Monday, October 22, 2012

you can read my latest blog on my website as it covers several products from Team Beachbody (c): http://www.stepsfitness.com/insanity-exercise-videos

or you can read it here:


The Insanity of Exercise videos
by request, i was asked to comment on the products of Team Beachbody(c) since they, having read some of my posts, believe i may have some noteworthy comments to make on their behalf. however, they neither asked that i speak highly of their products, esp the new ones that are coming out this fall, nor that i would get anything in return for having said anything good, bad or otherwise. so long as we - me and TB - are ok with honesty, i was ok doing this evaluation.
now, let me state for the record, i have never actually DONE any of their workout videos. this is not because i would not love the challenge - and believe me, they do look quite challenging for young, healthy people with no major cardiovascular or orthopedic risk factors. in my youth, when i would have relished the level of work, fatigue, muscle soreness/pain, and athletic challenges, it would have appealed to my competitive and self-destructive selves, both of which have led to my bad hip, knee, and shoulder:)
that is not to say the exercises within the few snippets i've seen are evil. on the contrary, for the most part, other than the pure vicious intensity of it, they are similar to what i and other trainers have been doing. it's that vicious intensity thing that would excite me, as a younger man, and could surely be as enticing to others, men and women alike, at nearly any age so long as one  is not hampered by chronic injuries. that one could/would lose weight, esp body fat, and develop muscles, relatively balanced in light of not having a full spectrum of equipment with which to hit body parts that often get overlooked by most programs (upper back in particular), is unquestionable. the mix of hi intensity cardio moves and body wt with or without added db exercises is counterbalanced by the stretching/yoga/pilates elements; and the periodized manner by which progressions are made is unique compared to videos of yesteryear which depended mostly on doing the same thing til the star came out with another video. so, i do think these have merit and validity...until you get to their trademarked 'muscle confusion' thing. i do a lot of reading and only recall ONE article in over 25 yrs of reading the professional literature that discussed anything close to confusion. it was by jose antonio, in NSCA's Strength & Conditioning Journal many moons ago, about variety in training for body building. it did not mention confusion so much as it was discussing whether or not you could influence hypertrophy via varying exercises and angles of contraction. theoretically, maybe, but no hard proof. 
so, when it comes to TB's Insanity program ( http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/insanity-the-asylum-volume-2-elite-training-workout.do), all i can say, again not having done it or seen the whole video, is that it could work but be real careful. know your limiits and limitations. for you ex jocks, know what the calendar says about your body, not your schedule. for you novices, follow ALL their advice and guidelines, and don't think you can skip a few levels. and for you hard core fanatics, know when to say stop. if you look at the trailers, you'll see fit people being driven to failure. sweat, hard breathing, muscle failure - cool; palpitations, arrhythmias, torn up joints - not cool. listen to your body; no one is in the room beating you up physically or emotionally making you do it. and that may be the best thing - it's up to you to self-monitor.

the former, about which i would have a strong opinion coming from a martial arts background, is hard to comment on simply because i have  not seen anything, not even a trailer of it. from my experience with the kickboxing phase of the early part of this century, it has some quality elements to it so far as a workout is concerned. BUT martial arts techniques are high intensity and very ballistic. without proper education AND supervision, the risks are higher than otherwise as in a class with a qualified instructor. so even the best video is in my mind suspect. so be careful.
the butt lift series is something, again without seeing it, that is easy to comment on. want a nice butt, not a solid or sore one - pick the right parents and lose body fat. if the video can help with the latter, then you can surely maximize the butt you were endowed with. is it possible to overwork it? sure, and maybe you're wasting your time compared to some quality squats, lunges, etc. will they tone you up, lift it, maybe even round it out? probably. the upside is, most westerners, esp women, because they sit and move less than men in general, the glutes need a lot of work. studies show their value in preventing and manageing and treating knee problems and maybe even back problems. so go for it. i don't see any reason to avoid this kind of work although you might, if you are able and willing, just go to the gym and do heavier wt lifting moves. that way, you get a nice butt, core, AND legs.
all in all, caveat emptor...and have fun.           

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Dr.Irv