Sunday, August 7, 2016

The T Stands For Terrible

Ten weeks. That's all the time you need to get so friggin ripped you won't even recognize yourself. At least, that's what Eddie and I thought when we started T-25, a Beach Body workout with Shaun T. That's the guy who does Insanity. You know, the infomercial with all the very sweaty people. I used to want to do that, but Eddie bought this one because it's only 25 minutes every day. Except for when you have to do two workouts in one day. Plus stretching during the cool down for a few minutes with every workout. See? They don't tell you that in the commercials. And that's not the only thing they don't tell you.

They don't tell you that every workout begins and ends with commercials. Seriously, you have to sit through ads for Shakeology, a supposedly very healthy shake that can replace a meal when you make a smoothie out of it. The gun thing about the commercials is that you get to see the workout people talking to you or you can see Tony Horton in an apron acting like a cashier. See? Fun times. Or you can see ads for making your skin look younger featuring the very tan doctor from that show that may or may not have been canceled called The Doctors. Someone that tan should not be giving advice on skin.

The workout comes with a calendar that lets you keep track of each of your workouts and how you progress. Or how you don't progress. Whatever the case may be. There are boxes with each day that you can check off: Nailed It or Barely Made It. Then at the end of the week, you take measurements on STATurday. Get it? Like, not Saturday, but STATurday. And that pun works only if you start on a Monday, and for various reasons concerning scheduling and fitting in that stupid double workout, we started each week on Wednesday, meaning that Monday was STATurday, and the pun becomes even more stupid.

Okay, so these are all minor issues. A workout is a workout, right?

No. It is not.

The Alpha round, the first round, starts off with running in place or slow jogging or kicking in place for every workout. There's no warm up. There's just bouncing.

Having injured myself with a Jillian Michaels non-warm-up workout--actually the warm up was what I was doing, and it shouldn't have been a warm-up because it was jumping up and over a step and my non warmed up calf muscle felt like it ripped in two and I couldn't work out regularly for over a month--I had to add in my own warm up, meaning I was getting up before Eddie woke up to do a warm up yoga stretch.

Sometimes I would get up even earlier so I could do my normal workout before instead of after the T-25 one. Yeah, that's right. I was doing my own workout because the T-25 workout is only 25 minutes, and I like to have longer workouts for cardio. Not that these workouts aren't jam-packed with exercise. They are. They require a lot of high impact jumping and jogging and knee lifting. There's also lots of squatting in Alpha.

In Beta, the focus seems to be abs. In addition to an ab workout, there's a cardio based abs workout. There's also a lot of arms, and you start to use weights or bands. Instead of full body circuit, you get Rip't Circuit. I won't even go into the English Professor reason for disliking Rip't. Instead of Speed 1.0, you get Speed 2.0. How original. Instead of lower focus, you get upper focus. All the Beta workouts begin with some sort of non-warmed-up jumping-required bouncy move.

Shaun T is motivating and funny a lot of the time. Sometimes, though, his face takes up the screen and I found myself jumping back. Everyone on the DVD sweats really badly, even Tania The Modifier, whose name we thought was Taia almost the whole first five weeks. We love Jam. Jam is the jam. She's the best worker outer ever. BTW: Jam is a person who at first we thought was named Jan. Nope, it's Jam.

And this shouldn't be important, but it is--in Beta, there are new people working out. It's very disturbing! Who ARE these people in my living room? Where's Derek with the Amazing Squats? Now we have Andy on the Bands instead. Who the heck is Marlene? We want Christina back!

But for 25 minutes almost every day, we became angry and bored. Despite the motivation and positive vibes, we just hated it. Not at the beginning, but right around the end of Alpha, we were like, this is not working and this is terrible.

Terrible #1: Those stupid boxes. For each workout, you're basically evaluating yourself. Did you Nail It? If not, the only other choice is Barely Made It. Some days, I wanted a box for, I Did Better Than Last Time But Not Completely 100%. Or Today I Just Didn't Care. Or I Did My Best. Nope, those boxes don't exist, so every workout comes with an extreme evaluation.

I did P90X twice, and never did I have to judge my own workout. Instead, I wrote down how many reps I was able to do for each exercise. Sure, that interrupts the workout a lot, and it's annoying, and it won't work in a 25 minute work out, but at least I wasn't getting all judgey. Even when the numbers didn't change, it wasn't judgey. It was numbers. You know how non-motivating it can be to write Barely Made It after dying through a workout every day?

Terrible #2: STATurday. We don't own a scale, so we couldn't record Weight. I never want to, anyway. Recording weight is stupid. Weight can depend on if I'm retaining water. Weight doesn't reflect how my pants fit. If this workout actually worked the way it was supposed to and I gained muscle while losing fat, weight shouldn't change, or it might go up.

Plus, I'm pretty sure we don't know how to take measurements for Chest, Waist, Arm, and Thigh. If there are instructions anywhere, I didn't find them. Would you like to know my weekly measurements? Here you go:

Weight: Unknown, for ten weeks straight.

Chest: 30, for ten weeks, except for when it was 29 1/2 that one time. Plus I don't know if I was measuring the right way because I was measuring above my boobage.

Waist: 25 1/2,   26,   25 3/4,   26,   27 1/2,   27,   25 1/5,   26,   26 1/2,   27 -- So, yeah, we don't know how to use a tape measure.

Arm: 9 1/2 except for that one time it was 9.

Thigh: anywhere between 18 1/2 and 19.

Couple the judgey box with unchanging measurements, and you've got no reason to go on.

Terrible #3: The 5 Day Fast Track. I know, I know. Some people live by smoothies. I just can't bring myself to advocate for drinking a meal, and that's what the stupid fast track does. It pushes smoothies in the morning, and you have to include Shakeology, which is incredibly expensive. Why not eat an omelet loaded with veggies? Or even oat meal?

Some days, the snack for the Fast Track is an egg. One hardboiled egg.  You get to put olive oil and black pepper on it.  How about no?

And there are so many different recipes that you have to buy a small amount of each ingredient, which is not possible. That means lots of leftover food that could probably go to waste. Especially when you live with someone who believes the food pyramid is simple a circle of burgers, grilled cheese, pizza, and PB&J.

Since we had a very non-standard two weeks with family in town and lots of adventures at the end of Alpha and beginning of Beta, I was off my usual eating plan, but for the most part during T-25, I did my normal thing, which is very low sugar, very high protein, and mostly healthy. This didn't seem to make a difference one way or the other.

Terrible #4: It's just not 25 minutes a day. It's a big fat lie. End of story.

Terrible #5: I've noticed this in several Beach Body workouts. They say the name of the workout during the workout, and not only a few times. It's constant. Sure, it might be some sort of supportive advertising, but it's incredibly annoying. At some points, Shaun T says it to the rhythm of the workout. Sometimes, he says T stands for Time. Sometimes, he says T stands for Shaun T. 

Also, there's something about Focus. The actual workout is called Focus T-25, but in the logo, the word Focus is embedded into the T, so it's not that noticeable. And frankly, I don't care.

Some days our focus was laughing because I'd be doing one thing, and Eddie would be doing another thing, and neither thing that we were doing was what was on the screen. Sometimes, I'd look over at Eddie and just start laughing because I'd be doing the worst squats in the world all ashamed and he'd be doing them the same way. The only reason we kept going is we got so far into it, we simply couldn't quit near the end.

Near the end, I decided to do only T-25. Maybe that was the problem. I was working out too much with my additional regular workout. That, too, made no difference other than giving me more time during the day.

I really like Shaun T on screen, especially when he admits that his workout buddies are laughing at him because he speaks of himself in third person. Which he does a lot. But liking someone's personality wasn't enough to save this workout from being a disaster. I'm no stronger or leaner than I was when I began.

I'm still working on Project Pants Fit. I've returned to a regular workout, following a new routine from a fitness magazine. Eddie's doing a ten day bike challenge. So far, neither of us has checked off any boxes about what we've nailed or not, and we haven't taken any measurements. We seem quite happier in the morning these days.

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