T-Tapp SystemTeresa Tapp
Categories: Total Body Workouts
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A bit of background, I'm 33 and have practiced yoga regularly since my teens. I also do Pilates, barre and kettlebell workouts occasionally. I'm naturally quite thin and don't build muscle easily, plus I easily get burned out from too much exercise so usually gravitate to gentler styles which are more energising than tiring (yoga and the like).
I have been doing T-Tapp on and off for a few years (from the book), usually just doing the Basic Workout Plus (which is the first 15 minutes of the total workout).
It does seem to improve muscle tone (especialy the abs & waist) and posture quicker than anything else I've tried. I decided to buy the DVDs as I thought it might help me be more consistent with the practice.
In January I the T-Tapp site had a "free shipping" offer, which was great as I'm in the UK (and shipping would normally be $40!) so I purchased the total system which included:
* Instructional 1 & Basic Workout Plus
* Instructional 2 & The Total Workout
* Basic Plus Tempo
* Tempo 8 reps (this is the total workout straight through without instruction)
* Tempo 10 reps (as above, but with 10 reps of each exercise to give more of a cardio boost)
There was also a seminar, audio CD and radio interview, but I have not explored these yet.
I had a quick look at the Instructionals and the Basic Workout Plus, but I found it difficult to get over the awful scenery (a hotel lobby with a hideous carpet LOL) and cheap feel of the DVDs . Perhaps that is a bit shallow of me, but my other workouts are ones with gorgeous scenery like tropical beaches and beautiful landscapes (e.g. Rodney Yee and Shiva Rea's yoga DVDs).
The Total workout is a bit nicer as it is filmed in Teresa Tapp's living room, with a couple of the ladies that feature in the testimonial videos on the discs.
My favourite workouts are the Tempo ones however, these are also filmed in Teresa Tapp's living room (with just her) and it gives the feeling of having a personal trainer. The tempo DVDs run through all the exercises at a fairly quick pace assuming that you know them already, so you don't waste any time. The Basic Plus Tempo DVD is pretty much the same as the first 15 minutes of Tempo 8 reps.
I usually do the first 15 minutes of either Tempo 8 Reps or Tempo 10 Reps (I gave the Basic Plus Tempo DVD to my Mum), and occasionally add in the exercises at the end of the disc (Arms Sequence to Lawn Mowers) - I don't particularly enjoy the middle bit (Lunges, Thread the Needle etc.). The good thing is that each exercise is a new chapter on the disc, so you can just skip ahead.
The thing I like most about the T-Tapp workout:
* It trims my waist & abs quickly and keeps me trim as long as I do at least 15 minutes 2-3 times per week.
* It energises me for the day and clears "brain fog".
* It eliminates water retention and helps with other "hormonal" stuff.
* It improves my posture and makes me feel taller.
* The same workout somehow stays challenging, as you improve, you work more on form and posture and take the exercises to a deeper level.
* 15 minutes of T-Tapp can be a good stand alone workout or a good warm up for something else - I have lots of fitness DVDs which I enjoy, so sometimes do these after T-Tapp.
* The whole workout is done standing and you don't need much space. I have had really good T-Tapp workouts in my tiny kitchen, in hotel rooms, on balconies etc.!
Things I'm not so keen on:
* It doesn't seem to do much for my arms and legs. These are not problem areas for me though so I'm not so bothered.
* There are some exercises which feel like a chore and have a dread factor, but I'm getting over this, I just try not to think about it too much and focus on the benefits. I just have to tell myself "it's only 15 minutes and then I can get on with my day"
* It lacks a stretching / relaxation section at the end, you just kind of stop and do some shoulder rolls. I guess I'm used to Yoga where you do a lot of stretching and relaxation after the main workout. That said, there are stretches interspersed throughout so your flexibility is not neglected.
* It lacks the enjoyment factor of other workout DVDs, such as nice music, scenery, production values etc.
p.s. apologies, I accidentally posted this review twice in two different places!
Teresa is upbeat, positive and has a perky "sing-song" style which will get you motivated in the morning! My spouse said she sounds like a hyperactive kindergarten teacher LOL
The instruction was not percise...and the movements were fast and choppy....I would rather fun 10 miles....
(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 youthful perkiness.
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 productions.
Apparently she couldn't dig up a foleyman either. Or a set designer. Or a dynamix tape.
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 good.
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 allows.
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 merchandising. 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!
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!
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!
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 metabolism.
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 button.
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 great music.
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.
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 strength.
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.
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.