Tuesday, November 11, 2014

An old and VERY interesting interview with Zuzka, Day 38 from BR

First things first - it is Lisa's Bday today, so go over to her FB page and wish her a happy year!

Now I do not want to unnecessarily pick on Zuzka. Most of us know she had a dark and sorted past, and I applaud her for getting herself out of a bad path and instead changing her life around and inspiring others to fitness in the process. This is all GREAT. More than a lot of us can say for ourselves sometimes I'm sure! 

But I can't help it when I think a lot of what Zuzka has done has been for money and money only - which in all honesty, I guess is actually OK. Who doesn't want more money? God knows I could use it myself. I didn't always use to think this way about Zuzka. I thought she was a girl gone down a beaten path, got taken advantage of, but pulled through.
Sometimes I'm not so sure that Zuzka was taken advantage of or is she was the one who stepped all over people. Either way - business can be harsh and it takes harsh people sometimes to succeed. 

I recently found out that in 2007 Zuzka had started her own web-site charging a yearly subscription fee of $49.95. This is then clearly not the first time Zuzka has tried to charge people for an online service. For one reason or another this site didn't work, and bodyrock was born. If you think BR is sexual now you should have seen it when Zuzka and Freddy first started it. They have both taken turns for the better with less sexual content and delivering high quality fitness workouts. I'm not sure how Zuzka went from initially charging to offering videos for free? Perhaps since the charging didn't work she realized at the time that pay per clicks and YouTube ads would be more of an income. Maybe it was Freddy's influence. Who knows, but at the time - they were right. Actually to this day, the only sites that continue to make a substantial amount of money from pay per clicks and ad sense are porn type sites.
At the end of the day though - who really cares. If she delivers, who cares.
I still can't help but feel a bit deceived and taken advantage these days by her lack of customer service tactics lately. I can't think of any other person/business who would survive let alone thrive in such a manner.

Zuzka was interviewed back in 2007 and was excited to finally be the one in charge - "after years of making money for everyone else, I think if you are smart you start to find some chance for yourself - some opportunity." Sound familiar?! Not that there is anything wrong with this. Some of you aren't going to give a rats arse at all. I get that. But as I said, I do feel a bit deceived. I might not care either if Zuzka delivers. We shall see. More from the interview -
".....,and this lets me be creative for the first time in 7 years since I started. It is like something completely new for me and you can see it very clearly in my new pictures for my web-site." Again, sound familiar?

A last point of interest on this interview. Zuzka said: ".....but if you ever want to make something more from this then you should start to learn everything you can. Ask questions. Susana says that the best place to learn is often by talking with photographers and agents after shoots. Male photographers are usually quite happy to chat – especially to models who genuinely appear interested in what they are doing." Perhaps this is how Freddy and Zuzka met? I've said it before - Freddy is no dummy. He would have been smart to go to one of those sets and pick out a girl like Z and start blogging! Seems like he knows what he was doing from the get go. I'm sure his vision has changed over time, but I also wonder if a version of BR was his main goal all along.

I'm not posting the link to this interview because a lot of it is about Zuzka's past that I am sure she no longer wants to share. I just want to make sure WE the customer are not getting taken advantage of here. I feel like there is always something going on behind the scenes that is not quite right.

I would have more respect and have no problem spending money if Zuzka came right out and said - I couldn't make enough money with WIN so we split. I wanted to do it on my own. Come with me for a fee, or simply take advantage of my free workouts when I offer them. NO beating around the bush, no deceitful tactics, no ignoring the customer and the questions, no pretending.

Here is also something that I read - thoughts on Zuzka, Freddy and BR. I found it to be a very interesting viewpoint:

But I have to be honest regarding my opinion on Bodyrock and the whole community. Approximately 4 years ago, Zuzana and Freddy (after running together, after they got married, their initial Susana website, which was a soft porn channel with payment subscriptions) decided to start a “fitness blog” and set out to (quote) “making it the most viral channel on the planet”. So what ingredients did the Lights decide to use, in order for the channel to be as viral as possible? Sex. Because sex sells. Hence all the constant, unnecessary (and quite tacky, for a so-called fitness channel) shots and close ups on Z’s bum and boobs. With the sad bonus that these close-ups were filmed precisely by Freddy, Zuzana’s husband. Who instead of being protective of his wife’s half naked body was instead – together with her – quite happy to exploit it in order to hit more views on Youtube and, therefore, make more money. Hence the video’s thumbnails (almost always, another close up on Z’s boobs or bum, just like any porn movie), hence the ridiculous camera angles, which made it quite difficult to understand how the actual exercise was supposed to be performed, as the camera was always focused on Z’s sexual parts. Maybe some of you didn’t notice, but even the video titles, when they were uploaded on Youtube, had a stronger sexual component, than in the blog’s equivalent. The reason for this? Make more money. So, at first, the channel was basically directed to the same audience that the Lights had with susanaspears.org (male people who were looking for some soft porn online) and the fitness part of it was mainly an excuse to be able to upload the video on Youtube, which as everybody knows does not accept pornography.
Then they started hitting more and more views, never moderating the pervy comments under their videos (after all, getting “sexy”, “tits”, “you are the sexiest female on earth” was what the whole thing was all about) but constantly blocking comments that stated that they were manipulating fitness in order to provide some online porn. When their community started to grow, Zuzana slowly dropped a little (as a matter of fact, only a little) of the old sex component of Bodyrock in favour of the “let’s all get thinner” component: she started with her crazy and unhealthy diet challenges, which lead her to look kind of starved at the end of last year, because the “let’s all be lean and thin” is another “selling point”, this time directed to a lot of overweight female viewers, who saw in Zuzana an icon to imitate. The idea behind it was: let’s make these women think that if they workout like me and diet like me they will actually end up looking like me. Which is a complete fraud, because 90% of Zuzana’s look depends on her genetics, as her former porn pictures back when she was 20 clearly show and demonstrate: she hasn’t changed much, she is basically more toned but the structure and the frame are exactly the same.
This is what I have never liked about Bodyrock: the manipulation of their views ONLY for the sake of the Light’s finances. Hence the otherwise totally unnecessary and actually tacky part of their videos and hence those ridiculous diet challenges. Using the easiest ingredients (sex directed to male viewers and getting thinner directed to the majority of their female viewers in order to make more money. And in order for Bodyrock to become “the most viral blog on the planet”, as they had set out to do when they decided to start the channel four years ago). The whole thing has been a very cunning (and actually also a very smart) marketing strategy. Bodyrockers being the clients/customers of this commercial strategy.
That’s why it’s all very fine to say that they have provided free of charge videos (but people who say this maybe don’t know that Bodyrock last year was making 40.000 dollars a month, not including the revenues coming from the various products’ sponsorships and this money came only from the views on Youtube/Google) and it’s also very fine to say that the majority of the workouts were nice and well designed, but please let’s stop talking of Zuzana and Frederick’s “generosity” to Bodyrockers, because it would be like saying that a shop’s owner is being generous to its customers, simply because he answers them in a polite way as they purchase something in his shop. For the Light, it’s always been business. And business strategies. Using sex and overweight’s womens’ insecurities as a their main selling ingredients.
And the other thing that I have always found extremely hypocritical, considering the Lights story, is when Zuzana stated that – sincer her younger soft porn days – she has changed her life completely with Bodyrock. If you look at the surface of it, it may be true but to a closer look it’s quite obvious that if she was making money using her naked body as Susana Spears, she was making money using her half-naked body (and just the same sex ingredients) as Zuzana Light. The essence is the same: portraying herself as a sex object to make money online.
Having said all this, I think at least 90% of Bodyrockers are very nice people, but I have never seen such a huge bunch of naive and half blind adults in any other online community. The community feeling is all very fine, working out together is all very fine, but please at least let’s call things with their names and let’s stop talking about the Lights’ generosity. And their story, as a couple, is not such a romantic story either: two very cunning (and actually also intelligent in some ways) people who have found a very interesting way to make money online, not minding the fact that they were both exploiting Zuzana’s body to do it. And the fact that they kept moving from one country to another, in that crazed and restless way, was a very negative tell-tale sign: it looked as though they were looking outside for a peace that they obviously didn’t have inside. Both as individuals and as a couple. Two adults people at a certain point want to find a permanent home and settle down: they were looking and looking outside for things that they could not find inside of them. So it’s actually a very sad story, really. And, though I have been very critical (because I like to see things for what they really are), I do feel sorry for both of them and hope they will find some inner peace in their future. It’s never easy to handle sudden big money and success. It’s even less easy for a person with a troubled past, like Zuzana.

Now that was only one person's view, but interesting nonetheless.

OK, back to FITNESS!

Zuzka's workout of the day was a repeat of a jump rope HIIT workout that was pretty intense. I might do this one tomorrow as a cash out to my own workout because I LOVE to jump rope:

I did ask this question on Zuzka's FB page. I'll be curious if I get an answer! I'm curious Zuzka Light, since you only do short intense workouts, how did you learn to do pistols? (you showed us a 44lb weighted on once!) Handstands? double unders? pull ups? arm balances? etc?!?! Many of those things take longer than 10-15 min of practice a day for elite athletes!

I hope she answers. Any wagers? LOL. I can't be the only one who wants to know the answer to this question. Zuzka also mentioned in a response about short workouts that she was one of the pioneers. Oh..... OK? 

Well, tomorrow we will have a new 5 minute workout from her. I look forward to it actually.

Now  -  Day 38 from BR. What did you guys think? I had a feeling it was going to be abs as the last 2 days were arms and legs. Lisa could have made it back, butt and abs to make it more of an overall strength workout. But I definitely liked it. A nice change of pace, and I know A LOT of people WANT to focus on their abs and love ab workouts.
I really liked the 1 legged hip thrusts - I do those a lot. Great for the glutes and the glutes help protect your lower back which is part of your core. Some superman lifts for the back and glutes would have been great in this routine.
The ball reverse plank switch and jack knife are also both terrific exercises.

The plank grab ass? OK seriously with the name? Ha! I do this same exercise in one of my classes, but I hold an 8 lb weight to make it more strength. (But I call it plank and double reach. not plank grab ass. :) )
I teach a core strength and stretch class and I have my class do weighted core exercises such as weighted sit ups, get up sit ups, half Turkish Get Ups, laying down 1 arm chest press with legs in the air, renegade rows, plank pulls, squat twists, farmer walks, overhead lunges - all weighted, strength core work. I feel a new video coming on! :)

I think that doing one round of Monday, 2 rounds of Tuesday (omitting some of the over head pressing), and one round of Wednesdays routine would make a super workout! With a warm up and cool down that would be an hour workout. I personally would like it better than repeating all of Monday - I can't imagine all those push ups and presses. Seriously WAY too much in my opinion.

I know some folks are adding cardio to these workouts. Ah - the cardio junkies. I would recommend lifting heavy enough weights so you do not feel the need to add in cardio. The more muscle you have the less room for fat in your body and cardio does not build muscle - strength training does.
Building muscle also does not mean getting bulky. I hear that ALLLLLLLLLLL the time from women - I don't want to get bulky, I want to sculpt and tone.
WHAT do you think sculpting and toning is? It's building muscle!!!!
Men make 10-15 times the testosterone that women do, lift FAR heavier weight in most cases and only some men get bulky. So what makes you ladies think that by lifting a 12 lb weight instead of an 8 lber is gonna make you bulky? The stronger you are the better you look. :)

I wonder what Lisa has in store for us tomorrow? Any BR Plus folks want to give us a hint?


  1. I think tomorrow I'll try ~just strength~ tomorrow. I found that doing the weighted lunges off the step this morning (during Day 37) I was sweating up a storm in comparison to doing high knees or jumping jacks. I'll take your challenge, Gina ;)

    The quoted portion you have in this post was always something I conflicted with in following Bodyrock at first - and when Lisa had her augmentation, and so on. I only followed for a bit while Zuzana and Freddy were still together, but I was appalled when it came to Lisa. What was once playful at first was highly gratuitous and in your face in a way that (1) made me feel horrible about myself, (2) made me feel like they were highly contradicting themselves, and (3) made me feel horribly for Lisa. Thankfully, they have made strides for the better.... but what keeps me from reading their Daily Motivation or listening to their Coffee Talks is the overall disingeuous quality of that portion of BR. Not that I'm a prude by any means but they likely wouldn't have gotten where they were without the exploitation (or similar actions). That's what makes part of me just watch the workout without finishing the video so they don't get a full view (I'm pretty horrible, lol) and I definitely don't recommend them nearly as much. Sites like FitnessBlender have been pretty successful, and they never had to exploit in such a way. I admire having clever idea and they running with it, but for a while they lost their credibility with me..... all I have to say is thank goodness for new converts, because they are getting the best of what BR has ever been.

    I realize that a lot of that may seem judgmental, but it isn't.... it comes from the mindset of "you shouldn't sh*t where you eat". Obviously they've listened enough to their viewers AND they're in a place where they don't have to be that way so much anymore, so of course they will continue to prosper as a business. Which, from that standpoint, is great, to be honest.

    1. Making Strides for the better is right Lindsey! I don't miss the butt and boobs in your face at all. Just the six pack abs in motion is motivating enough.
      I think you were just voicing an opinion - not being judgmental.

  2. Just want to point out that:

    Actually to this day, the only sites that continue to make a substantial amount of money from pay per clicks and ad sense are porn type sites

    1. Adsense cannot be used on sites with porn on it. It's a violation of Google's rules. While some may get away with it for a time, Google usually shut down accounts and keep money from anyone who is found using adsense on porn type sites.

    2. I make substantial amount of money from adsense but I run several blogs in different niches. Some earn more than others.

    3. Because of add ons such as Ad block, many people aren't viewing the ads therefore site owners are not getting paid for those non-views. So I question the commenter "40.000 dollars a month" statement. Very few youtubers make that much in the past and even now. Even viral videos do not make that much per month (in the past and now). Only a select few who are on top can make that much. I doubt BR was making that much from adsense.

    4. I strongly believe Zuzka needs to hire someone to help her out with the finance/subscriptions, PR, and a webmaster. While it is good to have your own personal business, she needs to know that if she isn't skilled in an area, it is best to find someone who is. I haven't signed up to the Zgym because it was EXTREMELY difficult for me to get my money back from WIN.

    5. not minding the fact that they were both exploiting Zuzana’s body to do it.

    If Zuzka didn't mind, why should we? Open up the TV and let's count how many times women sexuality was used to sell a product. Look up "Soft Porn Fitness" you'll find more articles speaking on this subject. The fitness industry is made up of women exploiting their bodies in order to get paid. Zuzka and Lisa aren't the only ones who went under the knife in order to look great while preaching to women how to love their bodies.

    I don't visit BR anymore. From the looks of it, Zuzka has turned her site around from the soft porn fitness days of BR.

    1. Thanks CJ. I did hear that about Ad Sense and Google - that they no longer allow it, but I didn't realize they kept all the money. I thought people were trying to get around it. I was talking to a blog school about it and I will have to ask them a few more questions as some of the advice is contradictory, so I appreciate your thoughts! And it's not that I mind the exploitation and plastic surgery, but they were talking out of both sides of their mouths - IMO. And it's not something I enjoyed watching but looked beyond it for the workouts. I'm glad that's mostly over with now. It is just sex - not violence, so putting it into perspective helps, but was just inappropriate much of the time - I think. No Zuzka and Lisa certainly aren't the only ones, nor will they be the last ones, but this blog is about them. :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Zuzka responded to my comment, and I'm not sure what to make of it!
    My comment: I'm curious Zuzka Light, since you only do short intense workouts, how did you learn to do pistols? (you showed us a 44lb weighted on once!) Handstands? double unders? pull ups? arm balances? etc?!?! Many of those things take longer than 10-15 min of practice a day for elite athletes!

    Zuzka Light: It took me two days to learn a pistol squat. That was back when I started doing these short intense workouts. When it comes to strength, agility and flexibility my workouts do wonders! I have a pull up bar in my bathroom so what I do and what I recommend to others is to do a few pull ups 3-5 every time you enter your bathroom. I learned this strategy just like the pistol squat from Pavel Tsatsouline. Handstands I had to learn, that's why I did the arm balance challenge and all I did was a short practice every day just to learn the skill. When it comes to gymnastics, and different physical skills, they are much easier to learn if you're already in a a great shape. Which Im proud to say that I am.

    Ok I know plenty of people who are in great shape who took FAR longer to learn pistol and handstands. I was part of CrossFit for a while and saw people run like the wind, squat 1.5x their bodyweight, deadlift 2x their bodyweight, do 50 burpees without a second thought, do over 100 double unders in a row - BUT struggle with pistols and handstands. Hmmmmmm..........

    1. Well, I'll just say from my own experience, I plateaued REALLY fast when doing only her workouts. I attempted her pistol squat stuff back in her BR days and couldn't do anything close to it.
      It wasn't until I actually did focused training (not random exercise), that I was able to do pistols, handstands, Pullups, etc..
      But that's just my personal experience. ;)

    2. I learnt the pistol squat just by doing them in workouts. I started them supported, and in one point, I just stopped using the support. =D Zuzka is very talented as an athlete, so I don´t think she is "lying" that much if at all. =D

    3. I've never had problems doing pistols squats, never trained for them. I did my first on the very first time I tried. I'm not in a good shape either. Now pull ups.... No way. Even when I decided to train for it I could do 2 chin ups only!
      Zuzana is not normal lol

    4. This woman is a freaking Goddess. According to the Angry Trainer.com:

      "The basis for the question was the famous Zuzana, formerly of Bodyrock and her successor on the site Lisa Marie. Both ladies insist they achieved their ultra lean and toned bods with just 12 minutes of exercise per day. "

      First she tells us she got her body by doing only 12 – 20 mins a day of exercises (which now includes pull ups every time she enters the bathroom). Now she was able to master pistol squats and handstands in such short time.

      Not saying all saying it is all impossible, but dammit she is coming off like one of those superhuman people who not only have genetics on their side but skills as well.

      Zuzka, please hire a PR person. You'll be more successful and believable when you do.

    5. Thanks for all the replies. I think this one is going to need its own post! Thanks Laura, Suri and Irene for your input on learning pistols. Just goes to show you that genetics does play a large role here for this particular exercise.Not that we all can't learn how to do it - but some of us will have a far easier time than others. Same with pull ups. I can do those and can do 10, but still working on pistols. CJ - thanks for that comment from the Angry Fitness Trainer. Made me chuckle.

    6. CJ - do you have the link to that comment? I can't find it?

    7. http://angrytrainerfitness.com/2012/09/zuzana-versus-the-angry-trainer/

      Here you go :D

  4. I think splitting up was what was best for both of them. And while these things ( can't help it I'm a female) are gross about Freddy I think Lisa's changed him. I honestly enjoy the motivational post he writes and he comes of very sensere

    1. I enjoy some of his posts too Ciara!

  5. A lot of interesting thoughts here on the whole Zuzka/Bodyrock saga. And, I agree with CJ above. Zuzka definitely needs to hire someone to help with her website, subscriptions and PR. I joined ZGym yesterday (for the first time-- was not a member of the old ZGym), and I'm already 90% sure I'll be canceling after this $1 month is over. I couldn't even get today's workout video to play, likely because she's not set up properly to handle the demands of however many people are trying to access the video(s). I made a comment about it on her website, beneath the video. But, I'll be absolutely shocked if the comment passes "moderation" and actually gets posted so that people can see it. The only comments that seem to come through are relentless praise.

    Further, the new ZGym workouts are not produced very well. She doesn't even demonstrate the exercises before beginning the workout, in most or all of the videos I've done or previewed, so far. When your written breakdown includes an exercise called "squat roll back, side plank kick, roll back into squat, jump into plank and jump back into squat," I'm going to need a visual aid to figure out WTF that is. This becomes exceedingly difficult, when your website's videos don't even play.

    I'm actually really disappointed, because I thought I was going to love ZGym and was looking forward to having a community, of sorts, with all the other people doing these workouts. I think after this month is up, I'll try Sweatfactor for a month, since I know those workouts are produced a lot better. Although, I'm not sure I want them having my credit card info, after some of the things I've heard from ex-ZGym members seeking refunds...

    1. I haven't had problems with the videos, but I can see from her comments on FB that lots of people have. I use Chrome if that at all helps. Your WTF comment made me laugh - and it's so true. If Zuzka wants to compete with BR she needs to step up to the plate with her service as well as her technology.

    2. So weird. I was using Chrome (tried Firefox too, but that seemed to work even *worse*), but the video just refused to play. Shockingly, Zuzka and someone from her team, I guess, did respond to my complaint about playback issues on her website. Another user also responded, saying she had the same issue. We'll see if the problem(s) persist, since I'm not the only one! They have about 28 more days to turn things around, haha.

    3. Keep me posted as to whether or not they fix your problem!