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:
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.