Over the past few years I’ve become addicted to barre workouts. Barre workouts are a combination of pilates, yoga, and ballet. Not only are they super fun, but super tough. My favorite barre workout is Physique 57. This high-intensity, celebrity favorite (Kelly Ripa and Parker Posey are huge fans) is known for transforming bodies into sleek, toned “dancers” bodies. I started doing the dvds over a year ago and was excited when they released a book about the workout, The Physique 57 Solution. The book claims that you can lose up to ten inches, but I was more interested in using the book to tone and sculpt my muscles as well as add some new exercises into my workout routine.
The book is broken down into steps: ‘The Method,’ ‘The Moves,’ ‘The Workouts’ and ‘The Menu‘.
In ‘The Method,’ creators Tanya Becker and Jennifer Maanavi explain how they developed the Physique 57 moves and workouts, and go into a good amount of detail as to how and why it affects the body. They also give a quick tutorial for those who are new to Physique 57 that explains how to tailor the workout for maximum effectiveness. ‘The Moves’ section includes detailed instructions and pictures on how to do each exercise in the plan.
There isn’t any fancy equipment required for any of the exercises either. All you need is your body weight, a chair and some light weights and you’re good to go. I really liked this section of the book because even though I already knew how to do most of the exercises, I was able to improve my form. The upper body exercises are variations on traditional tricep dips, rows with wide elbows, bicep curls and hammer curls. The lower body exercises have fun names like the pretzel and new takes on your classic squats and lunges. There are modifications for most of the exercises making it easy for all fitness levels.
After learning the moves, you dive right into ‘The Workouts’. There are two 57 minute full body routines with different exercise sequences, but there’s also the option to tailor separate upper and lower body routines if you’re short on time. There’s even a suggested playlist for the workouts which I thought was a fun touch.
For those looking to lose weight, ‘The Menu’ section of the book includes a healthy eating menu plan with tips on how to cut out processed food, how to eat macronutrient foods, how to choose organic and local, and how to prepare healthy meals. They even include a list on pantry staples everyone should have for a healthy kitchen and a meal plan to help you get started. In addition to the helpful tips, there are a lot of great recipes like Cuban chicken, Breakfast Egg Salad, and healthy Green Pancakes.
The actual two-week meal plan is intense and restrictive, which I wasn’t a fan of. No dairy, no wheat, no soy, no corn, no added sugar and no alcohol. I don’t like the idea of cutting out food groups to lose weight and found it unnecessary for them to promote this style of eating for two weeks. It came off to me as a reader as just a quick fix to lose weight. I would have liked it more if they had promoted eating a clean diet full of fruits and vegetables instead of something so restrictive.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic book. It’s well written and the enthusiasm the creators have for the workouts jumps off the page and is very motivating. The workouts are well laid out and I really liked all of the detail put into explaining how to perform each exercise. Like I said above, I felt the diet section was too restrictive and could be a turn-off to someone new to diet and exercise, but putting that aside, this was a fantastic book.