to do.

As we came to the end of the last drill, Amy gasped out, "Best news ever: You did it!" OK, maybe not the best news ever (my daughter's healthy birth, for one, ranks a bit higher), but it sure felt good to me. Don't take my word for it, though; this is one you'll want to try yourself.

Product: Amy Dixon's Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn
You get an incredible cardio workout (think: major calories burned) led by an excellent, personable instructor.
You can't mix and match the drills to create shorter workouts.
Cost: $19.99 at
Extra tip: Make sure you have a towel—you'll be dripping sweat by the second or third drill.