Tested – Perfect Design Series – Level 1 – Beginner

I announced in my last post that I would be testing out Tracy Anderson’s 50-minute DVD The Perfect Design Series – Level 1 – Beginner this week. 

The Perfect Design Series – Level 1 – Beginner

I completed it once (alongside my 4-year-old no less!) on Wednesday (12/18/13) some hours after attending my friend Kelly’s 30-minute Circuit Fusion class and meant to try it again on Friday on its own so I could really see what I thought of it.

Friday never happened. Although my core got more than an excellent workout on Wednesday due to the combination of Kelly’s class and the DVD (I totally rocked my ab work that day! I’m still proud of myself), the rest of me wasn’t happy with its burn.

The DVD is designed to work your entire body according to Anderson and leave you universally tired with no particular spot screaming more than another. This, however, I did not find to be the case. By the end of the DVD I was universally tired, yes, but I had particular areas of my body burning a lot more than others. Namely my hips, shoulders, and core.

While the DVD works your entire core (AWESOME!!!), it doesn’t noticeably work all the muscles in your legs or your arms.

The moves are all deceptively easy, at first, but due to continuous repetition and constant movement throughout the 50-minute DVD, you are burning like crazy within the first 5-10 minutes of the exercise portion (they give you the option on the menu screen of skipping the warm-up…which I did not take advantage of).

After finishing the reps of one move on one side of the body, instead of switching legs and repeating to allow that side to rest, Anderson pushes you forward through the entirety of the leg moves. The result is that, long before the end, your hips on both sides are burning with exhaustion before you’ve even switched to work the opposite leg. At which point you have to switch legs and do it all over again on the other side.

Then comes the core and after that the arms which work mostly just the shoulders with some forearm. I thought she looked incredibly silly doing the arm movements with her flapping hands but I felt anything but silly when I did it along with her. My core was burning and my arms felt as if they would fall off after awhile.

She combines all three at the end to reactivate the hips/butt you worked out in the beginning (agonizing final movements for me) and ends with light continual movements that would constitute more a cool down than stretching. Anderson states during her cool down that she doesn’t do static stretching (stretches that you hold for an amount of time).

Muscles I felt being worked:

  • shoulders
  • light forearm
  • all over core (including lower back)
  • hips
  • light butt

I know the butt was being worked a lot but it didn’t feel like it, probably due to the intense burning in my hips. I was sure I had broken my lower back and needed a new one. I had other aches but they were due to Kelly’s class, not the DVD.

Although I intended to try the DVD again on Friday, I thought back over Anderson’s routine and felt too bored to do it. Gwyneth Paltrow may praise Anderson’s training but this particular DVD definitely wasn’t for me. It’s not my idea of an enjoyable workout and would not inspire me to exercise at all no matter how good Anderson looks.

As for cardio, this DVD was pretty much strength training and toning. My heartrate did rise moderately given that the movements were constant and lasted for 50 minutes so I did work up a bit of a sweat, but I don’t think it really works for someone’s cardio goal. I work up a light sweat in yoga class too occasionally but I’m not going to count that as my cardio either.


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on December 26, 2013, in Fitness, Personal and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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