Archive for January, 2013

Cathe Friedrich XTrain: Legs (Disc 5) Workout DVD Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review of Product, Workout DVDs, Workout review on January 25, 2013 by mistransformation

All aboard the XTrain.  XTrain is the new workout series from Cathe Friedrich.  There are 10 discs and you can buy all of them or just the ones that you think are tailored to your needs.  There is something for everyone.  Tabata, weight training, Legs, cycling, boxing and low impact.  I am hoping to offer a few workout DVD reviews from this series.  My first will be Disc 5 – Legs.


XTrain Legs has 3 segments for its “regular” workout and if you’ve ever done a Cathe workout you know what I mean by that.  For those of you who never have had one of her workout DVDs this means that she also has added bonuses and challenges, plus premixes.

You will need many tools for this workout.  Dumbbells (multiple sets), a ball, a chair, Dixie cups (optional), a firewalker (stretchy band to wrap around your legs), strength band and some sliding disks (can use paper plates).  (a barbell is used in the challenge portion but you could lay a dumbbell on your stomach for weight or a weight plate.)

XTrain Legs is a lower weight/higher rep workout.

There is an adequate warm up.  In fact you would probably recognize it as a beginner’s workout.

Segment 1:  Standing

This segment starts off with offset walking lunges (you hold the dumbbell in one hand and switch as you walk).  You may need a lot of space for this.  If you don’t you can always improvise and just do lunges in place and switch the dumbbell.  Cathe then goes into a a forward lean lunge.  You may or may not use Dixie cups for this (I choose not to).   You will then need to grab your Swiss ball and head to a wall near you for plie wall lunges.  The next move is low pulse lunges.  This was done in Butts and Guts and I really like this move.  It seems to really engage my butt.  Side lunges and warrior lunges with the disk, single leg deadlifts and firewalkers (w/ the band) round out the standing portion.

Segment 2:  Ball and Chair

This segment starts off with Ball roll ins.  This is where you lie on your back, feet on Swiss ball and you roll in the ball.  Cathe also does a set of these one legged.  After that you get up on top of the ball for prone frog squeezes then lie on the floor again for inner thigh squeezes with the ball between your knees.  To round out this portion Cathe uses the chair for glute bridges.  You will feel this one for sure!!!

Segment 3:  Floor

This is a classic type of floor portion where you do clams, classic inner thigh lifts, leg lifts and a weighted pizza press move.  You may or may not want to put on some ankle weights.  Cathe doesn’t but if you want to increase the intensity you may use them.  During this segment listen close for Legs by ZZ Top playing in the background.  Gotta love Cathe!

You could choose to do the stretch at this point (Cathe always had adequate stretch segments) or you could continue to the rest of the goodies Cathe offers in this one.

Bonus No. 1:  Barre – You will need your chair for this.  Cathe does typical leg raises/calf raises for an approximate 15 minute Barre segment.

Bonus No. 2:  Rear Delts.  Cathe offers us a rear delt bonus because she says this is one of the least worked body part on a woman.  You will do 3 sets of each exercise offered.  You will need your Swiss ball, dumbbells and a strength band.  I like the way she did 3 sets of each.  This really made me feel like I was working it properly.

Last but not least is the 100 Rep Challenge.  This is a Barbell Hip Thrust wherein you do hip thrusts on the floor for 100 reps!  Each Xtrain disc has these challenges but there is a different one on each disk.

This workout was alright for me but I really like Butts and Guts better.  I felt that during the “regular” workout doing additional sets (like she offered in the delts) would have best served my booty and legs.  Yeah, I could always repeat the workout/segment but that’s not what I want in a workout DVD.  I also would have liked some added gym style legs.

I would grade this as a B as compared to Butts and Guts being an A+.  I know others who really like this Legs workout but it just wasn’t what I was hoping it would be.

……stay tuned for XTrain Cardio Leg Blast……

Men’s Health DeltaFit Speed Shred: H.E.A.T. Workouts DVD Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review of Product, Workout DVDs, Workout review on January 19, 2013 by mistransformation


This will be my last review for the DeltaFit Speed Shred program.  Hopefully it won’t be my last review from BJ Gaddour though.  These DeltaFit Speed Shred reviews continue to be the most popular posts on my blog.

H.E.A.T stands for:  High-Energy Athletic Training (HEAT) Workouts. These workouts are meant to be used as active recovery.  The are not intense workouts. There are 3 separate programs on this DVD. I will explain each separately.

A) Sweat & Stretch – – This workout bounces back between one minute of low impact cardio moves and 1 minute foam roller or stretch moves.  This is probably the least intense of the three programs on this particular DVD.  I was glad to see BJ finally have an offering of some kind of recovery like the foam roller and the stretch.  This program is roughly 30 mins in length.

B) Combat Cardio – – This workout has rounds of a combat movement like punching, kicking or blocking one minute for each side of the body and then an active recovery movement of mock jump rope.  There are 10 total rounds for a 40 minute workout (give or take a few).  On and “off” day this is a nice little workout.  Not intense but with all the punching, kicking and jumping you do get an adequate workout in.

C) Ultimate Isometrics — BJ says to think of this workout as high intensity yoga.  Any real yogi may be offended by this because it’s not really like yoga at all but I think BJ was trying to get a point across that it is managing your bodyweight in a pose for a length of time although this length of time is short followed by a short rest period.  For this workout the circuits are 10 seconds of work and 5 seconds of rest for 12 rounds/1 movement BJ progresses the bodyweight movements throughout to challenge you.  You do this for approximately 40 minutes.  This workout sneaks up on you.  I really had developed a sweat when all was said and done.  I also had a sore behind the next day from the elevated supine planks on a chair challenged by lifting each leg separately.  I would have to say this was my favorite of all three on this disc.

I have enjoyed performing and reviewing the DeltaFit Speed Shred DVDs.  I’m really glad I discovered BJ Gaddour.  I hope I am able to post more from him in the future.







Men’s Health and Women’s Health – The Spartacus Workout DVD Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review of Product, Workout DVDs, Workout review on January 3, 2013 by mistransformation

Happy New Year!  I am happy to bring to you my first workout DVD review of 2013!


The Spartacus Workout is something I first started reading about a couple of years ago.  When I was designing my own workouts to use at the gym I looked into exactly what this style of training was and incorporated something similar into my own workout.  When I heard that Men’s Health and Women’s Health were actually releasing it in DVD form I knew I had to try it.

Men’s Health and Women’s Health state that “[t]hree years ago, Starz asked Men’s Health and Women’s Health to create a workout worthy of the name Spartacus, the network’s hit original series.  With the help of top trainer Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., we did just that. And it became the most popular workout in Men’s Health and Women’s Health history.”

That’s precisely what I like about this workout! It was designed by a WOMAN!  The DVD, however, is performed with David Jack who is a performance coach and someone I had been following through Men’s Health e-mails that I get sent to me every few days where he gives you great workout moves to try while demonstrating them on video.  I have also incorporated some things into my own workouts that David Jack has taught me.

This particular Spartacus DVD comes as a 2 DVD set. I will review each workout separately below.

Total-Body Blitz!

This workout is 3 rounds. There are 10 total moves in each round and in each round the moves progress. In the first round you work for 20 seconds and rest for 20 seconds.  This round is generally performed with bodyweight only or lightweight and you could do this as your warm up (there is no formal warm up) or do a warm up on your own. There is a minute rest between rounds.  For the 2nd and 3rd rounds you work for 20 seconds and get 40 seconds of rest.   During these rounds you are expected to use weights and or added intensity (i.e., adding jumping/plyo) to push yourself.  Again, there is a minute rest between these rounds.  After these rounds are completed, David does a Finisher segment for Buns and Guns moves.  This is 5 moves of 20 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest on the first round and 20 seconds of work with no rest for the second round of Buns and Guns moves.  There is no formal cool down/stretch so you would have to do your own. The workout is roughly 30 minutes in length.  You will need dumbbells and preferably a set or two to tailor to your needs. David explains the moves while other men and women perform them.  He uses these people as examples and tells you that if you see one that performs at your chosen level to follow along with them.

I like some of the movements that are incorporated in this workout.  I like things like Dumbbell Thrusters and High Pulls to really get your heart rate up.  What I don’t like is all of the rest time that you get.  I just didn’t feel that even though I was using relatively heavy weight 15# and 20# for Rounds 2 and 3 that my heart rate stayed up as high as I like after the rest periods. You could use this workout a day after a high intensity workout day or maybe use it in addition to another 30 minute workout (I did both of the workouts I am reviewing today back to back for an hour long workout).


This workout is also three rounds but is performed differently than the workout I reviewed above.  This workout contains 9 moves.  In the first round you complete all 9 moves back to back working for 20 seconds and resting for 20 seconds (again you could do this with body weight and use this as your warm up as there is no formal warm up).   After resting for 40 seconds the fun begins. Using three moves grouped together performed with 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest you will perform a group of moves two times and then move on to another group of three moves with 40 seconds of rest between each grouping. There are 3 groups of moves total = 9 total moves. Again, just like the workout above, David explains the moves while other men and women perform them.  He uses these people as examples and tells you that if you see one that performs at your chosen level to follow along with them.

I felt that this workout had a little more bite to it considering that it had longer work periods and shorter rest periods. You will need dumbbells for this workout and the heavier the better to push yourself (except where you feel that it would hurt you).  I definitely felt more challenged in this workout and used heavy weight (i.e., 30# kettlebell for the deadlifts and 15# dumbbells for the push jerk).

David has a Finisher workout to this as well.  This Finisher is downright goofy but I say go with it.  You will need a towel and this is sort of a pyramid style round of towel shaking – yes that’s right – towel shaking – anyway you wish to shake it.  It starts with 10 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 15 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest and back down 15 seconds work/10 seconds rest – 10 seconds work/10 seconds rest.  I just did sort of a fast feet style move while sweeping the towel up and down/side to side.  My heart rate did increase.   You will need to do your own cool down/stretch but the good news is you will already have a towel on hand to dry off!

This style of training is very similar to DeltaFit SpeedShred training (which also has long rest periods).   David is less goofy than BJ but he has his own style of training and motivation. He doesn’t beat around the bush and he isn’t too demanding but he does encourage you to push yourself.

NOTICE:   Clicking the above picture is not going to lead you to try the DVD free for 21 days.  If you need me to point you in that direction, let me know and I will do so.  The picture is one I snagged.