Home > fitness, Reviews > Initial Impressions: Bob’s Body Rev Cardio Conditioning (aka, Bob Broke my Back!!)

Initial Impressions: Bob’s Body Rev Cardio Conditioning (aka, Bob Broke my Back!!)

I ordered Bob The Trainer’s Complete Collection (which is weird because it doesn’t contain the newest contain the new kettlebell workouts so not very complete) last week, but to my surprise and my husband’s frustration, DH had bought me the Body Rev Cardio Conditioning workout already for V-day.  After having a particularly bad day at work, my hubbie gave me the “extra copy” since my set had not arrived to preview.  Optimistic for the pick me up, I popped it into the computer to preview.  The next morning, I decided to have it go.

Who’s Bob? You clearly don’t watch television (which is fine and possibly a good thing).  Bob Harper was brought to fame through NBC’s show, “The Biggest Loser.”  On the reality based game show, obese contestants compete to lose the most weight (hence the biggest loser) for cash prizes and to stay on the ranch an extra week.  It is a special scenario that should never be replicated at home.  On the show, they have medical consultants constantly monitoring the contestants (that are often not shown on camera).  Severe calorie restriction plus intense training result in the massive weight loss but under the guidance of doctors and personal trainers.  One of the personal trainers that has been a consistent fixture on the series is Bob Harper.  Originally, production of the show displayed him as a foil to Jillian Michael’s more “aggressive” training style; at this point, that perception has been thoroughly debunked outside of the show and now on the final production of the show.  My favorite clip of Bob Harper ever is probably best shown through The Soup:

It’s a pretty awesome smackdown and actually was what brought me to learn more about Bob.

What’s the basic format? Unlike Cathe Friedrich, Kelley Coffey Meyer, Amy Bento, Ellen Barrett, and a variety of other video fitness instructors, Bob Harper acts as a personal trainer instead of teaching a class with you.  He tells you what to do and his minions (and presumably you) do as he yaks away.  It is a progressive workout, starting with easier moves and eventually developing into more intense moves and combos.  As the workout comes to a close, Bob brings your heart rate down as you do some standing core work followed by a short stretch.  A good majority of your cardio moves require a weight (though beginners should try the moves without any weight) so there is some resistance training involved.  With three different people exercise (one female stud, one female modifier, and one male wuss, erm, dude), there are a variety of ways of doing each move — specifically giving you options for high and low impact moves.  Almost all the exercises were functional exercises as opposed to standard resistance training.  Since I tend to do the latter, I found it really refreshing to do a more functional workout that mimicked the motions that people to do in every day life as opposed to…I dunno…tricep dips, or bicep curls, or that god forsaken pretzel move from the the Bar Method and still keeping my cardio going.  Granted, I love doing those exercises as well, but this was definitely a nice a change in pace.  It is definitely a type of circuit workout since he does repeat some rounds but always with a focus on keeping the cardio effect up.

What did you like about the workout? This workout is a kettlebell workout in disguise and most of their moves can be better enhanced with a kettlebell than a dumbbell as Bob suggests so I think what I really loved is that I can get super excited about starting kettlebells.  I am concerned though — to what I understand, introduction to kettlebells should start around 15lbs and I’m not sure I could do all those moves with Bob on 15lbs.  But getting a 10lb or 5lb kettlebell seems like a not great investement.  Perhaps the movement from the kettlebell facilitates carrying a heavier weight?  I really loved how cardio was infused with so much of the “sculpting”-like moves.  I get the impression Bob is like me…we want to work on resistance but we’re both just cardio queens (yes, I called us both queens).  I enjoy his sarcasm even if he yaks a little too much, and that hint of a southern drawl is rather appealing.   After one try of the workout, I burned more than 700 calories according to my HRM (Suunto t4c) — I’ll take it!  A second try got me close to 700 calories, but I didn’t cross that threshold again.  That said, I’m happy with any workout over an hour that beats 500 calories, so its a winner in this respect.

What did you NOT like about the workout? Form, form form!!  If you’re going yak so goddamn much throughout the workout that constantly be correcting on form.  None of his minions had correct form for more than 50% of the time.  And even his instruction on certain exercises could be improved (hence why he broke my back!).  The music is “sort” of coordinated to the exercises, but the moves are not choreographed to the music.  It doesn’t kill me, but I guess since it is a DVD, it wouldn’t hurt to work in the audio editing room to make that happen.  Last thing — I think the minions are faking how hard the workout seems.  It IS a challenging workout, but they look like they’re dying.  It’s true, I needed to pause maybe twice during workout, but 1) it was my first time doing it and I had not hydrated appropriately before, and 2) my dogs needed a referee.  I think I added a total of three minutes of time; I was sweating, I was grinning, but I wasn’t dying..  (Full disclosure, I could do most everything with the exception of some moves that require a stronger rotator cuff — I have injured mine — or core work — mine is horribly weak — but I did some form of modification for everything.)  I imagine that they are told to act this way to make people like they’re suffering just like you at home, but then HAVE FREAKING GOOD FORM!!  Oh and last thing: the cover says 1-2lbs hand weights are recommended but Bob is suggesting 8-10lbs for the heavy and 3-5lbs for the light weights.  I hate sloppiness like that (completely avoidable stuff).

How did Bob break your back? Goddamnit, I could kill him.  What do you think a deadlift is?  Well, when I think deadlift, I think of a stiff legged deadlift mostly.  Well, Bob starts out the workout with “deadlifts” but they really look more like weighted plie squats.  What’s the problem?  Well, I can do the plie squats at that speed but not deadlifts at the speed Bob was asking the reps to be done.  I thought I had caught the correction early enough for just a small strain in my lower back, but no.  Today, I’ve been in bed all day because my lower back is killing me.  I was planning on doing Intensity, but I’m not even sure if I’ll be up to it tomorrow.  Bengay, heat, and meds, and I’m still in a super pissy mood.  I found out later this what he wanted you to do is a Kettlebell Deadlift which to me is hilarious considering he never brings up the word kettlebell in this workout (now he is selling his own “contoured” brand through GoFit):

Just saying, would have been helpful to to be carefully instructed the first time.

What’s your final word? Definitely worth <$10.  Different and interesting, it’s a good workout to add to your collection.  Though its grown on me, I wouldn’t say its one of the workouts I will get super duper excited to do over and over again like Intensity (Cathe Friedrich) or Fire 60 (Chalene Johnson) or Skinny Sculpt (Ellen Barrett), but a nice challenge to mix it up.  I’m grinning and psyching myself up to do it better and harder than I did the last time.  All in all, I think its a fun workout that incorporates a lot of body shocking elements to keep your sweating and your heart rate up through excellent functional movements.

  1. CS
    February 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I gotta say, when I saw the title I immediately thought of “Bob the Builder”…

    • hottiescientist
      February 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Well, if you actually do it too, he’s often saying, “You wanted Bob as a trainer, you got Bob as a trainer.” And I’m always screaming in my head…”No…you were on sale!”

  1. February 20, 2011 at 5:57 am
  2. April 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm
  3. April 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

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