Love That Workout! Budokon


Our rating: 4 hearts

The workout: Each 60-minute session begins with 25 minutes of yoga, followed by 25 minutes of classic martial arts punches and kicks. A brief (10-minute) guided meditation serves as a cool-down.

The claim: This program is touted as a four-way marriage of high-intensity cardio, low-impact moves, strength work, and meditative techniques—all culminating in lean muscle without bulk.

Reality check: Our tester says she'd had a bit of experience in yoga but none in martial arts, so she was surprised to find herself kicking with force and liking it—a lot. In fact, she's now practicing kicks with her 6-year-old daughter. After 6 weeks in the class, she became more flexible and stronger, especially in her legs and abs. But that's not all: She says she's more confident now, "and the martial arts segment gave me an opportunity to get my frustrations out."

Expert take: All the pieces are here for a good total-body workout: calorie burning from the sustained movement of the kicks and punches, strength from holding the squats, and flexibility from the yoga poses.

Is it love? It might be. As a matter of fact, our tester is considering trading in her old core-conditioning class for this more aerobically challenging and mentally empowering workout.

The bottom line: This could be your true love if you crave the mental and physical focus of yoga or Pilates, but also want the intensity of a pulse-raising cardio workout.

Budokon Beginning Practice DVD, $15, and Budokon for Weight Loss System (including DVD, printed guide, and music CD), $25; for class info, and 800-869-3603 or to order DVD or system