Turbo Jam: Fat Blaster

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts

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i want to loose 10 pounds by the end of this week



Fat Blaster is a cardio interval workout produced by Beach Body. As an add-on for Turbo Jam, it isn't listed in the TJ program materials, though you can probably use it to substitute one of the 30 minute cardio sessions that Chalene plans out for the program. I actually like this workout and have been doing it regularly for a few years. That said, I've got some issues with this workout.

First, from what I've seen, every TJ warm up is basically the same. It gives me a feeling of deja vu every time, especially if I did a TJ the day before. I get that the program emphasizes her Elite 11 moves, but really-- there are more steps out there! Explore the wonderful world of the grapevine! That feeling carries over into the Turbos, 2 of which I really am convinced are straight lifted out of TJ workouts.

I like Chalene, but she's more than a little showboaty. At the end of each turbo (practice and Turbo), she does her own little schtick. The first time, I was confused because there was about 7 seconds left of the practice set and it seemed like she was intro-ing new choreography, then she says "That was just for me." Uh, okay. I DID, ya know, PAY for this workout. NOT to watch you prance around.

This type of thing makes me less inclined to cut her some slack when she makes mistakes or cues things oddly. At one point, she cues her 8 knees repeater, only to (as the casts' legs are moving down) then yell at count 6 to hold it. She could have just said do 6 knees. Or "we're going to do the 8 knees, but make sure you hold it at the six count!" There are also some other instances when she says you're going to do X 3 times (and she'll even count it out) but at full tempo you actually only do 2.

Keep in mind that you don't use your left and right evenly. It seems you do more in one direction than the other, and the section with the overhead diagonal punch with the lower block only travels in one direction.

I also find it odd she say's you're doing 8 turbos. By her definition, the Turbo is when you go full out. So you do only do 4 of them here. You do each turbo at a practice tempo, "marking" the routine, then go full out for close to minutes, though not all of that period is choreographed. The first approximately 30 seconds are jumping rope, then the choreographed Turbo, finishing with up to 10 seconds of whatever, as Chalene and the cast throw kicks and whatnot. Be aware that you're going to do a lot of the same several times in each turbo. A lot of the punches she uses are at a manic tempo, and I find it impossible to use a full range of motion. Also, some of these punch sections have you pivot or jump to the side or back and then forward. Use caution if you have touchy knees.

The workout is definitely high energy, and I actually do think it is fun and fits a space in my workout. I think Chalene figured she was reusing very familiar choreography and kinda went on auto-pilot and as a result, the cueing seems awkward at points. And in an effort to maybe introduce something new to her standards, she actually does things that make it harder to follow, even though the moves are extremely basic.

Cast alert: If you are easily irritated by cast members that mug for the camera, RUN AWAY. Some of the participants in this workout act as if they are putting together an audition tape for the musical How Many Facial Expressions Can YOu Make?

Instructor Comments:
I like Chalene. She's friendly and seems to have a sense of humor. I think she's not the world's best cuer, but she brings a ton of energy. I think she's very at ease on the camera, maybe even LOVES being on camera. That said, they gave her the wrong shorts for this workout. She seemed very uncomfortable in them and was often pulling them out of her crotch. Because she was routinely adjusting them, it did draw my eye to the fact that were riding into ladyparts! Yikes!



This has already been well reviewed, so I’m just going to add my opinions. This is one of the add on Turbo Jam workouts, produced by Beachbody with Chalene Johnson as the lead. The set is a little different from the originals, brighter and the cast is all on the floor (instead of some of them on raised platforms), and the music included smaller snippets of what was in some of the originals. I recognized most of the backgrounders from the original Turbo Jams.

This workout is entirely made up of turbos! There are four real (all out energy) turbos, preceded by four prep turbos at a lower intensity, to learn the moves, sandwiched between a longish warm up and longish cool down, totaling 30 minutes. Therefore pretty much the whole workout was sports drills (fast feet, plyos, jump rope, very fast punches while jumping, repeaters, etc.) and not really kickboxing. In fact I don’t think there were any kicks whatsoever in this workout. I agree with Kath’s comment that you don’t really need to use weighted gloves here, because it’s less kickboxing and more high intensity sports drills. (I like to use the gloves for the other Turbo Jam workouts to intensity the punches, but I think gloves here would just be extra weight on the joints). Even Chalene says to only use this workout for “special occasions” and that it’s not meant for everyday use, due to the intensity. She does remind you to keep at your own level and to modify if necessary. The prep turbo and full out turbos alternated made this a tough interval workout.

Having done other Turbo Jams (with my favorites being 20 Minute Workout and Cardio Party 1) I was familiar with most of the moves and kept up quickly. I would say it is not too complex (especially with the practice round of each turbo) but would be better if you were familiar with Chalene’s style, to get the most out of the workout. This was very well done! It was super fun and because of the short and constantly changing turbos, the time seriously flew by. I will definitely be doing this workout regularly. High production quality and super fun music. I would rate it intermediate as is, but like with any of the Turbo Jams, can be modified up or down depending on how much energy you put into it. Grade A!

Instructor Comments:
I really like Chalene a lot from both Turbo Jam and CLX (I plan to get Turbo Fire someday). She is definitely playful and pans for the camera, but she still keeps you up with the quickly moving exercises by mirror cuing. She’s both encouraging and friendly but not too chatty or otherwise annoying (whooping, etc.) which is awesome.

Emily B.


I’m reviewing this workout after doing it 2-3 times.

General workout breakdown: As has already been mentioned, this 30-min. interval workout combines kickboxing, athletic, and some dancy moves.
The Warm-up (just over 6 min.) is the standard TJ warm-up, with double bob & weave + punches (jab, cross, hook, then upper cut), knee lifts / strikes, dynamic stretches, mostly for the lower body, plus some opportunities to “shake it.”
The Turbos are around 2 min. each; since each is repeated twice and, as Terri and Talie have noted, there are 4 total Turbos, this section is about 15-16 min. long. The first time through you do the Turbo with lower intensity and impact, then you pick up both (although you can choose to stay with the low impact version). I recognize at least three of the Turbos from other TJs; even if the Turbos weren’t exactly the same, they used so many of the same moves and combos they felt familiar. Moves include several versions of jumping rope, squat w/ hand pops down, squat & lift, runs, ski hops, high & low punches, cross punch feet (also called scissors or cross countery ski), bounce w/ punch / block, squat hops, jabs, jumping jack, knee w/ punch across body, several variations of run, quick feet (also called basketball or football quick feet), hop w/ punch overhead, forward & back (a kind of Charleston move), knee lift / strike, side leap, speed bag, feet out & in, and punch down.
Cardio Cooldown & Stretch (just over 5 min.) repeats several of the moves from the warm-up, ending with held stretches for the inner thighs, hip flexors, hamstrings, (back of the) shoulders, lower back, triceps, upper back, and chest / front of the shoulders; these are actually held for a decent amont of time, and this is one of the better, most thorough TJ stretches, in my opinion. The workout ends with a Tai Chi stretch (just over 2.5 min.), with Tai Chi-type movements like mountain pose, sinking chi, and supporting heaven like a pillar, plus standing forward bend w/ flat back, standing side bend w/ legs wide (a sort of side angle pose), and standing forward bend w/ legs wide.

Level: I’d recommend this to intermediate exercisers with prior kickboxing (and preferably some TJ) experience. Beginner / intermediate exercisers can follow the low impact modifier, while intermediate / advanced exercisers can add intensity by following the more energetic members of the class who add extra.
I consider myself an intermediate + to intermediate / advanced in cardio; I don’t go for puke in the bucket or fall into a puddle of goo afterwards type of intensity, nor am I a huge high impact fan. I find this an acceptable level of challenge, especially since it can be modified up or down, depending upon my mood or needs for a particular day.

Class: 2 men and 7 women join Chalene, who instructs live. 1 woman shows lower impact modifications.

Music: an upbeat mix of instrumental and vocal music with a definite beat. Even the stuff that’s not remakes of popular songs is better than what usually passes for exercise video music. There are frequent music changes, with each combo getting its own song to which its moves are coordinated.

Set: bright brick loft setting (which I’ve seen before in videos produced by Andrea Ambandos, like Kathy Smith’s TimeSaver series and some of the Quick Fixes).

Production: crisp image and sound, camera angles that are more helpful than distracting, although there are a few too many sweeping views and close-ups for my personal tastes. If you choose the normal mix, Chalene’s voice is just loud enough to be heard over the music; in the music pumped up version, it’s a few notches quieter than the music.

Equipment: sneakers (make sure you can pivot your foot for punches and other moves).
Some of the crew members use weighted gloves (1-2 lbs. each), but I wouldn’t recommend that you use them unless you really know what you’re doing. Besides, there’s not a whole lot of kickboxing here, so it doesn’t make much sense to use them. I think you’d be better off exaggerating the lower body moves, such as bringing your knees higher during the jog or going a little deeper in your squats, to boost the intensity.

Space Requirements: You should be able to take a few steps in each direction. This is fairly compact, and if you take what out the little traveling there is, it’s even more so.

DVD Notes: After the standard Beachbody intro, the main menu offers these choices: start workout, with music pumped up, and special features (In Da House, Chalene’s take on Cribs – as an aside, what I’ve seen of this made me hope against hope that Chalene doesn’t regret putting that much out there about her private life; Behind the Sweat, Chalene’s take on Behind the Music; Get to Know the Cast; P90X; and Beachbody supplements). The DVD has chapters so you can skip the WOWY bit and intro; the workout is chaptered by segments, so if you want to skip a Turbo or do it twice, you can.

Comments: Like any good interval workout, this is NOT meant to be used daily. You should have at least a day of rest in between to give your body a chance to recover. Start with this once a week, then work up to two; three times would be the limit and probably not something you’d want or need to do all the time. It’s also supposed to be short and sweet; if this were much longer you wouldn’t properly be able to give your all during the higher intensity segments. If you want to boost the challenge, do this after your weights; that always works for me!

I usually take out many of the pivots (other than the ones needed to execute the punches and kicks properly), as there’s really no need for Chalene to do some of the half and quarter turns that she does, especially since she usually just moves or even quickly hops right back to where she started for the next move. This helps eliminate some of the torque that has aggravated some knees.

I like the TJs in spite of myself. Yeah, there’s some infomercial-type cheesiness, with promises of amazing weight loss, etc., and the attempts at infectious enthusiasm can be over the top. But the great music and party atmosphere makes them worthwhile for me to have in my collection when I need something different.
I have to admit that this workout doesn’t have a huge fun factor for me, but you should know I say that after any good interval session. :)

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is energetic, that’s for sure! Her cuing is more consistent here than in some of the other TJs; in fact, it’s much more extensive than usual during the Turbos. She mirror cues. Chalene spends a lot of time motivating the viewer, getting into the music, and just generally being a little goofy (“make a face like you’ve just won the lottery!”); encouraging people to exercise is probably her biggest goal. There are some “you’re burning so many calories” comments and Beachbody plugs, but within my realm of tolerance.



This is a thirty minute interval workout that consists of four turbos. Chalene does each turbo twice, once so you can learn the moves and the second time at a high intensity. Chalene and crew are dressed in various shade of hot pink, black and gray.

The moves are a mix of kicks, punches, calistenics, and dance. I found it a really effective combination for getting my heartrate up. Beyond that though, it was just plain fun. The enthusiasm of Chalene and her background exercisers is so energizing and just makes you want to try your hardest.

I also love the how each person sort of makes the workout their own with vith various levels of intensity ranging from low impact to giant plyometrics.

This was my first Turbo Jam and I went in fairly skeptical. After having done the workout once, I can see myself becoming a Turbo Jam fan.

Word of warning - If you are a real fan of kickboxing done with impeccable form, you should probably go somewhere else. I would almost put this in the category of easy to follow dance routine with kickboxing moves, than kickboxing.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is extremely enthusiastic and seems very genuine in her enthusiasm. I enjoyed her but could see where she might annoy others.



This is about 30 minutes of just the turbos.

You start with a short warm up - shoulder rolls, side steps, easy punches, stretches - like the other Turbo Jams.

The body of the workout is 4 (I think) turbos. You do each Turbo twice, once slowly to learn it, once at a fast enough pace to get into your anaerobic zone. There is one modifier, Mindy, who keeps it lower intensity, low impact.

Next is a cool down, a stretch, and the Tai Chi.

I found this workout to be a ton of fun, but I've enjoyed all the TJs.
Chalene's cuing seems much better here, but that could be because you're doing the moves slowly at first so you know what's coming when it's moving fast.

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is her usual self in this one - motivating, cheerful, fun!