One of the most popular forms of fitness these days is the one you can do at home, in your living room with your dog watching and judging. Oh the judging. How could I begin to talk about fads and trends in fitness without subjecting myself to the creepy world of workout DVDs?
Thanks to the likes of Jane Fonda (feel the burn!) and Richard Simmons (farewell to fat!) the phenom of the workout video has grown to encase everything from yoga and boxing to strip tease and hip hop dancing.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo.
A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me.
To be honest, I forgot all about my Tae Bo DVD and it was made to languish beside seasonal movies and a yoga DVD for the 50+ crowd (don't look at my parents, that's mine too). In getting ready to torture everyone with holiday movies this year, I ran across the signature of my old friend Blanks and, thanks to this column, decided to give the workout a try.
What you'll need: A clear space to work in, a television and DVD player, comfy clothes, water and your blinds to be closed. Seriously.
While I had hoped to complete this workout alone and away from prying eyes, the presence of my newly acquired dog Freddy was a constant and I swear at one point his sigh of derision specifically meant "Who are you kidding? Come lie on the couch with me and eat chips so I can lick the salt off your fingers because you think you intake less calories that way." Rude.
Here is a snippet of my inner thoughts:
Blog continues below slideshow:
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow. Read the full story
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to. Read the full story
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Read the full story
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright. Read the full story
I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. Read the full story.
I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching. Read the full story.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. This week I was excited to try out MisFit Studio after being recommended by a friend. The studio can be found in an alleyway in a stunning converted old coach house. I initially signed up for a "Kick Ass Mat" class with no expectations whatsoever. When I arrived I was taken for a tour of the studio (did I mention it's gorgeous?) and came face-to-face with The Reformer. Read the full story.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Read the full story.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. You've probably seen women at trade shows standing in a booth repping the new workout wearing boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. If you haven't, go to more trade shows! Free swag! Anyway those ladies sell Kangoo Jumps boots to be used while you run, walk or generally work out. Read the full story.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo. A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me. Read the full story.
5:00pm - Should I warm up or is the Blankenator going to start off with a warm up? What even counts as a warm up? Does the jaunt down the stairs qualify?
5:02 - Everyone in this video looks super toned and amazing. Really? They couldn't add one awkward girl for my own benefit?
5:05 - And right into it we go! Blankenship is doing it on hardwood but I didn't feel like dragging the rug to the side. Unless that might have counted as a warm up.....?
5:15 - Stop staring at me Freddy! You're going to be SO jealous of my glutes.
5:20 - Knowing that I can mute the Blankster at any time kind of takes his instructor power away. I now have ALL the power.
5:25 - How are their kicks so damn high? Mine are barely clearing two feet.
5:30 - Must. Resist. Urge. To. Back into. Couch.
5:32 - I'd love to attend a real class with Blanks. In person he might actually be able to get me to sweat.
5:39 - So.....do we just take water breaks whenever?
5:46 - Whoops! I fell. On the couch. Stop judging Freddy. It was totally an accident.
5:53 - Does anyone else feel like this has been happening for 3 hours minimum?? 'Cuz it has.
End Result: A whole lot of nothing. I'm not satisfied, I'm not proud and I definitely don't feel like I accomplished anything.It's too easy to slack when there isn't a real live person giving you the evil eye when you don't give it your all.
Effort: Not a whole lot. You and I both know deep down that committing to home workouts is hard because no one will know if you stop. At least with a membership somewhere you'll know money is being flushed.
It's the age old question: If my treadmill is unused in the basement and there's no one around to see it, is it really holding all my drying laundry? (Yes, yes it is)
Return Trip?: To my living room? Yes. But to the workout DVD section at Wal-Mart? No. I'm going to drop a truth bomb - I hate working out alone, in my living room, feeling like a loser. With no one to motivate me in person and no other classmates to secretly compete with, I felt bored and almost lonely following a fitness DVD. No offense Freddy.
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