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Bridal Fitness on Paper - Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn Monday, May 21, 2012 ~ 10:25 a.m.

Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn workout DVD Hey guys! I hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was great; I think I needed a mellow weekend at home with Dale in order to get back on track. It rained, too! I LOVE the rain, and it seems like it never rains when they say it will! The next few days are going to be a little crazy for me, as I'll be leaving for California early on Thursday morning, and I'll be there for nearly THREE WEEKS. A long time away from home, away from my kitties and my husband, but it'll be fun to spend some time with friends and family, enjoy the beach and get a good tan just in time for summer!

Although I'm looking forward to going to the beach on my trip, I am a little nervous about putting a bathing suit on again! Wearing a bikini is never a fun experience, if I'm being honest. I try not to think about it too much, but I think it's just in my nature to be self concious in one, no matter what. Even when I was at my absolute thinnest, I had to push the negative thoughts out of my head when I stepped out in a bathing suit. If you can relate to this angst, then you'll want to join me as I kick my fitness routine into high gear heading into June. The most impactful way to step-up your regular workouts? Change up your routine, of course! Trying new things keeps your body guessing and most important of all, keeps you working hard.

To mix things up, I got a new home DVD workout to try a few weeks ago called Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn, which I'll be reviewing for you guys today.

Bridal Fitness Review - Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn

Overall: Three and a half diamond ring rating for bridal fitness exercise reviews
3.5 out of 5 diamonds
I noticed a few minor annoyances, but it's a challenging and productive workout overall.

Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn workout is a single DVD featuring three workouts; Workouts 1 and 2 are each about 40 minutes long, consisting of "Pure, fat-blasting, total body interval circuits," as the DVD describes. Workout 3 is a bit daunting, as it is an intense combination of the first two workouts, clocking in at a whopping 80 minutes. I haven't tried that one yet, to be honest, so keep in mind that this review is based on my experience completing only Workouts 1 and 2 a couple of times.

For your workouts, you'll officially need a mat and two sets of handweights - one lighter and one slightly heavier set, although I think you just need the one lighter set. Both workouts are circuit-based, with a combination of cardio, strengthening and ab work. With similar lengths and structures, the main difference between Workouts 1 and 2 appears to be the exercises themselves and the length of the intervals. The majority of the workout is using a combination of squats and arm work with the weights, and it can definitely be killer. In my opinion, there's a little too much reliance on the weights and way too many reps using them, but I'll get into that a little bit later.

Lastly, the annoyances that I mentioned... Let's just say that I'm not a huge fan of the workout host, Mike Donavanik. Of course, this is according to my own personal taste, and I can certainly see others liking his training style, but I personally didn't find him especially motivating.

Cost & Equipment: Four and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
4.5 out of 5 diamonds
Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn is affordable as they come, and only requires one or two sets of handweights.
Mike Donavanik's Extreme Burn DVD is currently retailing for $12.99 on The DVD workout is easily performed at home in your living room and requires two sets of handweights and an exercise mat (for your ab work). Like I mentioned previously, I think you're better off using just one set of 5-lb handweights. You do a lot of reps, so I just didn't end up needing the second, heavier set. If you don't typically train with weights, or you're worried about your arm strength, you could probably use a lighter, 3-lb set, but I don't think you need anything heavier than the 5-lb set.
Time Commitment: Four diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
4 out of 5 diamonds
Workouts 1 and 2 are each 40 minutes long, with no breaks, and you'll definitely be tired and feel as if you've made a good use of your time.

Both workouts start off with a similar 3 minute warm-up with jogging, jumping jacks, squats, lunges and the like, followed by a circuit (or two) of squats and weighted exercises, and a cardio circuit, all repeated twice through. Once these circuits are finished, you'll start a new circuit of squats and weights, and then move onto abs, finishing with a 3 minute cool down. Again, Workouts 1 and 2 may differ a little bit here, but they're pretty similar. There are absolutely no breaks; he pushes you to keep going the entire 40 minutes, which is tough, but I can appreciate the challenge.

One thing that does bug me about this workout DVD is there isn't a timer anywhere for you to know if you're a quarter, half way or almost done with your workout. You'll see a timer counting down on the screen while you perform each individual set during certain circuits, but I just like knowing that I only have 15, 10, 5 minutes left until the whole workout is over.

Level of Difficulty: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
This is a challenging workout, but I personally think the use of weights is a bit excessive.

My first time halfway through Workout 1, I literally had to put down the weights and start doing the exercises without them. It seems like you're doing SO many reps holding those weights, that I find it hard to believe that any average woman would be able to do them all, unless she's holding onto 3-lb weights the whole time! For that reason, I wonder if a man designed this girls just don't have the upper body strength that men naturally have (we carry our strength in our bottom half). Most of the exercises are nothing new, if you have ever done any of the home workout DVDs before -- Mountain climbers, jogging, jumping jacks, jabs, planks, etc., with a more unique move or two thrown in there. There were also a few exercises that just seemed impossible to me, like the Spiderman Pushups. Even P90X gives you an easier way to do these! Once I got my mind around the fact that I needed to modify the exercises so I could complete the required reps, I felt like I was fine to complete the workout.

Additionally, I think that I would have enjoyed my workout a little more if the host, Mike, counted down the number of reps. Instead, the video is designed around a second counter that pops up and starts counting down from 60- or 30-seconds when you start an exercise. I like knowing how many reps I'm doing, especially when I'm constantly lifting weights up over my head.

Effectiveness: Three and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3.5 out of 5 diamonds
Given its level of difficulty, I think it would be hard not to see some results from this workout DVD!

According to the Extreme Burn workout DVD, completing these three "Dynamic, high-intensity fat blasting workouts" will transform your body in 6 weeks. This DVD is at a good level of difficulty for the most part, and I was definitely sore the next day, which is a good test of a workout's effectiveness, in my book! The combination moves are great for working your entire body at once; my butt, thighs and shoulders were definitely burning by the end, and the ending abs portion of each workout is a welcome addition. At the end of the day, you will certainly walk away after completing this DVD feeling like you got a good workout and made a productive use of your 40 minutes.

As always though, I'm reviewing this workout from my perspective, and personally, I'm not sure that this workout is going to produce the results that I am looking for. The excessive use of weights actually makes me wonder if this workout is supposed to be designed for women, men or both. If I had to guess, I would say it's a workout DVD geared more toward women; it has a strong cardio focus, and besides the host himself, the other exercise participants are both female. However, if I'm right, then I think the workout could be designed a little bit better.

I know that us women are supposed to complete more reps with lighter weights in order to tone our muscles, but this workout just seems crazy to me! Way too many reps in each set, if you ask me. If you're going to make me do 20 bicep curls at once, then I definitely want a break before I move onto the next set of shoulder presses! For the duration of both workouts, I kept thinking that all of the required use of weights was just going to build up my arms in a way that I (and most women) don't want. To solve this issue, I just started to modify the workouts a bit so I wasn't pumping the weights as much.

Enjoyability: Three diamond rings rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of Mike Donavanik's training style, which definitely effects how much I enjoy this workout DVD.
Like most challenging workouts, you're going pretty hard for 40 minutes with no breaks in between, so it's kind of hard to really enjoy it in the moment. However, many of you may enjoy the fact that you're not jumping as much as you'd typically expect from an interval-based workout, and you're doing more squats and arm raises than anything else. I like the intervals because I'm never doing one thing for too long; switching from squats and shoulder presses, to planks and pushups, to mountain climbers and Heismans. Some of my favorite moves from Workouts 1 and 2 include the Reverse Lateral Steps with Tricep Kickbacks (although I could only do these with weights about half the time), dumbbell swings and donkey kicks.

One factor that did affect my enjoyability rating was the host, Mike's less-than-motivating training style. He says things like, "You think you're tired now..." and "You think this is hard, you still have a way to go!" throughout both workouts, which is the very last thing I want to hear when I'm working hard. I can imagine some of you will find these statements motivating, but they just irritated me and I tried my best to tune him out most of the time.

Bridal Fitness on Paper is a weekly blog series posted every Monday, where I share and review a wide variety of cardio and resistance training workouts, both inside the gym and out. Bridal Fitness on Paper is meant to help guide brides along their weight loss journey all the way to the altar and beyond! All of the reviews posted are based on my own experience; I am not a fitness or nutrition professional. If you're curious about a specific workout, and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.

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