Hi, I’m Teresa Tapp
Fit and fabulous in fifteen minutes? I know what you’re thinking. It sounds too good to be true and even a bit sensationalized, doesn’t it? Well, get ready, because in this book, you’re going to discover that “yes you can!”
Welcome to T-Tapp, the wellness workout that works wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. I take a rehabilitative approach to fitness and spent nine years creating this workout—plus over two decades perfecting it. As you learn the exercises in this book, you’ll immediately feel the difference between T-Tapp and other workouts you’ve tried, and you’ll experience head-to-toe results like never before. You’ll also discover how less is more, since T-Tapp’s special form and techniques maximize muscle development, enabling your body to shed inches in record time. In fact, the stronger you get, the more you get out of
T-Tapp—and the less you have to do it to stay in shape!
But first I thought you might want to know a little about me, how I created this workout, and why I’m so excited to be sharing it with you.
I am five feet seven inches tall, weigh about 130 pounds, and wear a size six. I haven’t gone to a gym, lifted a single weight, or done any other exercise program except T-Tapp for over twenty years. Even then, I don’t work out every day—and you won’t have to, either. In fact,
T-Tapp workouts are based on quality, not quantity, with movements designed to give maximum results in minimum time.
I’m a huge jazz and blues fan and love to dance. But there is no music in T-Tapp, and despite its name, tap dancing is not part of this workout. T-Tapp is aerobic, yet there is no jumping or running involved—which means no stress on your joints. You won’t lift a single weight, yet you’ll still reap all the benefits of strength training, such
as stronger bones and prevention of osteoporosis. That’s because
T-Tapp’s focus is on using your own body as the machine.
Moreover, because T-Tapp is no-impact, you can perform these exercises for life—no matter your age or physical condition. In fact, there are hundreds of T-Tappers who are well into their seventies, eighties, and nineties!
I love red wine and firmly believe that life is too short to deny yourself good food. Most days I try to eat a balanced diet, but I cheat frequently. I can rarely drive by a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop when the red light is on, which means the doughnuts are hot and fresh—yum! And my office staff must occasionally hide almond M&Ms from me. The good news is that T-Tapp helps to reset your metabolism to burn at a faster rate, so you can eat, cheat, and still lose inches!
I’m an outdoor person. I love riding my horse, Ivy, and playing with my beloved bichon, Buddy. Most weekends you’ll find me digging in the dirt, planting flowers, and cutting the grass with a push mower. But I’m just as happy curled up on the couch reading anything about the human body. Hours become minutes when I discover new research and studies that reveal statistical patterns about how the human body works. In my opinion, the body is an amazing machine that can rebuild wellness—and wellness is what I am most passionate about in life.
This passion began, believe it or not, at the tender age of five—and for tragic reasons. That’s when I lost my mother, Corenna, to brain cancer. She was twenty-nine at the time and had endured four operations and two years of grueling radiation and chemotherapy. Because of her illness, I spent much of my early childhood hanging out in hospitals. As I watched my mother suffer, I dreamed of becoming a doctor when I grew up so that I could find a cure for cancer.
But there were silver linings to all this sadness. Experiencing the loss of a loved one at such an early age gave me an insight into wellness that was far beyond my years. And as my mother’s condition deteriorated, I instinctively learned to value my own health and recognized the importance of listening to—and taking care of—my own body.
My mother battled cancer with courage and humor, always seeing the glass as half full. When the side effects of chemotherapy forced her to wear a wig, for example, she’d laugh and say, “I may have lost all my hair, but now I get to be a blonde!” Fortunately, I inherited her knack for finding the positive in every negative situation, and her legacy has served me well.
For instance, in high school, a nasty fall from a balance beam in gym class chipped three vertebrae in the mid-lumbar region of my back. That injury, coupled with the scoliosis I’d suffered from since childhood, often left me nearly paralyzed with pain. Yet instead of listening to my doctor, who recommended bed rest, I listened to that inner voice in the back of my head that said I needed to move my body to find relief. After weeks of experimenting with all kinds of muscle movements, I was elated to discover exercises that would alleviate my back pain. I was equally thrilled to discover that I’d shrunk several inches in the process—what a bonus!
At eighteen, I enrolled at Waubonsee Community College, where I received an associate’s degree in science before transferring to Eastern Illinois University as a pre-med major. There, while pursuing
a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology (with an emphasis on public health and education), I did extensive
volunteer work with cancer patients who were undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. When these women consistently complained of nausea and edema, I was able to further test the effectiveness of my exercises. I had a hunch that certain muscle movements would bring these women relief, and I was right. But the big discovery here was that sequence seemed to matter. In other words, performing my exercises in a specific order helped to diminish puffiness and nausea so dramatically that it appeared to be eliminating toxins from the body.
I realized that I was definitely on to something when every single patient who was using my exercises—in the right order—reported significant relief and reduced swelling. This was extremely exciting for these women, because it meant their bodies would be better able to endure treatments to fight this horrible disease. Needless to say, they were also elated about tightening, toning, and losing a few inches along the way.
While working with these patients, I found a suspicious lump—about the size of a walnut—under my right armpit. I was nineteen at the time, and given my family history, my peers and professors (many of whom were physicians) advised, “Have it removed immediately, or you could be dead by age thirty.” In those days, surgery was the answer to every bump and lump, for fear these would turn into cancer and metastasize. But I wasn’t alarmed. I had noticed that if I didn’t get enough sleep, ate too much sugar, or drank one too many glasses of wine, that lump would swell. But when I performed the same sequence of movements I was teaching the cancer patients I was working with, the lump drastically shrank. Oddly enough, this lump had become a barometer for my body, indicating my level of fitness and wellness. So I was worried that if doctors removed it, I would lose my “radar” and have trouble listening to my body.
Of course, I advise everyone to have any lumps thoroughly checked by a health care professional, as I did. Fortunately, in my case, there was no need for surgery. In fact, that lump is still with me today and continues to fluctuate in size, depending on what I’ve been eating or drinking and how much—or how little—I’ve been working out.
After I graduated from college, Eastern Illinois University offered me a graduate assistantship to study the specific changes that seem to occur in women’s bodies every decade in terms of weight gain. I had always been curious about the “freshman fifteen”—you know, those extra pounds most students tend to pack on in their first year of college. I knew it wasn’t just due to pizza and beer, because even coeds who didn’t drink or eat a lot of fast food were experiencing weight gain, or what I call the notorious “fat shift.”
My study wasn’t limited to college students; it also included older pre- and postmenopausal women. This research empowered me to understand the connection between internal muscle development and how we metabolize calories at rest. I quickly realized the effectiveness of T-Tapp moves in helping the body maintain optimal metabolic processing regardless of age, and that made me even more passionate about my program. Another finding that blew me away: 100 percent of these women reported the results of better hormonal balance—far fewer cramps, bloating, hot flashes, and mood swings—after trying my workout.
I had every intention of completing my master’s degree and applying to medical school, but tuition money was tight. About that time, the fashion industry made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: the chance to work as a new-face developer and booker, preparing new models for the business. One of the side benefits—and, honestly, one of the main reasons I took this job—was being able to work in Germany, where they were years ahead of America in terms of holistic and rehabilitative approaches to health and wellness. During my tenure, I trained thousands of models—even some supermodels—and realized that it doesn’t matter what you weigh. Inches count, pounds don’t. In fact, no models I worked with were ever put on a scale. Instead, their measurements were their calling cards. And if the clothes didn’t fit, a model didn’t work.
That’s why with T-Tapp, I’m going to tell you to ignore the scale and focus solely on inch loss. I don’t want you to obsess too much about tag sizes, either, because no matter how much you work out, your body type and structure may simply not enable you to ever wear a size four or six. Looking your best is more about having everything fit, firm, and in the right place. Trust me, I’ve seen my share of skinny but lumpy size two models who didn’t look nearly as good as a size sixteen T-Tapper who is fit and firm!
I shared my exercises with these models and not only trimmed their trouble spots but boosted their energy levels. They loved my workout, because it delivered inch-loss results fast. It was also no-fuss. Requiring a mere four square feet of space, these moves were perfect for models accustomed to living out of hotel rooms. What’s more, the same movements I’d been using for years to manage my back pain helped these models alleviate muscle soreness brought on by grueling twelve-hour shoots and the contortionist-like poses that photographers often required them to hold for long periods of time.
Working in the fashion industry was never part of my game plan, but in hindsight, this priceless hands-on experience allowed me to gather valuable statistical data. Working with models of different shapes, sizes, heritages, and figure problems was like taking a course in physiology. Based on what I learned, I was able to fine-tune many of my existing exercises, as well as develop new moves that would trim and tone regardless of one’s body type. Working abroad also exposed me to cutting-edge research in the areas of nutrition and botanical supplements.
The models I worked with often called me “Mother T,” and to this day, many continue to stay trim and toned using T-Tapp moves. In a recent interview with fashion editor Evelyn Theiss, for example, I learned that many of today’s runway models routinely perform one of my energizing signature moves—called Hoe Downs—prior to every fashion show. Many also rely on T-Tapp moves to quickly whip them into shape for swimsuit and lingerie catalog shoots (like Victoria’s Secret), as well as the all-important designer fashion shows, where audiences are virtually a who’s who of the fashion world.
After a decade of globetrotting, I was ready to return to the States, settle down, and share the benefits of my workout with women and men from all walks of life. I moved to Tampa Bay, Florida, and spent the next five years copyrighting my exercises and reconnecting with the medical community. Various psychologists, oncologists, and doctors of osteopathic medicine referred patients to me for rehabilitative training. These clients faced a variety of challenges—from cancer to eating disorders to manic-depression—and it was incredibly satisfying to see that T-Tapping could make a difference in their lives. During this time, I also worked one-on-one as a personal trainer with a handful of models, celebrities, and everyday women who were anxious to achieve their fitness goals.
T-Tapp has always been about empowering others, so typically I would work with clients for only two weeks, making sure they knew how to T-Tapp on their own before letting them go. Despite this policy, my waiting list for new clients soon swelled to eight months. So much for reaching the masses! Realizing that I was maxed out and could help only so many people in a day, I knew it was time for a new strategy.
That’s when Women’s Fitness International magazine approached me about becoming a contributing editor. I saw this as a golden opportunity both to educate scores of women and men and to showcase my exercise program. With each bimonthly article I wrote, I would share my thoughts and theories on health and nutrition, as well as feature one exercise in depth. Reader response was phenomenal, so I began filming my first at-home fitness video, which the magazine agreed to pitch. It was called The Super Fat Burning Inch Loss System. A mouthful, I know, but customers loved the workout.
Two years later, I decided to take advantage of the Internet boom and establish a Web site. I filled it with educational articles and set up a message board to encourage T-Tappers to communicate with one another. I created more fitness videos and offered these for sale at my Web site. I also finally decided to call my workout T-Tapp. Doing so enabled me to brand the name—not to mention that using the Tapp name made my father very proud.
Meanwhile, Women’s Fitness International was sold, and I realized it was time to branch out on my own. I was eager to contribute articles and exercises to non-fitness magazines anyway, as well as spread the word about T-Tapp through other media.
During sweeps week of 2000, KTRK, the ABC News affiliate in Houston, Texas, ran a “Yes You Can” T-Tapp Challenge, which followed eight women over a two-week period. When every single participant lost a clothing size—without dieting—other ABC affiliates picked up the story. I credit WPIV in Philadelphia with putting T-Tapp on the map. In response to their broadcast, I gained twenty thousand new customers in the first week alone!From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes by Teresa Tapp with Barbara Smalley. Copyright © 2006 by Teresa Tapp. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.