Difference Between Turbo Jam & Turbo Fire

Women and trainer Boxing Together At Gym center

At-home workout DVDs are one of the best low-cost methods for getting fit. Yet for the beginner, the choices are staggering. Among them are the "Turbo" series from Chalene Johnson. Turbo Fire, which debuted in 2010, follows on the heels of her earlier DVD series, Turbo Jam. It’s helpful for the person new to either working out or to at-home programs to ascertain whether Turbo Jam or Turbo Fire is the best starting point. Always check with your doctor to determine if you're ready to start a new workout routine.


Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire were both created by and feature fitness trainer Chalene Johnson. Each series features a combination of kickboxing and hip-hop moves, with plenty of music to keep things lively. As their names suggest, both series rely on Johnson’s "turbo" concept, which mixes intense cardio intervals with periods of more sustained cardio moves, as well as stretching and strength training. Both programs are produced by Beachbody, the fitness corporation behind popular DVD and video sets such as the P9OX and Insanity series. Johnson describes both Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire as natural outgrowths of her original Turbo Kick, which originated in the late 1990s.

Skill Levels

Although Turbo Fire has a "new to class" option, Turbo Jam is the better choice for beginners. Johnson describes the program’s inception as a "ramp" to her original kickboxing and hip-hop classes. Turbo Fire is geared to people with some experience in high-intensity interval training, although it (like Turbo Jam) includes low-intensity versions of each workout. Johnson notes that the core of Turbo Fire is a series of short duration intervals that "kill you." Obviously, this concept is a bit daunting for the beginner, making Turbo Jam more user-friendly to people new to the high interval workouts. According to Johnson, Turbo Fire is intended to fill the gap for more experienced fitness buffs who plateau if high interval isn’t interspaced with regular cardio and strength training.

Turbo Jam Details

Turbo Jam comes with a guidebook, flashcards to reinforce the program’s signature moves and a link to online support. Its main components are two DVDs with a total of five workouts -- an introduction to the core eleven moves used in Turbo Jam, a 40-minute muscle-sculpting workout, a 20-minute full-body workout, a 45-minute dance cardio workout and a 20-minute workout focusing on standing abdominal moves. A "bonus package" available on the Beachbody website includes weighted workout gloves, a related kickboxing DVD and a meal-planning tool. Beachbody sells Turbo Jam for about $60.

Turbo Fire Details

Along with its larger group of DVDs, Turbo Fire comes with a fitness band, a suggested workout schedule and a related guidebook. The 10 DVDs include an introduction to the high-intensity interval training and traditional cardio concepts of the workouts. The workouts themselves range from high interval/stretch, cardio/stretch and sculpt/tone routines, each lasting between 25 to 60 minutes. The "bonus package" includes nutrition guides, online support, an additional sculpting band and a DVD focusing on abs. Turbo Fire sells for about $120.