Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Biggest Loser: Boot Camp DVD

The last time I took the kids to Barnes and Noble for some reading time, I parked by the DVD entrance. As  I walked through I thought I'd check if they had a fitness section and my goodness it was huge! Seriously, I don't know why I never went to B&N to peruse workout videos, their selection is much larger than Target, where I had previously purchased DVDs. As I was going through the sporadically alphabetical listing of workouts I came across The Biggest Loser section. I don't watch The Biggest Loser, but as you know I'm addicted to Bob Harper and Jillian Micheals so my eyes were quickly drawn to this section. I have once done a Biggest Loser workout on ExerciseTV, so I was familiar with the fact that the only way Biggest Loser workouts were different than Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels workouts was because the Biggest Loser contestants were in the background. So basically branding was the only differentiating factor.

 And since I appreciate a vigorous Bob Harper workout and only have a couple (And since I own most Jillian Micheals DVDs to say I'm familiar with her exercises would be an understatement), I chose a Biggest Loser routine that was hosted by BH. I'm always hesitant to buy a workout without doing any research on it, so I quickly pulled out my phone and read reviews on this DVD on Amazon. Reviews were good so on to the purchase line as planned. Hey, it's 30% off, my lucky day! Now it costs the same as workout DVDs at Target!

The next morning I was anxious to start my new routine. There's nothing more exhilarating than trying a new workout DVD, it's like watching a the season premiere of RHOBH, I look forward to it from the reunion of the previous season all the way up to the months' long worth of previews. I know, I have little excitement in my life. Thankfully, the workout lived up to all the hype I had created in my head!

The workout is broken up into five parts, warm up, level 1, level 2, level 3 and cool down. The workout is intended for beginners to do level 1 for a week and then add on level 2 and then three. Being the professional workout DVD athlete that I am, I went ahead and did all three levels, making the workout a little under an hour. I was a little apprehensive thinking that since it was aimed for beginners it was going to be easy, but I had faith in the Amazon reviewers and hoped for an authentic Bob Harper DVD. After huffing, puffing and sweating my way through I can truly say that this is a decently rigorous workout even for the established workout DVDers. It's nothing over the top, but just hard enough to be able to complete and feel like you've accomplished a workout.

The warm up jumps straight into squats, so if you've just woken up and are feeling lethargic you may want to stretch out a bit because it's not like other Bob Harper warm-ups. This goes straight into raising your heart rate, similar to Jillian Micheals warm ups. (Perhaps this DVD was made before Bobby created his own style?) I like that it's not five minutes wasted on stretching the hamstrings, it actually gets the blood pumping early on.

Level 1 is 20 minutes and has a mix of strength training and cardio. I used five lb weights which made the workout the perfect intensity for me. There was one section that seemed a bit too low impact cardio, so I just stepped it up and kept my feet going the entire time. He tends to do a modified/beginner version then moves to harder, but you can easily stick the the harder version the whole time.

Level 2, which is 15 minutes long, definitely steps it up. I kept my five lb weights which made it very difficult. The backwards lunge to a kick and arm raise really tired me out, I had to rest my foot a few times because of the 5lb weights. I did this section with 3lb weights once and it wasn't nearly as difficult. So you can easily curtail the whole workout based on how hard of a workout you want.

Here's a snippet of level 1 and level 2...

Level 3, 10 minutes long, was and was not disappointing. After 35 minutes of getting my heart pumping and being short of breath, I was worried about the last ten minutes of what was supposed to be the most difficult, but it wasn't. It uses an arm band (or you can use weights. I've done both ways, but when I use weights I have to use both 5 and 3 lb weights, depending on the movement.) to work the arm muscles. It's basic strength training exercises that is a nice ending to the workout, but I would not consider it level 3 difficulty, whatever that arbitrary term is supposed to mean.

And lastly the cool down does it's job. Sometimes when I'm in a rush I don't do the full five minute cool down, but  just do my own quick stretches.

 Oh, and I must comment on the contestants! I have never watched an episode of The Biggest Loser. My only familiarity with the contestants was when I was in Chicago a couple of years ago a friend pointed out to me a Biggest Loser contestant in a bar we were in. I think she had dark hair, but I couldn't pick her out in a line up.

So all the individuals fit the image in my head of what  a weight loss competitor would look like except Ali. Girlfriend, what did you look like before getting on this show? Her arms were amazingly cut and her body trim, she had the moves down perfectly, no modifications for her and perfect form. And so I went to do a little research on her, apparently she used to be a professional swimmer and when she stopped swimming she gained a large amount of weight because she gave up all activity. So obviously exercise was not foreign to her as it probably was with many other contestants. Regardless, big props to her!

Overall, this is a great workout routine. Nothing new, nothing different, just the same stuff mixed into a different format. The length is doable and it doesn't feel boring or stagnant. I highly recommend it!



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