Turbo Jam is based on a DVD set of the same name created by Chalene Johnson of Powder Blue Productions in 1997.
The class “is actually Turbo Kick,” said Christy Coleman, fitness instructor at HealthPlus Fitness Center in Auburn, Ala. “I chose (to use) the name Turbo Jam because I wanted people to know it’s more than just kickboxing.”
Coleman emphasizes the party atmosphere of the class not only in its name, but also in her instruction method.
She throws in random dance moves and encourages the group to shout along with the music.
Her positive attitude and demeanor garner comments like, “You have so much energy!” and “That was so fun!” from participants.
For beginners, Coleman said taking the class two times per week is a good start; for seasoned exercisers, take it “as often as possible — you can’t go wrong with taking it every day.”
The biggest benefit of Turbo Jam is the cardiovascular workout. Coleman said people have told her they lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels from taking the class.
“I think it gives you a euphoric feeling. You just feel good,” said Coleman.
A fitness instructor for 14 years, Coleman has five children and also instructs BodyPump and Zumba.
But over the years, she said, “I’ve taught it all.”
The Workout: Turbo Jam is a one-hour infusion of kickboxing and dance. It progresses in intervals including a warm up, punches, kicks, Turbos (an anaerobic push of 3-3.5 minutes), a cool down, leg work, abdominal work and stretching. Some of the moves are as common as the shuffle, others, like the jinga, are derived from Brazilian martial arts.
Sweat Factor: Drenched! Within the first few minutes I noticed people around me starting to perspire and felt the beads form on my own face. This class is definitely not for those afraid to sweat.
Difficulty Level: The hardest part, as Coleman noted as well, was keeping up as the moves transition. “It’s a fast-paced class,” said Coleman, “but it’s designed to be very repetitive.”
New rounds, or routines, come out every three months. The beginning of each round starts off by learning the basic moves and each week another element is added to the routine. By the end of two months the round is complete. Coleman said she likes to change things up by incorporating sections of previous rounds until the new one is released.
Average Calories Burned: According to Powder Blue Productions literature, a participant can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour-long session, with an average of 750. Coleman estimates an average of 650.
Commitment: HealthPlus requires contractual membership, but three free guest passes are offered to potential members so they can try out different aspects of the facility.
Perks: Membership allows access to all fitness classes, cardiovascular and strength training machines, indoor lap pool, indoor track, steam room, pro shop and a locker room with showers and towel service. Healthplus also offers FitLinxx, a computerized training system that tracks workout statistics and monitors progress.
Other fitness classes include RPM, BodyPump, Zumba, pilates, Boot Camp, intervals, circuits, yoga, aquatics and Step.
The Afterglow: Even though I couldn’t totally keep up with the fast-paced, frequently-changing moves, I feel like I did pretty well for a first-timer. And I sure had fun trying. How many fitness classes get the entire room doing the can-can?