decision to focus on HIIT wasn't based on just one study. Additional
studies have showed similar results, using variations of the HIIT
protocol. A 2001 study concluded that HIIT training increases the
resting metabolic rate (RMR) for the 24 hours following a workout due to
excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which explains how a short
interval workout can have a longer-lasting effect on body composition
change than a much longer cardio session.
The Science Behind TurboFire
you have completed one workout program successfully, it's always hard
to decide what to do next. When you keep coming up with hits like
creator Chalene Johnson does—first Turbo Jam®, then ChaLEAN Extreme®—it can seem like an especially daunting task. But when Johnson's Fat Blaster workout (part of the Turbo Jam® Fat Burning Elite program) became a serendipitous hit, we knew it was time for Chalene to take things to the next level. That's how the idea for TurboFire® was born. The goal was to create a next-level fitness program that
could be done by anyone and was easy to follow. Here's how we did it.
What is HIIT?
is based around a concept called High Intensity Interval Training, or
HIIT. HIIT has been somewhat popular since the '90s, when a study
suggested that you could burn up to nine times more body fat using short
but very high-intensity intervals than you could using old-school
steady-state aerobic training. HIIT's popularity had been cultish,
mainly because HIIT training had two perceived negatives associated with
it. First, it's hard; as in full-bore, maxed-out, cross-eyed hard. (The
Tabata study from '96 forced subjects to 170 percent of VO2 max, or the
maximum capacity for the body to transport and use oxygen during
incremental exercise.) Second, it can only be effective when done in
short cycles. But Chalene was intrigued with HIIT's time-efficient
structure, which promised great results, so we decided to see if we
could create a training program based around it.
The AfterBurn Effect
We termed this
phenomenon the AfterBurn Effect and began assembling a series of
workouts that could maximize HIIT across many training platforms.
Increases in post-exercise oxygen consumption are not unique to HIIT. No
other style of training has HIIT's peak numbers, but they can be done
for longer periods of time. There is science behind the saying, "For
every action, there is a reaction." All that intense HIIT training comes
at a cost; the body breaks down quickly and it can't be sustained for
Numerous studies were on the same page in showing that
fitness gains made with HIIT training begin to plateau sometime after
the third week. Therefore, the key to creating a fitness program using
the HIIT modality required us to figure out how to either get the body
to recover for another round of HIIT training as quickly as possible, or
look at other training modalities that could work in conjunction with
HIIT that also yielded results.
The Periodizational Approach
basic terms, periodizational training means finding a way to alter
training over time to maximize results; sort of like basic
cross-training, but with a more well-defined plan. If you're familiar
with Beachbody's fitness programs, you've seen this before. All our
programs have a schedule that changes over time. The two factors that
control how much change occurs are time and intensity. Essentially, over
time everyone should alter their approach to training, and the fitter
you are, the more your approach needs to change, to continually cause
something called the adaptation response. For those of you who've done P90X®, the TurboFire schedule should look familiar.
TurboFire, as Chalene says, "is not P90X for girls." It's a
HIIT-focused training program, where all the other training is designed
to prepare you to get the best results possible during your HIIT
training phases. And while both P90X and TurboFire have a somewhat
complex periodizational structure, their schedules are quite different.
TurboFire combines both of the philosophies you'll hear Chalene espouse
in her other programs, Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme.
Muscle Burns Fat®
tagline from ChaLEAN Extreme, Muscle Burns Fat, doesn't get chucked out
the window just because we created some HIIT routines. The
physiological principle of adding muscle to your frame increases your
metabolism and leads to changes in body composition is valid, and you'll
find that resistance work is a major component of TurboFire.
ChaLEAN Extreme, you'll often hear Chalene say you should do resistance
training three times per week for the rest of your life. It's not just
talk, and TurboFire holds you to it. In fact, in an homage to the P90X
tagline, Muscle Confusion™, as part of the TurboFire program, you'll
receive a schedule for a hybrid program that combines ChaLEAN Extreme
and TurboFire. When you combine the two programs, you get a
periodizational schedule that'll keep challenging your body's adaptation
response for nearly a year!
Advanced Cardio Conditioning
in fact, is not as much of a HIIT program as it is a Chalene program.
Her workouts are unique, and TurboFire is very much an extension of her
first Beachbody® program, Turbo Jam, which was a home version
of her health club training class, Turbo Kick. She termed her first
vision of TurboFire "the next level of Turbo Kick," and that's pretty
much what we've got here. The program has the look and feel of being in
an exercise class at the gym—Chalene's preferred environment.
likes the class environment because "it's fun and provides motivation."
But there's more than fun at the root of her classes. Cardio is an
umbrella term that covers a lot of different styles of training, from
easy aerobic to intense HIIT. No matter where, between these extremes
your workout falls, you're going to be targeting different human energy
systems that have different physiological benefits. For the TurboFire
system, Chalene created different cardio classes to make sure each of
these energy systems were being targeted, to achieve an effect she calls
Cardio Confusion, a play on words referencing P90X's Muscle Confusion.
Confusion is more than a slogan. The cardio phases of the TurboFire
program combine different styles of interval training with
recovery-oriented aerobic training to create a steady growth curve in
your fitness levels. This accelerates your body's ability to get ready
for your next round of HIIT, but it also takes advantage of the
AfterBurn Effect by targeting different energy systems.
recovery is not a by-product of TurboFire, but an essential part of the
program. That you only get stronger at rest is a gym cliché that, as
many do, holds a lot of truth. Active recovery helps your body grow
strong much more quickly than rest alone. All high-level training
programs work better if they contain targeted rest and recovery phases.
During these periods, you target the body's aerobic system and
stabilizer muscles, and use techniques that stretch out overworked
muscle fibers and heal connective tissue microtrauma.
A program for one. A program for all.
often difficult to find one fitness program that would work for
everyone, and it's generally not best to recommend that everyone do the
same program, rather than steering each person toward the program that
best fits their needs. Reality, though, has taught us that people often
want to do what inspires them, whether it fits their ability level or
not. Beachbody's high-level programs P90X and INSANITY® are meant to be "graduate" programs only; each comes with a fitness
test that, if you can't complete it, recommends you do a lower-level
program first, instead. While our beginning-level customers should pay
attention to this advice, and would usually get better results with an
easier program, we've learned that they don't always do what we
With TurboFire, however, we've done our best to allow
nearly anyone to attempt the program safely. In fact, we included a
2-month preparatory schedule for anyone who thinks they may not be ready
for the rigors of HIIT training. Not only that, every move in the
program comes with a modified version that almost anyone should be able
to follow. Furthermore, Chalene recognized that some men can be
rhythm-challenged, so she purposely made the choreography a lot easier
to follow than it is in Turbo Jam and her health club classes.
final element of the program is diet, another element where TurboFire
has evolved beyond other Beachbody programs. TurboFire has gone in the
opposite direction from P90X, which has a phased eating plan that some
of our customers have found to be complex. Instead, TurboFire's diet has
expanded on the Beachbody Step-by-Step Nutrition Guide and tried to
give you a variety of different ways to alter your eating habits, with
the same end purpose as our other plans—a balanced diet that fuels
Essentially, the entire TurboFire program has a
singular focus: that getting fit can be fun, and that eating healthy
doesn't need to be a complex task. And while there's a lot of science
behind what you'll see as you follow along, our goal was to make it as
simple as the original Beachbody tagline: Just Push Play.
TurboFire has been one of my favorite workouts! When I need a pick me up, I turn to Turbofire for a great mood lifting workout with the sweating inducer of a marathon! Short but intense! Now that's my style! Want to get on the Turbo Wagon?? Click here for more details and let me coach you to the results you want in the most fun atmosphere you can imagine!!!