Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chalene Johnson's Turbofire Workout Review

I have started on a journey on improving my fitness levels in August 2011 with Chalene Johnson's Program called Turbofire. Chalene already had established cardio programs like Turbo Kick, Turbo Jam, Chalean Extreme, PiYo and Hip Hop Hustle. 
Turbo Fire is a complete body conditioning fitness program whose emphasis on High Intensity Interval Training. The upbeat music will motivate one to work harder and more intense. One will do kickboxing drills and aerobic exercises mixed with some dance moves. .
What's unique to TurboFire is that Chalene managed to incorporate a fusion of aerobic, dance and free flow martial arts forms with the concept of dedicated High Intensity Interval Training on few days for the schedule.

So How does it fair...
  • The complexity of the program comes from the choreography of cardiosequences and the pace with which the transition of moves happen. It does take some patience and effort to getting used to. There is a new to class / break-down mode which can be referenced to understand the moves. Having said that, people who expect to master this quickly there is a bad news. It takes a bit of patience and effort to get into the groove.
  • The program is a simple one and anyone from a beginner level can get into it. There is a easy-level modifier simplifying the moves for beginners or people with less flexibility. 
  • There is an equal emphasis on lower body, upper body and core during this program.
  • Muscle multi tasking is not my favourite concept. I believe in muscle focus and isolation to maximise results. But this is not a dedicated strength training program.  
  • The time commitment for this program is in a range of 30 to 70 minutes. 45 minutes is a typical average which is a wonderful for time crunched people. 
  • While this is positioned as HIIT based Intense Cardio training. I feel its rather a balanced program with equal emphasis on Cardio, Stretch, HIITs and strength for a serobic program.
  • The energy of the cast is really high and keeps you to keep pushing without ever having to pause. The Cast are very well prepared and trained and do well in keeping up with everyone else and contribute to the overall energy level.
  • Chalene does an excellent job of professional conducting, instructing with no BS. She not only is instructing and running the show but with her working out we get a feel like we are competing with her.
The Break-up
The Cardio's
Fire 30 – Basic and shortest among the Cardio workouts. 5 min of Warmup, 4 min cool down. 2 HIITs
Fire 45 EZ - This is workout one does for max amount of time. Easily the most intense in terms of Heart rate zone and hence calorie burn. Though there are no HIITs in this workout one stays in the upper zone for the max amount of time. This is my favourite among the three
Fire 45 – This is perhaps the most complex in terms of the choreography. Needless to stay I miss my moves and eventually never liked it. Fortunately we don't get to do this many times. Has got 4 HIITs in this 45 minute workout.
Fire 55 EZ – Lasting for about 53 minutes and with 2 HIIT's this is the second longest cardio in the whole program. This is a relatively simple routine in line with 45 EZ and Fire 30
Fire 60 – (in advanced) - This is the longest among all the Turbofire workouts lasting about 57 minutes with 4 HIITs coupled in. The moves are not as complex as Fire 45, but surely will take some time to catching up.
HIIT 15 – The shortest and perhaps the most hippiest HIIT. It has 3, 35 Second Fire Drills which are repeated thrice
HIIT 20 – Perhaps the easiest of all the HIITs. The intensity is the least 7(3 Drills - 2 are repeated twice and last one thrice) Fire Drills of 55 seconds each. Not my favourite for lack of intensity in this moves
HIIT 25 – This HIIT routine has the most Plyo-metric jumps in all of Turbofire. First time I tried I finished with a really really bad back. Each of the 4 70 second HIIT is done twice in this. This is the hardest of HIITs and my favourite.
HIIT 30 – The longest HIIT routine, has 5 drills of around 60 sec each which are repeated twice, while the last one is done thrice.

The Strengths

Apart from the HIIT and Cardio, Turbo fire throws in few strength, stretch and core exercises in the program.
Sculpt 30/Tone 30 – These are two 30 minute sculpting workouts done with bands. Mostly combination moves where upper and lower body worked at the same time - Chalene calls it muscle multi-tasking, and I hated it as focusing on mutliple muscle groups at a time is not something I was able to achieve. I had to take rests and the resistance bands where very uncomfortable pulling the hair and skin. 

Upper 20/Lower 20 - These are part of the advanced workouts basically toning up either the upper body or lower body. I feel this is much better in terms of muscle isolation than the muscle multi-tasking workouts. Lower 20 uses the lower body bands and they give an extreme extreme burn on the bums and outer thighs. 

Stretch 10/Stretch 40 – Stretch workouts which are typically done at the end of every workout during cool
down. Stretch 40 borrows the entire set if Yoga moves (Surya Namaskara / Sun Salutations) and almost a dozen Yoga poses for stretch. I love this day of stretching.
The Core
Core 20 –This workouts is all about the core work, with little or no crunches. This program uses a lot of  normal ab exercises but uses the resistance band to add extra resistance. 
Abs 10 – This 10 minute Ab only workout is one of the toughest 10 minute ab-workout ever. Immense immense muscle activation. You can almost feel the 6-pack underneath the sheath of skin and fat. 

My Results
Started at 207 lbs went on till 213 lbs after completing the workout am at 189 lbs

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