The Biggest Loser: 30-Day Jump Start

Tara Costa, Sione Fa, Ali Vincent
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball, Total Body Workouts

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This workout is a cardio and strength workout led by Biggest Loser contestants Tara Costa and Sione Fa (Season 7 IIRC) and Ali Vincent (Season 4). Note: This workout is NOT led by Bob Harper, despite what the DVD cover with Bob and the gang might imply. He is not on the screen during any part of the workout nor does he give an introduction. I believe this workout was meant to be used as a companion to the 30 Day Jump Start book also published by the Biggest Loser.

At the very start, I didn’t have the highest expectations of this workout (I rented it) based on the fact that the instructors are not professional. And they do stumble on their words, are somewhat disorganized, are chatty like they’re nervous, and don’t give great form pointers (they do give some). I think the workout would have better been received if it had been led by Bob or Jillian. But along with the amateur instructors, the workout is pretty bland. Like the other BL workouts I have tried (Last Chance, Cardio Max, Boot Camp), it is very athletic with very little if any choreography and basic moves. Somehow as executed by the BL contestants, it does not have the same charisma as the other ones I have tried.

The workout is made up of five 10-minute workouts that can be played individually or altogether. There is an unweighted cardio workout (led by Tara), a weighted cardio workout (led by Ali), an upper body strength workout (led by Sione), a lower body strength workout (led by Ali), and an ab/core workout led by all three (they rotate). Each workout had a mini warm up and cool down, as to be played individually (a la 10 Minute Solution) rather than to be played altogether with a final, longer warm up and cool down. The background exercisers are made up of other Season 7 contestants (Liz, Danny, etc.) at various fitness levels. Two background exercisers show beginner and low impact modifications.

The first cardio workout is a series of jumping jacks, high knees, jump rope, marching in place, side to side steps with arm movements, finishing with mountain climbers and prone jacks. Considering this workout was intended for “exercise newcomers” (quoting DVD cover, which also says that Bob leads!) I think some of the moves were inappropriate (i.e., prone jacks) and that is a lot of high impact for a beginner. I was able to follow along on the rebounder and get a good cardio workout, but again probably not my top choice for a beginner.

The second cardio workout is more advanced than the first: the moves include very quick punches with weights (I used my usual cardio weight poundage of 3# weights and thought it moved too quickly to be executed safely) then Ali progressed to jumping jacks and jump rope with the weights! I thought this was an accident waiting to happen – the combination of upper body moves with weights with high intensity jumping was IMO not a good idea. Some of the other moves included wood chops with weights, lunges and side lunges, jogging in place with medicine ball overhead, and some sort of a kettlebell-esque swing with the same light poundage. The low impact moves were appropriate, creative, and challenging, and kept the heart rate up.

The upper body workout utilized a stability ball and light-moderate poundage (Sione did not offer any suggestion to poundage). Moves included one arm lat rows with one arm balancing on ball, lay prone on ball for bench press, one leg on ball with biceps curls, shoulder work sitting on ball, pushups with legs on ball, then a final stretch. The moves were straight forward and should be fairly well executed by a beginner, assuming they own a stability ball.

The lower body workout, led by Ali, included a series of front, back, and side lunges (plenty of lunges to be had in this workout), curtsey lunges, one leg deadlifts (balance challenge) low squat sequence with hop, then table work with band (hydrants, leg circles). Like Sione, Ali used an unidentified poundage (appeared to be low-moderate weights) throughout.

The ab/core segment started with weighted standing work (standing crunches, torso rotation), then down to the floor for side planks, weighted Russian twist, sit ups with medicine ball, spinal erector work, and a long plank sequence. They demonstrated some partner moves which I thought was innovative – I’ve never seen that in an exercise video before! That’s a nice feature for home exercisers who work out with a buddy. I thought this chapter was the most creative and effective. It’s not good enough for me to buy the DVD, but this would be my most used section. I enjoyed all of the plank work and the standing ab work.

A couple of other notes: for a workout intended for newcomers to exercise, I would have minimized the amount of equipment (sure, anybody should have dumbbells, but would a beginner really have a stability ball, medicine ball, bands, and a water ball weight? – using only dumbbells would have worked easily here.). There were some more challenging moves (the prone jacks, jumping with weights, one leg dead lifts, long plank sequence, high intensity cardio) that were definitely high intermediate level, paired with lots of generic beginner moves. For a beginner workout, I would have included a stretch segment to instill good habits in beginner exercisers that stretching is as important as cardio or strength training. I didn’t think the mini cool down/stretch at the end of each section was adequate to stave off the DOMS that beginners would get from this workout. The background setting is the Biggest Loser gym like the other BL workouts. Music was very generic gym style music that repeated itself (a different tune per chapter).

In conclusion I have to say that I would not recommend this to beginners (there are more appropriate workouts out there) but as an intermediate exerciser, there are lots of other choices out there that might have more pizazz, creativity, and challenge (and professional instructors), especially for a vidiot that probably has several better choices in their own collection (I do). I probably wouldn’t recommend this to many, except for the ab section which was very good but does not make the DVD purchase worthwhile. Even if I found this at a bargain price, I know I wouldn’t do it enough. It’s just bland and does not have a fun factor at all. Overall grade C-.

Instructor Comments:
These were amateur instructors (as I outlined) and therefore are a major step down from any other professional instructor out there. While I liked and admired all three of the BL contestants, I don’t think they made particularly good instructors. They gave minimal form pointers and at times they (along with their background exercisers) showed questionable form on squats and lunges. Ali talks really quickly, Tara was annoyingly chatty, and Sione was sort of chatty too. The whole workout had a “hokey” feel to it thanks to their instruction. I think if Bob or Jillian had led, they would have made the exercises safer, and given it a more professional feel, and probably would have invoked more enthusiasm in the home exerciser following along. Grade D for these instructors.

Emily B.