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Reviews of SparkPeople's '28 Day Boot Camp' Workout DVD

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When SparkPeople approached me about creating the 28 Day Boot Camp DVD you’ve been hearing so much about lately, I was excited of course! I love creating workouts (with you in mind!) and shooting videos for the It’s one of the highlights of my job and such and enjoyable experience. When you work so hard on a project like this, you fall in love with it and you hope that others will love it, too. How couldn’t they? Don’t they know how much time and effort was involved and that you think it’s great?
Well, unfortunately I’ve learned that not everyone will love what you do, and some can be really negative and hurtful in their comments. When we released one of SparkPeople’s first DVDs, some people went out of their way to criticize me (not my workouts, but my appearance). And then of course I’ve seen countless comments on our YouTube workouts doing the same over the years.
28 Day Boot Camp is our biggest DVD to date—professionally produced (I got the real star treatment!), widely distributed in stores nationwide, and sent out to countless writers, reporters and bloggers in hopes they’ll write about it for the masses. It’s reaching so many more people that I’ve been bracing myself for more harsh reviews since day one of this project. I would second guess everything during the process—the exercises, my cueing, what I wore—just thinking about all the things others could find “wrong” with it.  Two things really saved me from going crazy as I anticipated what others might think about the DVD (and me):
  1. I reminded myself that my intentions were good and pure. I was trying to help people and spread a positive and healthy message. Some people may find fault in the way it was executed, but I shouldn’t let it get to me because I did the best I could. I suppose I’d rather get some backlash by putting myself out there and going for it than never try for fear of how I might be perceived.
  2. I remembered the quote a member shared with me years ago that I still remember today: “If someone else has a problem with you, it’s their problem, not yours.” This is such great and comforting advice!
The reviews of 28 Day Boot Camp are starting to stream in from customers, reporters, independent bloggers and even SparkPeople members. Each time I see a new one I brace myself for the worst, but overall, they have been overwhelmingly positive. If you’re on the fence about checking out SparkPeople’s newest DVD, check out some of these honest and independent reviews first. Read their full review.
Oh, how I heart the Fit Bottomed Girls. They review and try countless DVDs every year, so they’ve seen it all. As a fellow trainer, I tend to agree with almost everything co-founder Jenn says about workout DVDs so I was anxious for her review: 4 stars, with little tidbits like this that show me just how much she really gets everything about what we were trying to achieve:
"While working out with Jillian and Bob is awesome, sometimes you really just want to work out with your girlfriend. Your normal, non-brutal friend, who can’t do laundry on her abs. You know, your friendly, upbeat, encouraging—and real—pal. Well, for times when you’re in that mood, Coach Nicole is your girl. Because she’s all of those things, plus she can give you a creative and fun workout that will challenge both beginners and intermediate exercisers in 28 Day Boot Camp." Read all customer reviews here.
Most people are buying their DVD at Target to take advantage of our exlusive 250 SparkPoints deal and $3 off coupon. I'm thrilled that so far only 5-star ratings have been left online at Target. Woohoo! Here's one of my favorites:

"I tried it out today for the first time and WOW let me tell you, What a workout! I would consider myself an advanced exerciser and yet still found this DVD challenging! Overall I loved this DVD very much and look forward to doing it again." Read customer reviews here.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, Collage Video is a website and catalog that specialized in fitness DVDs. They have everything, from the mainstream to the independently produced. What really sets them apart is the detail they offer in their descriptions since every workout is watched and then described by a certified trainer. The people who tend to use Collage Video are exercise DVD enthusiasts (they are picky and have seen it all) and certified trainers and instructors. They have high standards and can be very constructive in their reviews. I brace myself when I check their website, but so far I’ve seen nothing but 4- and 5-star ratings of 28 Day Boot Camp. Here’s a great excerpt of one:
"I am an intermediate to advance exerciser. I bought this because it looked like a good workout for light days. This is probably the best cued and safest workout I have ever done. It seems easy but you work up a sweat and feel it the next day. There are many options to choose from. I ended up doing the entire workout (approx. 84 min.) but, it went by so quickly." Read all customer reviews here.
You never know what kind of reviews you’ll get with In general, customer reviews there tend to come from your average consumer, but so far, we’re in a good spot: 4.5 out of 5 stars on average (of 18 reviews at the time I’m writing this blog). There are a couple outlying 1-star reviews, but that’s far from the norm of 4 and 5 stars. Here’s a great one!
"Lovelovelove this DVD. I've always been intimidated by other workout DVDs due to the models - I mean instructors - as well as their seemingly endless energy and shouting. In Coach Nicole's DVD, all of the instructors are beautiful and fit, but still look like real women I can relate to and not feel intimidated by. They represent 3 different workout levels so you can follow along at your own pace and have an instructor to watch who is doing it right there with you so you don't feel like you're being left behind by a DVD. The workouts are fun and the choreography isn't too complicated. You may get tripped up the first or second time on any workout, but that's to be expected. Just keep moving and catch up when you're ready! Would definitely recommend."
SparkPeople Member Reviews (click username to read full review):
XPHOENIX: “None of the moves were difficult at all to get and there were modifications for any advanced move she did, so you can use this DVD as a beginner or even much more advanced.”
EMFRAPPIER: “I’m picky. I know exactly what I want from an exercise DVD, and most of them don’t stack up. Coach Nicole and the 28 Day Boot Camp deliver. I was impressed. Nicole's cueing is great, and she tells you what is coming in advance. Coach Nicole also provides a 28-day plan for best results. I would have loved this when I was first starting out. I was unsure of how often to exercise or what to do and could have used the advice...I love this new DVD, and I will incorporate the workouts into my weekly routine. I’m going to share this find with everyone I know. Trust a picky workout DVD connoisseur – this one is GREAT!”
TATYPREZ: "I get bored really easily and I hate when you’re just repeating a 20 min workout every day, but this plan actually has variety. I also liked that the workouts were gradual. You started with one movement then added an arm movement, then a kick, then something else. It was almost like you didn’t realize how hard you were working."

Independent Reviews and Press
  • Woman’s Day magazine (Feb. 2012 print issue): "WD loves SparkPeople: 28 Day Boot Camp DVD. Burn mega-calories no matter what your fitness level with this DVD featuring Nicole Nichols, fitness trainer for SparkPeople."
  • named it one of the best exercise DVDs for any fitness goal! "Offered as part of a 28-day workout plan, this DVD offers four different, calorie-burning routines designed to put you through a total body boot camp – sans drill sergeant- that won’t have you crying or throwing up! Led by friendly certified personal trainer ‘Coach Nicole,’ the high-energy cardio drills and full body strength exercises are tough, yet manageable."
  • The Washington Post: "For those who don’t like a one-size-fits-all workout, SparkPeople has created a flexible program complete with cardio and strength training…If you’re in pretty good shape already, you won’t sweat much in the beginner-level short workouts. But the longer ones at the advanced level will make you breathe hard and break into a sweat."
  • Express Night Out (a publication of The Washington Post): "One unusual feature of the program is the countdown clock on the screen during each of the segments, reminding you of exactly how much longer you need to sweat it out."
  • "Coach Nicole's ‘28 Day Boot Camp’ is probably the least intimidating boot camp routine on the market…Nicole Nichols sets a lively pace -- but not one so fast that it's impossible for us less coordinated types to keep up."
  • Weight Loss Examiner: "Don't be put off by the words 'boot camp' -- the DVD is geared for any fitness level and it's customizable with 12-, 20-, and 30-minute workout segments, plus bonus features."
I think SparkPeople’s 28 Day Boot Camp DVD is the bomb-diggity (hehe) and has something for just about everyone--if you try it with an open mind, follow the appropriate workout stage for you, and select the proper weight to execute the exercises. Workouts are not one-size-fits-all and no single workout will be perfect or ideal in everyone's eyes, but if you can provide something that works for most, then you've done a pretty good job. Luckily you don’t have to take my word alone in making your decision. Hopefully some of the great comments above will help make the decision for you!
Have you tried SparkPeople’s 28 Day Boot Camp DVD? Will you try it after reading these reviews? Do you have a review of your own to share below?

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I just started with this dvd! It is hard! I like that there are different levels! Report
I really like this DVD. I am in decent condition and still and find the workouts to be surprisingly challenging. They can easily be ramped up by using heavier weights, and switched up to keep the body guessing. Thank you, Coach Nicole, for taking the time to put this together! Report
I bought it at Target and I love it! I started doing the 28 day work out now I alternate between the workouts to do about 40 min everyday. The time flies by. I really like the more or less advanced workout choices. Jewel and Linsey are so realistic, I feel like I am working out with friends. The workouts fun and not hard to learn, but so effective and I always break a sweat so I feel like it is worth my time. Thank you. You really created a great workout DVD and I use it all the time. Report
I just got it and will put it in and give it a try Report
How weird! One of the reasons I chose to do your workouts, besides the workouts being adjustable to my level, was your down-to-earth looks. It made me feel comfortable because I felt I was working out with an everyday person I would pass on the streets. Exercise DVD's use to intimidate me because whenever I'd mess up or couldn't "get" the move, I'd rationalize I'm not nearly as in shape as the ripped, energetic model on my television. Then, I'd give up.

P.S. You've always been my favorite SP coach on here! XD Report
I can't find this dvd. Report
Hey, I also saw this dvd at Best Buy, just in case Target is sold out.

I say Way to Go Coach Nicole!! You continually do a fantastic job, and I for one appreciate it greatly! Report
This DVD is so popular that Target keeps delaying my shipment. Hope I get it soon! Report
I have looked in three different Target stores and at and can't find the DVD. I'm so bummed especially after reading all the great reviews :-(
I find it so sad that people are out there saying these negative comments. I bought your video because I like how down to earth you are. The workouts are tougher than they look, but the way you present them makes me feel very motivated. I think you are real with the way you look, and you look fabulous! I don't like to workout to some standard that I can't meet. I look at women who have done workout videos who are "buff and ripped" and I don't like that because that is not what I want to look like.
Negative comments hurt, but just remember that there are positives that outweigh them. Keep up the great work(outs)!! :) Report
I cant believe people would leave such harsh comments. I love your work outs. I bought the new DVD two weeks ago and its great! Report
As you know, I am one of your biggest fans b/c I am blind and appreciate your detailed cues in most of your videos! I haven't gotten this one yet b/c I am hoping to win a copy in the January Jump Start Challenge! LOL! But, if I don't win a copy I will be buying one and probably from Collage Video. I've loved that site ever sicne I first read about it here on SP and love how you can return videoes. Since I am blind sometimes I will get a workout DVD I simply can't follow! I do like the new videos on SP and love that you finally came up with a seated cardio routine! I am not able to follow every move on the lower body or seated upper body, but I can follow them more than most and love them! Forget about what people say about your looks or clothing or whatever! Keep doing what you do! Thank you for videos accessable to blind "viewers". I look forward to starting the 28 day bootcamp soon! ~Melissa Report
I've been using it since the first of the year and I love it. As a hiker, I've found that my legs are getting stronger and I'm able to do uphills better each time I go. I also love that this DVD gives you so many different options. Thanks Coach Nicole. I think it's great! Report
My first copy mysteriously disappeared when my daughter went back to college. :) I need to purchase another one.
Dietitian Becky Report
I tried to buy this DVD from Target, but keep getting error messages. Any idea why? Report
It's just right for me Coach Nicole, I have already lost 4 lbs this year, you did a fantastic job, plus loved meeting you when I got it~you rock and so does the DVD, woo hoo!!! Report
I'm looking forward to previewing it on Collage Video's site. Report
Coach Nicole's bootcamp rocks. I was like ALICIAKAY, while I was doing it I thought this is going to be another DVD wasted in the abyss. The next day I got up I was sore throughout my legs. The 2nd. day I did the 30 minute segment thinking I was all that, well I got up this morning, not only do my legs hurt but I feel it throughout my back and sides! Awesome for all levels and it was refreshing to see that it wasn't all rah, rah like mentioned before. You could her Coach Nicole make her changes and the music was just right!
Thank you Coach Nicole for doing this and making the average person feel extraordinary!
Kudo's to you and your team and SparkPeople for it all coming together!
I would definitely recommend it!! Report
I am on day three of the boot camp. The first day I thought it was too easy, I was a little upset. However, the next morning my body disagreed with me! I feel satisfyingly sore in my arms, thighs, and butt! I am very excited to continue the 28 day plan. Coach Nicole, you are a delight; as are your two instructors. All three are real women, who are obviously healthy and fit. I love that you can follow the 28-day plan and the segments for that day automatically play. And when you're done with the 28 days, you can pick individual segments you would like to do. I was a little upset I didn't get my spark points because I purchased at, my store did not carry the dvd. I guess online they don't put the sticker on the dvd. But, I did get the $3 off, so you can't beat that! Report
I'm looking forward to getting to Target as soon as the snow melts (maybe tomorrow?). I've found that I have problems will all workouts the first time (sometimes the second, also), but by the third time I try it I can finally keep up with the rhythm and choreography. I expect to have the same problems with this one too.
As far as what you are wearing. Who cares? I workout in a t-shirt and shorts (the same ones I garden in).
As far as your hair style. Who cares? Does it really make any difference to what is trying to be accomplished?
As far as your physic. Well, you look closer to a real woman than most DVD instructors. I can relate to you. I can't relate to Jillian Michaels or Denise Austin or so many of the other model instructors.

My advice is to appreciate the constructive criticism - timing, cueing, combination of moves - and ignore the window dressing.
yes and yes, I plan on reviewing it....just wanted to work through it completely before reviewing it, but's awesome.....and I love it... I am going to do a blog on it soon. Report
Studies have shown that most women feel worse about themselves after looking at fashion magazines. I would assume that similar feelings are experienced after working out with videos of fitness models.

Nicole, you are *beautiful*, and a *great* example of what true health means. Don't let them keep you from continuing to be the *inspiring* and joy-driven person that you are.

*hugs to you* Report
It is unfortunate that when we try to share our gifts, expertise and passion with the world that there are those who would criticize and like to take the wind out of our sail. I am truly sorry there are those who would spend their time tearing down another rather than using their God-given talents to add to this life and build up humanity.

Such is this life.

Coach Nicole... Please KNOW that there are those of us who greatly appreciate your education, credentials, expertise and obvious passion for fitness and making it easily accessible to all by breaking down concepts and exercises so they can be understood and performed by almost anyone.

I found myself feeling a bit protective reading some of the criticisms that were personal and had nothing to do with the carefully researched and eloquently executed fitness moves in bite-sized chunks of time that eliminate anyone's time excuse.

Please take comfort in our SparkPeople Community, which is growing BECAUSE OF YOU. Your videos on YouTube are great. Your intent gets through to those of us who really need your gift. We love your simplicity, genuine and tender spirit, and any quirks that make you who you are.

Let your Spark family embrace you and shield you from the FEW who would gain too much acknowledgement and cause you any personal discomfort.

KNOW you are truly LOVED here! Report
I have been a long-time fan of your workout videos, and have participated in several of SP's bootcamp challenges. I was VERY excited to get this DVD right after it came out, and once I did the workouts, I was not disappointed! Similar to the FitBottomedGirls review, I really felt like I was working out with a good friend! I got a great workout, and felt like there was a lot of variety, but it wasn't intimidating and I appreciated that I didn't have anyone yelling at me. I also appreciated how the video offered 3 different levels for many of the exercises. Thank you for producing such an awesome video! Report
What a great review ! Definitely on my way to Target. Thanks Nicole. Report
Wow. I was debating on getting yet another fitness DVD but now I will be making a trip to Target. Can't wait to try this one! Thanks Nicole! Report
This is just the blog I've been waiting for!! I have wondered what others have thought & now I know! Off to Target . . . . Report
I just got my DVD. I am a big fan of your workouts and I am looking forward to get started! ☺
"I reminded myself that my intentions were good and pure. I was trying to help people and spread a positive and healthy message. Some people may find fault in the way it was executed, but I shouldn’t let it get to me because I did the best I could. "

* A couple of things to keep in mind (I admit that I haven't seen the video, so please forgive me if I'm off on this. Checked my local target and didn't see it):

As FBG alluded, you are releasing a basic good workout without a lot of attitude, rah rah emotional intensity and huge results "in just x days". that is something that hasn't been in the super mainstream for at least a decade.

Videos like yours in that regard are out there, but they are not what people are used to seeing on TBL or on infomercials at 1:00am Saturday morning.

When people see or try something unfamiliar to them, they match it to their expectations.

You inherently bring a differentiated product to the market in that respect. This actually gives you a competitive advantage. Those who believed in you saw that. I think it's a good advantage from the workouts of yours that I have done.

It's hard to do this when one feels attacked, but try to glean any constructive criticism from those who didn't like it and see if their points are valid.

Also remember that any art teacher worth his/her weight in salt tells their students to keep their first drawings and paintings to see how far they've come since their first attempts.

Oh and bear this in mind from one Spark Person to another. I've done more of your video workouts in the past 6 months than both Bob's and Jillian's (by choice). Their DVDs are easily accessible and some are even on my shelf.

Congrats on your first mainstream video! Report
Woo Hoo! The DVD is available at Target, but also at other retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and more -- you can see the whole list here:
I love all the Boot Camp videos that you have already done, can't wait to fry out your new DVD. Report
Can't wait to try it! only problem is my closest Target is 50 miles away! I live in a small Northwest Ohio town surrouded by Toledo, Lima and Ft Wayne IN but don't get there that often.
I love all the Boot Camp videos that you have already done Nicole! Keep up the good work!
woo hoo! Still loving it! Sad I have to take a break from it due to an injury but as soon as I can get back to it I am excited. :) Report
My latest Spark blog entry is a review of the DVD. I'm sorry but I honestly did not like it and I hope I wrote constructive reasons why. Report
Envy is what's truly "fugly." Oh well. That's the Interweb for you. So glad to have it--it beams Sparkpeople into my life every morning. Thanks for the inspiration and honesty, Coach Nicole. Your fitness does seem a little unattainable to me--you're much more toned/fit than the "real people" I know--but your attitude and generosity bridge the gap. Report