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Mary Hart Fit & Firm Exercise

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Remember when Lou Grant said, ”You’ve got spunk, Mary. I hate spunk”? His words may echo in your mind as you watch Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart introduce her new exercise video, Mary Hart Fit & Firm.

But stick with it. The tape is a pleasant surprise. Granted, Hart, ”the thinking man’s Vanna White,” is spunky and then some, but once she gets down to business she’s brisk and no-nonsense, and her calisthenics workout (designed to complement her best-selling aerobics tape, ”Shape Up With Mary Hart”) is thorough, sensible, and safe.

This is a meat-and-potatoes routine: no fancy moves, no jazzy choreography, no surprises. The upper-body segment emphasizes push-ups, the abdominal segment is a series of variations on the sit-up, and the lower-body segment is a marathon of leg lifts. The simplicity of the workout is a plus; there’s no need for constant rewinding to try to figure out what in heck the video class is doing. The pace helps, too. It’s slow enough to allow beginners to complete exercises correctly and fast enough to keep things interesting.

According to Avon, the tape’s producer and sole distributor (call 1-800-858-8000 to order), ”Fit & Firm” is geared to beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers. But the tape seems too tough for tyros (in the video’s intro, Hart admits that beginners probably should think of this routine as a goal to work toward), and too wimpy for Fondaholics. For folks with average athleticility, though, it’s a challenging back-to-the-basics workout.

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