While working out with Jillian and Bob is awesome, sometimes you really just want to work out with your girlfriend. Your normal, non-brutal friend, who can’t do laundry on her abs. You know, your friendly, upbeat, encouraging—and real—pal. Well, for times when you’re in that mood, Coach Nicole is your girl. Because she’s all of those things, plus she can give you a creative and fun workout that will challenge both beginners and intermediate exercisers in SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp.
This isn’t the first workout DVD we’ve loved with Coach Nicole, but it’s certainly our favorite thus far. A total of 85 minutes broken up into mix-and-match segments (we’re always a sucker for that!), it’s a customizable cardio and strength workout (yep, a sucker for that, too). With excellent cuing, a time-ticker countdown on each section and pacing that isn’t too fast or too slow, the new SparkPeople workout DVD marries traditional aerobics moves with new creative twists. All you need is a pair of dumbbells (3 to 8 pounds, I’d recommend), a place to move around and somewhere soft to put your knees for matwork.
There’s a 6-minute warm-up that is pretty basic with step touches, arm circles and squats with rotation. In the 12-minute Cardio Burst section, you mamba, push-turn, lunge and punch your way to fit. Cardio Sculpt (my personal favorite!) is a fun 12 minutes of sliding moves, bicep curls, bridges, skipping (whee!) and combo moves like a squat with an overhead press followed by a lateral lowering down of the dumbbells. Then there’s Tone and Burn, a 21-minute full-body extravaganza with unique moves like squats to an upper-body side raise to an overhead V, lunge with row plus pivoting, balance challenges where you do a bicep curl with a leg lift, jumping lunges (oh, the challenge!) and crunches with a chest fly. The final full segment is Total Body Challenge, which is half an hour of kettlebell-inspired moves that you do with a dumbbell—plus other goodies like wood chops, single leg squats with a lateral raise, side planks with side crunches and fun ol’ glute toning on the floor—sandwiched between cardio bursts like v-steps. The whole thing ends with a basic 4-minute cool down that includes low-intensity moves to lower the heart rate and stretching.
There’s so much variety and so many options to choose from (or splice together) that I feel certain saying that there’s probably something you’ll enjoy on the DVD. Granted, many of the moves would be too complicated for someone who’s never worked out before, been to an aerobics class or done some weight lifting, but if you have a general knowledge of working out, you should be okay (or get the hang of it after a time or two of practice). In order to accommodate different fitness levels, Coach Nicole has two other real girls as models in the DVD who show modifications to make the moves easier or harder. This was a nice touch.
While the music isn’t anything to write home about, it’s not too shabby, and it is good background music to your workout. SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp may not not be crazy, gimmicky or flashy, but it’s a really good full-body strength and cardio workout with moves you don’t see every day.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Best for: SparkPeople 28 Day Boot Camp is best for beginner and intermediate exercisers who know aerobics and workout basics and are looking for a challenge.
Want to try this SparkPeople workout DVD yourself? Leave a comment telling us how it’ll fit in your workout routine, and we’ll select one lucky U.S. reader to win in about a week! —Jenn