Biggest Loser: Boot Camp
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Just like the contestants on NBC's hit show, you too can rev up your fat-burning furnace and experience dramatic weight loss in less time. Join "The Biggest Loser" trainer, Bob, and show contestant winners and finalists for a 6-8 week program that beats the bulge one intensity level at a time. Begin with Boot camp 1 and as you improve, add on Boot camps 2 and 3 for a powerful workout that challenges every muscle with dynamic moves designed to give those unwanted pounds the boot! WARM-UP (5 Minutes): Prepare your body for boot camp with athletic conditioning moves that get the heart pumping and the muscles warm. LEVEL 1 (Weeks 1 and 2) -Boot camp Level 1 (20 Minutes): Bob turns on the burn with upper- and lower-body strength intervals, then revs your metabolism with calorie-crushing cardio. LEVEL 2 (Weeks 3 and 4) - Boot camp Level 2 (15 Minutes): Pick up the pace and drop the pounds with Bob's innovative power moves that integrate fat-blasting bursts of cardio. LEVEL 3 (Weeks 5 and 6) - Boot camp Level 3 (10 Minutes): Challenge your balance and fine-tune your physique using bands and weights to further chisel your newfound muscle. COOL-DOWN (5 Minutes): Reward and energize your body with athletic and yoga-inspired stretches that soothe tight muscles and improve posture.
"Are you ready?" asks the tag line for The Biggest Loser: Workout--Boot Camp. "You bet you are." Or at least you'd better be, as this 55-minute regimen will be a challenge for anyone looking to drop some weight and get in shape--and that includes those experienced at this sort of thing. Heck, even the brief warm-up, the first of five segments, is tough, as instructor Bob Harper leads his charges through a variety of squats, twists, kicks, and lunges (as one user noted drolly, "he is very fond of lunges") designed to get your motor running. The three Boot Camp levels that follow, ranging in length from 10 to 20 minutes, feature a variety of exercises, from traditional pushups (although there's nothing traditional about the so-called "walking pushup," which is better seen than described), jumping jacks, and cardio bursts to serious arm work (the use of hand weights is recommended; a medicine ball and elastic band are required for other undertakings), abs strengtheners, and so on. Many of the moves are not merely demanding but complex, especially at first, with numerous combinations of moves and virtually no pauses between; while Harper has a good rapport with the Biggest Loser contestants, including several winners, who demonstrate these sequences, by no means does he go easy on them. But that's a large part of the appeal. These are not the kind of smarmy, smiling pros one sees on so many videos; they're fit, but far from perfect, and you can really see them working. And in the end, the results speak for themselves. --Sam Graham
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The Cast: This workout is led by Bob, who I take to be a trainer from the show. Bob manages what very few do: he is likable without being syrupy, and motivating without being obnoxious. His form is perfection that makes my PT heart sing, and his instruction and cueing are perfect as far as safe and effective form. He makes me want to watch the show. Working out with Bob is Ali, who I think is the season 5 winner and who has form as close to perfect as a non-professional gets. When Bob's talking, watch Ali for form. There are also Bill (S4 winner?) and Bernie (at home winner - whatever that is) - they both have good form and Bernie is charming. Michelle is in 2 of the 3 segments - she has very good form herself, second only to Ali. The last 2, who thankfully are not in every segment, are Vicky and Heba. Heba is often the demonstrator of the modified form of an exercise and I think this is a HUGE mistake. (It's why I give 4 stars instead of 5.) Her form is dreadful, in almost every exercise and position. Please don't watch her! Having modifications is crucial, but they should NOT be given to the least fit person to demonstrate - they should be given to a very fit person who can demonstrate safe and perfect form to the beginners who are likely following the modifications. Bad call on that casting.
The Format: A very nice and easily customizable menu. There is a 5 minute warm-up, a 20 minute Level One, a 15 minute Level Two, a 10 minute Level Three, and a 5 minute cool down. You are meant to do Level One for 2 weeks, then add Level Two, and then add Level Three 2 weeks after that. It's nice plan though a beginning exerciser would probably be best served staying on each level for 4 weeks before increasing. Of course you can do whatever you feel like doing / have time to do each day. My pre-teen son, who wants to start using weights, does just the Level Three - a few times a week. (He has no need for anything else as he is an active athlete.)
The Exercises & Equipment: Level One is no walk in the park - and it may be out of reach for the very unfit. It's a challenging mix of low impact cardio (one high impact spot - modification for low impact given) and work with hand weights. I would advise someone new to exercise to do this level for at least 2-3 weeks without any weights, before attempting to add weights. Level Two is very hard - it uses hand weights (and a medicine ball though this is optional) with a mix of squats, lunges, pushups, tough ab work, and exhausting plyometrics. It's a GREAT workout! Modifications are always given but still I would call this workout intermediate - advanced. Level Three is pure muscle work using hand weights or a resistance band. It's well put together, hitting every major upper body muscle group. In my opinion, though this is not stated anywhere, Level Three is the only place where it would be appropriate to use a heavy hand weight, as you are doing specific and slow sets on each muscle group. The first 2 levels move along pretty fast, and there is some repetitive work, so my professional advice (to women) would be that nothing heavier than 5lb dumbbells (most people should keep it at 3 lbs, beginners could use 1 or 2 lb weights) should be used, or you could potentially aggravate your shoulders and/or develop a tendonitis.
Bottom Line: Excellent workout, both in terms of effectiveness and of structure, with great cuing and a likable coach. Downgraded from 5 to 4 stars because of the poor form shown in the modifications.
I was very surprised how good all of the DVDs were. Each is a little different in the different types of exercises, but all are broken down into three levels of workout, plus a warm-up and a cool-down session. My preference was the Boot Camp DVD so far for getting started. I needed to get muscles going that I have not used in some time and the workout on the Boot Camp DVD fit me best.
The DVD is setup so you pick with workout or workouts and then it will run automatically to each session you selected without having to touch the remote control of the DVD player again. How awesome is that. If you are pressed for time you can select your workout by how much time you have.
Level 3 a 10 minute workout
Level 2 a 15 minute workout
Level 1 a 20 minute workout
Warm-Up a 5 minute workout
Cool-Down a 5 minute workout
I select the Warm-Up, Level 3, and Cool-Down in the menu and then all three run automatically and it gives me a 20 minute workout. As you move up in Levels the time lengthens but also the intensity of the workout. The plan is that in six weeks you'll work your way up to Warm-Up, Level 1, and Cool-Down for a 30 minute workout. But since you set the workout yourself you decide at what pace you will increase your workout if at all. You may be fine with a 20 minute workout. The only optional equipment, and I do mean optional, used was one set of ether 5 or 10 pound weights, a stretch/body band, and a soccer size ball. However Bob shows you ways how to do the exercises without this equipment.
Even with 20 minutes I'm sweating pretty good by the end of it and pretty sore for the first few days. Bob Harper has away of putting you through a workout without seeming like it's over whelming. The people working out on the DVD with Bob are average guys and girls. If I can do this anyone can if they so choose.
If you want a user friendly, average person great workout, for a great price, this is the DVD set you are looking for - The Biggest Loser.