Turbo Jam: Cardio Party

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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This was a lot of fun. Best part was the music. It was real music that I recognized - not instrumentals.

I took a live turbo jam class. The music blew me away in the live class and the intensity of the class left me tired.

This workout takes it down a notch, At full intensity I still didn't feel wiped afterwards, but I felt i got in a decent high-intermediate workout.

The music's intensity was also different from the live class, but it was still really motivating to hear 'real music' and not that dynamix stuff that i'm starting to loathe.

About me: My workout level is high intermediate. I can do Cathe's KPC without wanting to keel over, and without lowering intensity, but I can't jog, nor can I do Cathe's MIC.

I did this barefoot and was glad I did. It felt good. I did it out of laziness, and a desire to just break into my new workout, but my feet, ankles, hips aren't protesting.

Final thoughts: If BB puts out more of these, I will buy them.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is friendly and motivating and doesn't cross over the perky line.

Her cueing seemed a little 'late' at times, but I had no trouble keeping up.



I’m reviewing Cardio Party #1 after previewing it twice and doing it twice.

General workout breakdown: The workout runs about 43 minutes, with a short warm up and cool down / stretch framing the cardio. Chalene generally builds up short routines, which are repeated several times before being rebuilt on the other side and repeated approximately the same number of times. She generally starts with two or three moves, then cuts the number down and then throws in two, three, or even four more moves as the routine is repeated—although she generally only adds one move at a time. These combinations are never put together for a TIFT (take it from the top), though. A little over halfway through the workout is a “Turbo,” or an interval during which Chalene kicks up the intensity. The warm up starts things off rather quickly (I need just a little bit more before I start throwing punches), but Chalene actually includes both a cool down (which I actually liked once I picked it up) and a brief Tai Chi / stretch segment (which includes a few quick lower body stretches and that’s it).
Chalene includes the jab, cross, hook, and upper cut; speed bags; knee strikes and knee raises to the front and back; front, side, and back kicks; and side crunches and the “wheel” (a side crunch with a pelvic tuck and bigger arms). There are also “jumping rope,” jumping jacks, and other such moves. In between some sections she asks you to dance in your own style for about thirty seconds; some moves acquire some hip shaking or “old school” arms in the later part of the repetitions. This is the extent of the dance party, though. (In other words, if you were expecting a dance video with a few kicks and punches, look elsewhere; at the same time, if you were afraid this would be a video with lots of dance moves, you can relax.) She does have some different combinations from other kickboxing videos, such as the jab-hook-upper cut combination (all done with the same arm), the speed bag which becomes an upper cut, and the alternating side crunches leading into a knee strike. I felt the moves were performed at an appropriate pace: not too fast (a la Tae Bo double time) and definitely not slow. (This pace would be too fast for beginners, though.)

Level: I’d recommend this to an experienced beginner (i.e. someone who’s been working out for a bit and who has some TaeBo, kickboxing, or martial arts experience) through someone at the intermediate/advanced cross-over level. Someone at the high intermediate to low advanced level could add light hand weights for more intensity.
I consider myself a high intermediate with respect to cardio but only have kickboxing experience through kickboxing videos, which I’ve been doing on and off for the past 1 ˝ years or so. I’d probably consider myself a solid intermediate when it comes to kickboxing. I found this workout appropriate for me without hand weights, although I’ll add the hand weights once I get the moves down. I worked up a good sweat but didn’t feel wiped out afterwards. I did this yesterday after my Pilates and really focused on my core; I feel some light DOMS today. I hope to have the moves done pat next time; there are a couple of quick movement changes that aren’t well cued, so I had a little trouble with them the first and for a few segments even the second time around.

Class: Six women and two men join Chalene in a fairly diverse cast, with two slightly older participants (late 40s to early 50s) and several different ethnicities represented. Two participants show lower impact moves while two show higher impact (although only one seems to ramp things up).

Music / Set / Other Production Notes: The pulsing music is motivating and suits the workout well. I can’t say I recognize many of the tunes, which include “Blame it on the Boogie,” “Busta Move,” “Mamma Said Knock You Out,” “Goodies,” and “Bass Keep Pumping.” The brightly lit interior set has some frosted windows in the back; the middle section is bright pink. One exerciser is on a raised platform to each side at the back. The picture and sound are good, with the music mix definitely loud.

Equipment: You’ll need sneakers.

Comments: You’ll need some space. You should be able to step and kick to each side (front, back, right, and left).

DVD Notes: The DVD is chaptered by segment. Extras include “Jam’d” (a Chalene practical joke caught on tape), “Behind the Sweat” (a little intro to Chalene inside and outside of class), “Get to Know the Cast,” “Beachbody Supplements,” and “Yoga Booty Ballet” (short version of the infomercial).
My disc freezes in my Toshiba DVD player but works fine on my computer’s DVD-ROM. I was able to burn a copy onto DVD-R that plays fine on my regular DVD player, though. I’ve heard Lemon Pledge might have solved that problem without all of the trouble (but then I wouldn’t have gotten to try out all of the accessories with my new computer).

Conclusion: I’m keeping this. I like it, but there’s no way I love this enough to deal with Beach Body to order others from this series. Turbo Jam doesn’t reinvent the wheel of kickboxing workouts, but it does have some different combos and music. I can’t see doing Turbo Jam all the time, though, as I think that might be too much Chalene for me, but this is a good one to rotate in with my other kickboxing videos (Cathe’s Kick Max and KPC, Guillermo’s Kickbox Underground, Janis’ Hardcore Kickbox Circuit, Strike Zone, and QF Total Cardio Kick, and Kimberly’s Box-N-Flow) to give me some variety in intensity and length. (Of the videos I mentioned, I think this is most similar in intensity to the Hardcore Kickbox Circuit.)

Instructor Comments:
Chalene does mirror cue, but her overall cueing is inconsistent. Sometimes she cues the moves right before they happen, sometimes right as they’re happening, but sometimes she’s not cueing at all, which is particularly noticeable during the Turbo. When she’s not cueing she’s talking to or about her background exercisers, motivating the viewer, or getting into the music. I have to admit that at first I thought the DVD was skipping because she repeats the exact same set of cues for one side as for another. (Somebody, change the cue cards!) She includes few form pointers. I know there’s an instructional segment with the Turbo Jam set, but I feel all of the workouts should include form tips, even if there isn’t a need for form instruction proper.
Chalene admits that she is not a martial artist. If you like kickboxing instructors to have great form and a serious, focused attitude, Chalene is not the person for you. On the other hand, she might seem more approachable to someone without much kickboxing experience.
I think the comparisons to Christi Taylor in terms of the music are apt. Both select music that they know they can work with and choreograph the moves to the beat in such a way that you hardly notice how well the two go together until you play a workout where they don’t mix well at all.
As mentioned, Chalene is very energetic and wants to be super encouraging. She’s just at the border of my tolerance for enthusiasm. (Billy Blanks was just over, for comparison’s sake.) “Baby” doesn’t come up a lot in this workout, and the “you’re going to love this!” statements thankfully die off towards the middle of the workout. She does have a tendency to get into the spirit of the old hip-hop type stuff, both physically (with some head shakes and arm movements) and verbally (calling people “bro”).
I’m not sure what I think about Chalene’s “Jam’d” segment in which she plays a practical joke on a potential cast member, a la Ashton Kuchter in “Punk’d.” I mean, it’s great to see her personality, and I like the “Behind the Sweat” segment with her kids and all, but I’m not wild about an instructor who admits to playing jokes. (I’m quick to mistrust jokesters, and I don’t like instructors who joke “one more” and then having you do twenty more. Fortunately Charlene’s not like that during the workout.)



I previewed this last night and knew I was going to enjoy this video. I kept all the moves low impact and burned 345 calories in 45 minutes. The music rocks, the choreography is fun yet challenging, and I like how the video is chaptered with headings for each upcoming segment. The countdown clock is a great feature, too. The cast is women and men, and they have fun. There are two exercisers showing low-impact modifications, and people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I can't wait to try the rest of these videos. The only thing that could make this workout better for me is a longer stretch, but the tai chi cooldown is a novel alternative.

Instructor Comments:
Bubbly, motivating, nice voice



I am a video workout junkie. For the past 10 years this is my form of exercise. This video is an exercise party that you look forward to doing. The 45 minutes flies by but leaves you sweating and begging for more. All of the crew are likeable and motivating but not posy for the camera. You can pull the energy from Chalene and the others. You feel like you are in the class with them and we are all in this fitness challenge together. And you look forward to seeing them the next day.

I highly recommend this video and the complete program. I feel tight, fit and energized (even with a few more pounds to get off). And the best part of all is that it is not a grueling, "do I have to workout today" kind of video. It's more like "hooray, time to Turbo Jam!"

Instructor Comments:
One of the best instructors on video.

I am a fan of Minna Lessig and Kathy Smith but Chalene seems to combine the enthusiasm of both of these instructors in a perky (non annoying way). She really motivates you to kick it up a notch.
Excellent queing-she's always sending the message before the move so you can keep up without missing a beat. She also does it mirror style so when she says right, you see right. Very helpful so you can stay in step.



The Good:

High energy, but not exhausting. When I was finished, I was sweating, but not gasping for air.

A good length, about forty minutes. I'm always on the lookout for workouts that deliver a intense overall workout in less than an hour.

Great music, as has been mentioned before.

The Bad:

No cueing! If you are accustomed to picking up dance routines, this may not be a problem for you. For me, it is. I need solid, step-by-step cueing and that is non-existent in this workout.

The kickboxing moves and form are definitely Chalene-style. If you like your kickbox classic, with perfect moves and great attention to form, you may raise an eyebrow at this!


This workout was pretty free-form. You may like that, you may not. It's definitely not a precise, drill like workout.

Instructor Comments:
Extremely enthusiastic and talkative. I didn't find either of these attributes annoying, as they fit in well with her workout style. However, the viewer is warned. I think you could call her the yin to Karen Voight's yang.



This has been the first and only Turbo Jam video I've tried so far. I was looking for a fun kickboxing workout, and overall, I was not disappointed. The workout wasn't as dancey as I had expected--there are occasional brief interludes where you are encouraged to move to your own beat--but the entire atmosphere is more akin to a dance club than to a workout studio.

This workout is about 43 minutes long, and I realy liked how it was broken down: each chapter is a 6-7 minute segment that is separately choreographed, so once you are done with that segment, you move on to a new routine. I have provided an overview for the moves contained in each segment below (times are approximate, and I didn't necessarily include *every* move):

Warm-Up, 4 minutes. Charlene begins by warming you up with each of the 4 basic punches (jab, cross, hook, upper) and simple side steps. A few moving stretches are included towards the end.

1st cardio segment, 7 minutes. As with most of the segments, you'll learn two combinations which you then connect together. The first combination consists of "wheel" (a standing side crunch) combined with cross and hook punches. This combo connects to a march with alternating knee lifts and then double knee lifts to either side; at the end, Chalene changes the march to a jog.

2nd cardio segment, 7.5 minutes. The first combination here consists of a partial squat to either side; side kicks are then added to the squat. Building on this, you'll do the squat/side kicks, then squat front and back, add front/back push kicks, and then add knee lifts with front/back push kicks. Last comes a move Chalene calls a "twist"--you'll move front with jab-cross-jab punches and then do a knee lift, first just on the one side but then on both sides with arms added in. The entire sequence is then repeated to the other side.

3rd cardio segment, 7.5 minutes. You'll start here with speed bag, adding an upper cut to the end of the move and then adding a front knee/back kick. After doing two knees to either side, you'll add in "Tai" punches--slow punches and blocks to the front while in "horse" stance (straddle squat).

Turbo, 1.5 minutes. For the turbo, a siren goes off and you kick up the intensity, doing jogs and hopping knee lifts. However, two of the women in the large class always do a low-impact version of the moves.

Water break, 30 seconds. Following the Turbo, there is a pause allowing you to get a drink of water, although Chalene encourages you to keep moving during this time.

Recovery Dance Party, 6 minutes (but for some reason, this segment continues partly into the next chapter). I didn't really notice much difference between this and the other cardio segments; after a brief freestyle dance at the very beginning, Chalene moves back into kickboxing combinations. Here, she does cross, hook, and uppercut punches to one corner, speed bags to repeat in the opposite corner, and then does "zig zag" knees--basically, a side crunch combined with a knee lift to one side; eventually, a back kick is added on as well.

Final cardio segment, 4 minutes. This is a quick segment performed entirely in horse stance. First, you do a front speedbag followed by quick cross punches. Staying in horse stance, you do a high-low punch to the side, then add zig zag knees; for the last couple of reps, Chalene does a hop when doing the knee lift.

Aerobic cool-down, 3 minutes. Chalene describes the moves in this section as "finesse." There are some arm swings to the front plus some low front and back kicks, but everything is performed at a slower, more relaxed pace.

Stretch, 1.5 minutes. Here, Chalene borrows from Tai Chi and talks about focusing your energy; she does just a few very brief stretches such as a hamstring stretch.

Overall, this is a high-intenstiy workout that is mostly low-impact--there are a few jacks/hops thrown in here and there, but as previously mentioned, two of the participants always show funky, low-impact alternatives. The mood of this workout is definitely high energy, and the music is loud and upbeat, with a few recognizable songs (eg, a very fast version of "Busta Move"). Also, there is a countdown bar at the bottom of the screen which lets you know how much time is left in the current segment as well as previews the upcoming moves. If you enjoy kickboxing but are looking for a style that's more fun and funky than serious, this might be the perfect video for you.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is clearly enthusiastic and has a ton of energy. She makes frequent comments to say that she *knows* you are having fun, and there are several points where she bursts out singing along to the moves. I would say that she's pretty over-the-top, but I didn't find her to be annoyingly so.

Much has been said about Chalene's cueing (or lack there of). She actually *does* cue, but I wasn't always sure what she was talking about. For example, she cued "twist," which turned out to be a punching move. I had the sense that if I had done her "Learn and Burn" video first, I would have found it much easier to follow along with this workout. As it was, however, I was able to pick up the combinations pretty quickly, especially since they are repeated throughout each segment, and when I used the video for the second time today, I had little problems.

Beth C (aka toaster)


This is my favorite DVD!!! i absolutely love it. I am a intermediate and it's perfect for me! challenging without killing me. I had lots of tae bo but could not get motivated to do it. plus, i didn't like the really fast moves--i felt like my form was bad in those parts. This is perfect!! IT is NOT strict kickboxing. It adds dancy moves, but nothing very complicated. If you are into straight kickboxing you may find this annoying. By the end i was breathless and sweaty! I love the music and sing along! I would recommend this to anyone except people who like strict kickboxing or advanced cathe level exercisers.

Instructor Comments:
I love chalene--she makes some goofy comments but they make me laugh. she has modifiers for low impact. I find her cueing just enough and her form pointers are good. I think she's very motivating!



This is a 45 minute workout included with the original 2-DVD (five workout) Turbo Jam set. This is a kickboxing themed cardio workout with PLENTY of standing ab work. Like all Turbo Jams, there is a large background cast (men and women, maybe 10 people total) with some people up on platforms. Two women demonstrate low impact modifications. The music is awesome and makes the workout a party in a box! Everybody waves, smiles and pans for the camera, (so yes it is somewhat hokey) and people are generally having a great time like they are at a party.

Like I mentioned, this workout is very abdominal-focused. Chalene includes a lot of twisting, knee crunches and repeaters, the “wheel” (side crunches), and all other variation of kickboxing-themed ab crunching. To emphasize how ab focused this workout feels to me, I would say it is at least as intense as a Tae Bo ab workout, though perhaps TJ is more fun. She encourages you to groove to the music and make it “funky” but does not include any actual dance moves, which is great for somebody like me who doesn’t catch on well to dancy choreography! The combos are fairly brief and repetitive but certainly not redundant. The great combination of easy to follow but also engaging.

I use the Turbo Jam 20 Minute Jam often and Cardio Party is far more challenging – not just the time length either but the types of moves involved. The first two tunes really focus on the abs (ALL those torso twists and standing crunches) the third tune focuses on the legs with lots of squats and kicking, then you have the Turbo (a 1 minute high intensity interval), then, to my relief, Chalene takes the energy down (although only slightly!) for the final 15 minutes of the workout. There is yet more punching and twisting and some slow but powerful punching.

The first time around, I used 1# weighted gloves like I do with 20MJ, but just ran out of steam too quickly. This workout doesn’t NEED the weights to work, although as my endurance improves I do hope to advance to using those weights again to make it a more advanced workout. Done as is (following Chalene), I would say this is solid-high intermediate but can easily be modified to low intermediate or even high beginner by following the modifiers or very high intermediate by using 1# weighted gloves as I mentioned. Definitely a killer fun cardio DVD and highly recommended!! Overall grade A!

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is a great instructor. She is happy, smiling, enthusiastic, she gives very good cues and form pointer. I disagree with some of the other reviews that say she doesn’t give good instruction – I think her instructions are clear (assuming you know the Turbo Jam moves).

Emily B.