Saturday, January 21, 2012
When SparkPeople asked me to review Coach Nicole's "28 Day Bootcamp" dvd, I hesitated because I know that dvd workouts are not for me. As a retired teacher I understand that I am a very visual learner. I was always the one in college classes who was staring at the textbook and tuning out the instructor. (When those fluorescent highlighter pens first came out, my grades shot up!) When I've tried some of those famous "walking videos" by a very famous teacher, I fell all over myself (did I also mention I'm extremely uncoordinated?) , turned off the video, and went outside for a long hike over the mountain. So I wondered if they really wanted me to do a review for SP. But then I thought back to one of the highlights of my LIFE a couple of years back when I had the chance at the SP convention to workout with Coach Nicole in person (along with another hundred or so of sweating, tripping fellow Sparkers). And last year one of my main motivations for attending the Spark Rally in KY was when I found out that Coach Nicole would be at the after-party. I was thrilled to spend a few minutes talking with her one-on-one! The rest of you may be thinking of famous people, pro athletes, rock stars, or actors you've met, but, really, meeting Coach Nicole was just such a cool moment for me. So, being a silver-haired version of a Coach Nicole groupie, I decided, what the heck, I'll give it a try!
Last winter when I was stuck in the house a lot and my workout routine was getting pretty stale, I did the on-line 28-day Bootcamp and found it very helpful. This was even better! I love the format of the dvd. Even for someone like me who has trouble following directions while moving, this dvd is very doable. Have I looked like a klutz while doing it? Well, all I can say is, my DH has earned my everlasting devotion because as he's seen me doing it, he's managed to keep a straight face! I've also discovered that age has given me a lot more of a balance problem than I was aware of before these workouts. (Have added some balance exercises back into my routine as a result.)
But Coach Nicole is an A+ instructor! As a former teacher of teachers, I feel very qualified to judge her teaching methods. She gives directions clearly and well in advance of changing the movement. The video is very professionally done and one of the things I really appreciated is that it took me a few times doing it before I really tuned in to the music- it's there, but it doesn't blare out and overwhelm the spoken track. I also love the choice of the two "back-up" gals. They look like real people, much thinner and fitter (oh, heck, younger) than me! One of only two criticisms I had of the dvd comes in here. Being such a visual person, I wish they had put different color tops (which are gorgeous, btw) on Lindsey and Jewel. Because both of these young ladies bear some physical resemblance to each other, it was hard at first for me to "see" which one to follow. (If you haven't seen the dvd yet, Lindsey does the "advanced" moves while Jewel- my gal!- does the "beginner ones.) But that's just an idiosyncrasy of mine, the look they have is wonderful!
However, this is Coach Nicole's workout and like everything else I've seen from her on SP, this workout is awesome. Her directions are clear, her manner is gentle, and I think she's tops because she always makes me feel that if I'm doing the best I can at my level, that's fine with her. Each workout has those advanced moves for those more physically fit, but I'm finding myself "upping" my level as I become more familiar with the moves and gain strength.
That's another thing. I thought I had improved my strength a lot in the last two years on SP, but after my first couple of workouts I was "finding" muscles and feeling soreness in areas I thought were just fine. The first time I did a routine with weights I had to stop and go get lighter weights to use because these exercises were much more challenging than the exercises I was doing from the SP database. The other very important point for me with this dvd is its flexibility. The menu has a 28-day plan to follow or you can just do the segments on your own. I guarantee you that even if you are pretty fit, doing the entire 84 minutes on the dvd would give you a challenge! But if you are just starting on your exercise program, or have some physical limitations, you will still find these workouts appropriate for you. Sometimes my heart rate goes a little wacky, but I can hear Coach Nicole's gentle voice tell me it's okay, just march in place a few moments until I can resume the exercises.
Another thing that's really helped me stay with this has been the use of a timer on the screen. When I think I just can't move any more, I see there's only 4 or 2 minutes left and I know I can do it! I have not used this dvd as my sole workout routine. I was doing 40-60 minutes of cardio and/or ST a day already, so I've tried to just use these workouts to put some variety in my routine. The format of the dvd makes this very easy. As many of my SP buddies know, I live in a very rural area of the mountains and have to drive long periods of time to get myself or DH out for doctor appointments, shopping, etc. There are some days we have to leave the house very early and don't get home until very late and I was struggling to get my exercise schedule to fit. With this dvd I can pick a workout from the menu that fits into my schedule and I can at least do something before I leave for the day.
That brings me to my only other criticism of the dvd- the lack of a written menu (there's the need for a visual again!). There's a nice brochure that comes with the dvd that's chock full of recipes from the SP Cookbook. Delightful, but it would have been nice to have the 28-day plan chart in writing. I have it bookmarked on my computer and it is on the dvd menu screen, but I'd like a "paper" version I could glance at quickly when I'm trying to hurry and get some exercise in before leaving the house. It also occurred to me that if someone bought this dvd that didn't know anything about Spark People and it's formats, some more information about the exercise program on the package would have been helpful.
I think it's very exciting that this dvd is available at Target. I can tell friends and family to look for it there. And for my SP friends, I will be sure to tell them that they can get 250 SP points when they buy it. (There's also a $3 off Target coupon you can get at www.sparkpeople.com/28daybootc
amp.) All in all, a great deal! (And the next time DH and I make the hour-long drive to the nearest Target I'm going to make him stop and let me go in so I can find the 28 Day Bootcamp dvds on display and I can stop and just give a few little momma love pats to Nicole's beautiful face on the covers!)
PS- Uncle Sam wants me to tell you:
I received this dvd for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form
of payment for my review. (Govt regs...sigh... but that's another blog!)