I’ve decided to do a little QA on two do-it-yourself home DVD workouts both by Shaun T. First I tried Insanity (30-45 minute workouts), which I must say I must have been insane to spend that amount of money to continually jump around in my living room. Most of the circuits involved plyometrics (high impact jumping), the rest in my opinion was ok, nothing I didn’t do before. The DVDs consisted of multiple exercises done in a slow interval, fast interval, then super fast interval (without a modifier). I found the super fast interval completely insane even for myself who considers herself an athlete (others may view playing softball in 104 degrees as insane but not to me). Anyway, I took a liking to 2 of the Dvds that didn’t involve plyometrics, other than that I felt I wasted my money. Thankfully I was able to resell it on Amazon.
Mind you, I am not a gym rat, I prefer the flexibility of working out at home (and I have the discipline and accountability). I have a treadmill, total gym, stationary bike, mats and free weights. I keep a daily workout journal to keep myself on track. I’m a huge fan of Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, Jackie Warner, Tony Horton (P90x shoulders and abs dvd) etc. none of which have easy workouts. I run, cycle and play softball so doing these calendar based circuit exercises wasn’t something new, I’ve always exercised but the cardio I was doing was getting boring. I thought by giving Insanity a chance it would make things more interesting and tighten things up a bit. I was wrong, my knees hurt, my back hurt and most of all I wasn’t enjoying the exercises. So I went back to basics, and started speed intervals on the treadmill and stationary bike. This fall I decided to give his latest and greatest set Focus T25 a chance (25 min workouts). I checked out the circuits on Youtube first so I wouldn’t be wasting my money on exercises that weren’t fun and would cause me a lot of pain (e.g. too many plyos). I decided to follow the calendar this time which I didn’t do in Insanity because again I wasn’t having any fun.
Week 1 I completed without a problem, although the weeks after became difficult to do consecutively (never start a program during the holidays and if you do always continue the calendar the next day). In a way I felt pressured to get all 6 workouts in (2 on Fridays) yet with my work schedule and other responsibilities I found that doing whatever I could that week, and doubling the exercises when I could, even if I had to move it to the following week to continue was worth it. I was having fun doing Alpha but by week 4 I wanted to use weights. The cardio was definitely intense, even with the modifier (thank goodness for the modifier). When I started Beta I was hoping to use more weights, by week 4 I was bored. I didn’t like one of the Core dvds so I swapped it out for one I liked in Alpha. 25 minutes a day goes by very fast if you are having fun. The exercises get easier as you work at it, you’ll notice changes in the way your clothes fit (as long as you have a nutrition plan to follow). I took a ‘before’ picture because I was working on the ‘bikini body’ for vacation. I definitely see a difference in areas where normal cardio (running and cycling) does not help. T25 was mostly core exercises, not just targeting one area. The combination of cardio plus strength, agility and speed, all works your core. You’ll notice definition (again, as long as you are eating right). Since I measured when I started end of October I’m down 1 inch on my hips and 2 on my waist (I didn’t have much to lose anyway just to tighten up). I borrowed the Gamma dvds from a friend of mine and decided not to follow a calendar. Overall the three I did I liked (Weights – YAY!), the Pyramid one I liked the best because it combines pyramid workouts with cardio intervals in between. Speed 3.0 is crazy but doable. Now that I’m done, I have my own weekly calendar of T25 workouts including getting back on the treadmill and my other dvds.
Overall, I would recommend this to a friend (and I did), and for anyone who needs a kickstart to their workout who is short on time. Do not feel pressured to complete everything scheduled for that week, it is fine if you skip a day or two because of responsibilities and continue with what’s next the following week. When your workouts start to feel like work that is when you lose interest. These are fun, and you will not hurt yourself either. It is definitely worth the money and if you follow the meal plans (clean eating, no processed food, 1 cheat day) and do your homework you’ll see the results!