Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Weider X-Factor ST Program

A couple months ago, I was given a heads up about this program from the Video Fitness Forum.  Like Kim Kardashian does with men, I set my sights on the program, obtained it...and chucked it away when something else caught my attention.  Well, how wrong was I to overlook this program!

Overview: the X-Factor ST program from Weider is an 8-week program based on body weight training.  It uses the concept of  the Optimization Zone, where the workouts get progressively harder each week in order to obtain the best results (because we haven't heard of this before). Other than the option of using pushup stands, which are included in the package, no equipment is necessary.

The Workouts: the workout schedule is very easy and straightforward.  Every week, you use a new strength workout every other day, for a total of 3x/week.  The program gives you the option of using your own cardio in between workouts, as well as a yoga workout, additional ab workout and a lower body workout to tack on to the workouts or do on your own free day.  There is an additional total body workout as a final challenge to measure how far you have progressed.

The workouts themselves clock in at 40 minutes, on average: 5-6 min warm up, 30 min of strength training and 3-4 min cool down.  The strength portion of the workouts consist of core, lower body, total body and cardio exercises done in 4 circuits, with 3 exercises per circuit.  The circuits are then repeated. The first four weeks split the exercises up into 30, 45 and 90 seconds in each circuit, but the last four weeks have you doing every exercise for 90 seconds each. 

May sound a bit confusing, but it is actually quite simple. Here is a breakdown of week 1 to help illustrate (click on links for exercise demonstrations):

Intro and Warm up (6 minutes)

Circuit 1
-Forearm Plank (30 seconds)
-Reverse Tabletop (45 seconds)
-Alternating T Lunge* (90 seconds)
  *lunge with arms raised straight on each side, from a t-shape

 Circuit 2
-Bicycle Crunches (30 seconds)
-Superman (45 seconds)
-Sumo Squat with Knee Raise (90 seconds)

Circuit 3
-Knee Huggers (30 seconds)
-Push ups (45 seconds)
-Shadow Boxing Cardio Blast: jabs (30 seconds), hooks (30 seconds), upper cuts (30 seconds)

Circuit 4
-Rope Twists (30 seconds)
-Swimmers (45 seconds)
-Frog Leaps (90 seconds)

Repeat circuits from the top

Cool Down (3.5 minutes)

My Thoughts: Overall, I love this program!  The simplicity, progression of moves, structure of circuits, combination of strength and cardio and time efficiency are exactly what I have been looking for in an exercise program.  I actually find the lack of equipment to be one of the best components of this program.  Having dealt with injuries in the past from weight lifting and recently finding it hectic to switch around equipment in the middle of workouts have really made me rethink my exercise strategies.  Right now, I don't want to deal with tons of equipment, tricky moves with heavy weights and workouts that I feel waste my time...I just want to be in-and-out and done in under an hour.

I am probably at an intermediate level at the moment, so I find these workouts challenging, but not too difficult to complete.  I'd say this program would work best for an immediate exerciser looking to transition to the next level, but the moves can be modified (and are) for beginners.  Advanced exercisers might not find the first few weeks challenging enough, but because this is a "go at your own pace" type of workout, it wouldn't be hard to make it more challenging either.

Besides people who don't own too much equipment, I would say this program would be good for: people who cannot lift weights at the moment due to injury (always check with your doctor first), people who travel a lot and have to exercise in their hotel rooms, runners/athletes training for marathons and people who want a straightforward workout with very little hassle.

My only gripe--a small one--is that while there are water breaks included in the workouts, they require you to pause your DVD and put faith in the home exerciser that he or she will only take a 60 second break.  It's not a crime if you need to take longer, but too long of a break takes you out of the aerobic zone and lowers your heart rate.  Now, I'm not saying that I personally have taken too long of water break, but I just wish they were included in the workout time instead.

The other thing I wanted to note was the price.  They are currently being sold on Weider's website and a few other online store for $39 + the cost of shipping.  I don't think that is too pricey, especially for a workout system; however, I have to brag and mention that I got my set on sale at Walmart's website for $27+shipping costs.  Still, it is more reasonably priced versus most systems on the market that charge upward of in the ballpark of $80-120.

Now that I am in week 2, I think this might be the first program I ever complete.  It is flexible, time efficient, cuts down on equipment dependency and most importantly, I enjoy doing them.  Hopefully, I will finish this program next month and have some results/progress to share.



shanggo said...

Hi there Liz!

Greetings from Malaysia! I don't know what i'm doing with my life either, but when it comes to fitness/weight-training, i'm second to none! I'm a TOTAL Fitness Commando, just like you! Looks like we're in the same boat here, haha! Well, I'm looking forward to stacking JNL Fusion and X-Factor ST together, based on your positive reviews. I'm sure i'll dig them too! Keep in touch! ;)

Liz said...

Thank you for your kind words. Good luck and don't over exert yourself! :-)


Amanda Pace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Pace said...

Sorry I meant to say can you please post the excerise list for the ab DVD out of the weider x factor st program that you mentioned above? I'm a mom of two and can't afford the workout! I'd really appreciate it! (:

Kate Heeren said...

I bought the X Factor XT system on Groupon but it only came with the DVDs and no workout calendar. Can you post a picture of the calendar?