(in depth review of the program routine-by-routine below)
I absolutely LOVE this series! I’ve been a devoted Jessica Smith exerciser since I received a free 10-Minute Solutions DVD in a cereal box featuring a few of her 10 minute routines in 2010. Jessica Smith, single-handedly, is responsible for me having developed a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as an appreciation and desire for exercise. Since that first 10-minute DVD, I went on to try longer, and more challenging routines by Ms. Smith, and to date, have collected, and regularly incorporate her workout DVDs into my daily routines. Since I first began my journey, I have lost over 35 pounds, and countless inches, not to mention have sweated away symptoms of severe depression, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis. While I tend to rotate back and forth between Jessica’s programs and other high impact routines such as T25, 21 Day Fix Extreme and other similar programs, I do find myself always coming back full-circle to Jessica’s DVDs as they are the best routines for MY body. They are effective, fun and challenging, and I receive the same, if not better results from these programs, vs the more “balls to the wall” styles of workout programs that are popular as of late.
I found this program to be the “complete package”, PLENTY of cardio routines, from light to more advanced, as well as focused upper and lower body strength training routines, a routine for coordination, agility and mental development. The hidden gems have to be the stretching and preventative routines. No muscle or body part is left untouched with this system. This is BY FAR, my favorite of her “series” that encompass a specific program thus far. If I had to pick just ONE of Jessica’s programs, that had bits and pieces of all her previous programs that I loved the most, this one would be it! It has it all!!!
>>>>DO NOTE: This series contains various styles of movement, and strength training, and is not solely a strict “walking ONLY program”, if you’re looking for a walking style program, check out some of Jessica’s earlier walking DVD’s such as the Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles, OR Jessica’s Walk On: Walk Off The Weight 30 Day Plan.
More on the specific routines further down.
****For reference, I am roughly a 145 pound, 35 year old female, intermediate to advanced exerciser. I wore a Polar FT4 Heart Rate monitor during the strength and cardiovascular routines on this set, and depending routine, and effort, burned between 250 to 400 calories per 30 minute routine (Dynamic Stretch and Prehab Routine excluded). I used 8-10 lb. hand weights for my heavy weighs, and 5 lbs. for my lighter set, with 3 lb. dumbbells for the Barefoot Fusion Sculpt routine****
1. Packaging: This new set comes complete in a double, hard-shell case, which is an improvement over her last “Walk On” boxed set that included 3 DVDs in individual hard-shell cases, enclosed in a thin cardboard sleeve. Not only is this space saving, but time saving as well. The “file folder” style inner packaging contains 1 DVD on the inside of the front cover, two in the middle on its own holder, and another on the back inside cover of the case. The 6-Week Countdown (schedule) as well as Jessica’s “Welcome and Fit Tips” are also included inside.
2. Schedule/Fit Tips: A large, poster style calendar is provided with a full 6-week schedule and boxes to check off your workouts as you go. Week by week fit tips are also provided on the schedule, as well as 10 of Jessica’s favorite tips to help you succeed with the program. She suggests hanging these someplace you will see them each day, as a way to help you stay motivated and on track.
3. Required Equipment/Modifications: Jessica suggests a set of light and heavier weights. Depending on your fitness level, if you’re just starting out, you can do the routines without weights, then start light, going upwards from there. Jessica’s Mom “Debbie” uses light hand weights (appear to be 1-2 lbs.) in some routines, and in others, no weights at all. She also showcases the beginner modifications where needed. Jessica, uses heavy and medium weights (10 and 5 lbs. respectively) and demonstrates the intermediate options, while Beth uses lighter and medium weights (3-8 lbs) yet demonstrates more advanced options with higher impact. You will need a sturdy, high backed chair for some of the routines, a yoga mat or soft surface to work on, supportive footwear, and a hand towel, or yoga strap for some of the stretching work. I used a flat resistance band in place of a hand-towel.
4. Routines: There are 10 complete routines, each 30 minutes (a few run just a minute or two over, but nothing major). In order:
a. Welcome To the Program: A 8 minute introduction to the series, where Jessica talks about how the program works, and what to expect.
b. Cardio Party! (No Equipment Required): A fun fitness “journey” thru several dance styles including Latin and Disco. I am not sure how Jessica manages to come up with new moves, but there are some brand new moves, synched with the music style and beat. I could definitely feel my entire body getting worked from head to toe, while getting an amazing workout and working my CORE! It was great to see members of the Jessica Smith Community join Jessica for this fun workout. I loved all the colors!!! Everyone wore a bold colored top, and a smile. It was hard to not feel HAPPY during and after the workout. 5/5 stars
c. Interval Mix (High Back Chair Required): My FAVORITE routine of the series! Those who tried Jessica’s previous “Walk On” series release, will find this very similar to the “Pyramid Power Walk” except it’s a bit longer. You cycle through 4 phases of moderate to higher intensity exercises (modifications provided for higher and lower intensity) and a fast-paced heart rate spiking interval at the end of each interval. I sweated buckets, and felt like a million bucks when I was done! 5/5 stars.
d. 360 Abs (one, light hand weight required, no more than 5 lbs): This routine started off very reminiscent of Cardio Abs, with a lot of standing kickboxing style moves including punches and knee raises. The routine then transitioned to standing core work using a light hand weight (Jessica recommends no more than 5 lbs) and is finished by a short floor routine section. I am NOT a fan of crunches on the floor but surprisingly found the floor work was fun. I loved the “dead bug” move, not only did it challenge my core, but also my coordination. This routine was also a sneaky cardiovascular, and upper body strength routine. 5/5 Stars
e. Brain Fitness Fun (no equipment required, just your “Thinking Cap”): This is a moderately paced, light cardio conditioning routine that uses upper and lower body movements, oftentimes in opposition, to force you to think quick, remember, or balance helping to improve coordination, memory, agility and response time. This routine is probably the slowest routine of the set, in terms of cardiovascular effort, but still keeps the heart rate in the “fat burning” zone allowing you to burn calories, while you build neurons. There is no equipment required for this routine, and it is all done standing. It was a fun challenge to try and get my hands in the right place while my feet where moving. It’s going to take me several attempts at this workout to “get it right” but that’s the fun of it. I am only giving this routine 4.5/5 stars, because I prefer the higher intensity routines, and will likely use this one for an “active recovery” day or if I need to get some extra steps in.
f. Barefoot Fusion Sculpt (a yoga mat or soft surface, and a set of light hand weights are required): Don’t let the “barefoot” name convince you this is an easy routine! It was a challenge, and it was amazing!!! All you need is a set of light hand weights (I stuck with three and felt the burn) and as much space as the size of a yoga mat. I loved the barre and tai chi emphasis (at the beginning and end of the routine respectively). This routine could easily be done without hand weights, and yet remain an effective and challenging routine. All major muscle groups were worked, including the upper body (shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, core, and lower body). The multi-functional moves incorporated upper and lower body movements at the same time for increased caloric expenditure. Core, balance and coordination was worked throughout with various standing poses that were challenging, yet do-able. A modifier is provided for those with balance issues, or those needing to build up to a more challenging option. There were lots of BRAND NEW moves in this routine. Fans of Jessica’s earlier “Barre Fitness” and “Total Body Balance” DVDs will love and appreciate this routine. 5/5 stars.
g. Total Body Training (a set of light, and heavy hand weights suggested) : This is a multi-muscle strength training routine the incorporates balance (working one side of the body at a time) to really engage the core, while strengthening all the major (and minor muscles of the body). The exercises are done in super-sets, oftentimes one side of the body does two different moves, and then you repeat on the other side. There is only break enough to switch from lighter to heavier weights between sets, so it keeps the cardio effect up. The moves are standard, but with a twist (think side lunge with hammer curl, chest presses crossing the weights above your midline or curtsy lunges with a tricep kickback to name a few). After you’ve thoroughly worked the arms and legs, Jessica finishes off with a double set of abdominal exercises on the floor, and some light work for the back muscles. I felt I worked more muscle groups in a shorter amount of time than I have with some of regular “go to” strength training routines. I was very pleased with my self at the end of this routine, and see this being a regular part of my strength training routine from this point on. The moves give you room to “build” allowing you to increase in intensity but increasing the amount of weight you are holding, or incorporating a more advanced option, demonstrated by Beth. 5/5 stars
h. Upper Body Strength (a set of light, and heavy hand weights recommended): This routine incorporated a set of light and heavy weights (Jessica used 10 lbs for her heavy weights). The routine started with a typical upper body workout, followed by heavy weights for the bigger muscles in the shoulders and upper back, and lighter weights for the triceps, biceps and the front of the shoulders before moving to the floor for some chest work with heavy weights, and some core work that challenged the upper and lower abs as well as the obliques. I alternated between 8-10 lbs. for my heavy weights, and 3-5 lbs for my lighter set. The routines are done in “super set” fashion, focusing on burning out the muscles with a moderate number of reps with higher weights. I loved the incorporation of standing knee raises, and calf raises to incorporate the core musculature, and focus on balance, engaging the entire upper body at once, rather than just focusing on a single muscle group at a time. 5/5 stars.
i. Lower Body Sculpt (a sturdy, high-backed chair, and a set of light and heavy weights are recommended): Another gem-of-a-workout! I LOVE the target toning routines in this series! This routine incorporates a set of light and heavy hand weights (I used 10’s and 5’s, but you can certainly go lighter or skip them based on your fitness level). A sturdy, high back chair is also used for some of the moves. The routine starts with a light warm-up, followed by a series if squats with the chair as a “reference point” for depth, some standing lunge work, leg raises, and floor work for the buns. Because your working some of the larger muscles in the body, you get a great cardiovascular workout, without doing any actual “cardio” work. This is one I am sure to feel tomorrow!! It would be a great routine coupled with the Upper Body routine, if you want a longer, more “full body” workout. 5/5 stars.
j. Dynamic Stretch (a yoga mat and a hand towel or yoga strap is recommended, I used a flat resistance band): This routine is a bit like yoga a bit like pilates and a lot LIKE JESSICA! It is a delicious series of stretches, both standing, and on the floor that feels positively delightful. You don’t need a ton of flexibility to do this routine, and you don’t need a lot of balance. It feels amazing after a rough week! Don’t skip this one!!!! If you’re having a stressful day, this is the routine you need to get your “groove” back. Fans of Jessica’s “Yoga Stretch for Beginners and Beyond” will appreciate this routine fully. 5/5 Stars.
k. Prehab Routine: (a yoga mat and a hand towel are recommended for this routine as well as a sturdy, high back chair and yoga mat if you’re working out on a hard surface): This routine is designed to build strength, and flexibility in the smaller muscle groups of your body, and inside the joints. It’s soothing, and relaxing, and feels so good!!! It’s similar in nature to the Dynamic Stretch routine, but focuses more in the tiny muscles in and around the major joints of the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. It’s great for helping with added mobility, and to sooth aches and pains from sitting or standing all day. 5/5 stars.