First off, let me say I DO NOT use this method exclusively for weight loss.
My interest in breathing techniques affecting exercise performance was
peaked when I found out about Pilates and "the hundred" a few years back,
and then some of the doctors I worked for suggested breathing exercises
(some specifically the Body Flex tapes) for sufferers of allergies and/or
tension headaches (I have both).
Oxycise consists of three tapes. The first tape shows you the basic breath
which is belly breathing, with a little twist.
Part one of the basic breath is as follows: You would make a kind of "fake"
smile and take in a deep breath through the nose, then lift your rib cage,
tilt the pelvis under squeezing your buns, and take three quick sniffs
through the nose.
Part two is putting your mouth with flat lips with a little hole, kind of
like blowing through a straw, and blow out the air, then do three quick
puffs using your abs.
That describes the basic breath. Four of these equals one repetition. The
tape further explains the infamous "study" and has a lot of testimonials
about people who have lost weight.
Oxycise level one is next. It is basically fifteen positions where you do
one repetition each; i.e., four basic breaths. The positions are varied,
such as standing, kind of a standing lateral stretch to the right then the
left, a push up against a wall, a reach against a wall, a lie down on your
back arms overhead with toes flexed and then toes pointed, a seated straddle
in a chair, a deep plie, etc. The claim here is that where your muscles are
being worked, i.e. in the plie the inner thighs; that is where the work is
being done to tighten and tone them--I don't know if I believe this but that
is the claim.
Level two is just more flexible positions, i.e. a standing quad stretch, a
lying quad stretch, doing the plie with one arm extended in a lateral
stretch, etc. The basic breath is the same in both videos.
As far as weight loss, I don't know if will help people lose weight. I DO
know my headaches have lessened from the breathing alone and my allergy
symptoms as well, but my belief is because it moves phlegm. It is relaxing
for me. It does make me feel more energized but, a good yoga tape does the
same thing. In my opinion Oxycise is kind of Americanized yoga, but not as
strenuous as Power Yoga. I think the breathing could be adapted to any
stretch routine and only enhance the stretches.
The only complaint I have about the videos is they are not Firm quality
production-wise and the exercisers wear loose clothes so it is difficult to
see the exact movements, luckily you can refer to the instructional tape if
I have also tried the Body Flex workout, but don't feel I could give it a
fair review as I went in not liking Greer Childers and in doing the tape
discovered many weird obnoxious noises which I simply don't like. Plus the
fact that it is unsafe during pregnancy and for people with glaucoma
indicates to me that there is some risk and that's not something I would
Instructor comments: Jill is a good instructor. She seems motivating and
very interested in good form, she points out when to hold your abs in and
reminds you to tuck your buns for the pelvic tilt.
I bought Oxycise with my own money after a heated thread on the VF forum. My waist is my biggest trouble spot, and I was hoping that these fantastic claims about Oxycise would help whittle my waistline and improve my posture. I returned the tapes to Oxycise after two weeks (they have a thirty-day guarantee).
Jill Johnson, the creator of Oxycise, is a very sincere and friendly woman on these tapes. She is not at all like Greer Childs (is that her name?) from the Body Flex informercials. She wears a white leotard for the exercises to demonstrate form, but her background exercisers (very normal, everyday people, no buff bodies) wear looser-style workout gear. Jill demonstrates the breathing techniques on the first tape, which is also dotted with testimonials from very normal-looking and happy people. Jill oftens seems to get cotton-mouth when she is demonstrating the techniques, but it was kind of endearing. The second tape, which is a set of thirty positions in which you perform the breathing exercises, takes about 15-17 minutes. You breath quickly in through your nose, take three quick breaths while tilting up the pelvis and tightening the buns, then forcfully exhale through tightened lips, and exhale three more times quickly. You perform this routine in a number of positions designed to target the abs, obliques, buns, inner and outer thighs, and arms.
The breathwork is very relaxing, and I think it may help those with stress-related headaches. I performed these breathing exercises with gusto for ten days, and my waistline INCREASED an inch. Not the desired result. I will say that all the people at Oxycise with whom I've dealt, including when I returned the tapes, were unfailingly pleasant and dedicated to their customers.
The day before I returned my tapes, Tim Culwell was introduced as the director of training for Oxycise. I thought about giving the tapes another try, but they are clearly not for me.
Instructor comments: Very sincere, pleasant, not at all "slick" or arrogant.
21 August 1998
This exercise program is based on the idea of using breathing techniques while holding poses in order to strengthen muscle and burn fat. Most of the poses are basic, like stretching to one side, or sitting in a chair and holding the legs straight out. Every pose is held for 30 seconds, and there are 30 poses, so the workout is 15 minutes long. During each pose, you deeply inhale and exhale four times while holding a pelvic tilt, and squeezing your glutes. It IS a little more involved than that, such as inhaling little breaths after you feel you have a full breath, and exhaling little puffs after you think you've emptied your lungs of oxygen.
Believe it or not, this is a really good ab exercise, particularly during the extra little breaths. Presumably, it also helps increase your lung capacity, which may make aerobic exercise a little easier.
The instructor, Jill, is very friendly and personable, but when most of what you hear is inhale and exhale, it gets a little boring. I think I'm just a person who needs more variety than doing the same program every day. Overall, I believe it to be a worthwhile program, and not just another scam.
I bought these tapes in the hope of learning some useful breathing techniques in that I am a classical singer and have studied many other types of breathing techniques to increase my lung capacity, strength, vocal power and cardio endurance. ( I am also a personal trainer and have over 100 videos). Oxycise were the first videos that I ever returned. The breathing "technique" in Oxycise is not only completely useless, boring and fabricated, but I believe it can cause constriction of the throat and breathing organs. There is no way that these tapes can increase anyone's fitness level in any way. Oxycise is an example of clever marketing and it preys on people who are looking for a quick fix.
I was totally pleased with the results. I tried it faithfully for a month. I put everything I could in the breathing and I lost inches. I have a total gym also yet I find this tape refreshing. However, I have tried to get friends to do it and they would just return the tape to me. What works for some doesn't work for everyone.
My only problem is that the tapes don't last long. I have had (3) level one's and my second level two broke last night.
Included in the set was:
~ Instructional Video
~ Level One Workout
~ 'Oxycise!' Book
~ Commuter Routine (on cassette)
The titles of the four items contained in the set pretty much describe what they are, so I won't go into detail about that.
I tried to like this workout. I WANTED to like it. But it just wasn't for me. I didn't find the breath complicated at all (I've read that some people do find it complicated and that's why they don't like O!). And it wasn't Jill (even though she's not 'my type' of instructor). It really was just the workout. I just couldn't 'get into' it.
I'm not saying this won't give you much of a workout though, because if you really push yourself you WILL feel it. It's one of those things where you only get out of it what you put into it (at least it was for me!). I do think, however, that if you prefer more active workouts (which involve movement rather that isometric contractions) then this maybe isn't for you. But if you want something short and sweet with no bouncing around then this could be for you.
Jill seems nice enough. She seems very genuine and VERY down to earth. However, I like slightly (or very!) eccentric people more for fitness video's. More 'colourful' people. That's just my preference, and although Jill is much more bland in comparison with instrructors I like, I can't really say a bad word against her.
10 May 2003