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Final Review: Inside Out Series by Bob Harper

So far, I have written individual reviews for the four first workouts of the Inside Out Series: Body Rev Cardio Conditioning, Pure Burn Super Strength, Yoga for the Warrior, and Bob’s Workout.  The first three workout DVDs can be found at Target, Amazon.com, CollageVideo.com, and a variety of other retailers.  The last workout of the series, Bob’s Workout, can only be purchased directly at http://www.mytrainerbob.com.  After completing all the workouts, I have to say that I’ve been utterly pleased with my purchase.  Bob’s teaching style gave a fresh breath of air into my workout routine, and I have been thoroughly addicted sense.  You can look at the individual reviews for each specific workout, but I wanted to outline some comments for the series as a whole below:

  1. Progressive, challenging, functional workouts:  Though I do complain of the warmups, I really love how these workouts ease you in at first and push you harder as time goes by.  There are almost always three levels to do an exercise at so it is quite easy to “grow” into the workout…you won’ t just master it letting it gather dust very quickly out of your boredom.  You’ll want to go back to the DVD again and see if you can do one more rep, or do those jumping jacks faster, or pick up a heavier weight.  The man is obsessed with using your core as much as you can in every workout possible and is pushing all your muscles to its highest endurance level.  Filled with functional movements like squats and shoulder raises, Bob loves to tell you to change the plane of the body for maximum calorie burn and to make you stronger than you were before.  It’s not a class:  it’s Bob as your trainer — (“You said you wanted Bob as a trainer, you got Bob as a trainer!”  Ok, I didn’t “want” Bob, but I’m certainly happy to have met you!) — so be prepared for him to be talking at you through the TV motivating you to go harder next time.  His personality of snark mixed with that southern gentlemen/drill Sargent is utterly appealing to me since I’d like to think that’s how I teach and motivate my students in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.
  2. Clearly crafted and well organized intervals: Every exercise is clearly put together the next.  In one set, Bob will be asking you to push your legs, in the next, your legs may get  break while you work on your arms.  Constantly trying to keep you off your guard, even the intervals you’re expecting will have little twists like isometric holds at the end of another set.  Bob clearly love compound movements as well and takes you through a specific dance to make sure you hit all your major muscle groups (and a couple minor ones!) before the party is over.  Even in the yoga workout, the way he organized the vinyasas so that the flow into the next cycle with a purpose.  Bob PLANNED every aspect of these workouts, at a higher level than a lot of video instructors do, and the truth is in the pudding (that I’m not eating).  His decades of experience do come together quite nicely in this set.
  3. Insane production value: I am absolutely in love with the production of the DVDs with the exception of Bob losing his budget or something for the Bob Workout.  I loved everything about production for the first three workouts.  I love the original set, I felt it was open enough space that I could imagine myself with the other athletes in the room.  I’m not into brightly colored sets either so I adore the grungry, gray, and black tones all over.  The camera angles and shots were amazing and I’m sad to see the these “add ons” were not be available in the productions (i.e., Bob’s Workout, Kettlebell Sculpted Body, and Kettlebell Cardio Shred). The music can be a bit canned, but I do love the guitar riffing.  I adore the countdown timer to the point I wish it were in every workout; I also love a feature that seems to disappear at one point in the Inside Out series (along with the countdown clock): the name of the exercise.  The production created a gym that I’d want to go to: period.  And with their well-polished work, I can feel like I’m with them when I pop my DVD into my computer.
  4. Lack of warmup: If you’re looking for an active warmup, look elsewhere.  Bob’s warmups mostly consist of dynamic stretching; he does ease you into the workout with easier intervals at first, but if you work out at 5a, you may want to find something else to get your blood flowing through your body a little better.  Its very important that you do not push your body too much while its cold or you are likely to sustain an injury.  This flaw is the only real consistent negative I see with Bob’s workouts.  Dynamic stretch or joint mobility warmups are nice and less intimidating to start with, but when I’m doing any kind of plyo jump, I want my body warm.
  5. Excellent Minute-to-Cost Ratio: If I actually buy a DVD, it better be worth it.  And its true, that I like to get a long of minute bang for my buck, but it also has to be quality minutes.  Bob may not do the multiple premixes that I have come to love (and somewhat expect) out of Cathe Friedrich or Kelly Coffey Meyer, but man, did he put a lot of minutes!  Each DVD has an hour long workout as well as a 20 minute one.  At less than $10/DVD, I find this to be an offensively good value.  Even at a regular MSRP of $14.99, Bob’s DVDs are a good value (but who the hell pays retail?  Not me.).

Is this the best workout system I have?  No (that would be STS), but its a really great set for the money.  Bob’s personality and instruction really changed up my morning routines, and he gets rather addictive.  By combining a blend of approachable but difficult moves, I want to keep on pushing further and further until I can do the whole workout without modifications or breaks (it’ll take a while).  I haven’t been able to preview his Biggest Loser Workouts, but I imagine these are a couple notches up from them.  The saddest news: I haven’t lost any weight from doing these workouts.  It’s great keeping my body conditioned, but I’m not thinking these are “Turbo charged fat losing” workouts.  Actually, none of those workouts seem to make me lose weight; I’m one of those people cursed to be on a diet for most of my life it seems.  However, I firmly believe doing a rotation of these workouts will make you HEALTHIER — and that’s what matters.

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