Bootcamp Boogie

Petra Kolber
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance

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I'm reviewing this DVD after doing it a few times in its entirety and trying the express workouts once.
Previous reviewers have done a very good job breaking down and defining this workout, so I won't go into that.

I find this workout enjoyable but a bit confusing. The first time I tried it, I found it hard to follow Petra because she makes frequent changes and additions without giving enough warning, and other times she warns a bit too early. This was only a real problem the first time; by the second time I knew I would have to pay closer attention to cuing and timing.

I really enjoy the variety of moves but also the simplicity of them. I like that Petra adds a recovery minute (or so) between blocks and that she doesn't always do both sides before moving on to another block. That was a very welcome variation!

Although the DVD has three express workouts on it, I find they are not well balanced due to the way the workout is structured. For example, The first express workout includes a series of knee repeaters (1-12 for a total of 78) on one leg only, so if you want to balance it out you would have to do the other side on your own. The third express has you doing the same block on the other side only. For this reason I will only be using the full workout.

Instructor Comments:
Petra is enthusiastic, genuine and down to earth. She mirror cues throughout, but sometimes introduces moves as she is doing them which can be confusing the first time around.



The menu screen:
Play All - About 64 minutes
Warmup - 6:38
BCB Express 1 - 16:33
BCB Express 2 - 16:29
BCB Express 3 - 16:25
Yoga Stretch - 7:54
Get the Music

The Play All option, or the whole workout, includes the warmup, the body of the workout, and stretch. The body of the workout includes 5 sections of floor aerobics. Each of the express options includes 2 of these 5 sections, mixed up in different ways. In each of the sections, I think she started with more athletic moves, and then added some dance, and then did a cardio blast, recovery, and then repeated that same format, although not necessarily the same moves.

Intensity - I saw that Collage labeled this Interm/Adv, but I found it to be more intermediate (even doing the advanced modifications). There were a lot of marches, hamstring curls, and light jogs, so that I can't really say the cardio blasts bumped it up enough to make it advanced (for me).

Fun factor - First time I did it: it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be, mostly because sometimes she takes a while to break down the moves and they're already pretty basic (I like more complex stuff). I wish there was less marching and hamstring curling. That being said, I like this workout and will keep it. It wasn't overly repetitive. The music is not my favorite but it was different and kinda nice.

Update - I tried this one again and I liked it more than I did the first time. If you like complex choreography, like me, you may just want to not do this workout too often so it stays fun.

I skipped the stretch.

Instructor Comments:
Petra is awesome and really like her. Her cueing is sometimes late, but mostly good. I like how she messes up sometimes and says face the camera, oops, TV, but doesn't try to blow it off like she didn't mess up. She seems genuine.

Nyx Black


This is one of the latest DVD releases from veteran fitness instructor Petra Kolber. In her brief introduction, Petra describes this workout as a mix of bootcamp, athletic training, and dance. I'm not sure that this description is entirely accurate; I would modify it to say that this is a fun floor cardio workout incorporating elements of dance, kickboxing, and traditional hi-lo aerobics while providing options for different intensity levels. Petra works out with two background exercisers, Ilyse and Carrie, each of whom show different modifications. They are exercising in a studio with wooden floors to upbeat, sometimes vocal music.

The workout begins with a 6.5-minute Warm Up. Here Petra introduces moves that will be used for "recovery" throughout the entire workout. These include a simple breath in/out while pushing the air down/up with your arms, three overhead reaches and a hold, three forward punches (Tai-Chi style) and a hold, slow swaying side lunges (similar to the "lullaby" move in Classical Stretch), four elbow strikes, and hip sways. For the main body of the workout, Petra moves through a series of "blocks." Each block is approximately 5.5 minutes long and follows the same basic format: you start with what Petra calls "bootcamp" moves (move basic hi-lo cardio), move on to some "boogie" (a bit dancier segment, but still pretty basic), perform a 45-second blast/interval, and then finish with recovery, which features the moves from the Warm Up. The blast/intervals are performed in place, with Petra and her two companions showing three different levels of intensity/impact.

To get a better idea, here is a breakdown of Block 1:
Bootcamp--start with knee repeaters, moving into step kicks alternating with hamstring curls
Boogie--step forward, lift two knees, scoot back
Blast/interval--side steps, scoots, or hops side-to-side

I counted a total of nine blocks, which makes sense because the workout is 64 minutes long total, which means the cardio portion is about 49.5 minutes (minus 6.5 minutes for the Warm Up and 8 minutes for the Yoga Stretch). [Note: Nyx reports 5 segments in her review, and Kath reports 6 in hers. It IS confusing given how the DVD is structured. First, there are no chapter breakdowns listed on the menu. However, the DVD IS broken down into a total of 9 chapters, but these include the warm-up and stretch, so they don't correspond exactly to the blocks themselves. Based on this, however, there appear to be at least 7 blocks, but given my time breakdown above, I am almost sure that 9 is correct. :) ]

Some of the moves that appear within the other blocks include little jogs, punches, "ascending repeaters" (start with one knee-up, gradually adding on one rep until you reach 12), mambos, rock steps, cha-cha, box step, power lunges, the "snake," and a fun "Suduku series" which involves variations on the tempo of your jogs (you have to THINK here!).

In addition to Play All, the Main Menu offers options for Bootcamp Boogie Express 1, 2, and 3; each of these mini workouts is 16.5 minutes in length and consists of three blocks. The Warm-Up and Yoga Stretch are also listed separately on the menu. Petra et al. perform the segment on mats still wearing their sneakers. Although I hate doing yoga in shoes, Petra leads a nice, short little flow of moves such as forward bend, lunge, lunge twist, sage twist, seated forward bend, and seated cross-legged forward bend. It is possible that the cardio moves on this DVD might start to feel more repetitive to me over time; there certainly are a lot of repeaters and other basic moves here. For now, however, I am finding this a fun aerobic workout that is a good match for my intermediate level. I think this DVD would be best suited to those in the advanced beginner to mid-intermediate range. I'm more high intermediate, and I definitely agree with Kath that it took a little while for my heart rate to get up there--next time, I may add my weighted gloves for a bit more of a challenge.

Instructor Comments:
Petra, who I believe is British (she speaks with a bit of an accent) is quite enthusiastic (although not annoyingly so) and offers very good mirrored cuing. She frequently reminds you that you don't have to do any of the add-ons and can just stay with the basics if you'd prefer.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I’m reviewing this workout after doing it once in its entirety.

General workout breakdown: Nyx has already described this floor aerobics workout well, but I’ll just add some more details.

- Warm-up: Petra introduces a combo of Tai Chi-like, athletic (including punching and elbow strikes), and dance (including high reaches and hip rocks) that will be repeated throughout the workout as the recovery portion, following each cardio blast. The warm-up also contains some dynamic stretches for the upper and lower body.

- Workout: This is an interval-style or “athletic training” workout, alternating longer periods of moderate-level “bootcamp” or athletic moves, moderate-level “boogie” or dance-inspired moves, 45-second cardio blasts, and the same recovery combo (about 40-45 seconds). I found 6 total circuits. (Note that while circuits are chaptered separately, there are no chapters within them, so you can’t skip over the boogie parts to get right to the cardio blasts, for example.)
Petra often builds the bootcamp and boogie segments off of the same or similar base moves. She does focus on the build up of each combo, so I see why Nyx felt there was too much emphasis on much break down, especially since Petra usually only ends with two run throughs of the full product. There’s no TIFTing; each combo stands alone, never added together (not even the bootcamp and boogie parts). Two different circuits are done first on one side, then a few combos later on the other. This includes a killer ascending repeater series, where you work up from 1 repeater knee, then 2, then 3, and so on all the way up to 12. Yowza!
Base moves for both the combos and the cardio blasts include repeaters, hamstring curls, marches, side steps, and lunges; athletic sequences see added jogs, shuffles, fast feet, and kickboxing moves (front kick, upper cut, jab, cross, bob & weave, speedbag arms); and boogie moves see hip action, mambos, pivot turns, cha chas, box steps, v steps, and the snake.
If you want to keep this low impact, you can follow Petra, although even she picks up her feet for jogs (she does offer staying on the toes as a modification). You could also keep this more of a steady state workout by following her for the cardio blasts rather than taking it up a notch. There are a few pivots, but as Petra points out they are optional.
The final run through of the recovery sequence is all you get for a cool-down. I wouldn’t have minded another minute or two of basic moves to bring the heartrate down a little more. (While I appreciate the trend towards longer warm-ups, what is it with the disappearing cardio-based cool-downs these days?)

- Stretch: The yoga-inspired stretch (it’s so weird to do yoga in sneakers!) runs through half sun salutes, lizard lunge, revolved lunge, seated forward bend, seated twist w/ knee to chest, cross-legged seated forward bend, table top, downward dog, and some ending breaths standing in mountain.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediates through intermediate / advanced exercisers, although I think experienced beginner / intermediates could tackle it without too much trouble by sticking with the lower level options and maybe doing only a part or two at a time. Some low advanced exercisers may find ways to make this work for them, too. I’d recommend familiarity with basic aerobics, dance, and kickboxing moves, although you don’t need to be a real choreography hound or martial artist (in fact, if you are one you may not like this workout all that much for those reasons).
I consider myself an intermediate / advanced in cardio. I pick choreography up pretty quickly if it’s broken down and cued well, which is true here, although this is on the simple side for me, which didn’t hurt. Although this one started out slow – my heart rate didn’t really start to rise until that first cardio blast – I found this one appropriately challenging for me in the end. The levels were distinct enough that I felt an interval effect, and I was able to put some oomph into the advanced moves and get to a challenging edge. No, I wouldn’t rank this up there with 30/30 or Double Wave Pyramid off of Cathe’s Hight Intensity Interval Training, for example, but Bootcamp Boogie packs a decent little punch.

Class: 2 other women join Petra, who instructs live. During the cardio blasts, each shows a different variation, with Petra demonstrating the lowest level or base move.

Music: upbeat mostly instrumental, often kind of tribal in feel, but sometimes a little jazzier or sassier. It’s by Yes Fitness Music, and Petra is listed as their spokesperson. I wouldn’t listen to it on its own, but it seemed to suit the workout well, was better than average, and added a little extra pizzazz to the workout. Oh, there is an odd moment when a breathy voice comes on and says “Rhythm” during a quiet moment during the stretch.

Set: bright interior set with neutral-colored walls hung with abstract art, a doorway with windows covered in gauzy fabric behind Petra plus few items of furniture off to her side.

Production: clear picture and sound, mostly helpful rather than distracting camera angles (although I could have done without some close-ups during the first few moments of new moves).

Equipment: sneakers.

Space Requirements: This isn’t a space hog, but you should be able to move comfortably around a decent-sized area. You’ll need to be able to take four good-sized steps across your space and maybe the same forward and backward.

Comments: I originally wasn’t interested in this because I thought it was going to be bootcamp-style cardio/strength training (e.g. push-ups, burpees or squat thrusts, mountain climbers, that sort of thing) alternated with dance segments. Now, that would be a great workout, and I hope Petra does it before someone else steals that idea. Personally I’m happy with this version, even if I think the name’s a little silly and not entirely accurate. After all, I definitely prefer kickboxing and athletic-style moves over true bootcamp moves, and I don’t mind a somewhat basic floor cardio video if it’s interesting.

A few odds and ends: Petra seems to assume you’re doing this in the morning, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it at any other time. I did it at lunchtime, for example; it worked great. Also, she talks about setting an intention and drawing up energy at the beginning, but it’s not really presented in a mystic manner. It’s part of her motivational strategy, telling you to make an effort to be a better you type of thing.
I could see how this could feel repetitive over time, with the same recovery combo the whole workout and two combos repeated (even if on the other side). And some of Petra’s comments may lose their charm the hundredth time through. But I don’t intend to use this one so regularly that this becomes a problem. I highly doubt this one will be a dust collector on my shelf, however, as it is effective and fun. Maybe not as fun as Christi Taylor’s Still Jumpin’, which I did earlier this week, but definitely something I enjoy doing. I even smiled a few times, even without Petra’s prompting.

I can’t think of anything exactly like this. Yes, there are a lot of interval cardio workouts out there, but I don’t have any that others that purposefully go back and forth between athletic and dance moves. I wouldn’t say this is a rolling interval workout, like Chris Freytag’s Prevention Fight Cellulite Fast! or Shape Bikini Body Camp Transforming’s cardio segment, however. The choreography, as in type of steps used, reminds me of Michelle Dozois’ style of choreography on Your Body Breakthru Rockin’ Body Cardio Jam, and the “Hit your level” comment reminded me of her Prevention Walk Your Way Thin. The first combo, with the balance challenge, reminded me of Tamilee Webb’s Tighter Assets Cardio Blast. And I did recognize some moves from Petra’s 10 Minute Solution Blast off Belly Fat!, the only one of her dance workouts I’ve done so far.

Instructor Comments:
Petra is positive, upbeat, and encouraging. Petra’s within my realm of tolerance for enthusiasm, however, mainly because she’s so sincere and earnest. Actually, I’ve somewhat recently found a rather soft spot for her and have been accumulating her step and now floor aerobics / dance DVDs. It’s hard not to like her, I feel.
Her cuing is on the whole good, although I agree one could nitpick timing, amount of detail, that sort of thing, but at least she names the punches correctly. She mirror cues very well. And I appreciate that she gives you a heads up on move changes, often not just telling you what’s changing but even what it’s changing to so you’re not taken by surprise. One thing to note is that Petra often says “last set” during the recovery combo when in fact you’ve only done that move once that run through and you’re going to do the whole combo four more times.