I need encouragement from someone who finally "got" IMAX3 after being really unfit.


I've recently lost a lot of weight but have been very out of shape for well over a decade. I'm at a size 14 now (down from 24) but I still have quite a way to go. On top of being nowhere near as fit as most of the people in this forum I also have real issues picking up complex choreography (though persistance has always paid off in the past). I finally got LowMax down and thought I'd try to move on to IMAX 3. Predictably, I'm having real trouble learning the choregraphy but what's really messing me up is the way my heart beats way too fast and hard when I so much as attempt the jumps. My doctor isn't thrilled I'm trying to jump but insists there's nothing wrong with my heart and lungs so I'm guessing my racing heart is just about being unfit and I should continue trying. Yesterday, I started out trying to do just the step segments (premix) but it felt so disjointed I decided to try to do it straight through, as best I could - but then I spent so much time just watching the step moves because I couldn't get them. Then I decided maybe it would be best to just try to learn one step section at a time instead of trying to cram too much memorization into my brain all in a single "workout." Eventually I got the first step section down (yeah!) and thought I'd try to do as much of the first blast as I could (which turned out to not be much..). Eventually, I figured out I could do a lot more of the blast if I removed the risers and just used the step... for now.

I know Cathe's target audience is very coordinated, really fit people who've always been fit and want to be supremely fit- something I really want to be and am working hard to reach. And yet I'm hoping someone here can tell me it will get better and that, with persistance, I WILL eventually be able to do this workout - as I continue losing weight and become more fit. Also, I'm interested in knowing how others have gone about learning and doing this routine. Do you think my method of learning one step and one blast chapter at a time is a smart (or not smart) way to do this? I sure could use some advice and encouragement from anyone who has a minute....
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

Whoa, whoa whoa, there, sparky! Cathe's audience is hardly all "people who are fit, have always been fit and want to be supremely fit". Don't put yourself down like that. I, for one, was very heavy in highschool. When I found Cathe I could barely finish Basic Step. You work your way up. I love her because she's fun, classy, brilliant, and really challenges me.

Give yourself a break. You'll get there. There's always a learning curve in life. Don't try to rush it so much and don't be so hard on yourself when you fumble or get too tired to finish a blast. I've done Cathe's workouts before with the remote in my hand and just continuously rewound the tape until I got the move. (And trust me--there were tears of frustration involved and times when I just had to throw the remote down, storm out of the room and go back to it when I calmed down and was ready to try again!) Practice makes perfect. Just don't stop trying!

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

Imax 3 is definitely the hardest workout I have ever tried. It was one of the first Cathe workouts that I bought. I was really cocky, thinking that I could do all of her advanced workouts because I had already been exercising for a while. I could not even get through the first 5 minutes of Imax 3, the moves were just too difficult because I had never done step before! I knew how to do the blasts, but they were just too much for my knees. Anyway, I realized that I got way ahead of myself. It will be awhile until I attempt Imax 3 again.
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

First off, congratulations on your weight loss. That's quite an accomplishment.

Imax3 does have more complex choreo (and is sometimes less well cued) than some of Cathe's other step workouts.

If you want the same (or more) intensity, but simpler choreo, Interval Max is the way to go.

As for Imax3, I think the way you're breaking it down is fine.

As for Cathe's target audience being fit, always having been fit and looking to be supremely fit...sometimes her workouts may give that impression (especially since she usually doesn't show modifications, and everyone is doing the same intensity), but it's not true. Her target audience is those who want to be fit and challenge themselves.

As for being 'very coordinated': I don't have much problem with Cathe's choreo because I've done her workouts for years, and learned each new move little by little, and got used to her cuing style. I did 'get' Imax3 for the most part, but I didn't keep it long, because I personally didn't like the combo of more complex choreo and super-high impact (which I could modify, but I decided that I'd rather not modify so much).

I've read quite a few posts by people who have trouble with Cathe's choreo, so you are not alone.

It may help to see the workouts not as something you necessarily have to do 'as-is' (and if you could easily do that first time out, there would be nothing to work up to and no challenge), but as guides to what you should be working towards. Just as you didn't lose all your weight in just a short time, you won't 'get fit' in a short time either. It take persistance and consistency, but you can do it!

As for getting through the intervals (the 'blasts,' as Cathe calls them), modify the moves. When I modify, I try to break a move down into its components (for example, there's a move in some of Cathe's workouts where you are facing sideways, with one foot on the step, and you do a plyo turn, which I break down into three components: foot on step, turn, jump) and do only some of the components (with the same example, I do 2 out of the 3 components. I will either do 'foot on step + plyo with no turn' or 'plyo + turn with both feet on floor,' it would also be possible to do 'foot on step + turn with no plyo' by 'walking' the move, probably slowing it down to do so. Someone else might have to modify even more, doing only "foot on step" without a turn, and changing the plyo to a squat.)
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I would add that although Cathe says the blasts get harder in IMAX-3 that in my opinion, the first blast is one of the hardest partly because it is quite tricky choreography which is hard to get when you are putting in a lot of energy plus turning this way and that all around the step so you can't really see the screen. Also the alternating taps on top of the step take some getting used to - I was only able to do these because I had learned them from IMAX-2 (after some time of doing it!) So don't get too disheartened if you can't do this first interval for a bit.

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I just wanted to add that watching the DVD's before attempting them will really help with the choreography. Hang in there. I had trouble with the steps in most DVD's until I started previewing tham first.
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I wanted to let you know that I still can't to Body Max 2 without falling all over myself. I actually cried over it yesterday I got so frustrated! But I know it will come if I keep at it. I go through the entire workout doing what I can, and then I go back and take one section and do it a few times by itself.

YOU are Cathe's targeted audience! We all have the same goal. Don't defeat yourself by telling yourself that everyone but you is coordinated and superfit, because that is just not the case. We all have a starting point, and the starting point is never superfit. This is a life-long journey, there really isn't an end to it, so give your all and enjoy it. If I ever am able to do Body Max 2 with no mistakes, I will count it as one of my greatest achievements!
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I am so uncoordinated when it comes to The Step but thats why I like Cathes dvd's. I trip all over the place sometimes but I am working out and having fun and thats what its all about, isn't it? I also learn one section at a time so you are not alone in that method and sometimes I will just step up and down watching the moves and then go back and try, over and over. As long as I am sweating and getting my heart rate up, its a workout even though I am repeating sections over and over and eventually you will be able to do the whole workout.

My heart feels like it beats fast also so I actually bought a heartrate monitor and set it for 60-80% and it keeps me right on track.

Just have fun with it.

Let us know how you are doing with it, OK?

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I agree with the above posters -- we are NOT all supremely fit.

I remember starting with Basic Step (this was in late March 2007 -- as in 4 months ago!), then moving on to Body Fusion, and thinking to myself "how can these ladies do this workout and not collapse on the floor?!?" And how can Cathe TALK the who way thru?

And here I am, four months later. I have moved past the beginner workouts, and I can do Low Max, LIC, Body Max 2, Cardio & Weights, and I even attempt IMAX2 sometimes.

I still get frustrated sometimes when I find something that I cannot do, or when I have an "off" day and I am tripping all around the step.

Hang in there, you will get it! You are doing awesome already!
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

In terms of intensity, going from Low Max directly to I-Max 3 is kind of like going from the multiplication tables to calculus.

I-Max is very intense, and very challenging on the legs. And yes, the choreo is a tad more complicated than her earlier interval routines. Give yourself a little credit for making it through what you made it through. Keep practicing and it will come. Maybe set aside some time for a "practice run" just to get the choreo down, rather than burn a scheduled workout.

Me, I'm in pretty good cardiovascular shape as well as strength and power performance, but I haven't always been that way, and I'm still the Ranking Klutz of the Cathe Forums. Anything beyond a hopturn causes me to break something. I usually just substitute a power-3 or a series of jumping jacks if I can't get the steps down.

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I'm not supremely fit by any stretch of the imagination! Yeah, some of the ladies are, but a lot of are not. I am blessed with a music background so that step seems to come fairly easily to me (everyone works for Cathe step!). IMax 3 is one that I still trip over and I've done it several times. I've even done the step-only premix and have had trouble. I don't think it's as well cued as some of the others, and the blasts are TOUGH!! Honestly, try IMax 2 first - that is sheer joy! It's tough - don't get me wrong, but the breaks are longer and the workout is one of if not THE best Cathe has ever produced.
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

It means so much to me that so many of you took the time to write such lovely and incredibly helpful messages (tears in my eyes). So many times I've read the messages here and thought there must be something wrong with me because nobody else seemed to be struggling with EVERYTHING (and I always have to look up the workout abbreviations in the paper catalog!). I was actually afraid if I posted my message everyone would wonder 'What's she doing HERE if she's having so much trouble.' Last night was my first night back to work after being off work for two month's with an injury from an auto accident (I was told by many observers I should be dead but I wound up with a single severed tendon in my left hand. Amazing. Spent the time working out, really). I was afraid that when I got off work and checked back here nobody would have responded. But you guys are the best. I'm printing out every response and holding on to them so whenever I get down about what I can't do I'll have your messages of encouragement and advice to remind me to get a grip and just keep plugging away. I'm relieved to hear that going from LowMax to Imax3 is not the best move (I WAS wondering about that...) and will buy the workouts all of you recommended as better intermediate choices. I'm relieved to know my heart isn't the only one that feels like exploding during this workout and will also get a heart rate monitor. And I'm very glad I'm not the only one moving with the remote in hand. Glad also, people think it's okay to "get down" one step combo at a time before tacklind the next (and that I'm not the only one employing this method) and coming up with my own modifications during blasts is okay. There's so many great suggestions in your responses I'm going to read them again and again (I swear, I have adult ADD) to make sure I haven't missed anything. I've already taken a bunch of notes!

Really, it means so much. Thank you.
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

You've gotten lots of great suggestions!

I just wanted to say that the first time I tried Imax 3, I fell flat on my rear trying blast #1. I tried it again, and I fell again! I was so frustrated and humiliated that I sold the dvd (which I hardly ever do with a Cathe!). And, I had already learned Step Blast and Rhythmic Step.

I decided to reacquire Imax3, and it still took me about 6 tries to get that one move! I'm a little quirky with choreography, I never know what's going to stump me. But, usually moves that include having my back to the dvd do it. I just had to go back and forth between viewing it and doing it.

I have learned that the more of Cathe's step I do, (usually) the quicker I get the choreography. But, it's never right away.

I now LOVE Imax3, but I haven't quite 'forgiven' it of the humiliation.....
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

IMHO, I-Max 3 is worth the price for blast #5 alone, the dreaded plie jack interval where you do TWENTY-FOUR plie jacks, then the criss-cross "recovery" (not), then SIXTEEN MORE plie jacks then the criss-cross "recover" (not), then EIGHT MORE PLIE JACKS then the criss-cross you-get-the-idea then a final EIGHT MORE PLIE JACKS then the whatever. Plie jacks are one of the absolute best power-developers for the legs, and mean, mean cardio to boot. ("Power scissors" aka power or plyo lunges are a close second.) I almost couldn't finish that blast the first time I did it, and like many others the humiliation was so great that I did the blast-only premix two more times in the following two weeks to master it.

Practice makes perfect, Siren.

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally


I struggle with this blast...some times I complete all of it with Cathe (and if I do it's not pretty :) Some times I need to stop early but I do keep trying. Thank you for sharing that this was even hard for you!


PS: Happy belated birthday and congratulations on 20 years. Here's to your health!
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I've tried Imax3 a few times. Even watched it many times while on the treadmill to maybe learn the moves, the music is kicking btw. But I decided I'd end up hurting myself with it for now. It is on the shelf, if I ever decide to try it again. Imax2 is super fun and comes with Cardio and Weights which is also fun and easier.

Congratulations on your progress!:)

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

A-Jock you crack me up! :) Recovery - not! I don't have IMAX3 and I may never have it from the sounds of how hard it is but I just wanted to throw my opinion in the mix.

I fell off my step last night during SB. Thought I was done for the night, hobbled around a little bit, nothing hurt, started it back up again and continued. I get turned around often and laugh at Cathe saying "whoa, here we are!" There's a view of the step from a diagonal and for the life of me I can't follow the moves on that view.

OP, I think you said you are learning IMAX3 on risers? I say toss those puppies aside for a while, or do the moves with no step at all.

Be gentle with yourself.

And I'm no super-fit thang myself, just on the journey like so many others.

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

Thanks, Diana / Sojournen! It helped to have done the dreaded blast #9 in I-Max 2 a lot (you know - power hops followed by jacks followed by plie jacks right back to power hops. . .). I do find that if I don't stay consistent with plie jack interval drills (doing a plie jack interval at least once every two weeks) I lose my leg power pretty quickly. It also helps to stick a few plie jacks in when Cathe is doing traditional jacks; that keeps the leg power up.

And thanks for your birthday and 20-year anniversary wishes!

RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

No step at all... now there's an idea. But now that I can see the consensus is that IMAX3 is one of the toughest I'm going to play with it, learning a little bit at a time, but for my actual workout on IMAX3 day (I got the whole Hardcore series awhile back and am doing the big Hardcore Series rotation) I'm going to get some of the routines suggested by you ladies and do those instead. I always suspected IMAX3 wasn't the best follow-up for someone who's just learned LOW MAX and my suspicions have been confirmed. I can't tell you ladies what a relief it is to hear how tough this particular workout is, that it's not just me. I'm really loving reading all the things you all have written about this.

Do you ever wonder if all this stumbling and falling ever goes on in Cathe's classes at the Four Seasons? And doesn't it make you glad your not doing it there?
RE: I need encouragement from someone who finally

I consider myself to be in good shape (I ran 15 miles last weekend) but I do Imax3 on a 4 inch step and find the blasts to be very difficult to get through. I modify when I have to even if it's just marching in place. I'm the same way with Cardio Fusion. I've never gotten through that workout 'as is'

As far as the choreography, I rewind, rewind, rewind until I get the moves. I don't pick these moves up very quickly. I have to work hard at it.

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