I bought my first Turbo Jam video (Punch, Kick & Jam) almost two years ago, and it sounds hokey to say, but it’s been one of the major turning points in my fitness journey. I started working out to this DVD more and more, and eventually became fit enough to try other DVDs, embrace other workouts, and join a gym. Honestly, I think of Turbo Jam as my exercise gateway drug.
Punch, Kick & Jam is about 45 minutes long, and involves a warmup period, the core of the workout, a short segment using weight resistance (she uses a rubber band type thing, I use hand weights—neither are necessary, though), and a cool-down/stretching at the end.
The workout itself uses a lot of repetition, so even if you aren’t familiar with the moves you’ll get there fairly quickly. The instructor, Chalene Johnson, incorporates basic boxing/kickboxing techniques like jabs, uppercuts, speed bag, roundhouse kicks, front kicks, etc, and mixes them with high energy repetitious movements (squatting, marching, jumping rope). In researching the links for this review I found a comment that said her “cueing” isn’t that great, I agree that she doesn’t waste any time but once you do the routine a few times (and listen to the music) it becomes almost intuitive which moves are coming next.
I noticed that the better I got at the routines, the better of a workout I could give myself. When you start getting stronger and you’re rotating through the punches, bending your legs and getting low, etc, you’re working your muscles even more. It’s definitely not a workout that you’ll ever think is too easy, no matter how good you get at it.
Some nice touches: there’s a little graphic at the bottom of the screen that shows you how much time is left in each segment, with the “turbo” (a short period of high intensity) segment highlighted so you know when it’s coming; one woman in the class demonstrates lower-impact modifications to the whole workout.
I also have the Fat Blaster video, which is 30 minutes of interval training: there are four “turbos” mixed with slower versions of the turbo exercises. It’s pretty good—leaves me sweaty and panting, anyway—but not as fun as the Punch, Kick & Jam video.
For more variety, I really like the goofily-named 5 Rockin’ Workouts DVD. This DVD collection has an instructional ‘Learn and Burn’ video, which isn’t terribly useful; but also offers a 20-minute workout, a comprehensive strength training section, a workout devoted to abs, and a cardio workout that’s much more choreographed than Punch, Kick & Jam. Of these, my favorites are the 20 minute workout and strength sections, those alone are worth the price of purchase in my opinion.
The music is fun, the instructor is inspirational, and the time just flies by. If you’re looking for an intense cardio workout to do at home that also builds strength, I highly, highly recommend Turbo Jam.
• I don’t know anything about the Beachbody company, which owns Turbo Jam. It seems that you can’t buy just one workout from them, they have some expensive package deal.
• I bought my Turbo Jam DVDs used from Amazon; they were cheap and came in great condition. You might also try checking them out from Netflix, if you’d rather not buy them without trying the workout firsthand.