This is a review of three different exercise programs created by fitness and motivational dynamo, Chalene Johnson. Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, and Turbo Fire have the same basic structure and format, but differ in intensity levels and where you can participate in exercise programs.
Jam, Kick, Fire: What’s the difference?
There are two main factors that separate Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, and Turbo Fire from each other: intensity levels and the format in which you can participate.
Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire are home exercise programs available through the Beachbody website and range from $ 60 to $ 240 (plus shipping and handling). Turbo Kick, on the other hand, is a group gym class taught at various health clubs across the US.
When it comes to intensity levels, the order is as follows: Turbo Jam – Lowest Intensity, Turbo Kick – Moderate to High Intensity, Turbo Fire – High to Very High Intensity. Anyone starting an exercise regimen should always start at the lowest intensity and gradually add intensity as proper form and technique are fully mastered.
Turbo Jam has a “Learn and Burn” session in which Chalene discusses the 11 basic “elite moves” to help you master proper form and technique; this is not available in the Turbo Fire home exercise program or in the group class setting (Turbo Kick). With this in mind, if you are interested in trying this exercise format, my advice would be to check out Turbo Jam before moving on to Turbo Kick or Turbo Fire. When you master proper form and technique in any exercise format, you burn the maximum amount of calories and work the muscles the movement was designed for. Without the proper form and technique, you are not only fooling yourself with the calories burned, but you are also at risk of injury.
Lastly, Turbo Fire differs more from Turbo Jam and Turbo Kick by the added element of high intensity interval workouts (also known as HIIT workouts). HIIT workouts are what makes Turbo Fire so much more intense than Turbo Kick (think about doing a Turbo workout more than 11 times with a one minute rest period between each workout, which equates to a 30 minute HIIT workout ).
Not sure you can handle a HIIT workout? Don’t worry, Turbo Fire kicks you off with a 15 minute HIIT workout where the exercises last just 30 seconds. ANYONE can do their best for 30 seconds!
Jam, Kick and Fire: How are they alike?
Now that you know how they differ, let’s discuss how they are alike. Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, and Turbo Fire have the same basic structure and format. As described on the TurboKick.Com website, the basic structure and format of each program is:
“… a combination of intense kickboxing moves as well as perfectly choreographed dance moves to high-energy, motivational music. It’s the ultimate cardiovascular challenge that’s a unique combination of intense interval strength / resistance training and a relaxing cool-down. . [Each program] no prior kickboxing experience or equipment is required. “
Each program begins with the exact same “signature” warmup and then continues with a section of punches, kicks, punches and kicks, turbo, recovery, finish and cool down. Each section begins with introducing the first layer for a full sentence (32 counts), then adds another layer for another full sentence (32 counts), and then combines the two layers for another full sentence. Additional layers can be added for a total of 8 layers in a 32 count phrase, but generally the number of layers remains at 4 or 5.
My personal experience with Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick and Turbo Fire
Besides the fact that I am a certified Turbo Kick instructor, I have always loved the structure and format of Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, and Turbo Fire. Music is the driving element and the movements are perfectly choreographed with the music. Because Turbo Kick is a continuous group gym class, the music is always kept up to date and the choreography changes with each new “round”. Often a new Turbo Kick round is introduced every 5-8 weeks. For this reason, Turbo Kick is probably my favorite of the three Turbos.
The only downside to Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire is that workouts are done on repeat, which means that they get old (and possibly outdated from a fitness point of view) after a while. When something gets old, it is not exciting; And once exercise is not perceived as exciting, you risk quitting the exercise regimen altogether. Fortunately, Turbo Fire comes with up to 16 workouts on 15 DVDs, so it will take a while for you to get bored with the routines.
When it comes to burning calories, all three Turbos will help you burn off some serious calories! I have a Bodybugg (which calculates calorie burn to about 95% accuracy), and an hour of Turbo Kick or Turbo Fire will burn over 800 calories! However, keep in mind that I don’t just participate in cardiovascular exercise; I also regularly do HIIT and strength training 3-4 times a week so my body is ready to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. Before, my exercise regimen included cardio, HIIT, and strength training; an hour of Turbo Jam, Kick, or Fire may have burned between 450 and 650 calories, depending on how hard you work out.
You may remember some of the Turbo infomercials claiming that study participants had burned up to 1000 calories in an hour; keep in mind that the people who burned that many calories were, in most cases, men who weighed around 200 pounds and were already fit. Depending on your gender, height, activity level, build and body composition (ratio of muscle to fat); the amount of calories you burn in any workout will vary.
All in all, Turbo Jam, Kick and Fire is an energetic and FUN workout! You should definitely try one (if not all) at least once! My bet is that once you do, you won’t stop!