We Tried It: Working Out in Susan Lucci's QVC Line (In Hopes of Looking as Good as the 71-Year-Old!)
A PEOPLE staffer gets the full experience of exercising with Susan Lucci — in her own designs
What It Is: Susan Lucci is a legend in the Pilates world. She’s been doing Pilates for over 20 years and, at 71, she still works out every day on her Pilates Pro Chair. Needless to say, she’s in better shape than most 20-somethings (myself included). So when I heard that she was launching her very own line of activewear, Susan Lucci Collection for QVC, I thought the best way to put it to the test was to wear her new pieces while working out with Susan herself.
Who Tried It: Colleen Kratofil, Style Writer-Reporter and Susan Lucci superfan
Why I Did It: Some people are fans of Susan because they’ve watched her for decades on All My Children. I’m a fan of Susan because I’ve watched her for years on Pilates infomercials. I’ve been doing Pilates since I was a teenager, and in high school I actually bought a Malibu Pilates chair after Susan convinced me of its magic powers on a TV commercial. So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to learn Susan’s real workout from the actual star I’ve looked up to all these years. (If only I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self that this would happen one day!)
Level of Difficulty: 7/10. The workouts are low-impact which makes them look deceptively easy, but after a few reps of each exercise, every muscle in my body felt the burn.
How I Did It: The first thing I had to do before I started my workout was look the part. Luckily, Susan sent over a few pieces from her new collection to help me out. I settled on wearing the Ruched Zip-Front Jacket, ($59), which served as the perfect warm-up gear thanks to the stretchy, almost compression-like material. I paired it with the colorful Cropped Printed Leggings ($44.75) because they had the most comfortable, wide waist band and the Cap Sleeve Tee w/ Peek A Boo and Ruching ($42.50) because it wasn’t too tight or too baggy.
The next part was a bit more nerve-wracking: Meeting Susan. She is even more petite than I imagined, but her personality took over the room. She was so sweet and angelic that she put all my nerves to rest. We started out chat talking about our favorite moves (like the 100 and the Mermaid), which made me feel much more comfortable and confident that I would be able to keep up with Susan.
Before we started, Susan explained that the benefits of working out on the chair as opposed to the floor is that the chair helps engage every muscle of the body — and it was immediately apparent when we started the first exercise.
We started by focusing on toning our legs. We sat on the chair pumping our legs with our feet apart, then heels together and knees together to target different areas of the leg. And while it wasn’t too difficult, it did get my heart rate up and serve as the perfect warm-up for the rest of the workout.
The next portion of the workout targeted the area I dread most — arms. When I heard we’d be doing push-ups I wanted to run off the set right then and there. (I can do about five push-ups before collapsing.) But thanks to the Pro Chair (and Susan’s precise instruction), the push-ups were totally tolerable.
We laid with our stomach flat on the chair, legs squeezed and toes pointed towards the wall. That engaged my entire body, including my abs, while still allowing me to pump my arms without collapsing entirely. But the resistance from the machine still made the exercise tough, especially when we did small, fast reps.
And finally, it was time to target the abs. I’ve tried doing the Mountain Climber exercise on my own Pilates chair in the past, and did about 10 reps before giving up on that exercise forever. (I mean it — I never attempted them again.)
It requires so much abdominal strength to peddle towards the ceiling, while holding onto the side of the chair, that Susan totally killed me on this workout. (Check out how high she gets!) But I thought her technique of doing the Jackknife excise before Mountain Climbers was a great way to prep my abs for the big climb.
The Verdict: The workout is a lot more difficult than it looks — Susan is just really good at it, so she makes it look so simple. Each exercise starts out feeling pretty easy, but a few reps in and my muscles actually started to shake. The chair really did target every area in the body, especially my abs, making me feel stronger, leaner, and yes, pretty sore the next day.
As for her activewear collection, the clothes were some of the most comfortable pieces I’ve worn in a while. My favorite piece were the leggings, which didn’t feel too tight or revealing and had the most comfortable waist band. My pet peeve with tights is that most waists are just, well, too tight. But after putting them to the test during this workout, I’ll definitely be tuning in to Susan’s next QVC appearance to stock up on a few more pairs.