Beginner's Weight Loss Transformation

Bob Harper
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Total Body Workouts

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Definitely NOT a beginner’s workout, this is a mostly endurance strength oriented 45 minute workout led by Bob Harper. I would rank this harder than his TBL workouts (the two Cardio Max workouts, Bootcamp, etc., which are intermediate) but easier than his Inside Out Method workouts, which are longer (more like 60 minutes) which are advanced. This workout is high intermediate and can be made more/less challenging using heavier/lighter weights.

Bob works out in a very bright white studio with about 7 or 8 backgrounders (men and women), the DVD has a high production value and the music is (IMO) a little better than the Inside Out Method workouts. Bob teaches PT style. The DVD menu allows you to play the main workout (45 minutes) or the bonus ab workout (11 minutes). The warm up is about 4 minutes, followed by the main workout, and the stretch is about 3.5 minutes. There is about a 1 minute stretch in the ab workout. The screen does have a countdown timer which I found to be motivating. You need one pair of dumbbells for the workout although I used several sets.

Main workout: Bob leads you some basic strength exercises (weighted squats, weighted squat with clean and press, unweighted alternate lunges) and occasionally breaks for cardio (jumping jacks, squat thrusts, fast feet) and some non-weighted functional moves (walkouts to plank, hold plank on hands or elbows, slow mountain climbers, pushups…lots and lots of time spent in plank in this workout). He finishes with some unweighted standing ab work (side to side crunches, twisting crunches, high knees) then the final stretch.

Bonus ab workout: No weights required. This is all floor work, and consists of seated twists and kayaking, then plenty of crunches and reverse crunches and variations on those. The amount of reps makes this a challenging series (especially as followed by the main workout, which includes some standing abs). I would rank this workout as intermediate.

Like Bob’s other workouts I’ve tried, I wouldn’t say it was a fun workout, but certainly gets the job done when it comes to cardio-speed toning and calorie burning. I would say the work was 85% strength oriented with only the occasional cardio burst (whereas I was hoping for more like 50/50). Again, I do NOT think it is appropriate for Bob to sell this as a beginners workout, I think most beginners would be overwhelmed and scared away from exercise if they tried to do it from day 1. There was just so much darn plank work and with some moves like squat thrusts, I just don’t think it is beginner at all (and such a short stretch too). For intermediates, this is a great challenge, and advance can use it on lighter days but when they still want a good challenge. It won’t be a favorite of mine but I will definitely pick it up on occasion for its enduring plank work and toning. Overall grade B.

Instructor Comments:
I enjoy Bob as an great instructor and he is classic Bob here (such as stretching out his countdown while you’re trying to eek out reps). He overused the “beginner” card too much in this one, he probably used that word 15 times at least! He went a little slower through moves and encouraged you to keep up.

Emily B.