'Teresa Tapp adds a neurokinetic twist to your not-so-everyday workout.'
By Steve Toon
Step into one of Teresa Tapp's workout sessions or pop in one of her videos and you'll notice she's not preaching the same exercise sermon you've heard before. She uses no weights or other equipment and no movements like jumping that cause impact on the body. You may, in fact, notice hints of Pilates or yoga, but the concepts will still be new. And you may wonder if these precision movements will have any affect on your body's excess fat cells.
The program is called T-Tapp, and throngs of devoted followers known as T-Tappers will emphatically tell you they do produce results, pulling out their before-and-after photos to prove it. This underground movement of T-Tapp believers, learning of her through the Internet, local media, and word of mouth, swear by her methods. One woman pulled out a giant pair of jeans about thrice her size and said, "This used to be me."
Without infomercials, books or an ESPN2 exercise show, Teresa Tapp, based in Florida, has sold her unique videos to more than 20,000 people in America, with about 800 followers in Houston. Her website averages 90,000 hits a day. She bases her methods on science-some she's even conducted herself in informal studies. She is an exercise physiologist with a pre-med degree where she studied cancer research, and later changed to physiology and rehabilitation. After working with cancer patients following chemotherapy, Tapp spent many years in Europe working with young models to develop their figures. As a physiologist she has an instinct, she says, for visualizing what a young model's body will look like as it ages.
Now she focuses on "real women real results," emphasizing that the whole body works in balance as a machine. Health & Fitness Sports Magazine spoke with her recently as she conducted a weekend seminar in Houston at The Met Business and Sports Club.
What is T-Tapp?
T-Tapp is a no-nonsense, straightforward, common sense approach to fitness. It's for real people who don't always have the time. Everyone wants to look and feel good. We all want to have energy. My whole focus is on real women getting real results.
You can do it in the privacy of your home in three square feet of space, standing up. In the beginning you're doing it every day for a week or two. Ultimately you get to the point within three months where you're only doing it once or twice a week and you can maintain optimal health and fitness-no weights, no jumping, never more than one set and never more than 10 reps of any move. Yet your body will never fully adapt to it, so you don't have to do anything else if you don't want to. Its weight bearing without weights. Its cardiokinetic; you'll have a heart rate as high as 186 and yet you're not jumping at all.
What makes your program different than others?
It's like the reverse of all other exercises. With other exercise, as you get stronger, you add more weights and you add more reps. With T-Tapp, the stronger you get the more you get out of it, so no matter how strong you are, you never do more than 10 reps in one set. It's never been done that way before. In the beginning you may only be able to touch your fanny and roll your joints so far, but the stronger and more flexible you get, you can rotate that much more-you're able to torque and use the muscles to an even greater degree. That's why this workout will work as good for a weightlifter as for a grandma just getting started.
Your program is about far more than simply exercising.
Can you explain the different components?
The T-Tapp program is about three main things. One is neurokinetic flow from the brain to the spine to the extremities. Everyone else out there is telling you to take thermogenics-people always want the pill. Want to raise your metabolism? Take "thermo-whatever it is." Something with ma huang or a stimulant. Instead of taking a stimulant, what if we just "unkink the hose." Most women stand on one hip or cross the legs and we wonder why our backs are killing us. It's like watering the flowers with a kinked hose; you're still watering them but it's not as effective because you're not getting enough water pressure. If you unkink the hose its done in half the time.
Your spinal cord is your main hose, your main communicator from your brain to all of your muscles. Nerve stimulation is what causes muscle fibers to twitch. If you unkink the hose and are getting greater nerve stimulation to all of your body parts, they're working more efficiently and your energy is higher. You don't need to take a stimulant. Spinal alignment is important. With T-Tapp that neurokinetic flow is used from start to finish.
The second part is lymphatic. I stimulate the lymphatic system throughout the entire workout. Most people understand the lymph system for removal of toxins and boosting the immune system, but the lymph system moves liquefied fats throughout the body. If you do a move that stimulates the lymph system then you're circulating liquefied fats through the entire body-so you're a greater fat burning machine. That's why T-Tapp has been called the super fat burning inch loss system. Now you're increasing fat burning because you are getting greater neurokinetic flow and circulating liquefied fats throughout the workout. You're getting optimal fuel to all of your muscles.
The third component is that my exercise movements are more comprehensive. With isotonic exercises you use the belly of the muscle. When you do a curl using weight you'll feel it in the belly of the muscle and you'll feel it in the elbow. With T-Tapp, when you do a curl make sure the shoulder and elbow stay totally in linear alignment. As you curl out and curl in, now you'll feel it in the tricep. You're using deltoids, biceps and triceps-no weight-but you're pulling on the muscle both ways so you get long lean muscles instead of little bulging biceps. You get greater muscle density, not just greater muscle mass. It becomes like a girdle. You will cinch in everywhere and pull things up. You're working more muscles at a time and you're working to a maximum capacity. I do that layer by layer from the inside out to rebuild your inner core.
So you do consider this to be a fat burning program?
It doesn't look like a typical cardio workout.
Can you explain how it burns fat?
It's cardio kinetic. Cardiovascular is raising the heart rate to where you're utilizing fat for fuel. When you open neurokinetic flow and you're getting greater nerve transmission to your muscles, your kinetic use of fuel becomes greater. I use hands above the head at various times throughout the workout. The first thing they teach you when you're a heart patient is to not raise your hands above your head because it raises your heart rate. I start off opening neurokinetic flow, and the next movement I do is "plies," where I incorporate a series of hands above the head movements.
When I was at the Cooper Aerobics Institute conducting a fitness retreat, I spoke with Dr. Ken Cooper on it as well. We had five marathoners with wrist heart monitors on and one triathlete. Using the intermediate level, which is a 45-minute workout, 10 reps and only one set, their average heart rate high was 186 and their average throughout the workout was 147. Now that's what I call a cardiovascular workout. And totally non-impact. I utilize hands above the head as well as lymphatic flow that circulates liquefied fat throughout the whole body.
One of the claims you make is that you can lose a dress size in 30 days. How do you do that?
By inch loss. Most people lose an inch off their waist or hips within the first week to 10 days. I know that by the end of 30 days they're going to have that overall general inch loss. That's because of muscles cinching in and pulling up. So clothes fit. And that's only the average.
So it's not necessarily an immediate fat loss in the area, but fat redistribution? By exercising you gain the strength to hold the muscle fibers shorter, just like you've gained your little bicep bulge by curling that stays there all the time even when you're not working out. So within 30 days you are going to be able to maintain that inch loss even with no effort because the muscle fibers have gotten strong enough to be shorter. It's a girdle-it holds it in. Ultimately you will also be losing fat everywhere. You can't spot fat reduce, but overall when you get this cinching in and pulling up, all of these muscles working in layers, you become smaller inch-wise and in clothing size.
Is nutrition important to your program?
Nutrition is important to any program. You've got to have nutrition. But dieting? No. I tell people when they come to my program not to change their eating habits at all. Focus instead on rebuilding their "machine." They need to rebuild their lymphatic system. They need to rebuild the basic three functions, which are digestion, assimilation, and elimination. I'd rather people focus on moving the body to rebuild the primary body functions.
As we naturally age we don't digest food like we used to. You've heard people say "that doesn't sit well with me." We're a little more stressed and therefore don't digest the same, so we don't assimilate the same. And if you're not assimilating food, then your body gets nutritionally deficient because you're not assimilating nutrients. More food is being held in the intestines and you end up with more toxins. And it's not just intestinal elimination; the pancreas or liver may not work as well, or the kidneys, or you're not sweating as well as you should.
So now instead of worrying about how many calories or protein you're taking in, let's just start lymphatically pumping to eliminate some of those toxins, let's start using and reactivating nerve transmission to the muscles so you're getting greater circulation. That inch loss you see every single week makes you feel good. I tell people for two days to eat well-meat and veggies, soups and salads. On the third day don't worry about it if you want pizza or cookies. Eat two days clean and the third day don't worry.
And all of a sudden you're not craving anything, you're not concentrating on diet. The body balances itself out. If you are doing T-Tapp you're eliminating everything lymphatically, so if you do pollute your body with Cheetohs or something, it's OK because you eliminate it. Think about what you ate as a teenager. It's as we get older that we can't eliminate it because of the breakdown of basic body functions-the core-how our whole body works as a machine.
So regular exercise is not effective toward that?
Yes and no. All exercise is going to help the body utilize or eliminate. T-Tapp is more comprehensive. No other exercise involves the lymphatic system, and I think the lymphatic system is a key component. No other exercise that I know of involves neurokinetics. Those are two key components. Those are rehabilitative. I'm utilizing physical therapy in fitness. To my knowledge there is nobody else out their doing it.