By Beth Krueger

Where do you do your exercise routine? A gym setting? A room where you live? Somewhere else? Are you a solo exerciser or do you gather with some friends or in a class?

Teresa Tapp would say “yes” to all of the above—and more. She’d note that her routine takes only four square feet of space and a relatively small amount of time without any equipment so it is ready-made to work into your schedule and location. Or her sneaky fit actions take no additional space. In addition to these usual workout scenarios, you may see Teresa joined by Dr. Oz or national network anchors on a television set.

The creator of the “T-Tapp” workout and author of books and related visual resources, she explains that her method emphasizes quality, rather than quantity—“an intense little workout that delivers big results—inside and out.” And she warns, “T-Tapp moves may look simple but make no mistake about it—there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. Granted, you’ll never do more than eight repetitions of any exercise, but these comprehensive movements always work five to seven muscles at once. Plus you’ll be finished with your workout in anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.” No, it does not involve tap dancing.

The objective of T-Tapp is another important factor in what this method is and is not. Its focus, she points out, “is not on losing weight but on shedding inches and completely reshaping your body so that you look and feel better.” The approach is rehabilitative and no-impact, maximizing muscle development. That makes it appropriate for a lifetime of use, from child to senior, and for those at various physical condition levels. “T-Tapp is about working to your personal max… You start where you are, and as you gain strength and flexibility, you can add more moves and/or do more repetitions.” Dieting is not required but Teresa shares a plan for eating healthy food (which leaves opportunity to do some splurging) that aids in reaching your goal and sense of well being.

T-Tapp seeks to get the exercisers in tune with her/his body, connect mind and body and heighten listening to that inner voice. “I believe we all have one; we just get too busy with life and have a tendency to stop listening to our bodies,” she observes.

Listening to the inner voice

Being attentive to that inner voice was the spark that set Teresa on a winding road culminating in the development and nature of T-Tapp. It really began for her at age five, when her mother died of brain cancer. From the experience, she learned to value her health and to pay attention to that inner sense that something may be amiss. Already dealing with scoliosis, after a fall as a teenager, her doctor was calling for bed rest but her body was telling her that muscle movement might ease the pain. She experimented with exercises that gave her some relief, a toned body, an interest to learn more and a sense that she was on to something. Her college studies were in exercise physiology; that was time for volunteer exercise work with cancer patients, who reported feeling better as a result. A key, she found, was the sequence of the exercises.

An unexpected opportunity to work with models in the fashion industry was another occasion to apply those exercises, fine-tuning and adding moves “that would trim and tone  regardless of one’s body type”—and boost energy levels. Work as a contributing editor of Women’s Fitness International was a vehicle for education on wellness and exercise. Her next move? The entrepreneurial step to put all that experience into action by establishing T-Tapp.

Teresa has been honing and adding moves for 40 years since those college studies. In the last 15 years, she says, T-Tapp has become more rehabilitative, working to make “comprehensive compound use of the body” affecting fascia (that’s the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and organs—like the plastic wrap you use to store the leftover turkey) as well as fueling muscles, trimming and toning. Engaging multiple elements of the body is intended to optimize the body functioning like a well-oiled machine, she says, recalling her dad would speak of “clearing out the pipes” with his car. The moves, she notes, “help the body help itself.” At the completion of an exercise session, T-Tappers tell her they feel like they have been through a workout but are energized, rather than ready to collapse on the couch.

T-Tappers range from kids to men and women in their eighties and nineties, as well as those with physical conditions and concerns. Teresa has developed different sets of exercises for different needs.  There’s a “senior fitness” workout with precise movements and water breaks, a method not just for older persons. Her Brain-Body Fitness sequences bring out the mind-body connection.

Diane Stone read about T-Tapp when she was wearing a size 30, having lost and then gained back weight. “But I was still reading fitness magazines knowing that one day I would get back into shape.” Enlisting her mother as a companion, she shifted a New Year’s resolution into a plan to try T-Tapp. She lost inches, felt better and was enjoying the process. The combination of cardio, strength and flexibility also was a positive factor. Along the way, she became a T-Tapp trainer. The methods are tailored to the individual’s circumstances and body, she notes. “Can you tell that I love sharing my T-Tapp story and helping people help themselves?”

Teresa also has woven her methods into walking to help people get the most out of their treks by applying techniques in how their feet touch the ground (“no duck walking”) and how the body is positioned.

Stealth workouts

There’s always time to do sneaky workouts. Those are mindful moves that can be done on an airplane trip, at a desk, in the car at a stoplight, and while shopping. It’s all about “the power of push, press and pull,” Teresa explains in describing actions that including press feet into the floor, spreading toes or positioning hands for added push and pull on a steering wheel or grocery cart. When the cart is full, a weight-bearing element is added, giving new meaning, she notes, to “power shopping.” And the fun part is that no one knows you’re doing it. She was showing some eighth-graders how they could do some of these moves while sitting and how they could feel their muscles activating. The response? “Oh, wow!”

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