Sometime last year I first read about The Spartacus Workout. There were, at that time, two different versions. The first was developed by the folks at Men’s Health after an amazingly popular article about training the actors who appear in the TV show Spartacus (Can we say 300-abs anyone? Yes please.). The workout was hugely popular. So then they developed a version for Women’s Health. And then there were spinoff versions, stuff I found on youtube and tried.
The basic concept is multiple rounds of different full body exercises (some with weights, some without) done at an explosive pace for like 20-30 seconds, with a brief rest, before going on to the next. There’s a lot of plyometrics (think of this as calorie torching cardio) involved.
So after Christmas, I ordered their 2 DVD set, which came in yesterday. And this morning I tried the Total Body Blitz. Handily, they have an option to go through it without music, which I appreciated at 6:15 because the lead dude is perky enough for pre caffeine anything. This workout is 3 sets of exercises, done for 20 seconds each, with a brief rest between each set, followed by a 5 minute bonus “Guns and Buns” routine (you know, because you weren’t jellified enough already).
The first round went fine. Got my heart rate up a bit, got a handle on the motions. Second round started to sweat, but again, still going strong, adding in the weights. Made the egregious mistake of thinking, Oh, this isn’t so bad.
And then there was Round 3.
About halfway through this round my limbs started to shake and I started gasping like a fish out of water. I’m not asthmatic but there was a definite edge of wheeze going on by the end. And then I’m laying there, panting, on the floor, thinking, Oh thank God it’s over. When the dude says to get back up for the Guns and Buns round.
That actually wasn’t as bad as I was afraid of. It was a workout but still a cool down compared to the Blitz itself.
I’m feeling pretty good a couple hours out. My body’s got that vaguely tired feeling that says I worked hard, but I’m not sore. Yet. We’ll see what I feel like on Thursday. Because of course the day after the day after is always when you hurt the worst if you’re gonna.
But either way, I liked this better than the 30 Day Shred just in the overall composition of what makes up the workouts and the fact that there are no jumping jacks. My ankles got a little bit twingey on one of the exercises (which I blame on having a little more squish to my surface as I have a rug on top of carpet in that room), but not unbearable and improved by wearing shoes for extra stability. For those with other joint issues, you can adjust the intensity and depth of the motion so it’s not as high impact.
I call this a winner!
I follow your blog every day, because I love your writing and I love your great motivation. (However, I am an overweight 72-yr-old grandma with a husband who has Alzheimer’s, so I am terribly out of shape.) But — I also follow “Taylor Morris – Journal” which is the story of Taylor Morris, the Navy OED tech who stepped on an IED and lost all 4 limbs (and is only the 5th quad amputee to survive). His story, written by his girlfriend and constant companion, Danielle, is amazing. But what I wanted to bring to your attention is a post by Danielle, who is also very much into fitness, about an app called “Charity Miles.” She describes it as: “Charity miles is a free app that uses Facebook for authentication. You open the app before running and biking outside- and corporate sponsors pay $.10 per mile biked and $.25 per mile ran to one of their selected charities after you have “logged miles”. They have corporate sponsorship for up to $1,000,000 and will continue to find support once that amount has been donated. There are multiple charities to choose from, such as The wounded Warrior project and Achilles (Adapted Sports). I was amazed that I can run my normal workout – while raising money for an organization that is dear to me!!” It looked to me as though it would be something that would really appeal to you. Here is the link to her post, if you want to learn more about Danielle and Taylor’s story: http://www.taylormorris.org/charity-miles/
Oh that’s awesome!
I hope I can eventually work up to something really intense like this. I’ve finally been able to do a minute run with my treadmill walking. And I can up the incline a bit. I can’t wait until I’m at the level you are. 🙂
I heard about the crazy intense workout the Spartacus actors go through. Very clever of them to sell it! Thanks for sharing this!
Oh this is like the wussy man’s version of that. They actually worked out something ridiculous like 6 hours a day. But same concept on a more… palatable scale.
Even better–A Spartacus workout at a level mere mortals can attempt. 🙂 Who has 6 hours to work out everyday, besides those guys getting paid to act half naked?
I found out about the Spartacus workout through my subscription to Men’s Health (I was not familiar with the TV show before then), and it attracted me because the related article stated that star Andy Whitfield (RIP) was a busy husband and father who was on set long hours, and could only devote 45 minutes, 3 times a week to a workout, and had to look like a gladiator. I thought, well, I work a desk job and have a wife and home to care for…so I could relate! (Kait you state they exercised 6 hours a day…not disputing it, though that’s not how Men’s Health first described the late Andy Whitfield’s regimen). Anyway, I’ve been doing the workout on and off a few years now, mixing it with other high intensity interval training routines such as Supreme 90. When I combined that workout regimen early last year with a devotion to Weight Watchers, I dropped 30 pounds and for the first time since I was a young athlete, people are saying I look “fantastic” and “skinny” and I can actually see my abs for the first time in decades (I just hit my 54th birthday). I just ordered the Spartacus 2 DVD set and am glad to see you recommend it. I must say, HIIT seems to be the thing we’ve all been seeking for some time, because I now finally LOOK like an athlete again and feel better than I have in many, many years (despite ongoing soreness, I’m no spring chicken)! Best of all, 30-45 minutes of grueling exercise about 5 days a week is well worth it. So I’d say Spartacus is a fantastic part of a HIIT regimen, but the key is to keep doing different workouts. I never do the same workout more than 2-3 times per month so it always seems hard every time. It’s a love/hate thing: I hate starting a workout I know will be grueling, but I love the results. If an old school dude like me can do it, most any reasonably healthy person can do it, I believe.
By the time you add in all the choreography and fight training, the actual cast was working out a crapton more than 30-45 minutes a day.
Yup, I am sure that’s right Kait, in that context of a highly physical production it does equate to lots of physical activity…as a part time professional actor I’ve done enough physical roles to attest to calories burned during such productions, and Spartacus is ridiculously physical! Thanks for your writing, most enjoyable and helpful as well. All the best to you.