So I’ve not written on here in quite a while, and it is because – in no uncertain terms – I fell off the wagon. It’s weeks and weeks, since I last worked out.
I stopped TapouT XT after 2 weeks because I was disappointed with the changes I was seeing in my body (i.e. none). My visible gains with Insanity were modest too, so overall I was feeling pretty disillusioned.
But recently I’ve been tracking my diet and have come to a startling conclusion – that’s where my problem is. I eat pretty well – plenty of fruit and veg, no snacking, never eat take out or junk food, never eat ready-meals. But when I stacked up all the data (using the My Fitness Pal app, highly recommended) I realised two things:
So today is day zero. I’m going to start again with my workouts, but this time I’m going to pay closer attention to nutrition. If my current diet hardly supports my current body shape then it’s tough to see where I’m going to build any muscle from. Less sugar. Less fat. More protein.
Day Zero Stats:
I had read that Cardio XT was one of the worst days and it’s certainly a tough workout. It’s closer to the intensity of the Insanity workouts. There’s a certain similarity between the two programmes with this workout – this session has a similar routine of workouts and water breaks, even if the circuits are different rather than repeated. It’s a tough workout, no doubt… it doesn’t reach the exhaustion level of Insanity but it comes very close.
One annoyance was that this workout began with an instruction to “wear your TapouT gloves” – weighted gloves which make the workout tougher. Well, I’m sorry, but these a) didn’t come in my pack and b) weren’t even an extra option when I ordered it. Maybe that’s us Brits being treated rough but I guess I’ll have to live with it.
I’m mixed up with my days at the moment. Day 12 should have been Thursday but I had to drop that workout due to other commitments. Friday was also out due to things I’ve previously mentioned which means that Sunday (tomorrow) will be Day 13, and then Monday will magically become day 15. This is getting complicated
Yoga XT is almost a rest day, right? Well, not quite.
Once again it was really annoying having to repeat so many upward and downward dog moves, but I managed to keep up with the flow more and I may even be beginning to see some logic behind these moves… they stretch you but they also tax some other muscles.
It’s also interesting that some of the moves (trunk rotations, side planks) are showing up the fact that I’m tighter one one side than the other. I’ve not always been aware of this, but I’ve had back problem on and off and they’ve always been on my left side which is turning out to be the tighter side. Some of Mike’s stretches also touch muscles which I would never have dreamt of stretching before (which is similar to the way some of his exercises work muscles that I didn’t know existed!).
So overall, I’m slowly becoming a Yoga XT convert. It makes a nice change and it certainly (to me) feels more effective than the Insanity Cardio Recovery sessions. It’s a long session though… I’m not liking that. And as ever, it seems as if some of the folks in the room aren’t 100% sure of the moves (for example, during the warrior poses, there’s confusion over which way toes should be pointing).
I decided to swap these two days around (Day 6 was my rest day) because I usually have a lot going on around Friday evening. I’m reluctant to break the schedule too much because it’s a slippery slope towards failing the programme, but equally I recognise that if I’m completely inflexible with it then I’ll come to resent it and end up quitting anyway. Hopefully I’m striking a happy medium.
Sprawl and Brawl was pretty much what I expected from TapouT. You don’t use any of resistance bands for this one, but spend most of your time doing strikes and punches. It’s a fairly exhausting workout and I was very sweaty by the end of it. However, at the time I didn’t really feel like it was putting too much of a demand on my body and I felt better able to keep up with this workout than I was with others.
HOW WRONG I WAS. Today, my body hurts so much… muscles are aching in my arms, back and shoulders in places where I didn’t even know I had them! I once reblogged a photo on here which said “sore is the new sexy”… if that’s the case then I’m damn sexy today.
But this is exactly what I wanted from TapouT – it’s targetting all those upper body muscles which Insanity missed (or lightly touched).
On the bus coming home, slightly bored, I got my phone out and googled for “tapout xt day 5” and was horrified by the tales of agony which I read about. Fortunately, the real deal wasn’t quite as bad as I’d expected.
This was the first day using the leg band. Whilst it’s a very effective piece of equipment, I found it kept slipping and some of the push up moves were too difficult with it for me to complete… it dug into my hands and really hurt. After the first 20 minutes I was getting a bit frustrated but then things switched over to the resistance bands which I love and I ended the workout on a high. It was tough, it was sweaty, but I really feel like the resistance bands are giving me some results.
Once again, I was struck that the explanations of moves isn’t as clear as in Insanity… and yet again, I’m convinced that repeat runs of this DVD will fix the problem. I’ve also got a handle on one of the other things that is disturbing me post-Insanity: Shaun T shows you a move, and the concept is always the same – do as many as you can in the time permitted whilst maintaining form. Mike Karpenko has a similar model but a lot of the time he also shouts out the rhythm that he’s working to and that can jar if you can’t keen the pace.
One very funny moment today though… during the killer move Mike says he’d love to see people doing it over a coffee table and then a big warning flashes up on screen “DO NOT DO THIS OVER A COFFEE TABLE”. Health and Safety first, folks.
Strictly speaking, this is day 5. I missed my workout yesterday due to a work commitment which ran late, and then I missed the bus so had to hang around for an hour waiting for the next one. But I promised myself that I wouldn’t get hung up on the schedule with TapouT – even loosely following the programme is more exercise than most people do!
So today was Yoga XT and I was really looking forward to it because a friend from Uni days became completely and utterly ripped from doing lots of Yoga. When it came down to it though, I was less impressed by this workout.
It’s got a lot in common with Cardio Recovery in terms of stretches, but I really felt that the explanation of the moves was weak on this DVD. The downward dog moves in particular make it nearly impossible to look at the TV screen whilst exercising and with limited explanations of the moves I found I had to keep stopping to take a look at the screen. Shaun T may be hard on you, but he makes sure you know the moves inside out.
And the downward dogs… my word there are a LOT of them. My sore arms and shoulders struggled with a lot of these and I was getting very frustrated until the later sections of the DVD changed things up. In fact, I really enjoyed the last 15 minutes or so – a lot of the moves in this part shared commonality with the Pilates moves I’ve been doing separately from Insanity/TapouT.
By the end I was feeling more positive. My general feeling with TapouT is that the workouts are going to be easier when we start repeating DVDs simply because of familiarity with the moves.
Plyo XT begins with a warning that it’s one of the toughest workouts in the programme. And boy, are they right!
Today was undoubtedly much more like an Insanity workout thanks to its deliberate focus on legs. Hell, the “killer move” today was basically Shaun T’s beloved power jumps.
I wasn’t able to complete all the moves in today’s workout through a mixture of exhaustion and tiredness, but also a couple of other things. Firstly, I’m finding that TapouT needs more space around me when working out - my space at home was already limited for Insanity, so it’s proving quite tricky for TapouT. Secondly, I got into a habit of working out for Insanity barefoot, in just my pants… a lot of the TapouT moves involve twisting your feet around and I’m finding that impossible in bare feet on carpets - it’s a problem of my own creation though in that case.
Now, I’ve had a few days of TapouT so far and I’m reaching a few conclusions about it. A lot of the moves require a lot of coordination and are carried out for such a short period of time, it’s very difficult to pick them up first time round. Compare that to Insanity where the same moves are repeated several times in a circuit and it can be much tougher to keep up the pace with TapouT. There also seems to be less focus on perfect form with TapouT… Shaun T was always very clear that form came first and that if you couldn’t maintain form, you should take a break. With Mike however, you can even see some of the folks in the studio struggling to coordinate on some of the moves. I think that Insanity comes across as a slightly more serious workout… Shaun T is definitely an instructor who wants you to have good form; Mike Karpenko is more like a friend who’s encouraging you to do well.
My arms and chest are so sore from yesterday. I’m pretty sure my legs will be in agony tomorrow. All good stuff…
I woke up this morning feeling sore as expected, but it was a very different kind of sore to what I had experienced with Insanity. For Insanity, it was all about the legs; with TapouT it was my core and obliques, plus my shoulders.
Insanity introduced the idea of following a workout with a shorter ab routine in week 3… TapouT pulls no punches and introduces it on day 2. And make no mistakes, that made today a long workout… Strength and Force Upper is about 50 minutes, and Ultimate Abs is nearly another 20 minutes on top of that. But, happily, this combination wasn’t as sweat drenching as yesterday (and certainly not like Insanity!).
There’s a LOT of work with the resistance band in this, and I found myself having to take breaks not because of exhaustion in the Insanity sense, but more like muscle fatigue. I instantly feel like TapouT is going to deliver a more impressive physique than Insanity because of the way the resistance work is targeting my torso. I know it’s still early days, but if I had to make a guess now I’d say Insanity is better for fat burning and improving cardio performance; TapouT is better for size and definition. But we’ll see for sure in 12 weeks’ time!
One thing which always bugged me about Insanity was that the workout is promoted as 60 days, but in reality it’s 63 (9 weeks). I always used to think that this, trivial as it is, was a kind of false advertising. Weirdly, TapouT works the other way. It’s advertised as 90 days but is actually 83 (12 weeks, but the last day on the calendar is just labeled as “Your New Body”, not a specific workout). It helps to know that I’d already completed 7 of the 90 days without lifting a finger…
One other thing… today’s DVD featured Sam Schneider. It was Sam’s impressive transformation that was one of the major reasons why I wanted to try TapouT. His physique on the DVD is just amazing… if I can get anywhere near that over the next 90 days I will be over the moon. The idea of using people from the infommercial in the workouts is inspired.
OK, so here we go. I “dug deeper” with Insanity, and now it’s time to “come and get it” with TapouT (if I ever get used to that extra capitalised ‘T’).
First thoughts on my first workout?
In short, it’s different. Less exhausting, but still a fierce workout. Day 2 tomorrow. Let’s see how we go…
I went to Philadelphia in mid-April. Up until that point, I’d been working out at Insanity pretty regularly but stopped on that trip and haven’t resumed since. I’d attempted to start a new set of body weight exercises to make up for this, but didn’t really get going with it.
Now, my exercise obsession all began back in 2012 whilst in Las Vegas, when I saw an advert for the Tapout XT workout on TV. At the time, it wasn’t available in the UK, and that was why I began investigating alternatives and ended up doing Insanity (and loving it!).
So here I found myself, struggling to get back into the routine of Insanity and I decided to Google for Tapout XT once more. Imagine my excitement to discover it was finally available in England (but, weirdly, wasn’t being advertised on TV as far as I could tell). So I ordered it, and it’s arrived. I would have started today, but a bout of food poisoning has delayed things.
A few things appeal to me about Tapout vs Insanity. Firstly, whilst it’s definitely an extreme workout it’s not quite as extreme as Insanity. I know Insanity is a great workout, but there are days when I just can’t face dripping in that much sweat! Secondly, I love the fact that it’s got some resistance elements to it. I’m already pretty thin and whilst I toned up with Insanity, I didn’t get the definition I had hoped for… hopefully Tapout will fix this. And thirdly, there’s a wider variety of workouts… not by much, but the schedule mixes things up quite a bit whereas Insanity has basically got 4 workouts on repeat for the first month, and another four for the second; Tapout has 12 but they’re mixed up through the whole 3 months.
I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by the diet plan for Tapout. The food in it is more like the things I enjoy eating, and it focuses more on eating three balanced meals a day rather than five meals a day – I always found the Insanity plan too difficult to follow, especially when cooking for meals shared with my partner who isn’t on the programme.
On the downside, it’s 90 days instead of 60! Wish me luck…