I had resigned myself to a life of half-hearted treadmill training and step-aerobic sessions - until I came across an old exercise called Callanetics being taught in Edinburgh. Head trainer Karin MacKenzie from the Edinburgh Callanetics Studio has such confidence in the exercise that she claims new students can drop a dress size within 10 one-hour sessions. Sounds like a challenge too good to refuse. Callanetics, of course, is far from being another flash-in-the-pan fitness fad as it dates back to the Eighties.

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The author, Callan Pinckney, developed this exercise method to help people with bad backs Pinckney, herself, had scoliosis, lordosis and club feet; she also spent her youth backpacking around the world, and the heavy backpack further wrecked her back. Despite all that, she is classically trained in ballet. The exercises are largely based on ballet. They are sort of a cross between ballet, yoga and calisthenics. They are completely non-impact and non-aerobic. They are gentle and she emphasizes doing them in "triple slow motion.

The best thing is, you only have to do it times a week to get full benefits. My time is limited, so this greatly appeals to me. That, and the fact that gentleness is always emphasized. I have neck and hip issues that I go to a chiropractor for. Four months ago I adapted a WFPB diet and have lost 37 pounds so far, without exercise I was unable to exercise during this time because I was also doing spinal decompression on my neck-- the one time I tried to do some aerobics and toning, I hurt my neck again, so I backed off and just focused on diet.

With all the recent weight loss, I noticed my arms are very flabby-- like old lady arms! My belly has plenty of flabby loose skin, too, and for the first time my neck is looking like droopy chicken skin! Something kept telling me to try it again. While it may be too soon to praise, I am already feeling small rock-hard muscles developing under the flab that definitely were not there before!

Progress with Callanetics is measured in mere hours, rather than months or years! I can tell you that I am not a limber person at all and have resisted doing yoga for this reason. Pinckney has a calm and encouraging voice.

The exercises are not easy for me to do I got pretty sweaty the first couple times, and my muscles were pretty twitchy for awhile afterwards! Pinckney states, "An hour of these exercises equals approximately seven hours of conventional exercise and twenty hours of aerobic dancing, as far as firming the body and pulling it up is concerned. There are many before and after photos in the book some on the original DVD, too and the results are astonishing. I love anything that keeps me from going under the knife!

The book makes a nice supplement for the DVDs. The DVDs show proper positioning really well and the beginning DVD offers modified versions of some of the exercises for the really out-of-shape like me! Apart from the main workout, the book has additional chapters for those with bad backs, a minute maintenance program for those who have mastered the main program and reached their goals , a chapter for the elderly, and an advanced program. So I consider it worth having this book with the DVDs, for the additional material and explanations.

Plus the biographical info about the author is quite interesting.


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