All of Teresa's videos are done in what I assume to be her family
room. All take up very little space, just enough to do side to side
lunges, and T-Tapp is different than ANYTHING I have tried before but
there are somethings people will recognize such as lunges, squats, etc.
T-Tapp is for toning and Teresa encourages you to do the Primary Stretch
(about a 3-5 minute sequence) daily before doing any physical activity.
It is really hard to explain the moves in detail because there are a lot
of different moves with few reps, 8-12 at most (12 on the advanced
tape). All tapes (except Hit the Floor which I will review later) start
with the primary stretch and most go into a plie sequence. The beginner,
intermediate, and advanced tapes are basically total body toning
workouts utilizing isometrics. You do things such as lunges, squats,
standing spinal torque twists, lots of stretching in between moves, a
workout for your inner thighs which looks like someone speed ice skating
(in fact one of them is called "speed skater"), an arm sequence which
burns my arms out each time with no weights, and tons of other moves.
The key to T-Tapp from what I got is completely different than weight
training, you DO lock your joints during some moves and the emphasis is
keeping all muscles tense during the workout. Another key factor is KTL
(knee to little toe) simply put that means stand with feet hip width
apart, do a pelvic tilt using your lower abs to raise your pelvis, and
push your knees out towards your little toe. The tendency for most
people is to turn the knees inward toward the big toe. If you do this in
front of a mirror you should notice a difference in your saddlebag area
(if you have those).
The Mini-Max workouts are four tapes, a middle
body, upper body, lower body floor tape, and lower body standing only
tape. The tapes range from 17-29 minutes and are for intermediate to
advanced only. There are new moves not seen in the original and their
small amount of time allows you to add them onto a cardio workout and/or
Since adding the arm routine in addition to Tae Bo and
strength training for my upper body twice a week I have seen more cuts
in my arms and I have even nicer shoulders now than I did last year when
I started my Pure Strength rotation. I think that T-Tapp is perfect for
people who want to do resistance training in a small space without
weights or for people who do like weights (like me) to work the little
intrinsic muscles that may not get as much attention during traditional
weight training. Your heart rate may become elevated for a secondary
aerobic affect, but like I said Teresa does encourage an aerobic
activity such as walking to supplement fat loss. I do not have her
cellulite system and cannot comment on that.
Instructor comments: Teresa is very inspirational to look at, I think
she has a fantastic physique. In the original tapes (the two
instructional, beginner, intermediate and advanced) there are a lot of
form pointers and water breaks in the first four; in the Mini-Max
workouts (which are advanced) there is no instructions on moves that
were done in the first four videos; however, new moves such as Eye of
the Tiger and Awesome Legs are explained in more detail. There is no
music during the workouts, just Teresa talking.
T-Tapp Exercise System
T-Tapp is an exercise system developed by Teresa Tapp, and is different from
anything else I've tried. Teresa Tapp, the creator, says she incorporates
yoga, dance, pilates, and martial arts, and you can recognize elements of
all these things in the movements.
Teresa has developed a very specific sequence of movements that rely on the
use of correct form to be effective. At first glance, many of the moves seem
familiar, such as lunges, plies, and arm movements that resemble the chest
flies you might do in aerobics classes. However, her subtle but critical
differences in form take the movements to an entirely new level. It is easy
to underestimate the exercises - if they feel easy, you're doing them wrong.
Teresa's claim to fame is that her workout produces significant inch loss as
well as numerous health benefits, all without weights or jumping around. She
explains the effectiveness of her workouts in terms of the lymphatic system
and "neuro-kinetic flow" in order to burn fat, build muscle, and boost
The starter package consists of two instructional videos as well as a total
workout, normally the beginner/rehab workout, although it can be upgraded to
Intermediate if you are an experienced exerciser. The instructionals can be
used back to back as a total workout themselves if you are willing to either
listen to all the chat and instruction or be free with the fast forward
The quality and production of the videos is very basic. The instructionals
are filmed in what appears to be Teresa's patio with two women who have
recently learned the workout - they are quite endearingly unpolished, but to
me that adds to the sincerity of their efforts. The rest of the videos
appear to be filmed in Teresa's home, with her as the sole instructor. No
fancy set, and no music, (certainly no pseudo-Greek statues and murals!)
just Teresa cueing and instructing. She counts all the moves, interspersed
with a strange sing-song sort of chant that is either encouraging or
maddening, depending on your tolerance of that sort of thing.
It is recommended that you start with the instructionals, followed by one of
the total body workouts, either beginner/rehab, intermediate. Other workouts
available are Hit The Floor, focusing on lower body and abs, and the
Mini-Max and Maxi-Max workouts, which combine the moves in different ways
from the total body workouts and are of varying lengths. The Mini-Max and
Maxi-Max have no instruction, and so are only available to those who have
already learned the workout, and are not on the web site.
Teresa also has Target POP (Points of Perfection) videos, which are not
workout videos but rather detailed instructions on a particular movement
sequence. Awesome legs or Primary Back Stretch are an example of these.
Do I like it?
I got the two instructionals in a trade, and perused Teresa's website and
fooled around with the exercises presented in her articles before taking it
up in earnest and learning the total workout.
I generally do Cathe, the Firm, and yoga and so had a decent base of cardio
endurance, strength and flexibility when starting T-Tapp. However, T-Tapp
kicked my butt! Although I thought I had decent core strength and balance
from Cathe's plank work in CTX , yoga and LA pilates, T-Tapp really
challenged my abilites in this area. As in other types of movement that
emphasize form, like yoga, you can continue to make it more challenging with
small changes in form, increased extension or contraction, or slowing down
movements. Everytime I think I have form down and things start to seem
easy, just a small change can having me falling over, gasping for breath and
sweating buckets all over again.
As for "results", I have not seen dramatic inch loss (a bit on my waist and
lower abdomen), but I do believe that it is starting to provide a shaping
and contouring effect that has thus far eluded me. I'm getting that teardrop
shape on my upper arms, and some cool looking cuts on my thighs, both quads
and hamstrings. (My only caveat here is that I can't PROVE it's soley due to
T-Tapp, as I only did one all-TT week, between Cathe's PS series and now,
I'm including T-Tapp in my Cathe CTX rotation. I can only say that I am
seeing differences I've never seen before, and T-Tapp is the newest variable
in my routine).
My balance and flexibility have improved a lot as well, and I've done yoga
for years. But, T-tapp has opened up my shoulders a lot, and I can go deeper
in some yoga positions than I could previously. Also, I can maintain my
balance better in standing one-legged poses , for instance. My chiropractor
has also been impressed at the improvement in my alignment, and commented on
how my musculature seems to have improved, thus providing much better
postural support to my neck and spine.
Is the fun factor there? I'm not sure. I kind of am addicted to the "energy"
you get from the set, music, and cast of other workout videos, which is why
I can't really see doing this as my only exercise. And, T-Tapp is very low
impact, which is great to include in a workout program in the interest of
preserving my aging joints - but sometimes I just need to jump around to
Anyway - I think it's an interesting addition to a workout program. Some of
its devotees do nothing but T-tapp and can maintain their fitness to their
satisfaction. I think this is one of those questions like "can you just do
yoga/pilates/taebo/whatever and stay fit?" Maybe, maybe not, I'm sure it
largely depends on your goals and your body.
So, right now I'm incorporating it into my Cathe, running, yoga, etc etc
routine, but I will probably try it on its own sometime this summer when I'm
on holiday and can't haul around heaps o' equipment. It doesn't take up
anywhere the amount of room, Cathe, or any of my other workouts do. No
equipment, either. You need enough space to do a lunge, that's about it.
Teresa has a very distinct personality that I find bizarrely charismatic,
and which others may well find just bizarre. Her background as an "face
developer" for a modeling agency does give her comments a "cosmetic" touch
and some might not care for her talking about exercises that she used to get
her models in swimsuit shape after having their babies. However, she now
seems to have transferred her attention to helping average women empower
themselves through fitness, and seems sincerely caring in this regard. Her
website, which features testimonials from women who have lost inches using
her system, increasingly emphasizes the rehabilitative aspect of her system,
with examples of women overcoming thyroid disorders, back pain, controlling
diabetes, and avoiding the need for surgery.
May 16, 2001
T-Tapp Instructionals 1& 2 Teresa Tapp
Background and Caveats: I have read a lot about T-Tapp, both on the VF Forum and on the T-Tapp website. The promises are incredible: "lose 15 inches" (note: based on many measuring points), "debulk large thighs," etc. I have always had a love-hate relationship with such promises; often they are fake and make people feel like fools for wasting their time and money, but they are sooooo tempting! And sometimes a new fitness program is worth considering - the Tae Bo promises were pretty extreme yet people were very satisfied with the product. So, in regards to T-Tapp, my mind was split between two cliches: "you can't get a different result without trying a different action" (or something like that) and "a fool and his money are soon parted." Three other barriers for me were that (a) my husband insists that most of the photos on the T-Tapp website are fakes (I don't know enough about computers to tell, but he worked in the industry for years and insists he is right), (b) some of the people doing T-Tapp are VERY devoted to the program, which for some reason always makes me nervous, and (c) the tapes are very expensive. Lucky for me, a fellow VFer (thanks Sophie!!!) offered to loan me the two instructional tapes. The following review is based on doing the workout on the instructional tape only once.
One other quick note (yes, I know that I am rambling!): I am a fairly advanced cardio exerciser who has trouble sticking to weight training programs. I have run for years, and have a spotty history with Cathe and Firm strength tapes, as well as yoga. I enjoy weights and yoga, but prefer cardio. I have never really gotten into pilates because it doesn't make much sense to me. I have no dance background. I will not do a tape if I find it boring.
Review: The instructional workout is split over two tapes, but really could be one tape. The actual workout itself is about 50 minutes, if you fast forward through all of the talk. With the talk it is closer to 75 minutes. Teresa Tapp leads two other women through the routine on what appears to be a backyard patio. There is no music, and sometimes there are urban noises that are quite amusing - an ambulance at one point, a plane landing at another. Teresa makes jokes about this.
The moves themselves are hard to describe - no weights are used, and it wouldn't be quite correct to call them body weight exercises. I really don't know what to call them. For many of the moves, I was not really sure what we were trying to accomplish, as I did not feel the move anywhere. I tried to follow all of Teresa's form pointers but still may have been doing things wrong. I did find the leg balance work interesting, and there are clearly some moves that were inspired by dance. For me, the unique leg work was really the strength of the workout. All of the moves have unique names - "pulling the weeds," "thread the needle," etc.
There were a few things that bothered me: Teresa kept referring to the workout as "fatburning" (I don't believe it is), made numerous comments about the lymphatic system (I am not sure about the science behind her comments), and continually made comments about how the sweat kept rolling off them (that was certainly not my experience!). Teresa counts constantly and has some unusual comments.
Overall, I liked Teresa's personality (quirks and all) but still found I was waiting for the workout to end. I did not find the workout very challenging (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Interval Max and 1 being eating chips in bed while watching Oprah), I would give it a 4. The next day (today) I do not have any muscle soreness.
Despite all of this, I am still very curious about the program (power of advertising/hope springs eternal or an openness to the possibility that there is more to the program than I realize?). Will I buy the videos? Probably not, for financial reasons. I am still curious about the intermediate tape, but I would prefer to trade for it than buy it - the cost plus the Canadian exchange rate make the purchase very expensive for me! I wouldn't discount the program yet I also don't feel prepared to jump on any bandwagons. I am really grateful to Sophie for lending me the tapes, and I would suggest that anyone considering the program but concerned about if they would like it or not try to view the tapes before buying. I am looking forward to hearing VFers report on how well they did with the program - I trust VF reports more than any others. If some trusted VF names start endorsing the program, I will probably rush out to buy it. Otherwise, I will keep searching the exchange!
21 May 2001
The T-Tapp Total System
Instructor: Teresa Tapp
About me: I am a 45 year old intermediate exerciser who has been working out
consistently for over 22 years. I enjoy step and floor aerobics, Fitball
exercises, weight training and try to do as much flexibility work as time
If you ask me about the TT exercises, I will say that I think they are tough,
interesting and valuable. If you ask me about the whole TT System, I will say
that I have some reservations about the hype, the somewhat off-putting devotion
of it's more rabid followers (who refer to Ms. Tapp as "Mother Teresa") and the
I dove right in with a four day "boot
camp" consisting of doing both Instructionals back to back four days in a row. After the
boot camp I did the Beginner tape every other day.
Others have described the workout in general. I'll just give my impressions. The
moves are mostly sharp but controlled flinging of the legs and arms to the front
and sides. Including some rather violent twisting movements of the waist. And
deep standing side bends. I presume the only thing keeping the exerciser from
damaging themselves is the constant tucking of the buttocks, contracting the abs
and the bending of the knees. There are a several TappBot buzzwords that have to
be kept in mind at all times throughout the workout: KLT (knee to little toe),
neuro-kinetic flow, shoulder to hip alignment, knees bent, tummy tight,
shoulders back, bosom out. A lot to remember!
The workouts got my heart rate up, got me sweating plenty and red in the face.
After the first week, my butt was very sore all the time. Like I'd done about
fifty dead lifts. I suppose that keeping one's buttocks tightly contracted for
about 40 minutes might do that - even if you just stood there and did nothing
else! I don't know how someone could do a 14 day boot camp as is often
recommended. It would seem like overtraining to me. To do pretty much the same
thing day after day? Four in a row was enough for me.
By the end of the first week my previously pain-free lower back was very sore. I
am not usually prone to back pain of any kind so this was odd. I'd read all the
form pointers and know I was doing the best I could.
In all fairness, my sore back seems to be a rare occurrence. Having searched the
archives of the TT forums, it didn't come up very often. I can only presume that
I have some physical defect that keeps me from doing the exercises correctly. Or
a mental defect that keeps me from being able to remember all the stuff I have
to tuck and tighten!
I've stopped Tapping and my back feels better. I'm going to wait a while and
then give the workout another try. I think her balance exercises are very
valuable. It is an aspect of general fitness that is too often neglected. If you
can get through her set of balance exercises without wobbling or touching the
floor you are in outstanding shape balance wise!
I didn't usually do her arm exercises. I guess they are good for toning. But
nothing beats weight training for upper body strength for me. I've worked too
hard to get muscular definition in my arms to lose it!
As far as weight or inch loss, I did lose an inch. From my bosom. I don't have
much to spare up there, so this was not a welcome result.
I wanted to bring up something about which I had been curious. A comparison of
TT vs. Callanetics. Both workout methods are led by their charismatic inventors.
Both instructors have characteristic vocal styles, neither of which bothered me
in the least. Neither workout can be considered "fun" IMHO. I found Callanetics
boring, TT is not boring. Some find Teresa's counting to be distracting. I find
it helpful. It reminds me of dance classes I took about a million years ago. As
both methods require such detailed attention to precise form (as with yoga and
Pilates), I kind of wonder if it would be best to learn the techniques from an
instructor if possible. Callanetics is very gentle and slow. The movements are
tiny and precise. TT is jerky and fast with large movements. Callan has music.
Teresa does not. Callan does not sell anything other than her books and videos
(as far as I know). Teresa has LOTS of stuff to sell.
Teresa also wishes to sell you supplements and other products as part of her
workout package. Due to the Video Fitness ban on discussion of supplements
I will not comment on those products, except to suggest that each person
should conduct their own research into the products and make their own
informed decision in this matter.
In closing, I want to repeat that I like this workout. It stands on it's own
without any pills, sprays or potions. It is a nice addition to a total program.
Some folks claim that TT is all that is needed to get and keep in shape. Being a
diehard VFer I, of course, can't agree. Cross-training, variety and balance are
the key to total fitness.
I'd recommend getting the two Instructionals and Beginner tape to start. Try to
borrow them first or get them off the VF Exchange (or even eBay) before actually
spending that much money. That's a lot of cash to find out that TT isn't the
workout for you!
INSTRUCTOR: Teresa is in great shape. The workout leaves me panting but she barely breaks a
sweat! She gives constant (and welcome) form pointers in the Instructionals and
Beginner workouts. Her style is more of the "let's get down to business" kind,
like Karen Voight. Not the warm encouragement of Kari. Nor the big sisterly good
humor of Gin. It's just do it, and do it right!
T-Tapp Total Workout Set
(two instructional tapes, one beginner tape, two audio cassettes and bonus
p.o.p. tape - Organs In Place)
Teresa claims she can take inches off your body because her system puts your
internal organs in place and exercises the deepest muscles. She further
claims she can transform cellulite into smooth skin.
Teresa also wishes to sell you supplements and other products as part of
her exercise package. Due to the Video Fitness ban on discussion of
supplements I will not comment on those products, except to suggest that
each person should conduct their own research into those products and make
their own informed decision in this matter.
I broke down and purchased the introductory kit (4 videos, 2 audios) for
$80. I did each tape once. I placed that kit on ebay and got my buy-it-now
price within an hour.
T-Tapp is red hot.
It left me cold.
The production on her videos is low-rent. It's her, an occasional acolyte
or two, in her livingroom or patio doing the moves. There's no music, you
can hear sirens and airplane noises from the street. They're packaged in
plain white or blue sleeves.
The four tapes I got were one 8 minute "points of perfection", or POP tape,
two 20-30 minute instructionals, one 55 minute beginner tape, one
infomercial cassette touting her supplements, and an audio cassette version
of one of the tapes. Eighty bucks - and that's just the starter set. If
you're going to really do it there are many many more purchases upcoming in
your t-tapp future.
She has some notions about posture and some theories about glands and
heredity that she's parlayed into a "system". Lots of talk about lymph
nodes and slouching organs and body types . (long torso short knee v.
short torso long knee). She gives posture tips (put your weight on the
little toe portion of your foot so you hold your saddle bags in).
Teresa literally has you physically manipulate your internal organs with
your hand in her "organs in place" p.o.p. video in an effort to counteract
the effects of age and gravity. If that trick works I'm going to spend the
next month holding my breasts up with my hands in hopes of a return to
The exercises themselves are a series of quick, low rep, often jerky moves.
They're typically done with full range of motion, often with the joints
held locked. There's attention to posture, balance and form (a good thing)
and one gets the impression that she has put some thought into the routines.
I found the pilates, yoga, and strength training I practice made the t-tapp
instructional/ beginner movements pretty doable. I *don't* think I was
doing them wrong. Teresa has not cornered the market on core work and
posture. In my opinion core work and posture are the "kernals of truth"
she's wrapped her hype around. What's conspicuously absent is a
nanosecond's attention to grace and rhythm. What's omnipresent is the
resounding insistence that her way is the only way to get "results".
Supporters argue that the exercises work and you have to look past the
marketing hype. Teresa has many believers including VF'ers who's posts I
admire. They say its worked for them.
I'll never know if it would have worked for me.
I went running for my Moira Stott pilates tapes. I literally popped Power
Mat into the VCR after my initial plunge with Teresa. It was like I'd
returned home to my nice sensible mom after spending a weekend with my
girlfriend's psycho family.
I don't know enough about physiology etc. to dispute Teresa's claims, but I
have to wonder why, if she's the reason all these fashion models have
stayed thin and cellulite free, she appears free of celebrity/model
endorsements, and why she's the only one who's managed to unearth these
deep secrets about glands, nodes and organs. I note that while she talks
about having fashion and medical industry jobs on her resume and diploma's
on her wall, they're never specified. Her website has no personal biography
or "story of T-Tapp". She seems pretty isolated from the medical, fitness
and fashion communities she emerged from.
Teresa is not particularly articulate. Her sentences (and logic) are
rambling and confused.
Her students show incredibly poor form doing the exercises. Ordinarily, I
like videos that show a range of body types and fitness levels, but you
have to wonder, given Teresa's perchant for talking about appearance ad
nauseum, why no fashion model types were available to assist her with these
Apparently she couldn't dig up a foleyman either. Or a set designer. Or a
Teresa Tapp has taken the natural assets that the universe gave her (a
slender build) and parlayed them into a marketing tool to extract money
from women who are concerned about their looks and the aging process. She's
not the first or the last.
And I sent her 80 bucks, didn't I?
I think what ultimately offends me is her world view, which is all about
thin and young as the final arbiter of success. I've got nothing against those
things, but 1) I don't think she has the key to their attainment and 2) the
world she's living in is pretty small.
I got my 80 bucks back, but those four nights with Teresa that are gone for
The instruction was not percise...and the movements were fast and choppy....I would rather fun 10 miles....