The Biggest Loser: Weight Loss Yoga

Bob Harper
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Yoga

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This workout is a strength and stretch oriented yoga routine led by Biggest Loser coach Bob Harper and has 5 or 6 background exercisers that are Biggest Loser contestants (some fitter, some still losing the weight – providing a large span of ability and modifications). This workout was issued at the same time as Biggest Loser Boot Camp (also led by Bob) and they are intended to be used in conjunction with each other (Bob mentions it twice at the end of Weight Loss Yoga). This workout follows the same general chaptering that all of the Biggest Loser workouts do: a 5 minute warm up, 25 minute beginner or basic chapter, then two additional 10 minute chapters, and a 5 minute cool down. The workout is intended to be used at different levels until the home exerciser works up the endurance and strength to complete the whole workout. (Example: Level 1 includes the 5 minute warm up, 25 minute basic chapter, 5 minute cool down for a 35 minute workout; Level 2 includes an additional 10 minute chapter for a 45 minute workout; Level 3 would include all chapters for a 55 minute workout). Weight Loss Yoga clocks in at 61 minutes, due to each section being a minute or two longer than scheduled.

Breakdown of the workout is as follows:

1. Warm up (about 6 minutes): This warm up consisted of standing lateral stretches, then low lunge position and hamstring stretches, to warm up the body. I’m not sure how this was really a “warm up” although it was easier than the meat of the workout. I actually thought it was really relaxing and might use it as a standalone stretch for future use. Great hip flexor stretches.

2. Level 1 chapter (about 27 minutes): This was a really good section that included a long warrior set (warrior 1 and 2), pulsing the leg at a slow pace, for instance not as quickly as Ellen Barrett, but the same basic move. It also included a warrior 2-extended side angle transition that kept the front leg burning; a triangle to pyramid pose to reverse triangle segment which was a GREAT stretch for the legs and was very creative; a long plank set that included pushups as well as side planks which really heated up the arms; there was also downward and upward dog, however there was no vinyasa flow at all – this is not really a “true” or traditional yoga workout. Very athletic and focused on strength, not on mind-body connection at all. This was my favorite set and I got in some great stretching and strengthening in both the legs and the arms, and it went at a good pace.

3. Level 2 chapter (about 12 minutes): This was a “Yoga-Pilates Core” workout and utilized a medicine ball for about half of the workout. Included the cat and the cow poses, leg and arm raises, as well as an “awkward airplane” pose with opposite arm and leg out to side which really worked balance and core, side planks with Pilates under the bridge move, roll ups with ball, boat pose with ball, and finally Pilates swimming. This was a good set in and of itself but didn’t really have the yoga feel I was looking for and I will probably not do this chapter again (might use as a standalone core workout, but didn’t feel right in this workout).

4. Level 3 chapter (about 10 minutes): This was sort of an abbreviated version of Iron Yoga and utilized small hand weights (I used 3# dumbbells which seemed appropriate). Raise arms while in mountain pose, then in warrior 2 do slow biceps curls, in extended angle pose do a row variation (really worked the core!), and did some lateral raises while in warrior 2 facing the other side; long chair pose set with triceps kickbacks. Finish with a stand-walk hands out to plank-push up combination and a long plank set (there are a LOT of planks in this video). I enjoyed this section and really felt it in the arms because the moves were very slow and controlled. Lots of isometric work for the arms and legs here. I can see how this is “weight loss” yoga for sure and really added a level of intensity and creativity to the yoga workout.

5. Cool down (about 5 minutes): this was all done on the floor and very relaxing. Lay on the back with one leg extended and the other to your chest, then rotate the knee in one direction and twist in the other direction (great for spinal rotation), lay in corpse pose which felt great at the end of the workout.

Overall I enjoyed this workout. Like I mentioned there is really no mind-body connection here (which might bother some), it is just meant to be very athletic and completely focused on strengthening and stretching. I do enjoy the mind-body focus but if I need that I will reach for my Baron Baptiste workouts instead. But this is also a good go-to yoga workout for me when I want some great toning with my yoga and don’t feel like doing any vinyasa flows.

Bob has the same personality as he does on the show, down to business but friendly and jokes around a little. The music was instrumental and “calm” feeling and seemed very appropriate for the workout; the production quality is high and the chaptering is good as noted. Menu options let you pick any one section or the sections with the warm up and cool down. There is also an option to have music plus Bob’s instruction or music only. The background was sort of dark-ish (maybe on purpose for a more relaxing feel) and uncluttered. The only other experience I have had with Biggest Loser workouts is an earlier video Cardio Max, which is also led by Bob and one which I really enjoy. Neither one of them are my absolute favorites, but I reach for both occasionally and wonder why I don’t do them more often, they are solid workouts and they are enjoyable enough. Weight Loss Yoga is solid intermediate but modifiable, it’s the plank work that makes this video challenging. Overall grade B+.

Instructor Comments:
I enjoy Bob as an instructor and he has the same charisma and energy that he does on the show (at least on Season 9, the only one I’ve watched!). He is a good cuer, he reminds you to go low into the moves and to hang on for a few more breaths, and encourages you to stick it out, but to stop if you need to. I liked that he was a little jokey and relaxed, for instance he said “hey we’re doing yoga! It’s weight loss yoga, but it’s still yoga! So smile! Are you smiling?” I would buy more of his workouts and trust that I will continue to enjoy his instruction enough that I preordered his new 2010 offerings (not Biggest Loser). He is just so encouraging and friendly, but still tough and down to business.

Emily B.