I used to spend a fair amount of time in the gym. I would spend about two hours a day weight lifting in Oregon, or about an hour and a half swimming in Washington, DC or two to three hours a day doing cross training and full body fitness in Virginia.
Then I realized that much of my life revolved around going to the gym. I spent a lot of time working out, but also in the rituals of going to and being at the gym. Driving there, getting dressed, waiting for a machine, working out, showering and then coming home, eating right away (if I didn’t eat at the gym) and getting ready to do it all again later that day or the next morning. Also, a gym membership was expensive.
I started calculating how much time I would save if I worked out at home. I realized that if I didn’t have to travel, change in the locker room, and manage facilities with other gym users I could shave my actual work out to 30 – 45 minutes and get the same effect.
I bought the six day Beach Body fat burner program, then the original P90 and then the Power Half Hour series, which I still do to this day. I also picked up the 10 Minute Trainer and Great Body series. For an overview of all the Beach Body products check out my summary.
I didn’t work out for periods of time such as when we moved from Virginia to Minnesota or when I was particularly destressed, and when I was just too plain lazy to work out in my own home.
It was always easier to stay fit than to become fit. One of the key success factors in my past was momentum, and doing any workout at all on a regular schedule goes a long way to keeping you going.
I was ready to get back into a fitness routine, but wanted to try something new, and something that wouldn’t take a ton of time right off the bat.
I’d like Men’s Health Spartacus workout, so I was willing to give them a try with their 10 Minute Torchers program.
Here’s my review.
10 Minute Torchers features 12 different programs, each ten minutes in length. The first two weeks you only do one program per workout session. You do two programs your second two weeks, and then three programs your third pair of weeks, all the way up to five programs at a time.
I liked this idea, because it would start me off easily and then ramp it up by the end of the ten week period.
Most of the routines are body weight only, but there are some that need dumbbells. I recommend lighter weights, especially as you’re starting the program. The repetition count is very high, especially if your only experience with weight lifting is the traditional 4, 6, 8 rep style.
There is little to no rest in between movements.
You can either do a 10 week program (broken up into two week chunks) or do a random assortment or pick individual segments. The DVD has a cool menu system for the 10 week program that was very intuitive.
B. J. Gaddour is the host for this system. He’s a riot. I am not sure if his Super Bro approach is intentional or not, but he made me laugh a lot. Sedagive? eventually found him humorous, but he’s the kind of guy who probably chest bumps his bros and is afraid to hug another man without a protective arm in between.
There are a few times that Gaddour got more tired than we did, even though we were moving at the same pace. I don’t think this is because we’re bad asses or because Gaddour is weak; I think that they filmed several sessions in a row in a very hot facility. We never sweat as much as he did, and given some of the 10-minute sessions there is no way he could have sweat so much unless the heat was cranked.
One big word of caution: there is no instruction for any of the moves. All of the movements were either things we’d done in other systems or were combinations of familiar movements. However, I don’t recommend this program for people who are still learning how to work out. The pace of the segments is very fast, and I don’t think it’s something you should try to learn on the fly.
Unless you watch each session several times I think neophytes might put themselves at risk of injury trying to learn the right way to do each movement.
One is Not Enough
Even after taking two months off from any routine work out (and before then I wasn’t super great about working out) any single 10 Minute Torcher was too easy. After a week of trying to learn the different programs, Sedagive? and I skipped right into the third week of the system and did two workouts at a time.
The two-at-a-time was an improvement, and sometimes I felt a little winded but never felt like I was pushing myself as hard as other systems. I definitely liked some of the programs, especially the animal workout, but even two at a time wasn’t getting me where I could get with other systems.
By the time we got to the three-a-day cycle we realized we were spending about the same amount of time working out as we would with kettlebells or even the very good Power Half Hour series, both of which gave us much better results.
Who Is This For?
As I wrote earlier, this program isn’t for beginners. There isn’t enough explanation. The Beach Body series does a much better job offering alternative movements for people with strength and/or mobility issues. Sedagive? sustained her first ongoing workout injury thanks to this workout; a weird wrist and thumb muscle injury that occurred because there was no alternate movement for some of the plank-style exercises in one of the programs.
On the other hand, if you already know what you’re doing then you’ll wind up in the same situation we did: am I getting enough bang for my buck? I can’t imagine doing 50 minutes a day of 10 Minute Torchers. We fire up our kettlebell DVDs and get a much better workout in 30 – 40 minutes.
If you’ve just finished maybe your first year of working at home but aren’t ready for kettlebells this might be a nice intermediate step. I guess.
I paid $30 for the three disc set. That’s not a ton of money to me, so I don’t feel like I got ripped off. I just feel like 10 Minute Torchers wasn’t for us. I can’t really recommend it to anyone else, as I feel like the style and lack of instruction makes it too advanced for newcomers and veterans are probably better off finding something else to do with their time.
Sorry B.J., we had to move on. Gonna miss that spider-scorpion love child movement, though.