A.M. and P.M. Pilates Mat Workouts (Gaiam) (2002)

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Released 27-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Pilates Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Bonus Workout: Pilates Energy Boost 1
Biographies-Cast-Jillian Hessel and Ana Caban (Instructors)
Interviews-Cast-Jillian Hessel and Ana Caban (Instructors)
Trailer-About Gaiam
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 56:50 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ted Landon

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Jillian Hessel
Ana Caban
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Benjamin Davis

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, This whole package is a product placement
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    For almost as long as there has been home video, there has been the exercise video. A quick and easy way to exercise at home without the prying eyes of those around who might find you in leotards a bit of a laugh, this fitness option has become very popular. It has also been subject to a large range of fad programmes. Can you remember this favourite? "You too can have the abs of Adonis with this 3 minute workout! - In this easy to follow 54 step programme, we'll show you just how to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. The video for Step 1 is free if you purchase the entire 54 VHS collection for only $19,99,99.95 (Plus $9.95 per month over a 24 month period for postage and handling). You too can have the body of tomorrow...today!  (Please allow 4 to 6 months for delivery)". It's refreshing that we can get some quality in this type of format, and this 2 part morning / evening programme is perfect for those with hectic lifestyles, yet who still require a decent dose of physical exercise during the day.

    Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, who emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century and set up the Pilates Studio in 1926 for physical exercise, training and rejuvenation. His fusion of Eastern meditative concepts and the Western requirement for movement and variety has stood the test of time and Pilates is one of the most successful forms of physical exercise throughout the world. As is the philosophy of a discipline like Tai Chi, it's the mind as well as the body that is integral to this physical training regimen.

    This programme provides two separate exercise programmes for the person on the go. These are the A.M. Pilates Mat Workout and the P.M. Pilates Mat Workout.


    A.M. Pilates Mat Workout with Jillian Hessel  -   27:39
    This programme has been created to stimulate and energize the subject for the day ahead. As the first thing you don't want to do in the morning is to fly headlong into an impossible range of exercises full flight, this workout is set to get you going and prepare you for the day ahead. Even though this series is called Mat Workout, this section requires a couple of extra props to aid in the programme. In addition to the mat, you'll need a Body Band (a stretch band approximately 2 meters long that you can hold at both ends and hook your foot into), a chair and a pillow. If you don't have these props (especially the Body Band), you'll have to improvise or switch to an alternative exercise for that period of the workout. This workout is divided into three separate sections: Breathing (Chair work), Mat Work and Centring (Standing). The programme starts in a sitting position, then to the mat and in the end goes to the standing position. This workout is far from high impact and is more to tone the mind and body for the day's activities.

    P.M. Pilates Mat Workout with Ana Caban  -   29:11

    This is a much more intensive workout that has been created to finish the day with a good workout without overstimulation. My exercise programme evaluation team member (aka my wife) found this to be a much more challenging workout and the expression 'Yeah, right' with a tone of sarcastic resignation was to be heard several times during this programme. The secret here lies in doing the programme to the best of your ability and as time progresses, you will most probably find the exercises becoming more and more easy. This programme is divided into three separate sections: Warm up, Mat Work and Calm and Relax. This set doesn't require any separate props other than the mat.


    For this category of programming, this has to be one of the most spectacularly shot exercise videos ever produced. Instead of being filmed on a white soundstage somewhere, Jillian Hessel and Ana Caban are situated on elevated polished wood platforms on the rocky outcropping of a secluded beach, a spectacular backdrop and a creative element that adds to the calmative effect of this video.

    I'm not one for this type of physical regimen, but there is very much a market for this sort of thing, and you could do far worse than this programme. If you find your day just doesn't have enough hours for a decent workout, then perhaps this DVD could be a place to start.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    In the context of the subject matter, the video transfer here is quite reasonable.

    This disc presents the material in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame, which is its intended aspect ratio.

    I found the image during all the programmes to be fairly sharp and clear, with only occasional video transfer nasties marring the image provided. Almost all of this programme is shown in well-lit conditions, and as such, shadow detail isn't really a huge issue, but it is adequate for the programme. I didn't have any problems with low level noise.

    Colour's use in this programme is very natural and does not lend to exaggeration. I found its committal to disc to be quite good.

    This disc features a transfer that runs at a bitrate of about 6.25 Mb/s. This is more than enough to provide a decent level of image quality that doesn't feature pixelization and macroblocking. I did see a bit of aliasing during the programme, but this wasn't as distracting as it would have been on a feature film and didn't distract too much. Edge enhancement was looking for a workout, and he found one here. He takes part in all the exercise programmes on this disc. He also pays a visit with us to the extras sections. He isn't as distracting to your workout and you'd expect, though. This programme was shot on video and there are therefore no film artefacts seen at any stage.

    There are no subtitles available.

    This disc is formatted as a single layer, and as such there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio here is adequate for the programme and suits it well.

    There is only one soundtrack option here, that being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mix running at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue quality here is very good with the spoken word very understandable throughout the programme. I had no issues with audio sync.

    Music for this programme comes from Benjamin Davis. Benjamin's music is very calming and soothing and is completely in keeping with the tone of the programme. It features light string and percussive instruments.

    This soundtrack suits the material well, but we don't have any audio acrobatics here and a basic 2.0 soundtrack is all that's on offer. Your AV receiver will be able to derive some atmospheric sounds, but that's about all. My subwoofer was not troubled here.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    We do get a couple of extras here, including an extra workout!


    After the distributor's logo, we are taken to the usual copyright warnings followed by several pages of health warnings. This is followed by a company promo for Gaiam, the video's producer. Gaiam is a company that specializes in health and environmental products that are developed with a healthy ecology, a healthy body and a healthy mind as prime concerns. After this company overview, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     Selecting the A.M. or P.M. options launches the workouts as described in the Plot Synopsis. After selecting each workout, you are taken to a menu featuring 4 animated window featuring 4 chapters for each workout. The name of each workout section is listed under the animated menu icon. The menus feature audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Selecting the Special Features icon offers up the following options:

Bonus Workout   -   12:08

    Ana Caban takes us through a very simple and brief workout that would suit a person with even less time on their hands. My exercise programme evaluation team member found this to be a good little workout that sits well between the ease of the A.M. programme and the P.M. one. At just 12 minutes, this is one for those on the go.

Instructor Biographies

Instructor Interviews - Jillian Hessel   -   8:59

    After a back injury during her career in dance, Jillian turned to Pilates to rebuild her fitness and increase the strength of her damaged back. So impressed was she with the Pilates programme that she became an instructor full time and continues as such, even after the recent birth of a child!

Instructor Interviews - Ana Caban   -   6:51

    Ana describes how she uses Pilates to deal with life's hectic day-to-day challenges. Similar to Jillian, Ana turned to Pilates after an injury and found herself such a convert to the Pilates philosophy that she has also become a full time instructor in the discipline.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I have found this disc for sale on the Gaiam website and for all intents and purposes it looks to be exactly the same as we have here, save the PAL transfer for ours. This would have to be called a draw


     Tired of the same ol' video exercise crap that is everywhere? This just might be a good place to start with a very engaging and effective workout programme that would suit a person that had little exercise in their daily life and little time on their hands.

     The video is adequate for a programme of this type.

     The audio is adequate.

     There are a couple of extras, including a bonus workout if two aren't enough for you.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Friday, February 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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