Customer Reviews: Al Sears Pace Express 12-minute Fitness Revolution
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on June 22, 2012
I just completed week two of this six week program and let me tell you, I can see and feel the difference. First know this: I HATE exercise. I don't even like this exercise, but this is exercise I actually DO and will continue to do. Every morning I wake up and do a 12 minute routine (it takes a bit longer than 12 minutes; usually no more than 25). It's set up like this: you do a four minute warm up set of eight moves; 30 seconds of each move. Then you rest until you have your breathing under control and your heart rate comes down. Then you do the same eight moves for another four minutes at a higher intensity. Then you rest until your breathing is under control and your heart rate comes down. (Can you tell this rest is my favorite part?) Then you do the eight moves again, at the highest intensity you can muster, with the last 30 seconds being the most massive push you can get yourself to do. And that's it. You will be out of breath and covered in sweat. You rest and you are done.

There are three variations of each move demonstrated by five instructors; the standard (three instructors), the advanced (one instructor), and the modified (one instructor). Most of the moves I do the standard, there are quite a few I do the modified, and a few I can even do the advanced. The way I do it, is I pick what I FEEL I can do and do it. During the warm up set is when I can do some of the advanced moves and by the last set I may do the same moves modified. It's all about how you feel. Unscientific as hell, but it works. Oh, so simple, but not easy. Also, some of the moves can be a little tricky to learn if you happen to uncoordinated like me. Just keep moving your body and you'll do fine.

For me, the best thing about this program is the rest. I just cannot face 30 to 60 minutes or more of sustained exercise or structured work-outs. It is a psychological thing. Most of the DVDs and such out there have you going and going and going until you feel like you're gonna die. Then you quit, because you just don't want to do that. With this, I face a whopping four minutes. I can do four minutes. Then I get to rest. I sit down and breathe. Take a gulp of water. The DVD built-in rest period is 90 seconds (one and a half minutes) between sets. If you need longer, you hit the pause button and take longer. Sometimes I don't NEED longer, I just WANT longer, so I take it. Then the next four minute set isn't as daunting. I never have to do anything longer than 30 seconds. I like that, too. There is nothing I hate more than feeling like a hamster in a wheel, going forever and getting nowhere.

On the personal side of things, I picked this DVD program up because, about a year ago, my 64-year-old father started using Dr. Sears' book version of the PACE program to get into the best shape of his entire life. There I was, having my senior citizen Dad running circles around me. Outlasting me during physical activities that we did together. Let me tell you, that is some hefty motivation right there. And, yes, he started out overweight and out of shape.

I have been overweight by about 50 pounds and several dress sizes for almost six years now. The weight crept on over a long period of time. I became a lazy jell-o mold. My extensive wardrobe is too tight and I don't FEEL good. Since I started this program, two weeks ago, I have lost fat. I refuse to weigh myself as this is the most inaccurate tracer of progress. I use the evil little "pinch-an-inch" calipers at came in the kit. Inches are just gone! I can feel my jaw bone has less padding as I wash my face. I have some spare room in my bra. The "rolls" on my lower back have visibly reduced. I am absolutely amazed. I FEEL better overall. I may have to talk myself into doing this every morning, but I will not stop. It is my new, fast-acting way of life. Bring on the health! Thank you, Dr. Sears!
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on June 14, 2012
The package includes 36 workouts intended for 6 workouts a week for 6 weeks. Each workout lasts about 18 minutes, with only 12 of those minutes being actual activity broken up by 3 four-minute segments. In-between each segment is a 90 second rest to bring your heart rate within 30 beats of your starting heart rate and you can pause the DVD for longer if needed to fully recover. Each workout has 8 exercises that last 30 seconds each and are a selection of running, push-ups, high knees, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, kick-backs, sliders, side lunges, ab twists, etc. You are supposed to increase your intensity level with each segment, starting with a 5 and going to a 7 and then a 9. The workouts are definitely manageable and get your heart rate up.

I have previously followed an interval program after reading the PACE e-book (which is horribly written). The concept is to workout 12-20 minutes doing intervals and to mix up the machines every few weeks. I used the treadmill at home and definitely saw results but then quit working out. What surprises me from these workout videos is that they are recommended for 6 days a week when I originally read the Dr.'s e-book he recommended every other day for intervals.

I have done about 10 of the workouts from the DVDs and then I just started doing the workouts in front of a TV show using my stopwatch, just switching up what activities I was doing each workout and being sure to kick my workout up a notch at the end so that I was breathing heavy and sweating by the end. I have been doing the workouts every other day or even every third day if I didn't have the time to get the workout in. After 6 weeks, I have lost only 3 pounds (which I think is diet driven - I have been eating a bit less and consuming more coconut oil), but I have taken two inches off of my waist. This definitely makes me happy as I know last time I saw inch loss before I saw weight loss, so I know that as I stick with this that I will see even greater results.

I think the DVDs are a great jump start to the concept or are great for those needing a video to follow along with, but I now love having the freedom to do the workouts in front of my TV, then I have no excuse to getting the workout in! There is also a diet plan included, that I will pretty much ignore. It has you eat only greens on one day, drink only whey protein another day, etc. Just a bit extreme considering I am feeding a newborn.

90-DAY UPDATE: I want to be clear that I have given this product 4 stars, not because of the results you would see from the workout (5 stars) but because of the cost associated with the workout (3 stars) and the fact that you don't need 36 repetitious workouts. I have been doing this concept for 90 days now, 2-3 times a week. I downloaded a HIT interval timer onto my smartphone, and now do 2 exercises, such as squats then jogging in place, for one minute each, rest one minute, then 2 more exercises, such as sliders then high knees, rest one minute, repeat 3 times. Since this time I have lost 3 1/2 inches off of my waist, 2 inches off of my hips, and 1 inch from my thighs. I am down 7 pounds, but I think the inch loss and the fact that I am heading into even lower sized clothing are the real success!

I purchased another video that I have yet to use, 10 Pound Slimdown, which costs 1/4 this set and is said to have 5 20 minute interval workouts.
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on February 13, 2012
I just got this a few days ago because I saw it reviewed on Spark People. My gym closed so I'm looking for an alternative to traveling further out to another gym.

You are moving for 12 minutes but each workout segment is about 19 minutes. Three 4 minute workouts, rest in between each set and take your pulse. Each workout starts and ends with taking you pulse. I thought that was a little annoying at the beginning but after the second set you're thankful for it.

At the begging of each workout the instructor demonstrates the workout your about to do. Each workout is a little different. I was a little concerned with how heavy the instructor was breathing after the first set which was the easier set. I thought that I might not make it to the end if this guy with those muscles couldn't catch his breath. But when I saw how fast he was recovering and his breathing was easing then I felt better because it showed how fit he was. He also talks throughout the workout so that didn't help his breathing. By the end of the third set he was sweating and breathing hard. He works out with 4 other people: 1 does the modified workout, 1 does the intense version and the other two are at regular intensity. The ratio is either 2guys/3girls or 3guys/2girls.

The six DVDs have 6 workouts each so depending on your fitness level you can have 6 to 18 workouts per disc using the different levels of intensity. They switch out the background people so you don't get board seeing the same people all the time. I don't want to fail to mention that the instructor is hot and cute. I don't have a male perspective to give but I can tell you that the men in the workout where sweating and breathing hard. I just got this so I'm still on disc 1 so if I remember later I can tell you how it's going. I would recommend.
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on November 16, 2012
Generally, it is fairly easy for me to give a "Thumbs up or a Thumbs down" on a product, but in this case, it is not an easy call. I completed the six week program and have been reluctant to review it because there are a lot of pros and cons to it.

My goal in buying this product was to eliminate the need to go to the gym and to be able to do HIIT exercises at home. I had successful results on doing HIIT on the treadmill, but didn't want to purchase any equipment for my home.

Really good quality production. They thought of everything: 1) A leader who is concerned about safety, instead of the usual barking drill sargent pushing you passed your limit; 2) Three different levels to choose; 3) A different workout every day to eliminate boredom; 4) No need for any equipment; 5) The ability to choose to turn off the music, which is very understated, but motivating; 6) No need for a heart monitor, as the leader stops after every segment and counts his heart rate, while you follow along. Add the fact that it is just 12 minutes of exercise and this could be a dream workout for someone.

So, what are my issues with the program?

1. Initially I lost 3lbs, but after 6 weeks I gained weight. I generally eat low carb.

2. I dislike lunges and squats, they tend to hurt my knees and bulk out my thighs. A large percentage of the moves are lunges and squats. I ADDED an inch to each of my thighs.

3. While I saw tone in my upper body, I didn't see inch loss where I wanted it.

4. The jump start diet is severe, and if followed ( I didn't), anyone would lose weight without exercising.

5. The community forum is not in a discussion format, with participants sharing advice, but rather a moderator giving answers, which were not helpful.

After thought
Some people are having success with this program, while others are having similar experiences like myself. There is the issue of whether to do it 6 days in a row or 3-4 times a week. I have the book, and agree it leaves many questions to be answered. After reading some of the comments, it occurred to me that some of us may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. If this is the case, this is not a good program to do, especially 6 days a week. (I highly recommend Dr. Eric Berg's 7 Principles of Fat Burning for a discussion on adrenal burnout and what to do.) Adjusting one's heart rate might help everyone, but there is no guidance, which is a pity since so much thought was put into this program.

I was going to give it 3 stars, but gave it 4 stars because squats and lunges are my issue, not the program's and also, I may have been experiencing adrenal fatigue.

If anyone is aware of an HIIT program that doesn't have squats and lunges, I'd appreciate hearing from you.
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on November 10, 2012
I had previously reviewed this higher, but I should have waited just one more week until I got to Disc 2. I really wish we could use half stars, because I'd really like to give this a 2.5.

My review below speaks for itself how much I liked the program and how well I thought it worked, so I'll just use this update for why it's lost points and why I'm no longer a satisfied customer.

The only disc that has all original workouts is Disc 1. It has 6 unique workouts. But every disc after that has 5 repeat workouts carried forward from Disc 1 and then only 1 new workout at the end! What?! What a gyp! There is absolutely NO reason all the workouts could not have fit easily on 2 discs (maybe even 1), and cost no more than $20. This is a great workout DISC, but a 6 disc workout series is not what you're getting for your $60. I was expecting 36 workouts, not 11. I think Pace owes everyone who has bought their program about 4 more solid discs.

Oh! One more thing I nearly forgot. Of my 6 discs, 4 of them are ruined from their attractive, but lame packaging.


I am pretty overweight, but used to exercising, and apparently have a healthy heart (not sure how that happened!). Before this, I was doing mostly the Billy Blanks Tae Bo Basic (the original main workout from way back when), which I loved, but which some days felt like it took no effort at all to do, and I really didn't want my body to get so used to any exercise that there wasn't a point in putting myself through it.

I loved the idea of Pace, and thought the price wasn't too outlandish, and even if it turned out to be crap, I could spare $60. I've spent a lot more on fast food in a week.

I haven't done this exactly as you're supposed to. In 8 weeks, now, I only just this morning tried the 6th workout on the 1st disc, but I do mix it up all the time. Some days, I do Tae Bo, which I still love. Some days, I do Pace and get to choose which workout I want to do. I know which ones on this disc are easier for me, and which are harder. I know which work which muscles the hardest. So I pick according to how I feel each day, how tired or energetic I am, how I plan to eat that day, which muscles are feeling neglected, which muscles are feeling too sore to go on, etc...

I will likely update this review as I go on, because I still have a long ways to go. But this week was Week 8 of my personalized (awesome) diet and exercise program, and I have a lot of opinions to share with you. I'm sure I will develop more as time marches on.

First, what I LOVE:

I love that each segment is only 4 minutes. Some mornings, it is all I can do to get out of bed, and to talk myself into a 25 minute workout is occasionally impossible. But I get up, put on my workout clothes before I even have my eyes open yet, pull my hair up, put on my bandana, and come out to the living room. I drink some healthy energy tea while I check my email. And about 30 minutes later, I talk myself into just doing the first 4 minutes. From there on, it's much easier to do the next, and then the last.

I love that there are only 3 segments.

If my heart rate cooperates, which it usually does, this only takes me under 17 minutes total, with built-in breaks! Gotta love that. (For those to whom this is important, a typical morning for me is roughly: 68/140, 90/160, 98/185. I always keep track.)

I love that each set is only 30 seconds. If I hate the move, or find it tricky, or it's really hard, or I feel like I'm dying, it's only 30 seconds.

I LOVE the on-screen counter. Sometimes, I just stare at that counter intently, and kick my own ass until I finish those 30 seconds, and can move on to something else.

I love having the modified option. Less because I am such a big girl, and more because my house and floor are so old and rickety, I do not like to do any moves in my living room that tax my floor any more than necessary. I don't do jumping moves, and I try to limit my moving around to the areas of the floor that are less creaky. Sometimes for that reason alone, I do the modified version, because she never jumps, and the moves are gentler on my poor old house. For the same reason, this would be a great workout for someone who lives in an apartment, above others.

I love the variety. Only a few times in the first disc have moves been repeated. More often, there is a variation on a move we've already done, and most often are brand new moves.

I love that he shows the moves slowly before you get started, so you can gauge the workout to your abilities before you start.

Now for what I don't like:

The trainer does not always stay with the on-screen counter. He is often off by up to 4 seconds. If he were simply finishing a move he is in, I would understand, but sometimes he does one or two additional moves into the next 30 second segment, and I hate that. After the first few times, it's easy to go on without him, because you know the move that is coming, and at least he always ends the final 30 seconds on time. Praise God. :)

I don't like any of the "push-up" type moves, for a number of reasons. One of them is the head rush you can get when you get back up. And since they're always in the middle, you have to go on after. When you're asking someone to give something their ALL, and workout their very hardest, it's downright dangerous to encourage a move that can make them unbalanced.

Very rarely, even the modified version doesn't work for my needs. For instance, there is one push-up move where he says you can rest against a piece of furniture if you can't go down to the floor, but I don't really have that option in my set-up either. Another time, he says you can go to your knees if you can't do the whole thing, but I have temperamental knees, so that isn't an option either. So those are frustrating for me. But once you have some knowledge of the moves under your belt, you can substitute another move that does work for you during those 30 seconds.

I don't like that often-times the last move of the segment is one where the modified version isn't very hard. The last 30 seconds is when you're supposed to go all-out, work your hardest, and make sure you get your heart-rate up. But when he's doing jumping jacks, it's difficult for me to really get into it the way I'm supposed to when the modified jumping jack isn't that hard.

My only last thing I want to say, which is part complaint and part note, is about the heart rate counting/monitor...

I had a heart rate monitor when I started, but couldn't find it. After a couple of weeks of not really trusting my own distracted (exhausted) counting, I finally searched and found and dug out my HRM (which I only bought last year, and the battery was still good on). It had great reviews when I bought it, but when I started using it with Pace, I saw it for what it was. It turned out to be crap, and highly inaccurate...

I usually didn't get any farther during the video than just after the last 4 minute segment, upon which I would immediately power-off, and leave the room. But one day I noticed that after the last set, he advertised a Dr. Sears endorsed HRM. I looked it up, and the web link no longer exists, and my computer tells me it might be a phisher. Not sure what I think about that, but when I looked up the same monitor recommended, online, it was quite pricey. I think about $250. Seems like a much cheaper one could be made for, and actually included in, this plan. It's much more important to this exercise than the cheapy calipers, which I've never used.

A heart rate monitor is not necessary for this plan, so don't let that deter you. But a good and accurate one would definitely make things easier, and assure me that my own count wasn't faulty.

All in all, I would say this is worth trying. It's not very expensive, and if nothing else, you might learn a few new moves that you can incorporate into your other exercises. At best, it'll rock your world.

I have so far lost 20 pounds in the last 8 weeks (exactly at-goal, progress-wise), and have a long ways to go. I'm hoping Pace will keep me company the whole journey.

I'll keep you posted.
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on January 18, 2013
These are decent exercises that seem to raise my metabolism, but for $60 and 6 discs that contain 6 workouts each, I was expecting to get 36 individual/unique workouts. Instead you get 12 unique workouts and 24 repeats. That's entirely too much money for what you actually receive. The extra content was really just a few thin pamphlets that provided a brief overview of this program and some basic eating and supplementation tips, but nothing you can't find for free on his site and others. I just feel that the company was not being completely honest about what you actually receive for $60. This set should be priced at no more than $20 and really only needs to include the first and last discs, which would have the added bonus of letting them put it in much better packaging.
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on June 15, 2012
I started Pace Express on Monday. Today is day 5 I have lost 5 lbs. I am also following his 6 day kickstart diet. The diet is very restictive but it's only 6 days. The workout really does get your heart rate up and the best thing is it's over so fast. Also I am 54 and for the last year have had trouble losing anything due to menopause. I ordered from the Pace Express website as it was free shipping.

I realize the weight may have come off by just following his diet so I'll report back after I complete the 6 weeks and see what kind of changes I've made to my body.
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on December 31, 2013
This really works. I bought this originally for my wife because I liked Dr. Sears' books. I then started using it myself and really noticed a big improvement in a matter of a couple weeks. I especially like the fact that you can start at any fitness level, or lack of fitness level in my case, and still get such good results. I also was able to move up quickly without injury. I highly recommend this product.
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on February 7, 2012
I'm on week three, almost four of the program. I like the concept and the workouts, especially the short length of each which makes it easy to do. And being that I've always hated cardio, this was exactly the kind of program I wa slooking for. I only have about 5-7 pounds I'm trying to lose, but up to now haven't lost even one pound or any inches. Small muffin top and love handles are still there. And I still weigh about 120 (I'm 5'2". I was hoping to lose some 5-7 lbs of fat (mostly carried around the tummy, waist area). I eat pretty healthy, always have and I do the dvds at least 4x a week. The days I don't do it, I go 1 hr hiking (2 days)and 1 day of rest. I also add 15-20 min toning workouts (yoga, weights, pilates) about 2-3x week. So, I'm a little disappointed, but will finish the program anyhow. I'm almost convinced that losing weight is 90% food and 10% excercise. Might have to go back to the South Beach Diet again (the only thing that I remember working for me). Within 2 weeks time I lost up to 10 lbs just like that without breaking a sweat. But don't get me wrong. I know excercise is very important. You can be thin and flabby or thin and toned. I'm a yogi and health food fanatic. Would love to hear how other people have done on this program.
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on July 8, 2014
I really enjoy Dr Al Sears books and DVD's. They are well researched, well written and give you the straight facts whatever the topic. This compilation is no exception. Would recommend to anyone interested in this topic!
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