Hey. Hi. Hello!
Happy Friday! I’m off of work today (thank god), and plan to lay in bed for as long as possible becuase why would I do anything else? It’s officially the greatest time of the year, because there are FOUR sports going on right now. We got baseball postseason, and basketball, football, and hockey are all kicking off . YAY SPORTS!
While we’re on the topic of sports and all things active, a few months ago, one of my friends reached out to me and asked if I’d ever heard of this workout called “P.Volve.” I hadn’t, so I did some quick googling, and it returned a bunch of results for this thing marketed as the workout that the VS (Victoria’s Secret) Angels do. Right off the bat I was intrigued because I know that’s the sort of marketing that is going to peak a women’s interest. There’s nothing I would love more than to look like an Angel, except for the fact that I’m about a nine inches too short.
With my interested peaked, I decided to embark on a month long journey with P.Volve, to see what it’s all about, and if it would yield any results that warranted the kind of marketing it was using. Thankfully, they have a 15 day free-trial through their website, so as I’m blessed to have 1001 different emails, I signed up and got started.
To start, I took my body measurements and weighed myself for reference. My measurements have stayed the same for months, with the exception of my waist going up 0.5”, which is fine because I was also on my period at the time so I didn’t except to be my slimmest. Below are the rest of my body stats for September 1st.
So, with that out of the way, let’s talk a little about what this program actually is. It was started by this dude named Stephen Pasterino (hence the P.volve). He says he has over 15 years of experience and recieved training from the Gray Institute, which I literally had never heard of until reading that. In his descriptions about himself and his mission for this organization, he uses some of my least favorite phrases that are designed to manipulate any woman, or person really, who reads it. He says he’s obsessed with “toning” the deeper muscles, and wants to “…counteract the training methods and mindset that can cause bulking…” Literally how dare he. Did this Gray Institute teach him nothing?!
While they do have a studio located in the Bowery here in NYC, this program seems to be designed mainly for online use aka an at home workout. I’m so used to “at home” workouts like Peleton, where you sign up and join an actual class. This was FAR different than that. Instead, he has maybe a hundred different videos to choose from, but they’re all pre-recorded and consist of typically just him and one model-esque individual.
When you first sign up, or do the free trial like I did, there’s a section to create a 30-day workout plan. I did that, because I wanted to see what sorts of things it would currate. It has a bunch of selection for you to choose from, like what equpitment you have access to, what days you want to work out, and what your focus is for your body. This is what I selected:
Once you select everything you like, it currates a full 30-day workout plan. I did this process twice, and selected the same things both times, and received two totally different months. I guess that’s good because it shows there’s options, but it’s also weird but why would it do that, ya know?
With my 30-day plan ready to go, I threw on some workout clothes and got started. After the first workout, I knew this was going to be a long ass month. Everything felt more like a warm-up to me than an actual workout. A lot of the movements were very familiar to things I either currently do in my warm-ups, or warm-ups we would do in barre class. Either way, I wouldn’t constitute anything here as actual exercises.
During each workout, I wrote down a lot of notes while doing them. In fact, I would actually text my friends or talk with my mom on the phone because I didn’t find that I needed a lot of concentration to follow along. More importantly, there wasn’t a whole lot of actual exercise going on during the videos.
Most of the workouts I did fell into the 30-60 minute category. So, if I was doing a workout that was marked as 45 minutes, I feel like I would only end up doing 20 minutes of actual movements. The remaining time would be me standing there while the creator, P as all the girls call him, went on tirades about whatever seemed to be on his mind that day.
But trust me, it gets worse from there. I found so many things wrong with his style of instructing. Firstly, he was never consistent with his counting. If we did eight counts of a movement for one side, when we moved over to the other side, we might end up doing 16 counts because he would start talking in the middle of couting, and then just pick back up where he left off in counting?! Yeah, I’m don’t get it either. It’s like he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of time or multi-tasking yet.
On top of that, his verbal cues are just awful. I never knew what side we were supposed to be starting on unless I was reading the little captions he clearly edited in using Imovie. The last thing I wanted to do at 6am when I was doing these workouts was have to read something. Even better, during a lot of the movements the models he used would say something like, “Isn’t this supposed to work your inner thighs” or something along those lines, as if they’re trying to prompt him to use better verabal cues. But, instead of that, it would just set him off on another tirade (one specific tirade that I remember was him talking about strengthening the lower back in order to have babies? Yeah it was weird for me, too).
While all of it generally sucked, I think the worst part was the equiptment used. At the start, it asks you what equpitment you have at home, but then when it generates your 30-day plan, half of the videos will tell you to use equiptment you don’t have. More specifically, it will tell you to use things like a P-Ball or P-Band, which are both objects he came up with, and is clearly just trying to get some money out of the people who sign up for this class.
All in all, it was a terrible month and I would not recommend it unless you’re looking to lose a few brain cells in the process. It’s $29.99 a month after you’ve completed the free 15-day trial, which I definitely do not think is worth it. You can literally sign up for a Planet Fitness membership for half of that and just use YouTube or Instagram for a billion better workouts.
I think as a personal trainer and someone generally immersed in the fitness world as a whole, I’m the most disappointed by the clear manipulation tactics used throughout the website and in his speeches during the actual videos. He prays on the females who are attracted to words like “toning” and repulsed and uneducated about the idea of bulking. He uses tall, skinny women in his videos as a way to say, “You, too, can look like this if you follow my workouts.” The rhetoric used all over his website really makes me sick, especially thinking about just the sheer number of females who have to flock to this site after seeing all the marketing with VS.
While I’d love to see change in the fitness industry regarding workout programs like this, I think they’re going to continue to do really well, as along as society continues to push this ideal of the way women should look. I’ll be honest, I did lose around 8 pounds during this workout, but I also lost a lot of muscle (and brain cells, too). I don’t think I want to look slim if it means I have to sacrifice the strength that I’ve worked on for years.
So, that was my experience with P. Volve. It sucked, but it was an experience I’m glad I tried, to hopefully deter some of you from suffering through it as well. There are so many other options out there! If you need help finding something that might be good for you, I’d love to offer suggestions!
Until next time!