Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boot camp, baby!

It's been a while since I've blabbed about a fitness DVD, but I couldn't seem to go another day without praising my new favorite: Jeanette Jenkins' Bikini Boot Camp!

I first learned about Jeanette through the Nike Training Club App after unlocking her bonus ab workout. After that, I got curious and started to browse her DVD releases. After reading some reviews, I decided to give Bikini Boot Camp a try.

First, I'll cut to the chase and say: This workout is NOT for beginners! In fact, I think even intermediate and advanced exercisers will find this one tough to keep up with.

The basic format of the workout is a warm-up, a cardio camp (about 27 minutes), a strength/toning camp (about 25 minutes), an ab camp (about 10 minutes) and finally, stretching & cool down. You can do each camp individually or all together.

Don't let the girlishness of the word "bikini" fool you- the cardio camp is no joke! It's very athlete-driven, starting with some basic moves (jumping jacks, high knees, etc.), but then quickly transitions ("quickly" being a key word here) to kick boxing, plyometrics and sport drills one might do in volleyball, basketball and football (shuffling, overhead spikes, mixed jump rope routines, etc.)

While the cardio camp is under 30 minutes, Jeanette does not let up for a single second; there are 5 circuits, all of them repeated about 2-3 times with no breaks. While her cuing and pace are both steady, she doesn't really pause to show you how to perform the move, so it's up to the viewer to really pay attention and keep up. None of the moves are terribly complicated, but if you're expecting a lot of explanation beforehand, it simply isn't there.

The strength/toning camp moves at a slightly slower pace with a couple of breaks, but because most of the moves are compound exercises (working more than one muscle group at the same time), your heart rate will stay up and you'll definitely start to feel the burn all over.

This routine starts off with push-ups and plank exercises and then moves on to using dumbbells with lots of variations on lunges, squats, arm curls and extensions. One move that was new to me was plie squats performed while standing on the tips of the toes- hello calf muscles! Many of the moves also involve balancing on one leg, which I found really challenged my core muscles.

Finally, there's the ab camp. Nothing particularly spectacular here; just a lot of crunches (with the added weight from a dumbbell), bicyles and leg raises that will set your stomach on fire for almost 10 minutes. Y'know, the usual.

I've done this DVD twice now and I think I may be addicted, despite how incredibly tough it is. The first time, I did the entire DVD, all of the camps in order. This morning, I skipped the ab camp and changed up the order, doing the strength camp first, then the cardio camp. I'm sure it depends on the person, but I found doing the strength camp first was a little bit easier to get through. The cardio is just so tough that trying to get through resistance training immediately afterward was a little too much of an ass-kicker for me. Plus, I think my form was better in the strength camp since my muscles were still fresh and not completely spent from all of the plyometric work in cardio camp.

This DVD was a little pricier than what I usually spend on fitness DVDs (Collage Video actually has the cheaper price; Amazon wants almost $40- yeah right!), but so far, it's proven to be worth every penny. It's provided the type of muscle confusion I've needed lately and goes by pretty fast. Plus, the only equipment you need is some dumbbells (I used a set of 5's and a set of 8's). If you're looking for a great total body workout, Bikini Boot Camp delivers a solid challenge that will leave you soaked and sore (in a good way, of course). You've got a new fan, Jeanette!

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