SparkPeople Cardio Blast with Coach Nicole (2009)

Posted: March 24, 2011 in DVD Reviews

I hate when Thursdays feel like Fridays. It’s like being really excited to go out after work and realizing that Happy Hour ended 15 mins. ago and no, you can’t get the discounted price. On the food or drinks. You have to wait until tomorrow. But you’re already there and can’t leave because you already ordered, so you stick it out and it’s like the colors around you get duller and you instantly feel more tired. Yeah, not cool.

Anyhoo, I’ve been spending some time browsing different “diet” (*twitch*)/”healthy living” (*nose itch*) websites and have – thanks to the recommendation of some friends – found myself on here and there. It’s one of those great, detailed websites that I will never be able to invest the kind of time necessary to check it all out (both a good and bad thing). This website helps you with anything and everything health/fitness/workout related. It’s pretty awesome amazing. There are recipes, dozens of forums, articles, exercises, tips, trackers, and plenty of others who are looking for what you’re looking for (whatever that may be). Not to mention they have some really neat success stories. It’s cool to see how some people were able to connect via SparkPeople and discover a healthier, fitter life.

The wonderful crew at sent me the two DVDs (and the book!) that they have and I’m going to start with the cardio DVD. My initial thoughts? Honestly, don’t glare at me, I expected them to be basic, easy, and simple because SparkPeople initially struck me as a site that tries to help overweight/new to exercise people find a healthier lifestyle. But it’s not just that. And the DVD was not just that. I was wrong all over the place.

SparkPeople Cardio Blast with Coach Nicole (2009)

Sure, the segments are only 10 mins. long, but some of them sure make you sweat...

Where I Got This DVD: SparkPeople – thanks, Team!
Length: Approx. 65 mins.
Workouts: Walk It Out, ‘80s Aerobics, Cardio Kick, Hop To It, Jump Rope, and Cardio Boot Camp
Instructor: Nicole Nichols

Note: Starts with a quick, low-intensity warm-up. Nothing spectacular, but it gets the blood flowing.

*Each workout is approx. 10 mins. long and has two segments or circuits.

Walk It Out:

  • Circuit 1: marching, step touches, high knees, out-out-in-in, heel taps, repeat
  • Circuit 2: 4 steps front, back, left, right, step with high knees, high knee-ins, step ham curls, repeat
  • Low intensity—felt more like a warm-up to me

‘80s Aerobics:

  • Circuit 1: step and teach with arms, grapevines, step touch, 3-step dance touch, repeat
  • Circuit 2: side/torso stretches, squats, arm presses with ski-like squats, jump-claps, running with bicep curls, repeat

Cardio Kick:

  • No circuits here, just 10 mins. of kickboxing
  • Moves include: jumping jacks, upper cuts, jabs, boxer shuffles, squats, front knees, front kicks, side kicks, back kicks, speed bags, crosses
  • Pretty good, though quick transitions between moves—she tries to do a lot in 10 mins.

Hop To It:

  • Need some sort of rope as a line to jump over—I used my elastic tubing
  • Circuit 1: step touch side to side, bounce/jump over with 1 foot, 2-foot jump, 1-foot jump, higher 2-foot jump, faster 2-foot jump, plyos over
  • Circuit 2: same moves only jumping front and back instead of side to side
  • This was a really tough section for me because it was higher intensity and higher impact—you’re constantly bouncing/jumping, so my knees were sore after

Jump Rope:

  • You don’t need a rope for this—Nicole has one, but I didn’t
  • Do 1-min. intervals—30 sec. lower intensity, 30 sec. higher intensity
  • Examples include: jump 30 sec., march 30 sec.; side to side jumps for 30 sec., march for 30 sec.; forward and backward jumps for 30 sec., march for 30 sec.; etc.
  • A great segment because if you feel strong, you can jump as long as you want, or you can take it down a notch if it’s a slower, less intense day

Cardio Boot Camp:

  • A combo of everything!
  • Ex: high knee grabs, jumping jacks, jack n’ jabs, planks with jumping jack legs, running, high knees, jump rope, jumping lunges, squat with hands reach, squat pulses, squat thrusts (aka burpees), step touches with arms, squat with front kick, speed skater jumps, and mountain climbers
  • An awesomely well-rounded segment 

Instructor: Nicole was pretty good—she wasn’t loud, overly-talkative, annoying, or motivating in a cheesy way. She was straightforward and gave you good training tips. I also like that she’s a real woman! She’s not a size 0 personal trainer with a ton of makeup on and skin-tight clothing. She’s your everyday healthy, fit woman with curves who wasn’t bearing her stomach, which was refreshing to see.
Moves: Nothing WOW!-new; pretty standard moves, although the hopping segment was different.
Best Workout: Hop To It or Cardio Boot Camp
Worst: Walk It Out and ’80s Aerobics, mostly because they were lower intensity.
Intensity Level: Beginner to Advanced—depends on the workout you choose and how many you choose to do!
Buy It?: If you’re really tight on time, and I’m talking you genuinely only have 10-15 min. segments to work out during the day and you’re not a usual exerciser/are newer to exercise, than this could be a great DVD for you. It gives you perfectly proportioned exercises so you can do just 10 mins. or 60 mins. It’s definitely a DVD I can see myself using here and there for 20 mins. or so in the morning before work, but in all honesty, it’s a little too low intensity and too short of segments for the kinds of workouts I generally like to do. If I’m going to use a cardio DVD, it’s usually going to be as my whole workout, so I like it to be a consistent 30+ min. workout. Therefore, if you’re time-crunched and need motivation to begin an exercise program, try this DVD. If you’re like me and enjoy longer workouts, don’t feel bad about passing on this.


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