don't mess with me, obviously

It would be unfair of me to not give credit to the man who put the spark back in my motivation to work out. I’ve laughed with him, I’ve cried with him, and I’ve acquired a killer round-house kick with him, if I do say so myself.  I’m talking about the inventor of Tae Bo, Mr. Billy Blanks himself. I don’t exactly know what it is about this fellow, but I can’t get enough of him or his daughter Shellie and I look forward to my hour-long workouts with the whole Tae Bo gang.

I’m not quite sure how many workout DVDs Billy’s got; I’ve got four, and each DVD can have up to four one-hour workouts, so that’s a lot of Billy. They’ve all got really intense names, like Billy’s BootCamp, Cardio Inferno, Insane Abs, and Ultimate Challenge, and they’ve got exercises that target every part of your body, using mostly your own body weight. Billy uses pushups, squats, front, side and back kicks, and such motivational gems as, “Give me some action, Jackson!” and “Don’t try, DO it!” to whip you in to tip top shape, and, really, you want to succeed so you can please Billy and make him scream, “I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT, SOLDIER!” at you with his mischievous smirk on his face.

The reason why Billy Blanks works is because it’s just so much fun. I can’t tell if the guys and gals in his class are OK with not taking themselves too seriously or if they take themselves SO seriously that it’s amusing. They’re all obviously working their asses off, though, and you can tell by the sweat poring off them by the gallon and the looks of pain on their faces. They’re so encouraging too, and even though they’re on a TV screen, you know you CAN succeed, because they are rooting for you. The exercises end up being really fun, mixing cardio jabs with strengthening side kicks. He does combinations with basic punches and kicks, like “soccer legs” which involves moving backwards while punching, then cross-punching, then high knees as you move forward, and if you’re not hydrated enough by this point in the workout, you just might faint a little. It’s so easy to modify the exercises to suit your fitness and skill level; if you want to go harder, kick higher, and if you need to chill out a little, keep your number six kicks at half time, not cardio double time. Sometimes Billy decides that it’s time for a second wind and then he will treat you to some abdominal blasting pelvic thrusts that I never thought I would see outside of the club, or even the Tootsie Roll, which I never thought I would see outside of 1994. Laughing is a great ab workout too!

If the promise of a 45-year old man doing the Tootsie Roll in bright yellow boxing tape gloves isn’t enough to make you want to try Tae Bo, here’s a clip of the man himself, discovered on YouTube by my friend T-licious, whom I turned on to Billy about a year ago. Enjoy.