10 Pounds DOWN: 2012 Total Body Transformation Challenge ProgramIf you’re a fan of Jillian Michaels but could use a break from all the barking and the tough love, Jessica Smith is the workout guru for you.She has a true gift for video instruction. She knows, for instance, that when you’re down on the floor doing a core move you don’t necessarily have your eyes on the screen so plenty of notice on that upcoming set of standing lunges is much appreciated.Don’t let the sweet demeanor and bouncy blonde ponytail fool you though. Smith is a tough, wise teacher who knows how to wring more calories and toning power out of an exercise than any other fitness pro out there. She’s also got a knack for taking standard movements and giving them just enough of an interesting twist to keep her workouts fresh and engaging.The entire eight DVD set has something for everyone, from the quick and intense Corset Abs to the hardcore 60-minute Total Body Tune Up to the martial arts infused Below The Belt. All you need is a mat and a set of dumbbells. The meal plan is sensible, simple and packed with tasty recipes you can whip up in about ten minutes.Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starsCost and order info: Individual DVDs from the set are available on amazon.com or www.jessicasmith.tv for $14.95. Kindle users can purchase the meal plan with this link. All eight workouts in streaming video format plus the 90 day workout calendar and meal plan are available for $19.95 with pumpone.com’s iPad Fitness Class app. If you aren’t already using this awesome, free app, you should be.JCore Accelerated Body Transformation System

JCoreJay Cardiello
Jay Cardiello

When celebrity personal trainer Jay Cardiello teaches live, his giddy positivity must fill the room with a million volts of upbeat energy. His charm doesn’t translate quite as successfully to a pre-taped small screen format.For one thing, he’s a “Woo Boy,” which is fine in a live class but somewhat grating to the ear on a video. His moves are effective in a burly sort of way but could benefit from a little more variety. As for his cueing, it could use some help so you don’t find yourself three beats behind him before you realize he’s now doing a completely different exercise.That said, there’s a lot to like about this five workout set. Using no equipment and minimal space, you’ll liberate a decent amount of calories in a lean 20-minutes per session. Yes—just 20 minutes. Even if your coordination is a little wonky, all the moves—labeled with inspired names like The Popsicle, The Cinderella and The Flying Axeman—are easily mastered. Despite his shortcomings, his goofy banter makes you want to stick around for the full session.The program’s 40-day meal plan doesn’t involve any math to determine your daily calorie limit or allotted carb servings but it also doesn’t provide any guidance about food preparation and its effect on nutritional content so it’s tough to know whether you’re staying within your calorie budget.We do have a gripe with the hard sell for the line of JCore supplements. It doesn’t make sense to save all that money on exercise equipment only to spend it on expensive powders and potions that seem beside the point to an otherwise respectable program.Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.Cost: $104.85 for 6 DVD set, meal planner and recipes. (The sixth DVD is an exercise test to measure progress.) Add a USB card and the cost is $149.84. Supplement packets start at $19.99.To order: jcorebody.comJari Love’s Extremely Ripped 1000 Hardcore

Jari Love
Jari Love

This fast, furious and exceptionally sweaty workout is like a flashback to the step classes of yore. The premise here is that if you can survive the 60 minutes, you’ll burn up to a thousand calories, something that would take you the equivalent of 5.5 hours of yoga, 3 hours of walking or 2 hours of Zumba to achieve otherwise. The claim seems dubious until you’re halfway through the warm up and realize you’re already gargling your heart in your throat.There’s nothing fancy here, just some good old fashioned stepping and iron pumping. Yes you’ve seen all of these moves before but that doesn’t make them any less effective. After six continuous sets of triceps presses and curtsey lunges you won’t have to ask which muscle groups are working—your trembling arms, legs and butt will tell the tale. True novices should heed Love’s advice to stay at “Level One” until you’re ready for more. Even the beginner versions of moves will be challenging for actual beginners.The on screen instructions sometimes obscure the bottom half of the screen for too long so you can’t always see what you’re supposed to be doing with your feet but that’s a minor quibble. If you aren’t ready for the full throttle 60-minutes, you can break up the workout into shorter segments.Oh, and if you’re looking for a meal plan, you won’t find one here. Just get through the hour, incinerate those thousand calories then don’t worry about the carb count in your morning muffin.Rating: 4 out of 5 starsCost: $14.95 for the one program DVD.To order: jarilove.com