Throughout the past few years, the name Cathe Friedrich has been mentioned frequently and with the highest praise. I knew she was THE standard for home workout DVDs but that is about all I knew. A few weeks ago, the entire 10-disk set of her newest series, XTrain arrived at my door. Within the first few minutes of the first DVD, I knew I had my hands on something great.
This woman kicked my butt and she did so in the first 15 minutes. That is saying a lot coming from a 3 year CrossFit veteran.
What makes this series different is that each DVD works a different muscle group using HEAVY weight and fewer reps. We all know we can’t lose weight/lose fat in specific areas, but we absolutely can strengthen specific muscle groups. Cathe shreds them to oblivion. But she doesn’t hold back in her expectations. As she said in her introduction “There is no easy way to do it, there is no magic pill to take. You must sweat, you must step out of your comfort zone, and you must attack your fitness plate with a ‘game time’ appetite!”
What makes this series different from previous series? Two words: Undulating Periodization. That means you change the volume and intensity daily and weekly. Previous series had linear periodization which involves working the same volume and intensity for a few weeks before changing to the next phase with increased weight. One of the main drawbacks to this type of training is BOREDOM. Also, if you miss a few workouts, you would need to go back and restart the training cycle. With Cathe’s new Undulating style, you will change volume and intensity daily or weekly, and you can pick a variety of workouts based on how much time you have. If you only have 15 minutes, you can get 15 minutes of maximum intensity using heavy weight and no rest breaks.
What about cardio? She has it covered and in the most effective forms. HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. This is cardio with a mix of fast and slow intervals for an overall shorter time frame. Think about a treadmill. Instead of setting the pace on 5.3 mph and leaving it there for 45 minutes, you can get the same caloric burn in a shorter time if you change INTERVALS. Bump it up to 6.5 for a couple of minutes, then back down to 5.3 for a couple of minutes. This is interval training. And Cathe includes this type of cardio in her workout series, but without the hamster wheel .
Is this safe for beginners? Yes, but proceed with caution. As with any exercise routine, consult your doctor. Also, work at your pace. Don’t cheat yourself, though. Our time is precious, so don’t waste it by doing less than your best effort. This is a very intense series, but extremely adaptable to fitness levels.
How about instructions? One of the best parts of this collection is the user’s guide. There is wide variety of information in this guide. It is more than just specific instructions on exercies. She answers common questions regarding women and heavy weights, why the scale is NOT always your friend, nutrition (not specific to any eating plan but just good whole food), women and weight gain, the science behind fat loss, and just exactly where and how to start this program.
The 10 disk set includes the following:
- Chest, Back, and Shoulders-heavy weights, push ups, fast paced rounds with little rest.
- Bi’s and Tri’s-heavy weights, fast paced rounds focused on arms
- Burn Sets-A combined workout for all upper body. Working to failure is a MUST for this set.
- Super Cuts-low impact metabolic full body circuit
- Legs-A large variety of work for glutes, hams, and quads.
- Cardio Leg Blast-similar to Legs but with added cardio and plyometrics.
- All Out Low Impact HIIT-full body cardio
- Hard Strikes-Boxing and some kickboxing. (This will be my next workout purchase..boxing gloves!)
- Tabatacise-extremely short (4minutes) but very high intensity circuits.
- Ride-A workout for those who have indoor spin bike.
The equipment needed for this series:
- dumbells heavy enough for 70-85% of max rep
- Stability ball
- Step with risers/jump box
- Medium resistence tubing
- Slide and glide disks
- Dixie cups
- Firewalker Loops
- Boxing gloves
Premixes: Cathe includes a LOT of premixes which are designed for timesavers, extra challenges, and huge variety.
I enjoyed working through this series. I enjoyed it so much, I want to review each DVD separately. Am I somehow “cheating” on CrossFit by branching out? I don’t think I am. I absolutely live and breathe running and CrossFit. I will try anything that will help me achieve my goals in these 2 areas. Here are 3 examples of integrating XTrain with CrossFit.
- I have always had problems gaining strength in my upper body. I don’t have the motivation to do sets of weight-bearing exercise on my own. Before I can achieve my HUGE goal of unassisted pull-ups, I have to build up strength in my arms, back, and shoulders. I can put this DVD in and let Cathe tell me what to do and at the right pace. I don’t have to think up a workout. I can put this in, zone out, and fiercely concentrate on working HARD.
- When we have a week of intense leg work in CrossFit, I can supplement upper body with a short intense workout from Cathe. When we have a few days of more functional gymnastics work, an intense leg workout is key to keeping my IT band tracking properly. Cathe has that covered.
- If I can’t make it to open gym on the weekends, I can put in Tabatacize and effectively reach my misery threshold just like I do in morning WODs.
MANY of her specific exercises are exactly what we do in CrossFit. As I work more with this set, especially the workouts that target my specific weaknesses, I know Cathe can kick my tail into seeing some results. For the first time, I might have a gun show before summer is over! It won’t be easy. But I don’t need easy. I just need possible.
*This product was provided by Fitfluential LLC. All opinions are my own.