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I Tried It: 'Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition' Workout DVD

By , Teri Powers, Account Manager at SparkPeople
Editor's Note (Nicole Nichols): So many workout DVDs land on my desk, but since I only have so many hours in the day to work (and work out), I've started enlisting the help of my fellow SparkPeople employees to test them. I asked Teri, a new employee on SparkPeople's sales and marketing team, to try the first (and recently released) DVD by Chris Powell, trainer from the TV show "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition." When I previewed the DVD, I liked what I saw: lots of encouragement, good modifications (plus tips to progress exercises), and workouts that seemed introductory and geared toward beginners and/or people who have a lot of weight to lose. I also loved seeing the real people doing the workouts along with Chris. The DVD includes three workouts (15 minutes, 25 minutes, and 30 minutes) that increase in intensity as you get fitter.
Teri is getting back into fitness since starting her job at SparkPeople two months ago, and her goal is to lose 25 pounds. Find out what she thought about this workout DVD!
Review By Teri Powers
My First Try
The 15-minute workout was a great beginning workout for someone who has not participated in structured exercise in awhile. Since all I do is straight cardio (walking or using the treadmill), I feared that even a 15-minute workout would be too much.  However, I am pleased to say that Chris was by my side the entire way.  The workout was relatively easy to follow and not overly challenging, yet it still made me sweat and made my muscles burn a bit.
The most motivating factor for me was Chris’s soft, encouraging tone.  He was not loud or obnoxious and recognized that the audience was new to this, or like me, just now returning to it.  I also liked that his three assistants were normal sized people, so I did not find them intimidating—but just like me.
Finally, I must admit that Chris is easy on the eyes, which is quite the incentive to try hard and keep up with his routine.  I am looking forward to the next workout session.
A Week Later
I finally finished a week of the introductory 15-minute workout, so I promoted myself to the 25-minute routine.  Wow, what an increase in intensity!  The original 15 minute workout I tried was perfect for me, so I moved ahead to the next one. However, this 25-minute workout is much different and more challenging.  Chris added “shredders” to the workout, which are high intensity spurts of exercise to keep your heartbeat up.  The exercises were focused a lot on the core, but also involved squats and pushups along with a lot of down-to-the-floor-then-stand-back-up movements. I had to revert to some of the modified positions, but Chris actually guided me through it and mentioned throughout the workout that it was OK to take a break or do a modified version of the exercises. 

He emphasized that the key was to keep going and maintain momentum.  It was very helpful see the other three individuals doing the workout along with Chris.  One was keeping pace with him, another was doing a lower impact modified version of the exercises, and then there was another individual who was ramping up the intensity.
While I actually considered the 15 minute workout fun, this workout was more physically challenging and faster paced. The one thing that worried me about the 25 minute workout was that there were so many different types of exercises that I was unsure if I was using the proper techniques.  I have shoulder, knee and hip injuries (from years of playing volleyball and from a car accident) so the goal for me is not to aggravate these older injuries, but so far, so good!
The Third and Final Workout
Finally, I felt ready to try the last workout session, and Chris saved the best for last!  The 30-minute workout really took me to a new high in exercise.  Although it is considered to be low impact, it sure is intense and got my heartbeat higher up in the aerobic zone. It builds on the prior two sessions. 
Once again Chris is patient and allows for “catching your breath” if and when you can’t keep the pace.  His tone throughout the exercise session is enthusiastic to keep you motivated but lacking the “drill sergeant” style that is common in videos.  I must say that I am much more willing to work harder for someone who comes across as supportive and motivating versus relentless in their coaching approach.
3-Week Recap
Well, I did it! I consistently stuck with the DVD for three weeks of low-impact workouts that gradually built on intensity level.  I feel that spending a full week at each level provided my body the time to build up for more intensity.  I would highly recommend Chris Powell’s "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition – The Workout" DVD to beginners and people who are not used to structured exercise.  Chris is a great motivator and I will be using his routines to help get me back on the fitness track!
Find a preview of "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition – The Workout" on YouTube or purchase it at ($11.99).