There’s still a small part of me that considers myself an athlete. I played soccer for 15 years (and a few seasons of softball as well). I dabbled with intramural sports in college. I was well acquainted with exercise, stretching techniques, exercising thresholds, and metering my stamina for two-a-day practices.
And I bought into the philosophy: If I wasn’t giving it my all, I wasn’t doing it right.
No pain, no gain … right?
My relationship with exercise drastically changed as I entered the season of parenthood. Life with little ones meant changes to my habits of exercise – attending classes or hitting the gym was just more complicated (and often impossible).
I still loved exercise and the physical rush of pushing myself to my boundaries, so I began looking for creative ways to make exercise happen – like cardio workouts at home.
But even then I struggled to be faithful to these DVD workouts. I really didn’t have 45 minutes in a solid chunk to dedicate to exercise (let alone 90!). And sometimes these workouts left me more wiped out than before I started. Like I needed to sit on the couch for an hour or two afterward to regroup.
Exercise should make you feel better afterwards… not worse! If you are, that might be a clue you are exercising too much.
Falling Off The Exercise Bandwagon
Around this time, I met a friend who really helped me to look at my health holistically. She was the one who first suggested I look into adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue, huh?
I found some reputable websites listing a variety of symptoms and was stunned how many of them could be use to describe me:
- startling easy
- constantly cold extremities in the fingers/toes
- getting dizzy when standing too suddenly
- feeling lethargic
- anxiety attacks (mine happened at night and would jar me out of sleep)
- sleeping pattern where your best sleep occurs from 7am-9am in the morning
- catching a second wind late at night and struggling to fall asleep
Essentially (thanks to poor stewardship of my body for a variety of reasons), my body was stuck in fight-or-flight mode. My adrenals were worn down, which in turn was impacting my stamina, my hormones, and my health.
(While whole books have been written about adrenal fatigue, for the purposes of this post I won’t go into more detail here. But it certainly is worth learning more about!)
I got right to work by finding healthy ways to support my adrenals:
- Not burning the candle at both ends – and committing to a 10pm bedtime
- Increasing my healthy salt (more here and here)
- Taking vitamin B complex
- Reducing stress
In my reading, I was surprised to learn that over-doing exercise can aggravate weakened adrenals – causing symptoms to increase (or even triggering colds and other bronchial difficulties).
As my adrenals began to heal, my symptoms greatly alleviated. And I could literally feel myself slipping backward if I pushed myself too hard or began to exercise too much. I became a student of my body, sometimes learning the hard way – especially that high-impact exercise put too much of a drain on my system.
Is Exercise Hopeless?
As I began healing my adrenals (and better caring for myself in general), I discovered T-Tapp.
In a very brief nutshell, T-Tapp is an exercise program created by Teresa Tapp that uses a combination of certain moves (in repetitions of only 8) with a specific posture. This method boasts that you can lose inches, increase neuro-kinectic (brain-to-body) function, improve your metabolism, and balance your hormones. All in 15 minutes a day.
And because it was a “no-impact” workout (meaning completely stationary, no jumping), it was a gentle – but effective – means for someone with adrenal fatigue to exercise.
I literally laughed out loud when I first heard about T-Tapp. Surely this was a hoax. It seemed waaaaaay too good to be true. No way it could work for the Average Joe (or Jill).
And then it proved me wrong.
3 Things To Know About T-Tapp
(In the effort of full disclosure, I am NOT being paid by T-Tapp for my thoughts on their program. I simply found a good thing and want to share it!)
In spite of my years of exercise knowledge, T-Tapp was a whole new workout philosophy to me. I found myself continually surprised as I read T-Tapp’s book, Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes. Teresa’s credentials are quite impressive, her experience is vast – working with everyone from cancer patients to European fashion models — and her book is chock full of scientific information as to why her method works.
If you were to ask me what surprised/impressed me about T-Tapp, it would be these three things:
1. The Unique Stance
The foundation for the workout is a special stance, called KLT (Knees out toward Little Toes). This involves feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent over the toes and pushed out toward the pinkie toes. The butt is tucked and your shoulders are leaning back, allowing your body to be in complete alignment.
According to T-Tapp’s book, this stance is crucial component – and has scientific merit behind it. As proof, a doctor in Austria had forty-five “healthy but sedentary” adults either hike up or down the steep mountain Alps every day for two months… then they switched direction for another two months.
“Thirty-six hours after each hike, subjects’ blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides were checked. Results? It was no surprise that walking uphill lowered triglycerides, which are important components of cholesterol, but even Dr. [Heinz] Drexel [of the Voralberg Institute] was surprised to learn that the downhill walkers exhibited a lowering of blood sugar levels not seen by those hiking only uphill.”
By keeping the body in this particular alignment, one can even lower glucose levels. T-Tapp claims that doing the Hoe Down exercise can drop high sugars “an average of 62 to 85 points within three minutes.”
I have a close family member who is on a continual-monitoring insulin pump. When this loved one’s sugars are high (200-300+ range), they can do a few sets of Hoe Downs and literally see down arrows appear as blood levels begin to drop and level out into a healthier range.
(Just as an FYI for anyone who suffers from hypoglycemia – that is, blood sugars dropping low – I have not experienced any drops when I’m at normal levels.)
The book also goes into great detail of how the stance promotes neuro-kinetic flow – that is, the flow of brain signals through your body. “This stance properly aligns your spine, so nerve transmissions can clearly make their way to your extremities. […] Better nerve transmission results in a higher metabolism, more efficient muscle activity, faster inch and weight loss, and higher energy levels.”
Get out of your chair and practice some hoedowns with this video!
2. Working The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system (which includes lymph vessels, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus) is an amazingly complex system that simply doesn’t get talked about enough. Lymph is a colorless fluid that is filled with white blood cells. It helps eliminate toxins, waste, and other nastiness from the body. These nasties are sent to the lymph nodes, which act as filters for your body. (source)
The lymph system works hand-in-hand with the circulatory system, BUT it is not controlled by the heart.
As T-Tapp explains: “While the blood has a pump – the heart – to keep it moving, lymph fluid must be pumped by the movement of our muscles. So the less we move, the more stagnant our lymph system becomes.”
There are many ways to get the lymphatic system moving, including sustained walking, brushing, and other forms of intentional movement. The T-Tapp sequence of exercise specifically focuses on exercising the complete body – literally from head to toe.
The lymphatic system also plays a key role with your immune system. Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes mentions some interesting studies done in hospitals where cancer patients and auto-immune-disease patients found a decrease in uncomfortable symptoms and increase in metabolism after a month of T-Tapping daily.
3. Making The Most Of The Minutes
I’ll just be honest. I live a full and wonderful life. It is very easy for me to go all day and realize that I haven’t taken intentional care of myself – whether it’s drinking enough water or doing some sort of mindful movement/exercise.
The biggest excuse I give myself? I don’t have time. Exercise seems like this big, nebulous activity that is going to take me hours to do.
I felt that way about the emptying the dishwasher, too. Until I timed myself and realized I empty the dishwasher in about four minutes.
Huh. So maybe putting away dishes wasn’t as terrible as I thought. Immediately I found ways to squeeze those 4 minutes into my life – both practically and mentally.
I think that’s the biggest thing that surprised me about T-Tapp. I could get a complete, full body workout in 15 minutes (technically 14 minutes, 52 seconds – yes, I timed it) – working the arms, abs, legs, and even cardio.
So when I mentally psych myself out of exercising – oh, there’s not enough time for it! – I can remember that all I need are 15 minutes.
There’s all sorts of info on the website about how T-Tapp moves are both comprehensive and compound (and what that means) and how T-Tapp can accomplish such a thorough workout in just 15 minutes.
But I’m going to stop rambling here because I feel like I’m risking sounding like a Snake Oil Salesman. It works! It works! It’s the best thing ever! Just go buy it!
Which begs the question…
So Did It Work?
Yes… and no…
T-Tapp is very good about showing real results from real people – to help provide motivation and encouragement for those who are in the trenches of reclaiming their health. You can see great examples here.
Personally, I was absolutely thrilled to find an exercise regimen that didn’t drain my body, wipe out my adrenals, or make me feel like I was going to die for the rest of the day.
I also noticed an increase in my energy, metabolism, and stamina.
I took pictures before I started because I wanted to see if this actually would make a difference – and I was surprised to notice a significant difference in my posture. Most remarkably, in 60 days I lost 8 inches off my body, including almost 2 inches around my waist – which blew me away because that is an area that I’ve always struggled to see change.
But T-Tapp is not a silver bullet.
I’ve done T-Tapp off and on for several years. When I’m intentional and do it, I see wonderful results. But then life happens – we travel, I get lazy, I’m thrown off my groove, I tell myself “I don’t really need to do it today” which quickly adds up into a week or three… and then I stop. The inches creep back.
I guess this really isn’t the fault of T-Tapp. It’s the fault of me.
Our bodies are constantly changing with hormones and stress levels fluctuating. (Did you read Katie’s amazing series about sleep? And that sleep-impacting cortisol is a hormone?)
It boils down to this one simple truth: if I want to be a good steward of my physical body, I can’t do nothing and not expect to see consequences. T-Tapp won’t deliver results if you aren’t consistent… but that’s not really a surprise, is it?
But for exercise to make a difference, you actually have to do it and commit to being intentional. I’m going to be transparent and admit that I struggle with consistently doing good things that support my body. Oh, I’m great at making sure that my kids drink their water, get good sleep, and eat well.
But for myself? I’m not leading by example. :-/
Some Action Steps
If you’ve struggled to make exercise happen in your life (or have battled exercise-induced exhaustion), I want to leave you with some hope – and a tangible action plan.
- If you’ve been struggling to exercise or find intentional ways to move, you can check out these free videos from T-Tapp. If even that seems insurmountable, commit to walking up and down your street at least once a day.
- If you feel like you’re ready to go to the next level, commit to exercising at least three times a week. Maybe check out the book Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes from your local library to learn more – especially if you’re the type of person who likes to know the why before you do something.
- Find a buddy to hold you accountable. I’m currently doing a T-Tapp challenge with a friend in another state. We text every day — letting each other know if we’ve been successful or have slipped behind the ball. That simple accountability has made a night-and-day difference in my routine.
Editor’s Note: I’m Bethany’s accountability buddy mentioned above. I’m hooked on T-Tapp for how energetic it makes me feel when I complete it! -Helen
We here at Kitchen Stewardship are not doctors, so don’t take this post as medical advice. Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. T-Tapp images used with permission from T-Tapp. Clock and woman drinking water images used with permission from Graphic Stock. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon, T-Tapp and Fit2B.