The Biggest Loser: Power Walk

Bob Harper, Tara Costa, Sione Fa
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Walking Aerobics

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This is an indoor walking workout led by Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper along with prior season contestants Sione Fa and Tara Costa. Unlike other BL workouts, this is filmed in a sunny outdoor setting – very pleasant to look at while I walk! Also unlike other BL workouts, there is no separate warm up – there are four chapters, each with a 1-mile walk, and a brief cool down. You have the option to choose one chapter or to play all. (Each mile is chaptered so you can easily use skip to pick and choose miles). Each mile is 16-17 minutes long and the entire workout (the four miles plus the cool down) is 70 minutes. The music is better than other BL workouts that I have tried, techno music which is perfectly synchronized to the steps. Background instructors include the season 10 cast (Ada, Brian, Patrick) and a few familiar faces from season 9 (Sunshine and Ashley…my favorites!) all at various fitness levels. There is always a low impact modifier. Bob promises there will be 2,000 steps per mile, and per my Omron pedometer I have to say he was right on. A caption comes onscreen to announce every quarter mile (so, four times per chapter) which is not distracting and reminds you of your progress! Each mile increases in intensity, with Mile 1 being the easiest and Mile 4 is intended to be the challenging.

I should say that I have never done any walking workouts, until the Wii game Walk It Out came into my life and I LOVED it, which made me reconsider walking workouts, which (shame on me) I always assumed would be too boring and/or too easy. So this is the first workout DVD I have tried, meaning I have never done a Leslie workout, and therefore cannot compare the BL to any other workouts.

Mile 1: Led by Bob Harper. This is the beginner walk, mostly low impact with just a little jogging towards the end. There is a lot of marching in place, but not enough to make it seem redundant. Moves include walking front to back, side steps, double side steps, some repeater knees and knee crunches. Towards the end there is some jogging in place, which by the way it was demonstrated is more like fast feet / football run which was really fun! The time flew by, the workout was easy, but did give me a very light sweat. This workout would be great as a warm up for another workout. I spiced things up by wearing 1# weighted gloves.

Mile 2: Led by Sione Fa and incorporates light (1-3#) dumbbells. Supposed to be a step above the beginner mile and is intensified with the light weights, but does stay entirely low impact (except some fast feet at the end of the mile). I used 3# weights and that was enough for me – Sione leads you through bicep curls, lateral raises, military press, and a variety of punches. There is plenty of rests for the arms while you march in place and step touch. Sione stumbled over his words a little and it was hard to tell (some of the backgrounders stumbled, as did i) on whether we were supposed to step touch or double step touch. But it was a really minor problem and not frustrating. The weights really did get the heart rate up faster than Mile 1 although it’s still easy going.

Mile 3: Led by Bob Harper. Significantly more advanced than Mile 1 (with Bob). This includes speed skaters, lots of jogging in place (both butt kickers and high knees), jumping jacks, several standing crunch type moves, and a “bowling” type move (fun!). I did a lot of the high intensity on the rebounder and this worked great (I also utilized weighted gloves). This one got my heart rate up more but didn’t leave me out of breath – just a gentle sweat similar to an Ellen Barrett workout – great!

Mile 4: Led by Tara Costa and incorporates a small medicine ball (I used a 5# ball but was suspicious that they used a little less, it was hard to tell). True to their promise, I think this was the most intense mile. Tara does a lot of standing core moves, including bowling, a “rainbow” type move, and lots of twisting. There is also some arm engagement by lifting the ball above the head and also laterally in front of you. Around the half mile mark, she uses some higher intensity moves like speed skaters and jumping jacks (Sione demonstrates advanced modifications) which I was inclined to do on the rebounder. All in all I was feeling it in my core by the end! There was one hard move where she wanted you to jog in place while holding the ball all the way out on one arm for a long isometric hold (repeat other arm). That was hard and my arm was burning!

Cool Down: Led by Tara and Sione, with no background instructors. Took place by the poolside. The stretches are all basic and athletic (i.e., no yoga) and are all standing. Hamstring stretch, static lunge to stretch hip flexors, quads, and calves.

In conclusion I have to say that I was really pleased with the workout and can easily see myself using one or two sections as a warm up for another workout, or using several chapters (or all four) for a light cardio day, and to rack up steps on my pedometer. The workout is just really pleasant and fun. Done as is, I would say it is beginner-intermediate (the chapters vary in intensity). The weighted gloves and rebounder help add a little more challenge but it is still no higher than intermediate (I disagree with the Collage rating of intermediate/advanced). Overall grade A.

Instructor Comments:
Bob is a very charismatic lead, as usual. He cues well and reminds you to engage your abs so that you don’t stress your back, reminds you how hard you’re working, and that you’re doing a great job. Sione and Tara have improved as instructors, although I would have preferred to have Bob lead all four miles. Bob was not present in the chapters which were led by Sione and Tara, but the background exercisers (and setting) were the same. All three of them appeared to be having a good time.

Emily B.