Saturday, 20 October 2012

Tapout XT Review

The Good
  • It works!
  • Average workout length is around 45 mins
  • Many innovative exercises just using a band
  • 12 workouts to keep you interested
  • Mike Karpenko, the main trainer, pushes you hard and there is no fluff in these workout
The Bad
  • Many of the workouts feel similar; bands, pushups, jumping jacks, burpees, running on the spot, etc
  • Tapout shirts everywhere - yuk
  • Background music does not inspire
  • Cues could be better (mix up on left and right, picking bands up then putting them down a second later, no indication of end of exercise)
  • On screen timer for individual workout is tiny and hard to see 

I started Tapout XT way back in July when the weather was humid and it was easy to get up in the morning to a bright sunny day. Since I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu about 2 or 3 times a week, I had to modify the term of Tapout XT due to injury or overtraining. This is what I did:

I trained from 6 am in the morning up to 6.45~50 am at which point I had to get ready for work. This meant that I did not get to finish all the workout and sometimes did not get to the Killer Move. Due to time constraints I did not do the included Ab workout. In fact I think I did it once to see what it was like. After each block of 4 weeks I took a week off in which I would stretch every morning or do yoga. This was because during week 4 I always felt overtrained or a lingering injury worsen. I believe slotting in a week at these points really helped me to push on and continue to the end. I missed out a total of 3 workouts due to 2 days of competition preparation and 1 day of illness. I made these 3 days up at the end in my own time just for completion.

The Workouts
By far the hardest workout was Plyo XT. I've done P90X Plyo and for some reason this seemed harder. That may be because there were fewer rest and they were short at about 10 seconds. I'd put the workouts in this order of difficult.
Plyo XT > Cardio XT > Cross Core Combat (Grinder!) > Sprawl and Brawl > Muay Thai
The other workouts were far less memorable and involved more band work and less cardio. If I were to do any of these workouts again in the future I would do Cardio XT, Sprawl and Brawl, Muay Thai and Ripped Conditioning. Mix these in with some Beachbody heavy weight workouts by Tony Horton and I think you'd have a good mix. Yoga XT, I did not like. It was not relaxed enough. Why do all the power yoga routines insist on doing abs after a nice long vigorating yoga workout?

I did not stick to a strict diet at all. I did try to eat enough fruit and veg, fish and meat, also protein shakes and supplements: ZMA, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil and DHA. I did not stop myself eating crap food such as ice cream and chocolate, instead preferring to focus on my jiu-jitsu and tapout XT. I do regret this fact because I know my results would have been amazing if I had stuck to a diet. Diet is key and exercise alone will not get you in amazing shape. I did notice however that I had a lot less cravings for the bad stuff as I progressed through Tapout XT.

My goal was to improve my cardio and increase my athletic ability for jiu-jitsu. Without a doubt Tapout XT helped me to have a bigger gas tank when it comes to sparring BJJ. In fact, I believe it was a major factor in me winning my first BJJ tournament. I simply had more energy and even at the end of my 2nd match I remember thinking that I could continue on for 10 minutes easily, which is what black belt rounds are. Appearance-wise I don't believe my body has changed much. I do not have a 6-pack. My waist has thinned out by about 2 inches and my pants are a looser fit. I have leaned out a little. But the main change has been to my lungs and my heart for sure.

Day 1 - 75 kg approx.
Day 84 - 72 kg approx

I doubt I will do this series again. However, in the past I have repeated P90X three times, so you never know. I will probably use some of the workouts in the future for a mess-up with other things. With a top notch diet I have no doubt that in 90 days you can obtain the results shown on the box like the folks who are in the series. These workouts are probably good for someone who has a reasonable level of fitness but feels they are slumping and they need a boost. If you do this series after sitting on the couch for years eating potato chips then take it easy on yourself at first or go try P90 the original.

What's Next?
I will do P90X2 with a better diet than I had during this series. Stay tuned.


  1. Hi John,

    Thanks for posting this review of the Tapout XT program.

    I had been meaning to ask you what your opinion is when comparing the P90 & Tapout routines, and have actually gone through most of the posts you've written on both. I've been looking to add a program above and beyond my mat time, more for cardiovascular endurance and improved core strength more than anything really.

    Of the two, which one in your opinion does the better job of keeping you engaged and interested? I feel that this aspect of these programs is severely overlooked at times.

    Thanks again for the review, take care.


  2. Hey Natan,

    If I had to choose between P90X and Tapout XT, I think P90X is more interesting because it has more variety in the workouts. Tapout XT workouts all have a very similar feel to them. In fact it was quite hard to remember some of them when I wrote the review. P90X workouts are clearly defined. the P90X guys did a nice job of mixing things up so you wont get bored. Saying that I think Tapout XT will improve your cardio more than P90X but the latter does a better job in building strength and muscle as well as improving cardio to some extent.

    Good luck in upping your game!