When people hear I do martial-arts inspired workouts, they often ask if I do, or ever did Tae Bo. The answer until just recently was no.
Of course I have long known what it is, and who Billy Blanks is. You probably do too! But back when it first got popular (at least around here), it was before I had kids and I was busy teaching fitness classes and hanging out in gyms. The idea of doing workout videos at home wasn't on my radar.
In any case, the last time someone asked me, I figured maybe it was high time I actually checked it out, so I found a couple of DVDs on sale on Amazon.ca and ordered them. I got the Platinum Collection:
And the Platinum Boot-Camp Collection:
I got a bit scared when I first viewed them on my computer. They seemed kind of cheesy, particularly with all the participants being forced to count to 8 over and over again. Memories of early 90s group ex!! But I know from experience that you can only tell if you will enjoy the workout by doing it, so I swallowed my trepidation.
The workouts are all 40-60 minutes long. Some use weights and some have a particular focus (like the abs one).
My biggest critique is that he does static stretching in the beginning of most routines. WTF, even back when he started Tae Bo, we already knew that was not only unnecessary, but possibly a way to increase the chance of injury!!
I quickly realized that the counting is very helpful for allowing you to follow the moves. For the most part the steps are simple, but there were a few combinations that had enough different steps, punches and kicks that I was getting lost and frustrated even with the counting. That being said, no way I'm counting along with them! They can do that for me, even workout out alone at home I'd feel like an idiot. Blanks is definitely a gimmick, but he doesn't annoy me much, and for a guy who is like 60, he is in tremendous shape. Little A's comment was, "Geez mommy, I hope that guy wears deodorant because he sure does sweat a lot!" That he does! The other participants vary in ability and physique so the videos aren't likely to be super intimidating for newbies.
Its essentially boxercise, and actually pretty different from what I usually do. Aside from a few burpees here and there, he doesn't do anything that requires getting up and down, which is actually what I find challenges me most (like all the rolling and tumbling in ji jitsu). For that reason, these workouts were much less intense than I would have liked. I think they still give me a decent workout, but not like my UFCFit or TapoutXT programs. Like, I can do jumping jacks until the cows come home without my heart rate getting up.
That being said, for anyone unconditioned or not as fit as me, the fitness powerhouse master [insert husband's mocking laughter], you will get a good workout. I am a fitness nerd and I adore finding new ways to move my body, so these were good enough, I figure, to work their way into my routine occasionally. I get bored quickly, so the more variety the better.
If you aren't interested in doing the more MMA-inspired workouts that I like, but want to get initiated with boxercise-type workouts, I think Tae Bo will be perfect for you. I chose these 2 DVDs because they had multiple workouts and are supposedly advanced, but there are tons of Tae Bo DVDs out there and some of them are specifically geared towards beginners.
I feel like every day I read more research about the health benefits of exercise and the risks of being sedentary. So whatever you do, get moving already!!