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If P90X is about Muscle Confusion,
TurboFire is about cardio confusion.

Chalene Johnson

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Cardio Confusion: A History of TurboFire®

An interview with Chalene Johnson by Steve Edwards

TurboFire®, the latest offering from Beachbody®, is "next generation" in more ways than one. It's the hardest workout series to come from Chalene Johnson, but it's set up in a way where anyone can do it. It's like cardio class at the gym, but it also has core and strength workouts. It's High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but also traditional cardio. It's a structured program, but it changes dramatically over time. "If P90X® is about Muscle Confusion™," says Johnson, "TurboFire is about cardio confusion." Today, we'll talk with Chalene about TurboFire to help you decide if it's the right program for you.

Chalene Johnson

"I'm 41, and because of that I (like everyone else) can wake up with aches and pains, so it was critical for me that this program be something that everyone could do," she begins, dispelling the rumor that TurboFire was going to be the next INSANITY®. However, it's not the lack of high-end difficulty she's referring to, because the program is ultimately very intense. What makes TurboFire more versatile is that it comes with an optional preparatory schedule for those who lack the fitness base to jump right in. And each workout also offers a low-intensity option. "In every single video, we have modified moves with little to no joint impact that still create intensity," adds Chalene.

The creation of TurboFire was a long process. "It began in my [Turbo Kick®] classes. Health clubs don't care about beginners. The overwhelming majority of any health club's classes are for advanced users. The mentality is sink or swim. Turbo Jam® [Chalene's original Beachbody program] was a step down to what I teach—a starting point for what I was doing in the clubs. It was a ramp; essentially a place to get on the Turbo Kick highway."

"I had begun to study HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, which are short workouts that feature ultra-high-intensity intervals. I was using this in my classes when we created the Fat Blaster workout as part of Turbo Jam's continuity program. It was the hardest video we had done and I didn't think people were going to like it. In fact, it almost didn't make it into the rotation. But then it turned out to be everyone's favorite." This meant, essentially, that TurboFire was on.

Chalene Johnson"The concept was to take the toughest Turbo Kick class ever and turn it into a program. I was trying to answer my own question of 'what would work the best for me?' I'd been incorporating the HIIT philosophy in my classes. But HIIT had come out of sports, where athletes will do anything they're told. I needed to find something more interesting than sprints on a football field. I needed TurboFire to be tougher, more intense, but also more exciting and exhilarating than what I'd done in the past. Like anyone else, I get bored. I plateau. I have the same problems everyone else has. So TurboFire had to address this."

"I didn't want to make P90X for girls. I didn't want INSANITY. I wanted a HIIT program. I wanted short-duration intervals that killed you. You had to be maxed at the end of each interval. That was the starting point, to be consistent with the research for HIIT. But HIIT can only be done for short durations, about 3 weeks at a time, before you start to overtrain and plateau. So the challenge was creating a program that expanded on these HIIT phases with other aspects like cardio training that would keep the results coming. So I started making workouts to address this, and the result is this cool periodizational program that takes you through various forms of cardio training. If P90X is Muscle Confusion, TurboFire is cardio confusion."

"Next, it had to have great music for that class atmosphere so that you're having fun. But I also wanted the choreography to be easier to follow than Turbo Jam, even though the training was going to be more challenging. So we set it to sound effects so you don't need to follow a beat so that INSANE-ers, X-ers, and other non-Turbo Jam people could do it. We wanted it to appeal to guys, too. And it has, especially the HIIT workouts. You don't need to feel as though you can dance. The music is there for motivation."

"I think the music is 100 times better than Turbo Jam's! Music is so important to me because with good music you don't have to find the motivation; it's there. It makes classes so fun that you don't notice how hard you're working out. It's so much easier sprinting to the right song than a random soundtrack."

"We had more of a budget and more time with the producers so we could get the music perfect. I had more of an influence over the process and was there every day. I wrote the lyrics. I controlled where the energy needed to build for the workout. This is why it took so long to get it done. Training this hard to okay music was totally not okay. I needed it to be off-the-charts, un-friggin'-believable, amazing music!"

ChaLEAN Extreme®Of course, it's not all cardio. Anyone who is familiar with Chalene knows that she's a firm believer that you need to strength train regularly. "We wanted everything that you'll need in one box: strength training, core training, stretching. But, to be honest, what is unique is its cardio. The stretching is geared towards the cardio you are doing in TurboFire, but the strength training can be swapped with anything. In fact, I think in a perfect world you might choose ChaLEAN Extreme® for strength training [a ChaLEAN Extreme/TurboFire hybrid schedule comes with the program]."

"But the goal of having everything in one box is important because this stuff is for life. I want to create things that you'll be doing for life. Because, like I said, this program was about what I would do. And I'm not stopping or slowing down. My finish line is in the coffin."

Chalene explains the difference between TurboFire and her other programs below.

Related Articles
"ChaLEAN Extreme®: Taking Chalene Home with You"
"Turbo Jam®: The Hottest Class in the U.S. Is Now on Video"
"Chalene's 10 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthily"

Steve EdwardsQuestions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Wednesday, July 7th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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New!—TurboFire® is Here! Chalene Johnson

Are you ready to burn up to 9x more fat and calories than with traditional cardio?

Chalene Johnson's new intense cardio conditioning workout is here! Featuring 12 workout classes, you'll be sweating to the hottest music and moves. It's the best trainer, the best music, the best workouts, and the best spot in class.

If you thought Turbo Jam was intense, you haven't seen anything yet. Chalene has put together an amazing fitness program that features HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to burn up to 9x more fat and calories than traditional cardio. You won't believe the results.

So don't wait...
start your Fire today!

Learn More

Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program.
Beachbody Store

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Osteoporosis: 5 Ways to Keep a Healthy Skeleton

By Stephanie S. Saunders

When I reached the venerable age of 18, my mother handed me a Costco®-sized bottle of calcium and told me if I didn't take them daily, I'd end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I shrugged off the advice; although I knew osteoporosis ran in my family, I also knew athleticism did not. I was the super athlete who had an incredibly healthy diet. I believed I was immune from all degenerative diseases, regardless of my family history. The funny thing was, we were both wrong. Osteoporosis can affect anyone. However, taking a pill isn't the only way to keep it from affecting you. So what is osteoporosis, who is at risk for it, and what can we do to avoid it? Let's have a look.

Human Skeleton

Osteoporosis is a loss of bone tissue and structure, which can lead to fracture. Your bones get so weak and porous that a simple fall, or even a sneeze, can cause a break. Any bone can be affected, but osteoporosis seems to cause more hip, spine, and wrist fractures than anything else. It is believed that 10 million people today have osteoporosis, many of whom are unaware they have it, as the disease shows no signs of existing before a break. Once the break occurs, not only is hospitalization fairly certain, but an average of 24 percent of hip-fracture patients over the age of 50 die in the year following their break.

Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. Being a woman is the number one risk factor (just 20 percent of the people affected are men). Other risk factors include age, family history of the disease, being small and thin, low estrogen levels, smoking, heavy alcohol use, inactive lifestyle, overactive lifestyle, use of steroids and some anticonvulsants, certain diseases including anorexia and rheumatoid arthritis, and dietary concerns such as low calcium and vitamin D intake as well as excessive intake of protein, sodium, and caffeine.

Calcium PillsTo find out if you have osteoporosis, you will take bone mineral density tests (BMD) using a central DXA, which stands for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. These fancy X-rays can tell if a person has low bone density as well as the rate of deterioration. They can also predict the chances of fracture in the future. This can help the health care provider decide if treatment is necessary. Unfortunately, these tests are usually done after the age of 50, when the damage is already done. So how do we prevent getting there?

Ways to avoid osteoporosis:

  1. Start early. If you are under the age of 20 and are reading this, start taking care of your bones now. Eighty-five to ninety percent of all adult bone mass is acquired by the age of 20. Yes, 20. Unfortunately, many of us oldies were more concerned about how we looked in a bathing suit than about bone loss. So if you are young, start focusing on it now.
  2. Get your calcium and vitamin D. The appropriate intake of calcium, 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams a day, is extremely important. And if you think that Starbucks® latte has you covered, you are not quite hitting the mark. Eight ounces of milk only provides about 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)*. Eight ounces of plain yogurt provides 42 percent of what you require, while 8 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice gives you about 25 percent. The FDA has also stated that you can get your daily requirement of calcium through certain vegetables, but you will be eating A LOT of broccoli. The secret is to consume all of the above and consider a supplement like Beachbody's Core Cal-Mag™. The body absorbs smaller quantities of calcium much more effectively, so splitting that 1,000 milligrams into two doses is your best bet. Also, intake of vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and for bone regrowth. Most people require between 5 and 10 micrograms daily and can easily attain this as many foods are fortified with vitamin D. But if you're really worried, one teaspoon of cod liver oil will nail your recommended daily allowance, and it's delicious to boot. Not!
  3. INSANITY®Exercise. Engaging in regular weight-bearing and muscle-building exercise is your next defense in avoiding fractures. Yes, all your hours of P90X can actually help your bones in addition to your abs. Studies over the last 10 years indicate both aerobic and resistance training have an effect on bone density, with resistance training being more beneficial. The National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests weight-bearing exercises be done for at least 30 minutes a day (these include dancing, running, jumping rope, stair climbing, etc.) and resistance training 2 to 3 times a week with the focus on 8 to 12 different exercises. If you are already doing INSANITY, P90X, or TurboFire, you're working far beyond the requirements. If you haven't quite begun your program, and you might be at risk for fracture, make sure you seek the advice of a health care professional before beginning.
  4. Avoid the bad stuff. Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and excessive amounts of protein might assist in preventing osteoporosis. Significant bone loss has been found in older men and women who smoke, and women smokers create less estrogen and experience menopause sooner. Smokers who suffer fractures take longer to heal. While there are studies showing the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, drinking as few as 2 to 3 standard drinks a day can interfere with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. Excessive alcohol consumption also interrupts normal hormone function, which in turn reduces estrogen and testosterone levels, and increases the risk of osteoporosis. And consumption of excessive animal protein might actually affect bone density adversely, in the absence of calcium. While the kidneys can handle high-protein diets in short bursts, getting more than 40 percent of your calories from animal protein can create a higher excretion of calcium in urine and fecal matter, but there are different schools of thought as to where the calcium is coming from. Keeping your protein consumption to a more moderate level, or increasing your calcium intake, might help your bones in the long run.
  5. Get tested. If you are over 50, it is definitely time to talk to your doctor. If you're under 50, but have any of the risk factors stated above, a bone density test could save you years of pain and a vast amount of money. There is presently no cure for osteoporosis; there are only treatment options. There are several medications that help in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates, antiresorptive medications, and anabolic bone-forming medications have all been approved by the FDA and can certainly help in the war against fracture.

Osteoporosis isn't necessarily a life-threatening disease, but it is something that will truly affect your quality of life if you are faced with it. Prevention can begin now, and a few alterations in lifestyle might be all that's required. You can choose to ignore it at 20, but at 60 and 70, do you really want to be paying for your mistakes? Personally, I'd prefer to be scuba diving in Bora Bora, spending my children's inheritance instead of hobbling around on a weak hip. So be dense in your bones, not your brains, and start thinking about it. Your skeleton will thank you someday.

Related Articles
"Maximize Your Weight Loss with Calcium"
"Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin"
"Can Hard Exercise Hurt Your Immune System?"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Wednesday, July 7th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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How a Real Woman Gets Ready for Summer

Woman Sunbathing

Now that it's getting warmer and you're shaping up for swimsuit season, it's also time to get summer-ready. Show off your toned body and smooth, glowing skin—whether you're short on time and budget, or want to go all out, we've got the ideal routine (and a couple of great discounts!) to get you ready for summer.

Click here for the full article.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Yoga IQ!

By Stan Malihee

Woman Doing YogaYoga is gaining popularity across the country, but especially in Southern California. When I first moved out here, people would ask me if I did yoga, and I would always reply with a favorite joke: "I'd try yoga, but I'm afraid I would levitate into a ceiling fan." Then one day Tony Horton stopped by Beachbody Headquarters and offered a free yoga class to all interested employees. Ninety minutes and 40 gallons of sweat later, I was totally converted, and now I truly believe in the tremendous powers of this ancient practice. How much do you know about yoga?

True or false?

  1. False: Yoga is approximately 3,000 years old. Although the specific year the practice began is under debate, the Yoga Sutras—a Sanskrit collection of works written by Patanjali—date back to more than 5,000 years ago. To give you a perspective on how far into history that is, back then America wasn't even the best country on Earth yet.
  2. True: Yoga consists of what are referred to as "the eight limbs." Yoga is believed to be made up of eight limbs: the asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), yamas (restraints), prayahara (withdrawal of senses), niyamas (observances), and samadhi (absorption). Hmmm . . . eight limbs, postures, breathing, concentration, meditation, restraints, withdrawal of senses, observances, absorption . . . sounds like my prom night!
  3. True: Basketball superstar LeBron James does yoga. The star forward has had a highly successful and predominantly injury-free career in the NBA thus far, and James himself attributes some of that to his practice of yoga. Additionally, 11-time NBA champion head coach Phil Jackson is a proponent of the practice. And that's saying something. This is a dude who, when he wants to wear all of his championship rings at once, has one for every finger on both hands, and has to wear one on his toe. (Or at least I hope that's where he wears it!)
  4. False: Yoga is risk free. I have a friend who hurt her back while transitioning out of the "upward dog" position, and her doctor told her that many of the injuries he sees are from yoga. So, like anything else, if it has the power to strengthen you, it also has the power to hurt you if done improperly. But everything in life involves risk, so don't let that stop you. Yoga is a wonderful exercise that can have enormous benefits. After all, if it's good enough for Tony Horton, LeBron James, and more than 5,000 years of avid practitioners, it's good enough for anyone who takes his or her health seriously. And that's no joke.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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