Your Body Breakthru: Rockin' Body Cardio Jam

Michelle Dozois
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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Iím reviewing this workout after doing it a few dozen times, including a handful of times in the past few weeks.

General workout breakdown: Roz and Beth have already described this video well, so Iíll just add a few thoughts.
This works through athletic moves (squats, lunges, jogs), easy kickboxing (side kicks, front kicks, back kicks, punches), basic hi/lo or floor aerobics (tap outs, repeater knees, v steps), and simple dance (mambo, shoulder shimmy, pump). I rather like the combined styles, especially since Michelle mixes it up well. But I could do without the shimmying and hip rolls, as Iím not really that kind of gal. (It seems like every combo I think, ďI kind of like this one, except for that one move,Ē which is invariably the ďrockiníĒ move.) If youíre a stickler for kickboxing form, well, Michelle definitely comes from a fitness instructor background there, so I tweak things so theyíre a little less flying limbs. I agree that a few moves are kind of fussy - the press / step out with arm roll thatís all too easy to do as a shift with arm flop, and that hitch move took me far too long to figure out how to do - but itís not too bad, especially once you realize that Michelle wonít send the police to arrest you if you donít do it exactly as she does.

Level: Iíd recommend this to intermediate to intermediate plus exercisers comfortable with a little choreography, although you certainly donít have to be a choreography hound for this one. Those at the beg./int. level should find this one doable, too, by following the modifier or working up a combo at a time to the full thing, while those at the more int./adv. level will find using the full range of motion and including all the plyos makes this suitable for them, too. Those who are more advanced will more likely find this an easy or recovery day workout.
Normally I consider myself an int./adv. exerciser, but when I got this one and when I revisited it this past month I was more of a lower int., at which point it was decently challenging, and I was more than willing to stick with the modifications in places. Once Iím back to the int./adv. level this will be a nicely moderate workout along the steady state lines, one that will leave me feeling worked out without being wiped out.

Class: 4 women, who as Beth mentioned are from Michelleís gym, join Michelle, who cues live. 1 woman shows modifications, taking out a good deal of the impact, but not quite all. Yes, itís the woman whoís not as thin, but as the one admits in the testimonial section she wants to show that you donít have to be at your goal weight already to do these workouts. Note that there is some whooping from the crew, although youíll have to turn the volume up to hear it.

Music: The upbeat instrumental stuff is generic exercise video issue, but Michelle has matched it to the moves well.

Set: The walls are brown. The floor is brown. The crew wears brown (well, and some orange and black, too). You may find yourself suddenly rooting for Clevelandís football team, remembering that package of videos the UPS is due to deliver any minute now, craving chocolate, especially during That Time of the Month, or exclaiming, ďOh, poo,Ē during missed steps more often than usual. Hope all that brown doesnít get you down. (OK, Iíll stop now.)

Production: clear picture and sound, mostly helpful rather than distracting camerawork (although Iíve never been a big fan of the overhead shot).

Equipment: sneakers and a supportive sports bra, if relevant. (Even if you stick with the lower impact version of moves, Michelleís cardio can be quite bouncy.)

Space Requirements: You should be able to kick in each direction or at least take 2 moderate-sized steps forward and back as well as 2-3 big steps to each side. At 5í8Ē I have no problem fitting this into my cleared floor space of about 8í long by 6í deep.

Comments: Just a note that Your Body Breakthru tends to be abbreviated as YBB, although most of the time on VF YBB stands for Yoga Booty Ballet. Iíd use YBBt instead, but as the only one who does that I invariably cause more confusion than I resolve, so Iíll stick with YBB, since in the context of this review it clearly means Michelleís set.
And speaking of confusion with Beachbody titles, this is not part of Shaun Tís Rockin(í) Body set. Fortunately I donít think that set or its add-ons includes a title called Cardio Jam.

Thereís absolutely no reason why you canít just get this one and skip the rest of the set. While this definitely belongs with the other YBBs and works well with them, it doesnít depend on them to make sense, and Michelle introduces it and cues it as if itís its own entity. Actually, I like that all three have distinct warm-ups, too, something instructors tend to skimp on when doing sets. That said, for some reason I seem to forget about this one on my shelves when Iím not doing a YBB rotation, maybe because it lacks the fun factor of my Christi Taylors and other favorite floor aerobics.

The moves are similar to those used in the cardio portion of Your Best Body Circuit, the cardio and weights circuit of the YBB set (which also includes Slim, Strong & Sexy Body Sculpt, an upper / lower body split all weights workout). However, Michelle leaves out most of the ďrockiníĒ moves in the Circuit, and she also tweaks moves that she does in both, so she never does exactly the same thing (for example, in one she does a front kick Ė back kick, but in the other she does a front kick Ė back lunge). Michelle does the combos on both sides, but in the Circuit she does all of the run-throughs on one side, then does a strength segment, before doing all of the run-throughs on the other.

Since then Michelle released another video based on her gym classes, The Ultimate Workout, which bears the Your Body Breakthru banner but actually looks and feels closer to the Peak 10, now rereleased as part of the Peak Fit Challenge, workouts. (I have the two P10s, Cardio Interval Burn and Cardio Strength, but have only been able to preview them.) The YBBs are less ambitious than the P10s/PFCs: the primary audience for the YBB set seems to be women, particularly busy moms and/or professionals (or, in my case, student), looking to take charge of their health and fitness and get in better shape, who may be more beg./int. but are looking to increase their fitness level to at least solidly int. if not int./adv. In contrast, the P10s/PFCs seem to be more for women and men who are already in good shape but want to get into great shape and bump their fitness level up to advanced. Things are less choreographed in the Ultimate W/O and in the P10s, although Michelle still uses the format of running through several different moves in a row and repeating before moving on, and the moves are even more athletic and kickboxing-based (no more ďrockiníĒ moves); also, these workouts are more about intervals and metabolic circuits, which the YBBs are not.

Iíve done some form of a 4-6 week YBB rotation at two different times, once during a busy end of semester when I wanted to just push play without having to think about what I was doing for exercise and once just recently when I was looking for something to take me from a lower to a higher intermediate level of fitness following a forced lay-off. Both times I was pleased with how well this set worked for me. The first time around I remember being especially pleased with the work for the back, as I saw noticeably improved muscle tone and strength there as well as better posture. (I had been using Cathe, Jari, and other DVDs with the same weights for chest and back and was just beginning to learn that I wasnít challenging the back as much as I should be.) This time around I was especially pleased how quickly my legs firmed up, as I noticed that all of my pants were much looser through the thighs after my four weeks. I also noticed more muscle in the arms, especially biceps and triceps, but I should mention that not only was I coming off a break but also that for the past few years I havenít been doing a lot of focused work on the bis and tris. I regret that both times I didnít keep close track of numbers like weight, inches, etc., take photos, or stick as closely to my eating plan as I should have so I could boast about what I accomplished with their help, although both times I know I lost a few pounds. (By the way, there was a code included in one of these that unlocked two PDF files, one with rotations and one with a diet plan, both of which are pretty sensible things, on the YBB website.)
But I will say that I firmly believe the YBB set is proof that you donít need a huge expensive set to get results, whether youíre looking to improve your fitness level, lose weight, or shape up. (I bought all three new from Michelleís site when they were first released for around $50, but by this point you can find them for less than half that.) Of course, consistency and hard work are the key ingredients you need to bring to the party, but you too may become a believer that the background exercisers really did make those changes doing pretty much the same workouts you now are.

Instructor Comments:
Michelle is on the energetic and perky side as she encourages you to give this your all. Her cuing is pretty good, but the fact that sometimes she announces moves well in advance and sometimes right before or even right on the move change doesnít make this as easy to follow as it could be.
In this series Michelle comes off as very approachable and earnest, even before you listen to her message about how her life changed with her sonís diagnosis. Sheís not going through the motions by telling you, ďI know how hard it is. I know how it feels. I know you can do it.Ē Her story and those of her background crew lend a sense of authenticity and truth to statements like these, and personally I find this sort of thing more inspiring than watching genetically blessed models because itís closer to my reality.



Rockin' Body Cario Jam is part of Michelle Dozois' Your Body Breakthru series, which also includes two other workouts, one strength and one circuit. The circuit workout was the first one I tried, and I loved it, as it combined short, fun cardio segments with toning intervals which included both dumbbells and band work. While I didn't like this workout quite as much--some of the cardio moves were a bit "fussy" to me, requiring a bit of a learning curve--overall, it's still a fun and intense cardio workout. The DVD Main Menu offers the following options: Full Workout, Express Workout, Chapters, Testimonials, More on Your Body Breakthru, Michelle's personal message, and Contact. The Full Workout is 51 minutes and consists of a warm-up, six cardio intervals, and a cool-down, while the Express Workout provides a shorter (30 minutes) version of this. No equipment is needed for this workout.

The 5-minute aerobic warm-up consists of simple choreography, gradually adding more movement and concluding with about 30 seconds of dynamic stretching. Each cardio chapter is about 6-7 minutes long. As she does in the circuit workout, Michelle gradually builds on the moves, starting with footwork, then adding arm movements, and also incorporating some higher impact here and there (one of the four background exercisers always shows low-impact modifications). She alternates right and left lead, moving through each choreographed series a total of four times. The exercise are quite similar in feel to the cardio moves on the circuit workout: they tend to be more athletic, with lots of knee lifts plus some kicks and punches, but there are also a few more dancey moves as well. As with the warm-up, the 5.5 minute cool-down is choreographed, gradually reducing the heart rate and then ending with about 1.5 minutes of stretching. The Express workout includes the warm-up, Cardio chapters 1, 3, and 5, and the cool-down.

All of Michelle's background exercisers in the Body Breakthru series are from her classes, and their stories are featured in the testimonials section. They are quite inspiring, as is Michelle's "personal message," which details her struggles as the mother of an autistic son (the DVD case indicates that it is "Promoting Autism Awareness"). I consider myself to be an advanced intermediate exerciser, and I found this workout to be suitably challenging; although modifications are offered, I think that beginning exercisers might have trouble keeping up with Michelle's fast pace here. Similarly, the choreography of this workout is a little more complicated than in Michelle's circuit workout, which might leave some users a bit frustrated, especially since Michelle's cueing sometimes falls a little late. Overall, however, I think that this is a solid cardio workout for intermediates and above.

Instructor Comments:
I haven't been crazy about Michelle's workouts in the past, and I've found her personality a bit too over-enthusiastic for my tastes. I had no problems with her here, however: she comes across as very professional, she is encouraging without being over-the-top, and she cues well using mirrored cueing.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This is the all cardio workout in Michelle's Body Breakthrough 3 DVD set.
It is about 50 minutes including warm up and cool down. Both the warm up and cool down are about 5 minutes long. I would rate the workout as intermediate. It consists of 6 short combinations. Each combination you do 3 times through on each side, then it is on to a new combination.
The choreography is fairly basic. There are some shimmies and hip rolls thrown in (I guess that is the "rockin') part. Most of the choreography is fairly athletic, however. In each combination she includes some stationary moves.
The music is fairly nondescript instrumental stuff. The lighting is kind of weird and the colors of the outfits/set are not my favorite (browns and oranges mainly).
This is longer but not as intense as her floor aerobics routine from the Shape Bikini Camp Transforming workout. The impact is mixed, but there is one person performing the routine low impact.
This workout is pretty good. I think I prefer her Walk Your Way Slim workout which is similar, however. The set is brighter, and some of the moves in this workout are a little fussy (although, for the most part a large range of movement is used.)
I'll keep it, though. It is not my favorite, but it's pretty good.

Instructor Comments: