If you have a TV and live in the Northern Hemisphere, you have probably seen the infomercials for the exercise programs P90X or Turbo Jam. They've played for the last several years & while I'd heard bits and buzz about them, I didn't think too much about it. I admit my curiosity was piqued by Turbo Jam - a kickboxing/ dance-y workout featuring Chalene Johnson. I put off purchasing it because the cost seemed a bit high & I didn't really see the benefit to buying another exercise DVD. I finally got my hands on it this summer, and within a few weeks I bought Turbo Fire, her newest high-intensity program.
First, it arrived within a week of ordering, and I was pleasantly surprised by the 'package'. This was not just a couple of DVD's in a box. The materials were all well written, comprehensive, and nicely laid out. You receive the following:
- Nutrition Guide
- 5-day 'quick start' eating plan
- Fitness Guide which breaks down the workouts
- Schedule of workouts (what to do & when)
- Lower body toning band
- 12 workouts
Now, let me first say that this is not a workout for someone who has been sedentary or even mildly active. It is designed for those looking for an intense cardio workout. I admit it, my fitness level was not near what it should have been to begin this program. But I persevered. And with the guidance of the workout schedule (specifically, the Prep Schedule), I saw a huge improvement in my aerobic ability in a short amount of time.
Let me tell you what I loved about this program:
- This is not just a single DVD you do over and over and over. With 12 workouts, you can mix and match and keep it fresh.
- Although most of the workouts are cardio, there is also sculpting, toning, stretching, & ab workouts.
- Because many of the moves are boxing/ kickboxing-derived, you work your core. I don't have a flat stomach & probably never will, but this is the first workout that made me feel, after 2 kids, like I DO have abs & that they CAN get stronger & toned. Without doing a million crunches or planks!
- The Schedule of Workouts spells out what you do & when. You exercise 6 days a week, and every workout is laid out for you. If you follow the Prep Schedule, it builds you up with shorter workouts, and works in the longer sessions over the course of 9 weeks.
- Every workout shows modifications. If you're not ready to do the jumps, the kicks, the high knees, don't. Work up to it, or focus on improving your form so you can maximize what you CAN do.
- Most of the workouts have a "New to Class" option which breaks down each section before you do it. This was super helpful in learning the moves and the routines.
- Each workout has a countdown timer so you can see how much time you have left, and the intensity of what's ahead.
- I enjoyed the punching. There were days that it really helped to get the stress out!
- Chalene's style is just right for me. She is not 21 years old, with a Barbie-flat waistline. She is not a drill sergeant. She is encouraging & enthusiastic without being annoying.
What I loved a little less about the program:
- I'm not a Turbo Jam addict & I've been absent from group exercise classes for a while, so I had difficulty keeping up. The first 2 weeks were challenging. I was frustrated with the speed of the moves, and felt like I was never going to 'get it'. And then one day I did. I did the New to Class option for the first month, then segued into the full workouts.
- Although there is a good mix of workouts, I would have liked a few more stretching routines. This is a little nit-picky, as I know I can grab another DVD from my collection and swap it out, but it would have been nice.
- I could not get these to play on the Mac.
Net/net: If you are looking for a workout that is well-designed, effective, and supportive, I would recommend Turbo Fire. It is cardio-intense, but is not as 'hard-core' as P90X or Insanity. The cost may seem a bit high, but when you consider that you can pay $8-20 for one workout DVD, and this comes with 12 different workouts, it really is a great value for the money. I like it so much that I have my eye on Chalean Extreme, her strength-training series.