Physique 57 Classic Full Body Workout DVD Review

My relationship with Physique 57 goes back to November 2007 when I discovered it as an alternative to running, which I was pretty burnt out on after the San Fran marathon.

I loved it instantly, and it has certainly remained one of my very favorite NYC workout classes.  I have mentioned it no fewer than 25 times on the blog, probably far more.  While I have always paid for my own classes, P57 was generous enough to donate class passes to all the bloggers that attended the March 2009 meet ups and to allow me to giveaway their full set of DVDs to blog readers a few months ago.  Clearly I want everyone to have the chance to experience the magic.

I am not saying that there are no Lotte Burke workout alternatives available, Core Fusion, Transfigure, the Nalini Method and The Body all provide similiar workouts, as I imagine the Tracey Anderson Method does as well.

However, Physique has definitely been the workout that I have both enjoyed the most and the one that has given me the best results.  I did a one month membership to P57 in December 2007 and lost a few inches in my waist line and a smidge from each thigh.   In short, after 4-6 classes a week for 4 weeks, I need to invest in belts.  Beyond that I became much more aware of my posture, my abs were flat and firm, and I had definitely gained arm strength.

In the spring of 2009, I did a month at Core Fusion exhale, also going 4-6 times a week, but didn’t really see a huge change in my body.  I enjoyed the workouts and the instructors, but there was no dramatic body or strength change to speak of.

So clearly I was excited to try out the Physique 57 DVDs, as they provide a far more affordable way of getting the P57  signature workout. I had heard glowing reviews from Diana and Tina, so my expectations were pretty darn high!

I tried the 57 Minute full body workout Thursday morning. This is what I thought…

Well, I have to admit, I expected it to be much harder.  It certainly wasn’t easy, but I made it through without too much trouble.

I love that it stayed true to the class workout and flowed from beginning to end.

The structure of P57 classes looks like this:

  • arms with weights
  • arms on mat, which plank intervals
  • legs at the bar (often with playground ball)
  • butt at the bar
  • legs either at the bar or in pretzel
  • abs in c-cruve
  • abs on mat/pillow
  • final butt/back section

All movements are small (lifts, plies, leg raises), but semi painful, with about 30-60 reps each.  There are brief stretch breaks between each body part section.

The workout was strong, fun and very fast for 57 minutes.  I felt the burn on the pretzel leg section and by the last ab section, but never fully achieved the compulsive leg/ab shaking that tends to ensue during classes at the studio–there it happens early and often.

While they offered many beginner options, I really wish they had more advanced options.  Since I have taken the class for over two years, I am fairly use to the caliber of pain in the basic and open classes, and try to take the intermediate/advanced levels.

I feel I must compare it to the Core Fusion DVD, which I actually find pretty challenging–particular for abs.  I would say, overall, the Physique workout was more fun, but probably not too much harder than the Core Fusion DVD.  However, the CF DVD is choppy and not at all like the class, so it’s nice that the P57 DVD stays true to the class.

I think my biggest surprise was how animated Tanya is in the video.  She is almost Jillian-like.  I have taken her class 2-3 times in the studio, and she is certainly one of the most vocal and joking instructors, but she takes it to a whole new level in the video.  It’s almost a bit over the top.  I wonder how I will feel after I have heard the same jokes and motivations the fifth time around.  Although I will say when Tanya said: look at your thighs and think about how many calories you want to burn, it hit home—big time!  Tanya is certainly fun and for the most part funny, and I never gave a thought to stopping with her constant encouragement.

It was just a change from classes where instructors tend to be ballet dancers who are authoritative, yet supportive but not necessarily wise-crackers.

To close, I am excited to try the other dvds and to stick with my goal of 4-5 P57 workouts a week.  I am concerned it might not be enough to really create change and i might get a little bored of the dvds, but it’s a bit early to worry about that right now!

Do I recommend the full body workout? Definitely.  Especially for those with out access to the studio (or wads of cash), it is much different that your standard gym class or strength workout–if long, lean and toned muscles are your goal, this is a great, and fun way to get there.

Before I make any more assertions about the effectiveness of the DVD, I will have to do it consistently for a few more weeks.  But I will let you know what I think of the other DVDs in the series.

15 Responses to Physique 57 Classic Full Body Workout DVD Review

  1. Great review! I’ve been wanting to try these DVDs for a while since I don’t have access to classes but I’ve heard great things. I’ll also add Core Fusion to my wish list!

  2. Thanks for the review! Excited to hear results from the DVD! I am in love with my Core Fusion right now but want to try the P57 dvd eventually :)

  3. Awesome!! I am always looking for good DVD recommendations!

  4. Whew! I just watched the clip on the website you linked. I definitely am gonna need to work up to that. But it does look like a pretty cool thing to aspire to.

  5. Great review! I ordered the DVD’s last month but haven’t tried them yet. Marathon training is just taking up so much time – and I don’t want to add anything new at the end of my training. I’m going to hit these hard the beginning of April.

  6. Sounds like you made it through this one with no trouble–I don’t think I could say the same! You’re right though, I don’t get *quite* the leg shaking effect that I got in my 2 P57 live class experiences. IMO, if you use these DVDs exclusively 4-5x a week like you plan to, you will see change. I did. I don’t use them exclusively now like I did during my little month-long challenge, but I do have them in the rotation pretty frequently–I never go more than a week or so w/o doing at least 1 P57 video. As you suspected, hearing the same voice saying the same words every time can be a little tiring, but it doesn’t keep me from wanting to use the DVDs. I like Tanya in the videos pretty well, but she does come off a little goofy, so I’m interested in what she’d be like live. I met her at their DVD launch party and she was very friendly though. :) Try the Arm & Ab booster and get back to us on that one–methinks you won’t wish it had many advanced variations. It brings tears to my eyes on the regular! :)

  7. ha thanks Diana. I actually found the 30 minute express pretty challenging. Now I am scared for the ab and arm!

  8. P57 did things to my inner thighs I never thought imaginable. Thanks for a sweet review!!

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  14. Hi! I’m a recent convert to the amazing but expensive classes, and due to the expense I’m considering going the DVD route. I’m mainly curious about one thing – what did you use as a barre, and was it effective? As you probably know, in studio they do a lot of things where you’re hanging on the barre, and if I did them with a chair I’d topple over. Curious how this plays out in the DVDs.

    Thanks!!

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