Review and Giveaway - The Regimen
In November I was asked by Katie Morse if I would like to trial (for free) and review her new product, The Regimen, for a one month period. I replied that I would be delighted to, as The Regimen is an online core and plyometric based workout program, and would have a nice fit into my normal training schedule, and that I was always looking for ways to stay motivated for this least favourite part of my training.
The Regimen is an online streaming fitness class, led by Katie Morse.
Katie is a fitness professional. With a lifetime of competitive sports behind her, Katie holds a degree in Athletic Training from DePauw University and she holds accreditation from the US National Academy of Sports Medicine.
I have followed Katie on Twitter for over a year, before she did her first triathlon. Katie played college soccer, and in 2010 started doing triathlons, completing 2 half ironman (1.8k swim, 90k bike, 21k run) distances last year. She has always been a runner, having qualified for and run in the Boston marathon. She is a strong athlete and competitor, and is one of the super friendly and supportive people I follow on Twitter. I have really enjoyed following her and her journey, and look forward to following her as she trains for and completes her first Ironman triathlon in 2011.
Katie after completing her first Half Ironman, the Racine 70.3 (July 2010)
Via Twitter I knew that Katie runs bootcamps in the Chicago area (outdoor training sessions). As further background for my review, I asked one the people who have attended Katie’s bootcamps for feedback on what she is like “in real life”:
“Katie is very personable, knowledgeable and professional. She is also very poised and mature for being only 26 years old! Katie is great with answering questions or concerns, and she does a great job of correcting our form or providing modifications. Her classes are always different and never boring. I love that the different moves keep my body guessing. She makes the workouts fun and is great about making us feel like a team - none of us feel like strangers to one another.”
I also knew about Katie’s interest in launching a new online fitness product . She believes that anyone should be able to get fit without the need for a gym. And I have to say - as someone who has trained for triathlons consistently in the last two years - I agree that you *can* do it all without a gym, but that sometimes you need a hand in understanding how.
In my opinion, The Regimen is a product that offers personal fitness instruction (like a class) but you are able to do it anywhere you can stream a video (at home). Although I have not used a fitness DVD since trying the Abs of Steel video my mom had in the 1980s, The Regimen offers a variety of levels and courses to keep you interested in working out, without getting bored from doing the same routine over and over again.
The Regimen offers 10 workouts (each ranging from 35 to 45 minutes long) in three different levels - easy, medium and hard. The workouts are best done sequentially, although you can jump around within the level you are on. However - you cannot progress to the medium level until all the easy level workouts are done, and likewise you can’t progress to the hard level until all the medium level workouts are done.
The Regimen also offers a rewards programme. For each workout you do, you collect points. And the points can be used in a variety of ways - to top up workouts available, or to redeem for products (such as water bottles or t-shirts). I didn’t read too much about the rewards, as I was primarily interested in the product - the workouts on offer.
Although I was offered one month of access, due to my birthday I basically only used The Regimen for a two week period. In that period of time, I did 4 workouts.
I loved how I could do The Regimen at home. You don’t need much space for the workouts. Basically, enough room to do a lunge, and to lay down and do leg lifts, sit ups, or push ups. I tried it once upstairs in my bedroom, which worked, but because my bedroom floor is old floorboards, it was an uneven surface which was not great. For me my kitchen is the best place. If you follow me on Twitter, or on Dailymile, you will know that I am a fan of the “kitchen core” workout. My coach includes core strength training on my triathlon plan, and I often do these in the kitchen, while preparing dinner and as an alternative to hitting the gym. The Regimen slotted in nicely with something I found was already working for me.
I started with Level Easy, Workout 1, and did 3 different workouts (and workout 1 two times). The sessions are designed like the plyometric sessions my coach has me doing at the track, combined with core strength work and yoga type moves. So lunges, box jumps, one legged balances, leg lifts, leg raises, push ups, planks, and more feature in the routines. The sessions I did seemed to be split into sections - to summarise, a warm up, the main plyo based set, and a balance / cool down end. Each main set had exercises of about a minute in length, and was split into right side and left side, ensuring a balanced body workout.
What I found extraordinary was that each time I felt like it was getting hard, Katie chimed in with a “You’ve got this” - uncanny! It kept me focused on completing the full minute of work.
I liked all the variety on offer - although the exercises could be seen to be “the same”, the location of the sessions changed. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside, and always with Katie wearing a different cute Lululemon workout outfit. Don’t take this the wrong way - but I like the classes I do to be led by instructors that I respect wearing clothing that shows that they respect themselves and their students. The Regimen fit this bill for me! (Side note: I wish they had a Lululemon shop in London! Then again, maybe my bank balance doesn’t!)
I also liked that Katie explained the proper alignment and position, and gave options for when things seem hard. I consider myself a fairly fit person, although I do manage the challenges of CMT like poor ankle stability and wonky balance. I found the easy workouts to be challenging enough for me - the difficulty level was right, and I did some of the work arounds (like knee based push ups, or side plank adjustments so that I would not stress my knees or elbows).
Wondering what my coach would think, I forwarded to him the login details. He looked at a number of the sessions, but not all of them, and only at the easy level as in order to access the medium level you need to complete all of the easy sessions first. Here is what he said:
The workouts are good and are a mixture of aerobics and plyometrics thus I can see why they will appeal. The workouts are all pretty similar, at least in the beginner section and I can’t access the other levels until I’ve viewed 10 beginner level, so can’t comment on the other levels. If you feel it will encourage you to exercise more in the home environment and that is your preference over the gym, you could include these routines into your training programme. Moreover as you can cancel at 1 month notice if you get bored of the workouts, you can cancel without incurring a significant financial penalty. So it all depends on if you will use them frequently enough to justify the price.
One reason why The Regimen appeals to me so much is not only for the “at home” aspect, but also because I travel a lot for work. I have thought about getting a DVD to take with me for a long time so that I could get a core session into my training while on the road. I have tried to do my own sessions, but find myself always going back to the usual core routine set in my plan, with little variety. I have done a bit of yoga in my hotel room, but I really prefer yoga classes to solo yoga. The Regimen offers a great travel solution for me.
I had questions along the way when I tried The Regimen:
1. Why was I unable to access the workout section? Answer - a recent upgrade meant I needed to clear my browser cache to regain access.
2. Why did only some of the workouts have the image on the side which showed which muscles were targetted? Answer: this is slowly being added to all sessions.
3. I was partway through a workout and my PC crashed - can I restart the workout where I left off? Answer: the restart only works if you do not close your browser window.
4. Are session notes available? For example, equipment recommended, target muscle groups, etc? Answer: we will be working on these.
I like that for my question and comments, Katie took these all on board and took time to answer them. I found the process of undertaking the trial to be easy and straightforward, even when it came to tough technical questions (like my inability to access the workouts due to the upgrade).
I had one comment on my wishlist, which I did not pass to Katie. You see, this one is really not her fault. I blame Apple. I wish I could use these on my iPad. But I can’t. Because the videos are streamed in Flash. Big bummer. Thanks Apple.
Finally, signing up. This was difficult for me, and I am not sure why but Katie is looking into my problems with her technical team. I live outside of the US and attempted to sign up and pay for a Regimen subscription with both my visa cards (x2) and my mastercard (x1). I couldn’t. But I could sign up with my Amex card. I have no idea why this happened, but it was frustrating. Thankfully Katie tells me they are redesigning the payment pages to make it easier for people. I hope they add a “pay with paypal” button too - I would have preferred this option.
At $10 a month for 4 sessions, and $20 a month for 9 sessions, I found the cost very reasonable. You can buy more sessions ($30 for 14, $50 for 30), but I will not be doing that many sessions a month given my other training. I have signed up for the 9 sessions a month option and will see how that suits me.
As it is January, the month of resolutions and the start of New Year fitness regimes, Katie and The Regimen have offered to giveaway a one-month trial of The Regimen to one lucky person who:
1. Leaves a comment on this blog answering the question at the end
2. Follows Donna on Twitter or Facebook or Dailymile
3. Follows The Regimen on Twitter or Facebook
The Giveaway will open on Friday January 7th and close on Monday January 17th, with a winner announced the week of the 17th.
So here is the question, and good luck!
What is the craziest place you have done a core workout (e.g. planks, sit ups, push ups, etc)? Or if you have never done one or if you have only done them in “non crazy” places, where will you do your Regimen workouts?