Daily Burn Black Fire by Bob Harper (w/ Anja Garcia) Workout Program Review

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Just when I thought Daily Burn couldn’t get any better they went and pulled out the big gun! That big gun is none other than Bob Harper.  Everyone knows who Bob Harper is from The Biggest Loser to his own workout DVDs and books.

I have to admit when Daily Burn released Black Fire at the end of 2014 I was at the tail end of my Live to Fail rotation.  I viewed Black Fire and I was afraid.  It looked tough.  It looked intense.  And I have to tell you that it is ALL THAT and more!

Black Fire is a 60 day program that utilizes scoring in their high intensity workouts (although 2 do not).  This is what pushes you and motivates you.  It allows you to see how strong and fit you are becoming because at the end you will enter your score into the computer and it will track it for you (a nice feature of Daily Burn).  Black Fire uses very little equipment.  Bob will recommend dumbbell weights for men and women and you will also need a box, a medicine ball and a dowel.  I’m sure you could modify if you didn’t have these things.

Black Fire has 12 workouts total (and rest/recovery workouts if you follow their calendar) that include:

  • Bodyweight Tabata: In this workout you will go through four body-weight moves, eight rounds per move. 20 seconds of work; 10 seconds of rest.  You will get a minute of rest between tabatas.  Write down the lowest score for each move and at the end you will add up all of the lowest scores of the 4 moves and that is your final score.
  • Weighted Tabata: Like Bodyweight Tabata you will have four moves, eight rounds each for 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds rest.  The difference here is that this workout is weighted.  Let me tell you this weighted tabata is NO JOKE! Scoring is the same as the bodyweight tabata.
  • Sweet 16:   This workout has 2 moves (8 rounds each).  That’s it.  Two moves.  Easy peasy right?  WRONG!  The moves are a long jump and no wall balls (this requires a medicine ball that you throw up in the air and squat catch and release into the air repeatedly).  The goal is to get 16 reps in the allotted time.   If you do, you get one point for that round.  At the end you add up all your points for your final score.  There is no rest in this workout, however, if you finish all your reps before the end of the allotted time you can rest.
  • OTM Air Force Style: In order to get a point in this workout you need to do 12 reps in one minute.  If you finish all the reps before the end of the minute, you can rest.  At the top of each minute you do 4 burpees.  That is what OTM means – ON THE MINUTE.  You need dumbbells & a dowel (for an overhead squat). This workout is the hardest even though it isn’t touted as such.  You could use this workout for a leg day, it is very leg/butt intensive.
  • Cyclone 15: This workout has 3 different movements in a round. – V-ups, dumbbell swing and the goblet squat.  You get one point every time you complete the amount of reps Bob has allotted for each movement. The faster you go the more rounds you complete. You will need one dumbbell.
  • Strategic Endurance: If you follow the Daily Burn calendar this will be your first workout of the series.  In this workout you have three movements that you complete for 2 minutes each.  You have to complete three rounds.  The movements are burpee to box run to burpee, dips and situps.  You count all of your reps and at the end add them all up for the final score.
  • Triplet Ladder: This is my favorite of all of the Black Fire workouts.  It has a dumbbell snatch in it and I love dumbbell snatches.  I can complete this workout barefoot.  In this workout you make your way up the ladder by completing a rep for each movement and then increasing the rep count the next time you get back to that movement.  You keep going until 15 minutes is complete.  You can have your own rest time in there but you may not get as many rounds. Your score is the amount of rounds you make it through.
  • Power 10: This is touted as being one of the hardest of Black Fire.  Certainly not the easiest by far (none of them are easy) but I also don’t think it is the hardest.  This workout has four rounds of 10 exercises that you cycle through 30 seconds each and there is no allotted rest time. You are able to get a rest though in the way that the workout is set up.  You score with your lowest number completed.  If you get to the end of a movement and you hit that low number already any extra time remaining you may use as a rest.  For scoring you add up all of your lowest numbers of each exercise for the 4 rounds.
  • ABC 1: Anja Garcia whom we all know from the Inferno programs leads this workout.  A – Agility; B – Balance; and C – Core.  There are 5 rounds of 4 moves done for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest.  You get a full minute to rest between moves. These moves are bodyweight intensive.   Scoring is your lowest number for a round of each movement. You will add up all 4 of the lowest numbers for you final score.
  • ABC 2: This is set up just like ABC1 but with 5 moves that are different from ABC 1.  And these moves are a bit more challenging that ABC 1.
  • Gymnastics Strength 1: Utilizing her gymnastics experience, Anja leads these workouts too.  This workout has two rounds of six exercises each for one minute.  There is NO SCORING for the gymnastics workouts. I found that Gymnastics Strength 1 was more challenging that #2.
  • Gymnastics Strength 2: This is set up like GS1 except there are 5 moves instead of 6.  I thought GS2 was kind of fun. Again, no scoring.

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I have to disclose that I have not followed the Daily Burn schedule.  I have been cherry picking which workouts I want to do each day depending on my energy level.  I have to be honest, it took me a while to work myself into Black Fire. I started with Sweet 16 and really enjoyed it, then I tried the Triplet Ladder since I like “ladder” workouts and was familiar with how they are set up. Incidentally it wasn’t until I joined a Black Fire/Inferno group on Facebook that I was able to motivate myself to keep going with the workouts.  After joining the group, I found a lot of folks in the group aren’t following the calendar either and are creating their own programs. Some are combining Black Fire with Inferno.  (Shout out to the Black Fire & Inferno Fitness Challenge Group on Facebook.)

I think Black Fire should be renamed Butt Fire.  A lot of the workouts are squat intensive and I can tell after about a month of doing these workouts that my butt has already lifted a little.

Daily Burn really has a winner here with Black Fire, Bob Harper and Anja Garcia!  I would rate the workouts in this program 5 stars for sure.  Ten if I could.  Black Fire is SOLID!

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One Response to “Daily Burn Black Fire by Bob Harper (w/ Anja Garcia) Workout Program Review”

  1. Great article! I loved reading your thoughts. So glad to be a motivator!

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