CALORIE BURN: I'll begin with this, considering that's typically why we all buy the dvd, is it not? (Well, you do get a health boost as well...)and I own all the Biggest Loser dvds for a good comparison. I wear a bodybugg (the black arm band you see on the contestants of the Biggest Loser with a monitor attached) to measure my daily caloric expenditure with the most accuracy. Because of this, I am also able to monitor how many calories I burn during a specific workout and how many calories I burn per minute of a workout and how much my calorie burn increases after the workout. I mention this only so you know what I say is based upon scientific measurement, rather than perceived exertion. And this dvd is a high calorie burner! I have quite an extensive library of dvds to compare it to since I use fitness dvds exclusively to get my workout in 6 days a week. This is a new favorite and truly, offered great strength, toning, and calorie burn. You won't help but get results here. While some of her dvds have more cardio to burn more calories DURING the workout, because of the good strength training, and "HIIT" training, you will burn more overall with this one. (see my notes under "effectiveness" as to why) It did, however, burn less than her "Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism" and "No More Trouble Zones" dvd.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: one set of 1 to 10 lb hand weights, based upon your level, if you have a hard floor you may also want a mat for pushups etc. on the floor
EFFECTIVENESS: The beauty of this dvd is that it's not just cardio but, instead, a full circuit workout. Actually it's a "HIIT" workout which is a model for highest calorie burn. Studies have shown that when you increase your heart rate with cardio then keep it elevated while combining toning and strength exercises and utilize some core floor work in modules, you get double the results. Cardio burns calories during the workout but you recover quickly and your heart rate recovers and lowers. However, when you add strength training with cardio, you continue to burn more calories long after the workout is over and also add muscle which increases your metabolism and allows your body to burn more calories even while at rest--although strength burns less calories during the workout. So, combining the two is always going to give you better results and faster results which is the entire premise of the workouts you see on the Biggest Loser. An expert had the best analogy as to why you don't feel wiped out in a workout like this compared to an all cardio workout, but yet burn more calories: If you go 90 miles an hour in your car for an entire trip, you will use less fuel than if you go 90 then lower your speed, then rev it up for awhile, then lower it again...keeping your heart rate elevated but not at "top speed" and alternating it during a workout will actually burn more calories and, just like a car, use more fuel (calories) in the long run. Old school thinking was that you had to keep your heart rate at max level for best results. The most recent studies showed that the 30 second interval alternation will actually burn more calories. This is what's done in the workout and Jillian mentions the calorie-burn effectiveness of this.
SAFETY: Great instruction not just of how to do the moves, but of how to do them safely if you are a beginner.
LEVEL: Although you'll be well instructed if you are just starting out as to how to get your weight off, this workout will push you if you do the more advanced moves regardless of what level you currently are. You'll sweat. You'll get results. And several of the backup contestants are doing the "beginner level" moves so you can follow them until you get up to speed with the more advanced moves.
CAST: Jillian and past contestants. The beauty of the Biggest Loser workouts is that anyone doing them can identify with someone who is on screen because they don't just utilize their skinniest contestants. When you see someone far larger than you pushing themselves you do think "I can do this." and I like that.
CUEING: Excellent and easy to follow.
MUSIC: Upbeat and coincides with pace of the moves to keep you revved.
SET: Either it is the Biggest Loser set where they weigh in, or it's made to look like it.
CONTAINS: 3 workouts, warm up and cool down 55 minutes total
COMPARISON TO OTHER BIGGEST LOSER DVDS SPECIFICALLY. I own all of the Biggest Loser dvds as well as the ones individually by Bob and Jillian. This is one of the tops for calorie burning, second only to Jillian's "Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism"
NEGATIVES: I hate to have to say it, but I had hoped Jillian had mellowed out some...not in her instruction but, rather, in being condescending. Her last dvd offered I think her best ability to shine through as an instructor. She pushed you, but she didn't have that nervous laughter she'd had in her previous dvds and she wasn't condescending for no reason and silly-fake-tough. Well, what I thought she'd pushed aside is back. For me personally, I prefer Bob's tough but positive approach that seems more genuine. But I know others may feel greater results with this approach so you be the judge. I gotta agree with the other reviewer that calling someone her "bitch" in this dvd just seems unprofessional in several regards and I think if a personal trainer said that to me I would have to wonder what testosterone-filled power trip they were on...also when she said "You messed up! HA HA HA HA HA!" and the person working out seemed not fond of that comment..it's just odd to me. However, Jillian is no doubt still an instructor who uses that same pushing to often make you continue when you want to quit so this has a positive aspect to such "toughness". And she really knows how to explain the moves and cue well and ensure you do them RIGHT for optimal results as well as compile the highest calorie burning workouts. So I have every dvd she's made. It's an annoyance factor for me, but the good of the dvd outweighs this by far. Also, it doesn't appear as though the team practiced this routine all that much. They are out of sync many times...I personally am not thrown by this and almost feel as though I'm in a gym because this is the norm...but this may be important to others so I thought I would mention it. It is a bit of a shame they don't have it all down but as long as I can do it, I'm good. :-) And, finally, if you were in a fraternity and had to do a shot everytime she said "Last Chance Workout" in this dvd you'd be dead to the world within about 7 minutes. Heavey marketing that this is the "last chance workout" to the point it's kinda funny.
CONCLUSION: A great addition to any collection that offers great instruction and results. And you can turn off the voice of the trainer and just have the workout on with the music once you get the moves down if you gotta.
ALTERNATIVE good circuit training workouts:
If you like the high calorie burn coupled with strength training and great instruction in this dvd you may also like (in no certain order):
1.Body by Jake Total Body Workout
2.Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism and No More Trouble Zones
3.Kathy Smith Build Muscle Shrink Fat
4.Crunch Total Resculpt
5.Star Trainers: Strength
6.Weight Loss Cardio Sculpt with Violet Zaki
All of the above dvds are tops on my list for measuring high calorie burn but also offering strength so you keep burning the fat even at rest, great cueing, motivational, and just all around good results.