SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp with Coach Nicole DVD Review

SPReview585While 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):
Instruction: ★★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★

Overall: ★★★★

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


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  1. I’ve decided to dump my neverusedtwomonthold gym membership and dedicate myself to working out at home. This DVD would be a great complement to my almost-daily hulahooping sessions 🙂

  2. I am a fan of sparkpeople and use some of their free online resources to work out every week. I am not a gym goer since I live in the middle of the country, so the outdoors, my wii, and workout DVD’s are all I use to stay fit. I love Coach Nicole and I KNOW that her DVD would be a great addition to my fitness routines.

  3. I’m new to workout DVDs and am so overwhelmed by what to get, I would really love to try this!

    Can’t hit the gym anymore since we now have a 6 month old little boy and I can’t stand spending time away from him. I’m up at 5am before work to get my sweat on 🙂

  4. Sounds like a great well-rounded DVD, lots of variety to mix it up and avoid boredom. Thank you for the review.

  5. DVD’s are great when life gets too crazy, and you can’t leave your house! I love how this one mixes cardio and strength!

  6. This sounds fun! I get together with some friends and we work out 3 times a week together. We usually do different DVD’s. We love Jillian Michaels. This one would sure be great to have to switch things up a bit now and then. There are usually 5-10 of us that show up to work out and we would all enjoy this. Please pick us!! Thanks!!

  7. I’ve recently started running, do a spinning class, but, I am honestly looking for something on off days. I’m trying to be intentionally active for at least 30 minutes a day, this would help me reach my goal! Thanks for your honest reviews, by the way!

  8. This would fit in perfectly into my workout routine since I mainly workout with dvd’s 3 days a week, and do weights in my garage every Sunday, and I am always looking for a new workout dvd to add to my rotation so as to never be bored. 🙂

  9. I do workout DVd’s every morning and am always looking to mix things up by adding new DVDs to my collection!

  10. Saturdays are the hardest days to get to the gym. I would use the DVD to get my work out in, without having to change out of my jammies 😉

  11. This looks like a great workout DVD and I would love to try it! I’m just getting started exercising again and am really looking for something to alternate on days that I don’t walk or do pilates and something to keep me motivated and interested. Thanks!

  12. I quit smoking & have gained 15 lbs. need some motivation to get it off!! Always feel sluggish & tired & I also have a bad liver which i quit drinking 6 yrs ago so tryin’ to get my life back on track this seems like it may do it!! Am on Sparks!!!

  13. I love Coach Nicole and have tried her other DVDs. It would be awesome to have this one. Thanks for all the giveaways.

  14. I can’t wait to try this one out; I love dvds for the times I’m not feeling like making up my own workout, and this looks like a great addition.

  15. This sounds perrrrfect for me right now! I am just entering my second trimester and am usually a Jillian dvd-er but it’s too intense…this sounds just perfect! I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one for sure!

  16. I love Sparkpeople and have used Nicole’s other DVD. I liked them alot. This new one would be great to have!

  17. I am the queen of workout videos. Ask my husband, i have a room full, and I do them all. Sometimes, I need someone who is just a little nicer to me when I am crying on the floor for mercy! I need a new routine to add to my routine! I feel this one might just be the turn around I need to get out of my slump.

  18. I am a broke college girl who is a sucker for trying new and fun exercises. I cant afford a gym membership so I rely on at home workouts and this one will be a fun and effective add to my collection. Being a college student is already stressful enough without adding on my busy work schedule, maintaining my apartment and being a girlfriend, daughter and sister! Working out is a major stress relief for me so please consider me in the DVD contest 🙂

  19. It would nice to workout more often at home using the DVDs with my family instead of always at the gym almost every nite.

  20. I have a Target coupon for this DVD and was going to search for reviews and here is yours! Perfect timing and just what I’m looking for as I love variety and a feeling of “working out with the girls”. Thanks so much for the timely review!

  21. This would be a great addition to my workout routine…Especially on days where I’m snowed in and can’t make it to the gym!

  22. I have just started exercising at home again after a long hiatus after becoming a mom. I still looking for my favorite workouts and would love to incorporate this into my morning workout!

  23. I love Coach Nichole on Sparkpeople and would love to have her DVD so I can have her on my tv rather on my computer. It is not always convenient as having 2 teenagers and myself sharing one computer.

  24. I fit my workouts in by NOT scheduling that far in advance. I set out the fact that I know I will workout and I take advantage of the energy I have at that moment. It sometimes leads to 2-3 workouts a day! I don’t feel pressured and it is way more fun and exciting=)

  25. I’m looking for a good all-around workout DVD to fill the gap in my at-home workout arsenal. When I can’t take anymore Jillian and just want to work my body, this DVD seems like the perfect fit.

  26. I’ve recently really gotten into DVD workouts at home. I like to pop one in first thing in the morning before I head to work. Right now, I’m using one of Jillian’s workouts, and would love to try something a little different (sounds refreshing.)

  27. I am student teaching and barely have time to workout anymore. I really need to get in wedding shape and am looking for any good dvds to kickstart my motivation. I hope I can try this and love that I have found this website!

  28. Lately,I’ve been using the excuse of ‘it’s too cold to go to the gym’ lol It would be nice to have a video to follow to workout at home.

  29. I have 3 kids under the age of 3 having something like this with broken up workouts in it would be great….so that i can use it and fit in workouts when i have a little free time here and there

  30. I LOVE the SparkPeople website and I have done this program before,but always by watching the free videos on the website. It would be so much easier to have the DVD!!

  31. Thank you for these great reviews! I’d like to add this my library so I have something to do at home on the days I can’t get to the gym or when I feel like a bonus workout on the weekend.

  32. I would LOVE to try this DVD! I have been working out with Jillian and I am so burnt out! I need a change and a new challenge. This DVD would be great! Thanks for your consideration!

  33. This would be great because I often have to fit in exercise wherever I can (meaning, a little at a time!) and mix-and-match segments would be perfect!

  34. This would fit in when I can’t physically make it to my group classes. I love a bootcamp routine because they keep moving and I see results.

  35. I love working out with Coach Nicole on the workouts from the Sparkpeople website. Would love to do her bootcamp program.

  36. I would love to have something new to add to my arsenal! I love the mix-and-match segments, so I can fit in something even when I don’t have time for a longer workout. No excuses!

  37. This exercise video would be a real answer to prayer for someone who cannot afford to join a gym or purchase expensive exercise equipment. The up-to-date instructions for a variety of strength training and calorie burning workouts would be just the one-two punch a person would need to build their core strength, trim inches, improve their overall health, and build self-esteem!

  38. We have a winner! The random generator chose comment #45 — Lauren to win this fab workout DVD. Lauren, look for an email in your inbox to get your mailing address, and a big thanks to everyone for entering to win!

    –FBG Jenn

  39. I bought this DVD yesterday and started day 1 of the 28-day bootcamp. The calendar included shows which segments to mix and match, or you can do your own thing. Being not so much an exercise novice as an exercise disliker, I liked the countdown timer. Also, because I am slightly clumsy and occasionally uncoordinated, I liked her “and in four counts we’re going to add our arm movements. 4, 3, 2, 1” countdowns.
    I am committed to doing all 28 days.

  40. I love this DVD it is easy to follow, plus the workout calendar…. I only have 5 days left of my 28 days, and want to move on to something else, but I really do not which workout dvd I should get. Jillian, Bob, Ellen.. so many choices!!!