|XBX 12 Minute Plan for Women & |
5BX 11 Minute Plan for Men
What I really like about both of these books is having the space to chart your progress, including work out times, level reached, measurements and weight. This saves you having to write it down on a separate bit of paper, losing it and then forgetting by the next day which level you're on!
The difference between the Men's and Women's plans
On first glance, there's appears to very little difference between the women's and men's plans. There's a slightly different levelling system on the workout charts (women's levels are numbered whereas men's are graded), and there are also more exercises in the women's individual charts, which explains why the women's workout is 1 minute longer than the men's. As hinted at in the books, this difference is based on research into the differences in anatomy (differences in natural fat mass, muscle mass, heart sizes, lung capacities etc).
I'm just glad they've not made the women's book fixate on weight loss and 'toning' (I hate this word!), while the men's book focuses on muscle building and strength. Instead, both books contain a bit of a blurb at the front on the importance of building strength, increasing endurance and why we should take notice of our body weight and build. This is really good to see!
Women's XBX plan: the workout plan structure
|XBX 12 Minute Plan for Women|
The different levels on each chart have different numbers of repetitions and the goal is basically to be able to fit more repetitions in the same time frame (12 minutes).
It took me a little while and a few flips back and forth through the book to establish when I should use which chart and what level I should try to get to. The answers to these questions will vary according to your age (which is perhaps why it wasn't immediately obvious to me... well that's my excuse, any way!). There are bullet points on page 19 and (another) chart on page 21 to help you work out the maximum rate of progression for your age. I say 'maximum', because you may need longer than just 1 day on a particular level if you find it difficult to complete.
|Chart 1, showing number of reps for each level|
& a space to log your progress
So for example, as a 24 year old, I should aim to spend at least 1 day on each level in Chart 1 (levels 1-12) before progressing any further, with Chart 2 (levels 13-24, where I should take at least 2 days at each level. With Chart 3 (levels 25-35) I should take 3 days at each level. Level 35 is the 'goal level' for my age range, so Chart 4 becomes an optional extra for my age group.
Once you've sorted out your goal level, its pretty straight forward, although physically hard work, to progress your way through the workout plan. It's great to have a tough workout that takes up very little time and uses no equipment, making it ideal for working out while away on work trips, or simply for squeezing a workout in before the kids wake up.
Men's 5BX plan: the workout plan structure
|5BX 11 Minute Plan for Men|
The men's levels, as I've said are graded rather than numbered. You begin on Chart 1, level D and work your way up at your own pace to level A. Once you can comfortably complete A on Chart 1, you move onto Chart 2.
The book does talk about age ranges and maintaining at certain levels. It gets a bit confusing around this point but from how I've understood it, the idea is for you to reach the level for your age group (for example, level B for those aged 30-39 on Chart 2 and then move onto the Chart 3 and start from the bottom and work your way up again to your age range's level (repeat until Chart 6).
|Age groups error in 5BX 11 Minute Plan for Men|
There's also a misprint on the same page where there's two categories for 40-44 year olds, one category sets the level up to A+, and the other C. It's a pretty big flaw in the men's book to be honest, as it makes it impossible to know what you should be working towards and when to move onto the next chart. Hopefully they'll edit this and reprint the book (assuming they haven't already).
Both paperback books are available to buy on Amazon.co.uk. At the time of this review, the men's book is £12.99 and the women's book is also £12.99.